Adding SCART to a cheap CRT television

[133MHz] cracked open a cheap tube television to add a SCART connector. He knew he had a chance at success when he discovered all of the knock-outs on the back of the connector panel because one of them was exactly the right size for the connector. But it wasn’t quite as easy as soldering in one component. He ended up injecting his own RGB data from the SCART connector directly into the onscreen display, making an end run around the missing feature. [133MHz] removed some resistors in the circuit and used the empty lead holes to patch in his own circuit, feeding the RGB data from the SCART connector to the OSD chip in the format it needed.

This one takes you way down the rabbit hole. We’re glad he provided so much background about the hack but it’s going to take us a little while to fully wrap our heads around how he figured it out.

[Thanks Victor]

Comments

  1. tehgringe says:

    Bareback CRT monitor, and live. That scares the sh*t out of me.

    Am I correct in thinking that scart is not seen much in the US? I remember my Monster Cables training. One of their ‘audiophiles’ made lots of fun of scart connectors; they are junk though.

  2. Ben Ryves says:

    Good work! The benefits of SCART are nice enough, but the physical connector design is a right pain.

    That said, I’ve never seen a SCART cable included with a games console in the UK; they usually come with a composite lead and a cheap composite-to-SCART adaptor. Most people I know stick with the stock cables rather than shelling out for the more expensive RGB ones.

  3. Phil says:

    I never saw a TV with out SCART in Austria.

  4. Mikey says:

    I’ve never seen SCART before and I’ve setup a lot of TVs, figured it was a PAL thing (I’m in the US).

  5. concino says:

    It is pretty cool hack but totally irrelevant for US audience. Also CRTs are a dying breed. No?

  6. Michiel145 says:

    LOL.., you guys don’t have SCART…, really? :P

  7. Steven says:

    @concino
    He’s a retro gamer, maybe he wants european consoles to run on a crt(as they were intended) without modifying the console itself? I’m kinda stymied.

  8. lurker says:

    Never seen anything that used SCART in the US, as stated I’ve been under the impressoin that it was a european thing (interesting that it’s australian too, but not surprising…How bout Japan? They’re close enough to NTSC)…

    As for CRT’s, they ARE a dying breed – This is good for the scavenger though – I’m not even in a city and it’s now commonplace to see perfectly good 30″ TV’s on the side of the road, owner trashing them after an upgrade… Many made in the past 5 years or so have component inputs and are capable of 480p…Not HD, but then, there’s a lot of old CRT monitors being trashed… Not everyone has space for a 60″ screen but would like higher resolutions – Case in point, I’m currently hooking up my xbox1 with internal VGA (as well as all other outputs)…Idea being to use a single 17″ monitor for all my media and computing – I’m sure there’s a lot of others who would like the same thing without having to buy a brand new HDTV…

  9. Pete says:

    As far as I have seen (living in the UK) consoles and old computers either use an RF switch for the aerial or component. SNES used RF switch, playstation used component to give you an idea of the timeline.

    I would have just bought a component to RF modulator (and did in the past) they are very cheap.

  10. Phil says:

    I took a look on SCART and the rest :D
    here is a Card with the Formats: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/1d/NTSC-PAL-SECAM_de.png

  11. tehsusenoh says:

    I’m pretty sure that the original Xbox used SCART, just the cable that cam with changed it into the regular yellow RCA. Then you can buy the component cable extra (for 1080i). And 5.1 DTS out.

  12. magetoo says:

    concino:

    It is pretty cool hack but totally irrelevant for US audience.

    Au contraire. Everyone else already has SCART connectors, so why would we need to hack our TVs? :-)

  13. lurker says:

    Ahh…Japan uses SECAM – Should have remembered that…AFAIK, they’re still region 1 and their format is closer to NTSC than to PAL… As for the xbox thing, though, I’d rather have internal connectors than use a cable – I’ve got all the adaptors mounted, gonna drop the mobo back in and solder them up shortly. After repairing both xbox1’s and 360’s, there is ABSOLUTELY NO REASON that microsoft couldn’t have added ports for everything – there’s plenty enough space on both. PS1 and PS2 may have been a little trickier, though I managed to add s-video and stereo audio to my PS2 without a hitch. Haven’t had the opportunity to screw with a PS3 or a WII yet…

    …Don’t mean to hijack the comments, I started with a response to SCART in the US… Kinda snowballed from there. As to the OP, quite impressive – at first glance I thought he just jacked into an empty pin-header, but it was quite a bit more complex than that…

  14. magetoo says:

    Pete: But the RF signal is absolute crap and it’ll give you cancer of the visual cortex.

    Composite video (I think that’s what you meant, not component) is not too bad, but the reason for this hack seems to be getting the best possible picture quality, and that means RGB.

    (Can modern flat-screen TVs / monitors even accept it, given how SCART seems to be completely unknown in the US? I’d certainly rather hack a cheap Chinese-made CRT…)

  15. magetoo says:

    The writeup is great, by the way. Worth reading even if you don’t plan on doing similar modifications.

  16. Ben Ryves says:

    CRTs are also useful in situations where you have to have absolute control over the display timing, such as when using light guns or LCD shutter glasses for 3D (both of which where used by the Sega Master System, for example).

  17. tyco says:

    composite out on the genesis really is garbage. I have a scart cable on my genesis, through an RGB-to-component converter, and the difference is, as the writer says, like night and day.

