Replacing an 80s LCD With a Modern One on an Amstrad PPC (Part 1)


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It’s time to replace the LCD that came with the Amstrad PPC512 with something you can actually see! Instead of just presenting the final solution, I try a few different approaches and I’ll pick out the one that works best and is the least expensive at the end. For now we look at the MCE2VGA and the GBS 8200 converters.

Chapters:
00:00 Intro
01:04 Original mod
02:46 Modern LCD screen
06:08 Option #1: MCE2VGA
10:17 Option #2: GBS 8200
16:53 Interference
25:03 Conclusion

Original mod by drygol https://retrohax.net/amstrad-ppc640-modshax/
LCD https://www.aliexpress.com/wholesale?catId=0&initiative_id=SB_20210218075026&SearchText=HJ080IA-01E
MCE2VGA https://www.serdashop.com/MCE2VGA
GBS 8200 https://www.aliexpress.com/wholesale?catId=0&initiative_id=SB_20210218075041&SearchText=GBS+8200
GBS Control project https://github.com/ramapcsx2/gbs-control

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31 Comments
  • Nuts n Proud
    Posted at 13:56h, 26 February

    Screened wire or thin coaxial cables will help with the stray signals. Look for 50 Ohm coaxial cable not 75 Ohm.

  • Deksor
    Posted at 17:14h, 26 February

    About making an adapter you should checkout Necroware's take on adapting CGA to MCE

    One thing you didn't address in your proof of concept is the brown color which will not be brown without a different treatment 🙂

  • Γιώργος παρασκευάκης
    Posted at 19:12h, 26 February

    nice work!!

  • pete pumpkin
    Posted at 19:20h, 26 February

    Wow, I have a couple of these sitting here. The og screen is horrible..

  • Mario Gianota
    Posted at 19:51h, 26 February

    You're gay Noel, aren't you? You don't fool me for a second.

  • Raymond Doetjes
    Posted at 20:00h, 26 February

    The journey is the destination.
    That’s what my dad always says. So takes us on your journeys Noel 😉

  • thepuzzlemaster64
    Posted at 20:24h, 26 February

    I find it strange how something as simple as an LCD is a royal pain in the butt to replace. I don't get why there aren't any standards for these LCD displays.

    What I didn't expect in this video was to find a cheap Component to VGA adapter. I was thinking of tearing apart and modding the motherboard of an old CRT TV to output a VGA signal, but maybe I might just buy the CBS instead.

  • Rastersoft
    Posted at 20:57h, 26 February

    If the PPC has composite output, I think that you should add a switch to select between CGA and composite, because some games used dithering to achieve extra colors, taking advantage of the interference between the chroma carrier and the pixels pattern.

  • Gdfserdy Fgregnm
    Posted at 22:01h, 26 February

    I really like the mods on this computer. And IF you like my ideas, I could give you some(more) advice/requests:

    1) You can design and 3D-print a case, in order to mount the screen and whichever boards you choose, in order to convert the signals.
    2) You can desolder the bulky RCA and D-sub jacks, in order to make the boards even more compact. As well as just disassemble(gut) a VGA cable, to salvage its individually shielded internal cables, in order to get a more interference-free set of signals.
    3) Maybe some anti-parasitic capacitors would be useful in all signals(color and syncs), so you won' t have any delays as well?
    EDIT: 4) Did you ever consider to put an external monitor port, in addition, or something similar?

    Please tell me if I was of any help at all, or just annoying you…

  • Fernando Martín
    Posted at 23:09h, 26 February

    I'm really enjoying this project and it's different indeed, showing different options and trying each one. I don't recall something like this.

  • Santiago Hernán Maydana
    Posted at 13:21h, 27 February

    "por favor ponga piles nuevas"? querrá decir pilas

  • Coleção Nintendo
    Posted at 14:05h, 27 February

    Amazing solution! I really Love this channel

  • André Barata
    Posted at 14:44h, 27 February

    you probably could use a couple of decoupling capacitors on the breadboard on the VCC pins, to eliminate noise on the digital gates

  • André Barata
    Posted at 14:47h, 27 February

    the journey IS absolutelly the interesting part 🙂 great video

  • P S
    Posted at 04:23h, 28 February

    That's pretty cool, but can you do it the other way around? Take a modern laptop and put a crappy '80s LCD in it?

