Guide N64 Advanced VGA

Miceeno

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I bought a few of these N64 Advanced boards from https://retrogamerstuff.com/. These are a great solution for N64 VGA as the UltraVGA's aren't easy to get your hands on. If you want to build your own N64 Advanced board they are open source and can be found at https://github.com/borti4938/n64rgb. I've attached the official PDF guide to this thread for more information. I made this condensed guide to save time because the official assumes you will be installing into a console so half of it is about disassembly and reassembly. I've also found that as of the current firmware the N64 Advanced will not output any video signal unless a controller is connected to Player 1 on boot. This little nugget of information wasn't documented anywhere and wasted a lot of my time.


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I've been having issues getting mine to work.

I've also found that as of the current firmware the N64 Advanced will not output any video signal unless a controller is connected to Player 1 on boot.
I don't think I knew this, so I will try again with this perhaps.

Do you know anything about VGA compatibility, like particular screens that you know definitely work or do not work?
 

Miceeno

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The VGA output works with all the monitors I've tested it on without any issue. The only issue I've found is with the 5 inch VGA ZJ050NA-08C / AT050TN22 screens that are so common around here. Whatever is happening between the N64 Advanced and the 5 inch LCD driver board causes it to miss align the picture so that 1/3rd of the screen is black. This has to be corrected on every power cycle of the 5 inch LCD driver board. My UltraVGA's don't have this issue.

I've also got one of those Eyoyo monitors laying around somewhere that I need to test when I can find it.

And another note about those 5 inch screens, maybe mine are bad/counterfeit, but the LCD picture quality is terrible. There is very little difference between the VGA and Composite with my 5 inch ZJ050NA-08C / AT050TN22 screen. I will post some pictures when I get a chance.
 
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Pears

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The VGA output works with all the monitors I've tested it on without any issue. The only issue I've found is with the 5 inch VGA ZJ050NA-08C / AT050TN22 screens that are so common around here. Whatever is happening between the N64 Advanced and the 5 inch LCD driver board causes it to miss align the picture so that 1/3rd of the screen is black. This has to be corrected on every power cycle of the 5 inch LCD driver board. My UltraVGA's don't have this issue.

I've also got one of those Eyoyo monitors laying around somewhere that I need to test when I can find it.

And another note about those 5 inch screens, maybe mine are bad/counterfeit, but the LCD picture quality is terrible. There is very little difference between the VGA and Composite with my 5 inch ZJ050NA-08C / AT050TN22 screen. I will post some pictures when I get a chance.
I have a ZJ050NA-08C screen purchased from the BB store last year and it does not have the issue with the N64RGB Advanced in my portable, using VGA. Also the quality difference between composite and VGA was night and day for me, so your guess might be correct.
 
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I've tried it with the 3.5" 240p screen that also came with the G-Boy. I wanted to try it with the wisecoco 3.5" 480p screen, but mine was DOA and the seller refuses to help me so /shrug (bought it from another seller, not wisecoco directly). I am currently setting up another display to see if that was indeed the issue.
 

Miceeno

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Ok, here are some pictures. I'm not a photographer so ignore things like white balance, glare, focus, and the CRT rolling effect while photographing. These are some attempts to illustrate the minor quality differences between Composite and VGA. A lot of people on the internet say the composite out on the N64 is the cleanest they've ever encountered. I think that's basically what I'm seeing here. There are some places where I don't have an example from the N64Advanced but I do have an example from an UltraVGA. It appears the N64Advanced isn't 100% compatible with the VGA specifications or something because some displays refused to display the signal.

56K Warning!!! (lol, that kinda dates me)
You might have to give it a few minutes to load. I had to open and close the spoilers a few times to get all the images to show up.

Composite - 240p
240p - ZJ050NA 5 Inch - Composite N64a.JPG

Composite - 240p
240p - ZJ050NA 5 Inch - Composite UltraVGA.JPG

N64a - 240p
240p - ZJ050NA 5 Inch - VGA N64a.JPG

UltraVGA - 240p
240p - ZJ050NA 5 Inch - VGA UltraVGA.JPG

Composite - 480i
480i - ZJ050NA 5 Inch - Composite N64a.JPG

Composite - 480i
480i - ZJ050NA 5 Inch - Composite UltraVGA.JPG

N64a - 480i
480i - ZJ050NA 5 Inch - VGA N64a.JPG

UltraVGA - 480i
480i - ZJ050NA 5 Inch - VGA UltraVGA.JPG

This Screen didn't like the output of the N64a.

Composite - 240p
240p - Eyoyo - Composite.JPG

UltraVGA - 240p
240p - Eyoyo - VGA UltraVGA.JPG

Composite - 480i
480i - Eyoyo - Composite.JPG

UltraVGA - 480i
480i - Eyoyo - VGA UltraVGA.JPG

This Dell monitor has a Composite Input although it refused to display full screen composite so I did a Picture-In-Picture with VGA. And again this monitor didn't like the output of the N64a.

Composite (Left) UltraVGA (Right) - 240p
240p - Dell - Composite-L VGA-R UltraVGA.JPG

Composite (Left) UltraVGA (Right) -480i
480i - Dell - Composite-L VGA-R UltraVGA.JPG

This is just an RGBs for the sake of comparison.

RGBs - 240p
240p - Sony PVM - RGBs.JPG

RGBs - 480i
480i - Sony PVM - RGBs.JPG

This TV has Composite and SVideo for the sake of comparison.

Composite - 240p
240p - Sanyo - Composite.JPG

SVideo - 240p
240p - Sanyo - SVideo.JPG

Composite - 480i
480i - Sanyo - Composite.JPG

SVideo - 480i
480i - Sanyo - SVideo.JPG

This TV has a very good Composite Picture but no SVideo.

Composite - 240p
240p - RCA - Composite.JPG

Composite - 480i
480i - RCA - Composite.JPG
 

Stitches

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Ok, here are some pictures. I'm not a photographer so ignore things like white balance, glare, focus, and the CRT rolling effect while photographing. These are some attempts to illustrate the minor quality differences between Composite and VGA. A lot of people on the internet say the composite out on the N64 is the cleanest they've ever encountered. I think that's basically what I'm seeing here. There are some places where I don't have an example from the N64Advanced but I do have an example from an UltraVGA. It appears the N64Advanced isn't 100% compatible with the VGA specifications or something because some displays refused to display the signal.

56K Warning!!! (lol, that kinda dates me)
You might have to give it a few minutes to load. I had to open and close the spoilers a few times to get all the images to show up.

Composite - 240p
View attachment 17257
Composite - 240p
View attachment 17258
N64a - 240p
View attachment 17259
UltraVGA - 240p
View attachment 17260
Composite - 480i
View attachment 17269
Composite - 480i
View attachment 17270
N64a - 480i
View attachment 17271
UltraVGA - 480i
View attachment 17272

This Screen didn't like the output of the N64a.

Composite - 240p
View attachment 17251
UltraVGA - 240p
View attachment 17252
Composite - 480i
View attachment 17263
UltraVGA - 480i
View attachment 17264

This Dell monitor has a Composite Input although it refused to display full screen composite so I did a Picture-In-Picture with VGA. And again this monitor didn't like the output of the N64a.

Composite (Left) UltraVGA (Right) - 240p
View attachment 17249
Composite (Left) UltraVGA (Right) -480i
View attachment 17261

This is just an RGBs for the sake of comparison.

RGBs - 240p
View attachment 17256
RGBs - 480i
View attachment 17268

This TV has Composite and SVideo for the sake of comparison.

Composite - 240p
View attachment 17254
SVideo - 240p
View attachment 17255
Composite - 480i
View attachment 17266
SVideo - 480i
View attachment 17267

This TV has a very good Composite Picture but no SVideo.

Composite - 240p
View attachment 17253
Composite - 480i
View attachment 17265
That's a pretty stark difference in quality between the 480i frames
 
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I've figured out the issue: the screen I was using (The 240p 3.5" G-Boy display) is not able to display PAL 576 wide VGA signals. It displays fine on my Dell 24" IPS. I've also secured an NTSC N64, and tried the N64A with that. That does work correctly on the 3.5" G-Boy display (and also on my dell monitor).

So in the end the issue is that the smaller display doesn't like the 576 format. I'm still waiting for my replacement. 3.5" 480p wisecoco display, I really hope that one does accept the PAL VGA signal. If not I might be able to convert my PAL N64 into an NTSC one? (given that I have an NTSC PIF).. would rather prefer to end up with 2 working N64s so would be cool if I can swap the other PIF back.
 

Miceeno

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That's a pretty stark difference in quality between the 480i frames
My photography is crap so it's harder to see in these pictures than in person. The VGA signals have slightly clearer text and better color. The Dell monitor side by side is excellent to show this because the focus and white balance are identical. The red output seems really hot on the Composite compared to the VGA.

As heretical as it is to say, nothing can touch the video output on an emulator. Real hardware can only go so far. I'm searching for crisp pixels and it's really hard to find a pixel perfect upscale of 240p and 480i when there aren't many small screens with resolutions that match. (Lots of 800x600 and 1024x768)

The Sanyo SVideo is the best in person out of all the video outputs and displays I've tried to capture here.

I've figured out the issue: the screen I was using (The 240p 3.5" G-Boy display) is not able to display PAL 576 wide VGA signals. It displays fine on my Dell 24" IPS. I've also secured an NTSC N64, and tried the N64A with that. That does work correctly on the 3.5" G-Boy display (and also on my dell monitor).

So in the end the issue is that the smaller display doesn't like the 576 format. I'm still waiting for my replacement. 3.5" 480p wisecoco display, I really hope that one does accept the PAL VGA signal. If not I might be able to convert my PAL N64 into an NTSC one? (given that I have an NTSC PIF).. would rather prefer to end up with 2 working N64s so would be cool if I can swap the other PIF back.
I think all that has to be done is swap the PIF but I've never played in PAL land. I'm pretty sure the N64a can force NTSC VGA resolutions so your screen incompatibility might just be the N64a itself (as I've found with it only working on half of my screens).
 
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