Brian Benchoff reported on website Hackaday. That designer and developer c0pperdragon has finished work on the component video enhancement mod for the Commodore 64 computer. This is an Altera FPGA solution utilizing c0pperdragon’s A-VideoBoard. Which they have designed to support and use with other project like the ZX (Zed Ex) Spectrum. This mod project allows C64 users to run their computers with full YPbPr after modification. Supporting both PAL and NTSC formats, this mod outputs its signal by listening to the digital video data straight from the VIC II (Video Interface Chip 2) and producing it via the FPGA. The VIC II is one of the chips responsible for producing video out for the C64.
The modification requires users to lift the VIC II chip to insert an adapter that will listen to the VIC II and connect that ribbon to the A-VideoBoard FPGA. While the FPGA board sits atop and replaces the RF modulator which was located near the rear plug interfaces. This is a no cut solution as well as the 4pin TRRS 3.5mm jack fits where the RF connector was. The 4pin TRRS adapter can be utilized by a break out to RCA plugs for component cable fitting. c0pperdragon does recommend that people take caution if you are to try a 4pin TRRS to 4pin TRRS setup with some monitor/displays that support it. Make sure that the signal/ground patterns are followed. An additional benefit of the A-VideoBoard is that it can amplify and assist the composite and s-video functionality if you still need the standard video output options.
This mod works with the following C64 VIC II set variants:
- 6569R5 (PAL)
- 8565R2 (PAL)
- 8562R4 (NTSC)
The YPbPr video output capabilities that is mod can display are:
- 240p/288p progressive 60Hz/50Hz
- 480p/576p progressive 60Hz/50Hz using scanline doubling
- 480p/576p progressive 60Hz/50Hz with visual scanline effect
The designer has released information on their github page and has offered services at cost if you reach out and contact them. Though production has not yet started.
Here are links for all the information used in this article:
First Reported by Brian Benchoff: https://hackaday.com/2019/03/10/component-video-for-the-commodore-64/
c0pperdragon’s github resources: https://github.com/c0pperdragon/C64-Video-Enhancement & https://github.com/c0pperdragon/A-VideoBoard/tree/master/c64mod