Guide Ultimate N64 NTSC -> PAL Region-Switch Guide

Discussion in 'Guide Submissions' started by Nold, Aug 24, 2017.

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

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    Besides woring on my N64p, I did a little sideproject. I wanted to know if it's possible to modify a NTSC N64 Board to play PAL games (because of RGB-Support, of course..). I searched all around the web and found some informations. But never a complete guide or someone who proves that it works... Today I can say: IT'S WORKING :D

    You will need:
    - 1x N64 NTSC (I used a NUS-001(JPN), NUS-CPU-03)
    - 1x N64 PAL (I used a NUS-001(EUR), NUS-CPU-01)
    - Solder-Sucking-Wick, Flux, Good soldering skills, etc. etc.



    0. General Information
    There are mainly 3 differences in PAL and NTSC boards:
    1. PIF-NUS-Chip (This is basically the "Region"-Chip of the N64)
    2. Different clock-speed of the RAM-bus
    3. Output-Signal processing
    For the PIF & clock-speed modification we'll need the components from a PAL N64. I got both mine for cheap on ebay.

    You can clearly spot the differences in this image:
    PIF_crystal_n64.png

    Also before we begin, you should make sure that both N64 are in working condition. And for RGB-output you will still need a RGB compatible NTSC-board & RGB-Mod (before or after this mod).


    WARNING: I'M NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY DAMAGE YOU DO TO YOUR CONSOLE(S)! MAKE SURE YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING AND BE AWARE THAT YOUR BOARD(S) MIGHT DIFFER FROM MINE!





    1. Remove components from both boards
    For the NTSC-Board to play PAL-games, the PAL-board needs to die first... because we will need to unsolder the PIF-NUS / PIF(P)-NUS (U3) chip and the crystal (X1) from both boards.

    Here is a nice (french) video, showing how to unsolder the PIF:


    After unsoldering, your board should look something like this:
    DSCF5347.JPG


    2. Resolder the PAL-components on the NTSC-board
    Since we have what we need, now take the both components from the PAL-board and solder them into the NTSC-board.

    Watch out for the orientation of the PIF-Chip! The orientation of the crystal doesn't matter. (No pic here, sorry)


    3. Modify clocking
    Now we need to face difference three: The clock-speed / generation. One part of that is already done by swapping out the crystal. But the clock is not generated by the crystal itself, but by a clock-generator-chip On my NUS-CPU-03 Board, it's a MX8330-Chip, called U7 on the PCB.

    The pinout of the MX8330 (and the internet..) told me, that it has a frequency-generation pin, which can be used to modify the generated frequency. Awesome! All we need to do is, unsolder pin 7 of the chip, and lift it from the pad, so it doesn't have a connection to the PCB anymore.
    Next we solder this pin to ground.

    Here is how I did it:
    mx8330_pal_mod_overview.JPG



    4. Modify output-signal generation (Optional)
    This part is optional if you don't care about composite-video-output AND have a woring RGB-mod anyway.

    The video-section of the N64 boards differ a lot! A "normal" PAL/EUR-board has a single chip called DENC-NUS which doesn't output RGB (for example). The board I used (Japanese NUS-CPU-03) has multiple chips. The ones that are interresting for us are the VDC-NUS (f.e. does RGB-output) & ENC-NUS (f.e. does composite).

    Me (...and a guy who sold a n64 to a guy on reddit, see this) found out, that the ENC-NUS acutally seems to have a NTSC/PAL-Selector-Pin.

    As in step 3, we need to lift & reconnect a pin. This time the chip is the ENC-NUS and the pin is number 7. After lifting this pin, we also need to reconnect it to ground.

    I did it by connecting it to pin 18 of the VDC-NUS like this:
    DSCF5400.JPG



    5. Test it!
    Now the great moment has come! Run to your TV as fast as you can! Carefully plug in your jumper-pak and PAL-game of favor. Connect a powersupply & video cable and give it a shot!

    DSCF5378.JPG
    (fancy heatsink is optional, if you just want to see if it works...)



    6. Love it!
    See something? Here something? Great! You did everything right! ;-)
    DSCF5386.JPG




    I hope you like my little guide...I'm now AFK for the next days... finally get to play Banjo O.O

    And here are some additinal links, that helped me:
    imgur-pic
    http://members.optusnet.com.au/eviltim/n64rgb/n64rgb.html
    https://console5.com/wiki/MX8330
    http://modretro.com/xen/index.php?threads/differences-between-ntsc-and-pal-n64s.14138/
    (German) https://circuit-board.de/forum/index.php/Thread/8877-N64-PAL-NTSC-Switch-möglich/
     
    BocuD, cheese and GingerOfOz like this.

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