[Release] Shinobi Scaler

Jun 7, 2016
New Mexico, living in South Florida
Shinobi Scaler is now open source on GitHub! This post is a mirror of the readme. Happy linedoubling!

Shinobi Scaler
Shinobi is a reimagined, miniaturized GBS8200 for portablizers. Like the original GBS8200, it can convert 240p and 480i RGBs to 480p/720p/960p/1080p VGA, making it perfect for connecting retro video game consoles to modern LCDs.

  • 47 x 57mm 2-layer PCB
  • Compatible with rama's GBS-Control
  • 240p/480i RGBs input; 480p/720p/960p/1080p RGBHV/VGA output
  • 0.1" PTHs for power and IO (can be mounted with pin headers on a carrier PCB)
  • TV5725 scaler IC and 64Mbit SDRAM from GBS8200
  • Integrated ESP8266 with PCB antenna
  • Integrated CH340C USB-Serial for programming
  • Integrated Si5351A clock generator
  • Draws 650mA @ 3.3V (2.15W) when scaling 240p to 480p
  • Power from 3.3V directly, or supply 4-15V to onboard high-current 3.3V regulator

Shinobi PCB

1Chip SNES RGBs upscaled to 640x480 VGA, displayed on ZJ050NA-08C LCD

Recommended fabrication specs:
  • 1mm-thick 2-layer PCB
  • ENIG finish
  • Solderpaste stencil for top side highly recommended
Note: There are multiple revisions of the ESP-06 (ESP8266 module). Only the most recent revision is compatible with Shinobi. Make sure your ESP-06 has three "Wi-Fi lines" inside the A.I. Thinker logo circle, and that three of the four corner pads are not connected to GND.

I maintain a Mouser project with most of the BOM. You will still need to source a GBS8200, ESP-06, and CH340C elsewhere. GBS8200s are available from AliExpress, eBay, DHGate, and Amazon. I get my ESP-06s and CH340Cs from AliExpress.

I've provided an iBOM file to make assembly easier. Go to ibom.herokuapp.com and upload the JSON to see the boardview and BOM side-by-side in an interactive format.

You will need to harvest the TV5725 scaler IC and 64Mbit SDRAM from a working GBS8200 PCB. I also recommend reusing the three 0603 10uH inductors from the VGA output filters (L4, L5, L6 on the GBS8200; L2, L3, L4 on Shinobi). 0402 10uHs are expensive and the original 0603 parts will solder onto Shinobi's footprints just fine.

Note: There is an 0805 zero-ohm resistor (R19) in series with the output of the onboard 3.3V regulator. If you intend to power Shinobi from an external 3.3V supply, you can omit this resistor as well as U7 (TPS621351) and its supporting passives. If you choose to remove the zero-ohm and/or U7, the board will need to be powered with an external 3.3V supply during programming.

  • Install CH340 drivers
  • Bridge the prg jumper with solder (or tweezers)
  • Plug USB-C into Shinobi. Note: USB-C port only works in one plug orientation. Flip plug if CH340C doesn't enumerate.
  • Verify COM port (or your platform's equivalent) is enumerating
  • Open GBS-Control release of your choice in Arduino IDE (these steps assume you have already installed requisite libraries, etc.)
  • Set up Tools menu as shown, select CH340C port under Port menu, then program

  • When programming is complete, unplug Shinobi, remove prg solder bridge, and power back up to access GBS-Control Wi-Fi AP
  • Finish prototype enclosure and upload photos + MCAD files
  • Run reliability tests for higher output resolutions (currently only 480P has been vetted)
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Share — copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format. Adapt — remix, transform, and build upon the material for any purpose, even commercially. Attribution — You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use. ShareAlike — If you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you must distribute your contributions under the same license as the original.
Last edited: