First time in front of an MSX2 system - the technical difficulty stage...PAL to NTSC output advice

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By Pliskin414

Rookie (24)

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22-06-2008, 04:48

Hi, and first let me say that I have been looking around for an MSX2 system for quite a bit now. Well, I finally took the plunge and purchased my own system from a nice home in the Netherlands. The MSX2 I purchased is a phillips vg8235 and it looks to be in working condition. Only problem is that I live in the US and the two obstacles facing me now are the power voltage conversion & the PAL output.
I have taken care of the first problem, as I own a voltage converter, (the MSX2 output is 220v and this is 120v to 220v. edit: the power plug that is included is 250v, would this affect anything from functioning?; the MSX does power on) but the only problem I have now, and the one that is barring me from entry into the world of wonder that lies beyond, is the PAL output onto an NTSC tv set. I have a scart to RGB cable, but the RGB doesn't display, although it connects to both sides. Basically, I am at a loss of what to do now. I have heard about a PAL to NTSC adapter, such as this one link, but am not sure if there is another solution. In any event I thank you for reading and thanks for any info!

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By dhau

Paragon (1570)

dhau's picture

22-06-2008, 05:37

If you have Commodore 1084 monitor, you can build a simple cable and use it in RGB mode directly. It will going to run at 50Hz though, unless you mess with changing BIOS or something.

Any PAL-to-NTSC converters will give you super crappy video out. Enough for some VCR, but not so much for MSX I think.

By Pliskin414

Rookie (24)

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22-06-2008, 08:24

Thanks for the info. Hmm, I was hoping to avoid purchasing a monitor, but if it comes down to it well then I will have to give it a go. Do you know how much one would cost / where I would find one? You say the PAL - NTSC converter will produce pretty terrible output? Honestly, would it be pointless to try? It may depend partly on the tv unto which it is being displayed. ...Ouch, but thanks for the advice!

By dhau

Paragon (1570)

dhau's picture

22-06-2008, 08:44

Well, eBay has Commodore 1084 once in a while, but they for good price there. I personally found one at a local thrift store for about 40$. Making cable will run you may be another 5$ or so, if you can solder yourself.

You can try the PAL-NTSC converter, but I'm pretty sure it'll be wasted money.

To be honest, you'd do much better with a japanese MSX2 or MSX2+. A bit more expensive, but all work well in USA out of the box.

By Metalion

Paragon (1560)

Metalion's picture

22-06-2008, 08:52

To be honest, you'd do much better with a japanese MSX2 or MSX2+. A bit more expensive, but all work well in USA out of the box.
I was going to say exactly the same thing ...
Why did you buy an european MSX2 when a japanese one would have been a direct plug-in (110V, NTSC) ?

By Sonic_aka_T

Enlighted (4130)

Sonic_aka_T's picture

22-06-2008, 13:54

While a Japanese MSX2(+) would indeed have been a fine option, this is a nice MSX2 computer too. Perhaps there is still a way to make this little wonder work. First off: what kind of TV/monitor are you connecting it to? What kind of connections does it have? Perhaps there is still a way to hook the MSX up.

Have a look on ebay to see if you can find an old RGB monitor. It may take a bit of looking, but I've seen them, even in the USA. Otherwise you could try shopping for a small TFT which has RGB input, not many do in the US though...

If this fails, perhaps you have an old PC somewhere in which you could install a video-capture card? A new capture card should set you back like $30, and you could prolly find one on ebay for even less. I suppose you should check if it's PAL capable, but I've never seen any capture card which wasn't NTSC & PAL. It's not an ideal solution, but it does do the trick.

Anyhow, you do have options, just make sure you don't spend too much either, since a Japanese MSX2+ (which would indeed work out of the box) would only set you back $75 - $100.

By Pliskin414

Rookie (24)

Pliskin414's picture

22-06-2008, 19:22

Hi again, and thanks for all your responses. Well, to answer the question of why?, I picked this european msx2 up due to a few reasons, mainly, the voltage was not a problem as I already owned a voltage converter and so there wasn't really a problem there. In addition, the main reason, I really purchased it for a good price. Total came to about 14.50 euro, not bad. So the only obstacle left was the PAL - NTSC output. As far as that goes I thought some of my own monitors would do the trick, but apparently non are PAL compatible. I had a scart to RGB cable that would connect to my tv, monitor but alas it still failed to produce results. I looked around on Ebay, etc. for some of those monitors you say but what really seems like a good solution would be a japanese system. I would gladly pick one up for a reasonable price, but I am not sure where to find one...
In any event, I will try the methods here (my PC might have a video-capture card) but if all else fails then I may just resort to Japan; any advice on this would be very appreciated! Thanks for the info.

By Sonic_aka_T

Enlighted (4130)

Sonic_aka_T's picture

22-06-2008, 19:46

Just in case, what happens when you hook the MSX up to your TV? You do get an image, right? Because if nothing seems to happen at all it may just be a cable issue... (Or a dead MSX)

By Pliskin414

Rookie (24)

Pliskin414's picture

22-06-2008, 22:41

Well, truth is when I hook it up to my tv through the connection listed above, I do not get any display / or result on the tv. I believe it is not a dead system as I could clearly see it turn on and the keyboard was responsive (caps lock works) and the corresponding light pops on as a result. But no, I don't get any signal or sign of anything, just a black screen. It should just output to AUX, correct? Or is there something else that I am missing? All I know is that it appears to be working but there is no sign of tv recognition, on multiple monitors when using RGB through a scart - RGB adapter. Hope this helped.

By rolins

Champion (418)

rolins's picture

22-06-2008, 22:56

@Pliskin414 - What kind of RGB scart cable are you using? I'm wondering if you're using a japanese scart instead of a european one b/c the pinouts are different.

By dhau

Paragon (1570)

dhau's picture

22-06-2008, 23:05

Well if you get NTSC Commodore 1084, you just have to change one of the connectors on your RGB cable to DIN-6. Then you can enjoy a very good quality of video:

msxdos mode 80
F-1 Spirit
Zanac Ex

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