  18. osgeld says:

    rgb vs composite is night and day difference, here in the states we usually used svideo until HD came around, its rgb, but scart has it beat

    svideo is rgb with a composite sync signal, scart has rgb with separated sync and audio paths

  19. andres says:

    @osgeld
    s-video is not rgb. it just seperates the chroma and luma signals.

  20. Travas* says:

    Hey lurker, Phil said “I never saw a TV with out SCART in Austria.” ..not Australia…
    Which reminds me, I haven’t seen Dumb & Dumber in a while…

  21. Amos says:

    Be sure to check out the other cool retro gaming stuff 133MHz has!

    @osgeld: Actually, S-Video is Luminance+Chrominance. “Component” (YPrPb) divides the Chroma across two conductors while Luma+composite sync are carried on a third (for more bandwidth). RGB is also component video, technically, but it’s hardly ever referred to by that adjective (at least in the U.S.).

    Fun fact: The Luma signal in YPrPb/S-Video is very nearly identical to the NTSC (aka RS-170: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RS-170) signals that were used before the advent of color TV transmission.

    @lurker: as can be seen on that map, Japan is/was NTSC (no idea what they’ve switched to as far as digital).

  22. Logicdustbin says:
  23. Henri says:

    @lurker
    “Ahh…Japan uses SECAM”
    Japan uses NTSC according to the map on Wikipedia.
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/1d/NTSC-PAL-SECAM_de.png
    FYI Japan is the county marked with brown on the upper left side of the map, next to China and Russia

  24. Henri says:

    typo, its on the right side.

  25. chuckt says:

    My Dad and my neighbor knew capacitors in televisions could store electricity for months even if the power was off. They are quite dangerous.

    Kudos to the genius who did the hack.

  26. Frogz says:

    anyone wanna explain the hacked apart genesis with sonic 2 and no case?
    i dont think he has a problem modding his console

    i actually found a nec tv in a alley like 5 years ago, 25 inch screen, had a proprietary scart connector
    20 pin molex(ie, atx motherboard power connector) that took all of the scart signals(although i fed it with composite instead of rgb lol) ended up scrapping the entire thing for it’s speakers/audio amp
    it’d display a completely green picture until you smacked it a few times somtimes

  27. Richard says:

    Also the reason for a CRT is that you get interlaced video on it with no lag – LCDs have to deinterlace which even on ‘gaming’ mode makes it have almost a frame worth of delay.

  28. Bleyfuss says:

    Just make sure to read the warnings in the original article regarding hot chassis designs.

  29. Don Kiddick says:

    It’s a good mod (I wish I had skill to make it myself).

    I have a 14″ TV which I owned for more than 10 years now, it works fine for bedroom use, however it contains no scart socket.

    When the digital switch over comes, it will have no use except for consoles that used the RF connection (ie it will have no use).

    By adding a scart socket, I would be able to plug in a digital freeview box and watch TV on it.

  30. Couldn’t he just connect an old VCR up to his TV with the RF lead? That way the VCR would act as an RF-SCART converter with remote!

  31. James says:

    That’s quite a nice little hack, like it! Still can’t believe you guys in the US didn’t have SCART- I can bearly remember a time when we didn’t have it, and going back to composite/svid now is like going back to 256 colour displays from true colour!

  32. tehgringe says:

    so for those of you in the uk, myself included. I was told that everyone used separates out in the states.scart is shit, even before hd. take a cheap one apart and have a look.

  33. nah! says:

    my old crt has scart but its one of the old standard ones that require a voltage on some specific pin to be activaded so no composite gaming for me (most of them scart tvs/recievers do not even use the rgb functionality)

    so scart ist really shit, i love new times of DVI

  34. blue carbuncle says:

    Interesting project and very thorough write up :)

  35. Mustakari says:

    I did this with a 1979 Salora tv nearly 10 years ago. To this day i haven’t seen better picture quality in any tube tv.

  36. Kuba says:

    My new sony lcd has 2x scrat…

  37. lurker says:

    …Wow…Gotta remember not to post here when I’m drunk…Mistook kamchatka for japan, austria for australia, and “never” for “only ever” … At least the stuff about finding tv’s in the trash is still true.

  38. nubie says:

    Wow, I too wish that there was SCART in the USA. I will look into modifying one of my TV’s based on this info.

    I must be the only person I know that complains about NTSC color bandwidth, compression, artifacts and bleeding. (must drive my family and friends nuts, I am an electronics anorak).

  39. MyICQ says:

    Hehe, why would I need to hack my TV.

    All TVs in our home (3 at the moment) come with SCART. Our new SONY Bravia LCD has 3 of them. The Tube TV before had 2. Even the oldest and cheapest 14 inch tube tv will have at least one.

    I am based in Denmark.

  40. Entropia says:

    Wow, very nice project write-up! More like this!

  41. Rigoberto Lugabihl says:

    I’m actually planning the internal installation of yet another Xbox 360 wireless receiver into a netbook because the hardware mod/driver install is ultimately less hassle than that BT mess over the long haul.

  42. Chris says:

    i wish the link still worked :( , want to crack open a few CRT’s and see if its possible. I’m in the USA so no SCART. (obviously discharge the tube first)

  43. Varcade says:

    We have to know how to hook up a composite video signal to a TV with only RF input. Scart an CVideo are compatibles one with other, cause the scart input receives too composite video.

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