Getting a GBA Converter (tvout) to work!

Trying to get homebrew running on your PSP? Want to add a screen light to your Game Boy? Trying to figure out how to work your GP2X? By popular demand, discuss it in here! (This forum is for pre-built handhelds, NOT custom made portables!)

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bacteria
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Getting a GBA Converter (tvout) to work!

Post by bacteria » Fri May 22, 2009 3:30 am

Ripped open, carefully my old GBA Transverter (tv out card for the GBA) and caught the ribbon cable in my pliers and cramped the ribbon a bit - works but colours are washed out now. I might be able to fix it when I get around to it, but might be trashed. So, opened up a GBA Converter I bought a month or go off e-bay for a silly price - about £7 including postage - you can buy them new on Amazon for about £32 or sometimes via e-bay, so they are obtainable, unlike the Transverter.

Last time I tried one of these GBA Converters I got into a tangle and ended up ruining the card, but that was quite a while back so i'm excused! :roll:

Anyway, without much hope for further success, had a go. I had half an hour today only for project work, so didn't want to settle into my TurboGrafx project - will have time mid next week for that, so instead did this simple mod with the short time I had.

The differences between attaching a Transverter card and a Converter card are big - with a Transverter you just insert the ribbon into the connector, job done - with the Converter you clip on the plug to the existing connector - sounds easy, and it is, however this solution is crap because it relies on pressure to keep very tiny connections onto the back of the connector plug in place and in contact. In practice, you don't get a picture, or a garbled one as a result. No point using hot glue or similar as that will give a tiny amount over time and break contact again. Using screws and bolts would be good, but of course you can't do that; so came up with a solution, as below.

Did a mini log:

Box
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Contents (you need your own GBA original console of course)
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Top part is designed to connect to your GBA, bottom is the tv out Converter
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Removed ribbon, you can see the part that clips over the GBA connector
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Here is the connector in question. Interestingly, the first generation of the Converter could take 32 or 40 pin GBA ports, this one only takes 40 pin ones - you don't know what you have until you open your GBA though. This version of the Converter has side clips which the old one didn't although it doesn't seem to help too much in maintaining tight contact to the pins underneath.
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On
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Here's the simple mod - can't be simpler - put in a piece of 2mm thick perspex under the GBA game cart connector and on top of the Converter plug, wrapped electrical tape over the GBA to maintain as much pressure to press the perspex onto the connector as possible.
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Works, without screen garble, or artifacts. Screen is my crappy PS2 screen I use for testing.
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Composite on GBA is bad, RGB is good. Here is the pinout to get RGB from this card:
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And, the pinout for the GBA.
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When I get around to it, I will do more work on this and upload my site with a PDF, might be early next week.

This is a simple mod to do. It also means that if anyone wants to make a GBA into a system, they can with a good picture.

The Converter takes (according to its adaptor) 8v at 500mA - sure it probably takes less though - even if it doesn't, using that and an unmodded PSone screen would take about 1.25 amps; so using a 4.4 amp battery would give about 3.5 hours, 6 amp battery would give a few minutes short of 5 hours.
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Re: Getting a GBA Converter (tvout) to work!

Post by XCVG » Fri May 22, 2009 9:02 am

Nice! How good is the quality compared to the transverter? I heard it's crap.

You should have put this in the reference section though, now it's going to get lost in a deluge of crap :(

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Re: Getting a GBA Converter (tvout) to work!

Post by palmertech » Fri May 22, 2009 12:11 pm

GBA carts still work/fit perfectly?

This is a good idea, my current one involves wrapping it with wire, pulling it tight, then soldering the ends. This looks a lot cleaner. :mrgreen:
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Re: Getting a GBA Converter (tvout) to work!

Post by bacteria » Fri May 22, 2009 12:36 pm

Going to test it in the next days and let you know how good it is compared to the other card.

This mod needs a cart slot relocation (using a different cart slot) - I will do this anyway, so using the tape is not an issue. I will update this thread next week, also in regards to the result with the RGB mod.
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Re: Getting a GBA Converter (tvout) to work!

Post by palmertech » Fri May 22, 2009 6:06 pm

Looking again... Looks like all there is on the edge is ground, I bet you could do it "right", and use screws to hold the perspex down. Electrical tape stretches over time, too. :wink:
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Re: Getting a GBA Converter (tvout) to work!

Post by bacteria » Tue May 26, 2009 10:25 am

UPDATE - don't buy the GBA Converter - it is crap. The RGB works (as per pinout) fortunately as the composite output is hideous; but the image from the lousy plug connector is bad (a bit unstable, whatever you do). Badly designed product.

So, please don't waste you money on this product.

Unfortunately, I only know of these two TV out cards, although I think I remember seeing a TV out card for the GBA SP - anyone know of one and can give links?? I would really like to have a quality TV out for a GBA, especially as my Transverter is faulty.
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Re: Getting a GBA Converter (tvout) to work!

Post by palmertech » Tue May 26, 2009 1:51 pm

How is your transverter faulty again?

