Question Is this a NTSC conversion?

Discussion in 'Nintendo 64' started by Luis Mendonça, May 10, 2019.

  1. Luis Mendonça .

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    Hi all! This is my first attempt on building a N64 portable, I just got the console I bought from an Ebay like site in my country.

    When I opened it, I noticed this very hideous soldered board to the main metal plate, and since this is my very first time opening a N64, I couldn't stop but wonder what that was. From my researches, it looks like some kind of region modding? Also, can I undo this mod? Since it looks like pin 9 on the ENC-NUS 650 is broken/shortened with pin 7, I wonder... also, one of the mhz crystal was changed, so I think I better leave it this way? Didn't yet had the opportunity to test it, since it arrived before the cables I ordered and before my 3.3v regulators arrived, so I can't really hook it up with my psu.

    The soldering skills from the person who modded this console...

    Oh an also, one of the ram chips is desoldered from one side, but thank goodness it's fairly easy to solder back in place, because modern ram reballing is a pain in the ***.

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  2. Fruity_Grebbles .

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    I don't know anything about N64, but I'm also interested in the answer to this one.
     
  3. Stitches 2 and a Half Dollarydoos Staff Member . .

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    I found this old thread https://bitbuilt.net/forums/index.php?threads/ultimate-n64-ntsc-pal-region-switch-guide.1620/

    Most of what this maniac has done matches up, but I have fuckall clue about that little nightmare board and the RAM pin lifting. Paging @Nold for possible answers?
     
  4. MRKane .

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    Otaku offer a mod to do this. I personally investigated making a solution to the N64 region checks years ago with a couple of others and while we made good headway the project just didn't keep up steam (the other problem being the other functions that the PIF does pertaining to controller attachment handling). We had hoped to make a replacement chip which was simply dropped into the location of the old PIF and would handle everything.

    The project just sort of fizzled.

    Given how much trouble we had during the process of investigating that I'd really advise that you look for alternatives such as getting an Everdrive as it's really not worth the time.
     
  5. Luis Mendonça .

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    Thanks for all the replies people, I was already thinking about getting everdrive or ed64, I just didn't because it's so freaking expensive around here lol. Like the 3.x version everdrive is 2x more expensive than the 2.5 everdrive, which is sold already at around 250 dollars, roughly converted.

    Now the thing is, I'm not even sure I can test this thing. The console is American, therefore ntsc out of the box right? My guess it's, now it's PAL which is my country's region (PAL-M, or something like that, never really understood these things). But also, I don't remember if we had Brazilian games made specifically or we used American console and cartridges.
    Or will different region games at least boot? I remember when I was a kid, at a local game rental discussion that we could play different region games but the screen could get "funny".

    Today I'll keep desoldering the last pins, clean the board and then solder back the RAM chip, maybe I'll at least check the system voltages, without having a cartridge to test this Frankenstein.

    Have to check for any guide for what voltages should I expect on which lines.
     
  6. Nold C L U B C L A M S H E L L Staff Member . .

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    IDK what this guy did tbh... but the region of this thing is NTSC. Brazilian had a PAL-M version IIRC. So this will play american/NTSC games only.

    The four pins on the RAM come loose quite often, they are just connected to ground.

    Sadly it's hard for me to find out what the pin of the ENC-NUS is used for, where that guy soldered the pcb to.. n64 compendium when!?!
    The PCB itself looks for me like a "transistor crystal oscillator". So it should be oscillating on a static frequency. the output signal would most likely trigger the enc-nus to do... whatever.. the enc-nus is badly documented :/
     
  7. Luis Mendonça .

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    Today I did some more research, and I found this guy on YouTube talking about how Brazilian tech people (if we could call this soldering skill technical), used to put these "mods" so that the system would be more PAL-M friendly.

    Sorry it's in Portuguese, but it's here for documentation purposes.


    Anyways I just finished removing the pcb and connections, the 9th pin on the ENC was bent all the way up to short it with the 7th, but I think it's working, can't test yet.

    About regions I got confused, this mod was about the video frequency only, should not mess with which games should be playable right? As you stated, it will play ntsc games. And the Ram, I noticed on the expansion pak, those pins are shorted together, so I can probably do the same on the board if needed?
    Another thing, about those oscillators, is the X1 correct? Didn't find anything about it online, and I'm not sure it was changed, when I got the board it was almost off it.

    About the ENC chip, I also found out in another Brazilian site, that the 9th pin is like a pal/ntsc switch btw.

    EDIT: Curious thing, pins 7 and 9 were shorted with solder =D

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  8. Nold C L U B C L A M S H E L L Staff Member . .

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    I'm not sure because of that blue paint on X1, but it should be ok. Here are the differences of X1 & PIF:
    [​IMG]
     
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  9. Trimesh .

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    Yeah, that looks like a PAL-M mod. I'm not quite sure why it has both signs of rework on X1 and an additional oscillator, though.

    The subcarrier is that crystal /4 - so for the 3.575611MHz PAL-M subcarrier it should be 14.302444 MHz - the original NTSC uses 14.3(18), so it's hard to tell just by the marking on the xtal since they are pretty close.

    From the photo, it also looks like the trace that used to go to pin 8 of the encoder (from the via next to it) has been cut, so you might need to repair that in order to get a color image.

    The games it will boot are determined by the PIF - which is the NTSC version on that board.
     
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