  • SAINOLOGY
    Posted at 06:17h, 28 February

    Why don't you adjust the trigger level?

    It's annoying to wait for the waveform to appear on the oscilloscope screen.

  • Bart Zuidgeest
    Posted at 13:04h, 28 February

    I have had one of these for years. I never was able to find a replacement screen that fits. But that was quite some years ago and it has been on a shelf ever since. The original LCD is working fine, but it's just so horrible to use. But at the time it was made, it was not that strange.

    Cannot wait to see the end result. Might try to reproduce it. I do have to wonder if there is not a way to connect the lcd driver board directly to the PPC. It might only have vga in, but that does not have to mean it's chip cannot take other signals. maybe with some logic chips to help with sync conversion. Have two intermediary board just feels al little wrong to me.

  • Bllinker
    Posted at 13:49h, 28 February

    Good video, but please, please, put decoupling caps across the power supply lines of your ICs

  • 0xybelis
    Posted at 13:53h, 28 February

    I bet GBS8200 board could be trimmed a lot. People trim a Wii to fit into the tin 🙂

  • Emerald Danjon
    Posted at 17:08h, 28 February

    Great,that kind of Computers like this one or the Amstrad Alt 286/386SX gain a lot with that Screens,i wish do this kind of Mod with one of my Nec PC 9821 Na7,the problem is that Computers works on 24khz.

  • Retro Erik
    Posted at 18:28h, 28 February

    You could make a composite signal by using tree resistors and a transistor. Take a look here: https://youtu.be/4oAPOdhbPFk

  • Matthias Galus
    Posted at 19:42h, 01 March

    Just wondering if one way would be to use a arduino to convert the signal. Cause its pretty easy to generate a VGA signal from an arduino and maybe it's possible to input the CGA or any digital RGB signal and internally convert it. I am not really firm with all the signals and so on but I was wondering if that might be an option

  • greg ryan
    Posted at 10:33h, 03 March

    I had one of these Amstrad PPC way back in the mid '90's(it had a minor tech issue, so I only paid $20 for it). It was fun to use for text based programs, impossible to use for games. The display refresh was blurred and clunky, mono screen not suitable for games. I resold the PPC for a profit to a buddy. One of the few I wish I had kept for nostalgia's sake.

  • Necroware
    Posted at 13:04h, 03 March

    Hi Noel, may be you are interested in a project I recently made (part 2 should be interesting for you). That would be a perfect fit for you I guess. Tell me, if you are interested…..


    EDIT: I don't see it in your video, may be you did it off screen, but FYI, you also have to send the RGB signals through DAC and add the brown color emulation, or your CGA palette will be wrong missing the intensity and in the games, which are using brown color.

  • SkyWizardless
    Posted at 16:19h, 03 March

    You really should put decoupling caps across the supply pins of the logic devices on your breadboard, especially the 74LS parts.

  • Charles Mouse
    Posted at 16:52h, 03 March

    Very good! For what it's worth does the PPC have a composite out somewhere? The reason I ask is it may well be possible to connect that directly to that LCD driver board's composite in with sufficiently good quality to dispense with the other converters…
    …and as a bonus (assuming both the PPC and driver board do composite properly) you'll get colour artefacting in CGA – many CGA-capable games use that to give much nicer 16 colour output than the usual nasty 4 colour horror show. Think of it as a nearly Tandy 1000 mode.

  • Anna Plojharová
    Posted at 18:36h, 03 March

    The flickering on the top could be the H pulses missing during the V pulse, so theH scanninh had lost sync and has to recover. Normally the pulses shall continuebut inverted and slightly shifted (so the active edge stays at the same phase). The same way the analog TV passs sync mix signal.

  • iocat
    Posted at 23:27h, 03 March

    Great video — have really enjoyed this PPC saga, and I am looking forward to the next one!

  • Artur Eranov
    Posted at 08:13h, 04 March

    Great channel, great videos. Great respect for the author. Everything is done very carefully and competently. I'm looking forward to the next video. Thank!

  • François FritZ
    Posted at 18:13h, 04 March

    amstrad official Master channel? thanks for all