Oh, and lemme guess: The image keep slightly "bouncing" pixels on some images, and cannot hold the image still?

You actually can fix this, it is an issue with poor contact, try using an electronics connection cleaner. Another intereasting fact: The way this thing works, it only actually needs contact with like 12 pins. However, the connector has redundant signals, so sometimes, if it does not have all the correct pins, it can piece together most of the image. Here is how to test to see: Lick your finger, and press it onto the exposed little solder plate for the crystal. No joke. It should slow it down a lot, and the converter will be able to put together the faulty signal better.

The design for this this really sucks. :lol: I wonder if I could manage to solder it? Perhaps tear apart the plastic part, and just tin each pin, then press down to heat it up and permanently fuse it?

Oh, and that GBA SP thing you are thinking of is a TV in card. :(
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Re: Getting a GBA Converter (tvout) to work!

Post by bacteria » Wed May 27, 2009 1:59 am

Yes, image shifting, waving about, pixels coming and going, etc.

RGB looks fine, but no point if image is that bad.

Perhaps I should have qualified my last post better - product out of the box is utter crap (composite, very very bad picture, and wavy: and that's assuming you can make it maintain contact), pressing the plug down firmly (composite, very very bad picture, and wavy), RGB modding it - (picture fine, but wavy picture and still unstable). Using these methods, product is total crap.

Electronics connection cleaner - what do you recommend (links)? Still maintain above comment, if the product isn't good enough to work out of the box it needs to be avoided - how many people have the confidence to open things up and experiment? The manufacturers could have easily used a ribbon cable like the other product did - then it would be reliable and wouldn't need a GBA with pristine pin contacts!

The pins are so tiny that soldering to them will drive you crazy, and probably doomed, however, there is a solution possible but will demand a lot of work on my part to make the pinout: there are through holes on the back of the GBA under the plug which connect to the pins in question (seem to from initial testing), however, I have to see what pin from the cart plug connects to which contact hole, (best using the Transverter for this), then comparing which pin relates to which on the Converter and tracing that back to the board. There might only be about 20 pins output from the Converter / Transverter board to the GBA (42 pins - some will be for connecting to the GBA LCD so not used for this), however it will be a good day's frustrating work finding the contacts, with no guarantee of success. I have put my GBA with relocated cart slot, Converter and Transverter into a box for a later project; I keep getting diverted from other projects at the moment! :roll:

My Transverter is faulty when I accidentally squeezed the ribbon cable and tugged it a bit when removing it from the old casing from my Mini project. On testing, the green and blue lines are fine, the red isn't working though. I also proved this by removing the RGB lines and just putting the individual lines to the screen - green great, blue great, red - just got four blocks of scrolling red blocks. I have identified two output pins which don't seem to work, but it was a major pain trying to wire them to the GBA plug, wires failed. Again, direct wiring to the GBA itself might be the key. Interestingly, as mentioned before, some GBA's have 32 pins and some 42; will have to look into this too.

Project on hold. If wiring directly from the Converter board to the GBA pins fails or picture is still crap, that's the end of it; if however I can make this thing succeed, then I can provide a very easy to follow pinout so anyone can do the work easily. As mentioned though, I have other projects to do first, will resume this later and post a topic.

I don't have the Logic 3 screen anymore as OneSnap! bought it (he is in the UK at the moment), I decided to just stay with official Sony PSone screens for projects so sold the screen to him.

BTW - This topic wasn't designed to go into the Reference section as this is more of a WIP; I don't mind if it says here or back to the Handhelds section - up to you.
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Re: Getting a GBA Converter (tvout) to work!

Post by XCVG » Thu Jun 11, 2009 9:01 am

Well that sucks. It's too bad. How difficult would it be to wire straight from the connector? Impossible?

Did the converter just suddenly turn to crap? Or was it always crap?

Anyway, if this goes to the handheld section it will be buried in crap.

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Re: Getting a GBA Converter (tvout) to work!

Post by pasc » Sat Aug 27, 2011 7:33 am

Bacteria!

You might be my rescue !

I just got the gba converter in the post today and it's driving me nuts ><.
I use a 9V output since the one in the box isn't compatible with German sockets.

I was able to get an image onto my TV (verry blurry and effed up colors).
2times and that was it.


Thanks in advance.
Last edited by pasc on Wed Dec 25, 2013 5:18 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Getting a GBA Converter (tvout) to work!

Post by dragonhead » Sat Aug 27, 2011 8:21 am

holy old thread batman!!

ill be nice cuz youre new here, but try not to dredge up old threads here. Bacteria is no longer a member here anyway.

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Re: Getting a GBA Converter (tvout) to work!

Post by pasc » Wed Dec 25, 2013 5:17 am

The Screenshots appear to be down, could you please reupload them ?

EDIT:
Have you guys noticed that the "new GBA Transverter" has got a new Ribbon ?

It goes directly over the GBA one:
Spoiler:
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Re: Getting a GBA Converter (tvout) to work!

Post by hailrazer » Thu Dec 26, 2013 9:52 pm

The Thread is almost five years old. No pics to be seen here . lol
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