A day off… with VGA

Today I’m having a “day off” so, because this is what I assume everybody does when they have a little free time, it was spent fixing my Amiga 600HD after an “incident” where it’s previous CF card reader was damaged (a long story involving a CD32, an SX-1 and a dodgy HDD cable), failing to breathe some life back into a Cumana external Amiga floppy drive and playing with a few bits purchased for my Raspberry Pi. The result of the latter is this…

…which is Chameleon Pi running off my old 256Mb model B Pi, a Playstation 2 DualShock pad connected through a USB converter and VGA out. Although I wasn’t entirely happy with the Atari 8-bit or C64 emulation, the Apple 2 seems reasonable and the plan was, amongst other things, to have something compact and friendly to use at events for games on hardware I don’t own. It also has a new case which cost about six quid, but no audio at the moment but that’s being worked on.

And for an encore, half an hour was then used to persuade the GBS-8220 VGA upscaler I purchased a few months ago that working with the Spectrum +2 would be a fun thing to do; this process mostly revolved around poking wires from the upscaler into the Spectrum’s video port.

At some point I’ll get around to actually soldering a plug onto those wires, although considering my lack of ability with a soldering iron that might take a bit of practise and building up to. The actual video output from the GBS-8220 is pretty decent, I noticed that there’s some smearing but it doesn’t look to be any more pronounced than what was coming out of the SCART cable and television used previously.

Fun with VGA

Today I got a couple of cables through the post; one was a short IEC serial cable for my 1541 Ultimate 2 (which is lovely and saves me having to burn my fingers trying to make one) and the other to connect the C64 used with said cartridge to S-VHS; the intention was to use a cheap and relatively cheerful VGA upscaler I got a few weeks back to run the C64’s output to a VGA monitor because they’re a lot more portable than the CRT tellies I’m currently borrowing or occasionally lugging along when taking machines to events like Play.

Unfortunately, things didn’t work as hoped and the upscaler seems extremely unhappy about anything it’s fed from the C64, throwing out a vertically stretched image with the colour almost totally washed out. This is pretty disappointing because the chances are that the Spectrum or Atari 8-bit will react in the same way so other options need to be considered… like actually spending some money sourcing a couple of 4:3 ratio LCD televisions.

On the plus side, the upscaler at least seems a bit more cheerful when connected to the Amiga 600 through composite video (although I’m not entirely happy with it, it certainly isn’t 50FPS and the edges on static graphics “move” quite a lot) whilst the new S-VHS cable works like a dream when connected to the video projector and I’ve just spent a good thirty minutes sat on the floor in our front room whilst playing Scout on one of the walls!