Saturday, April 21, 2012

RGBUZEBOX

Chances are you know the infamous UZEBOX console. In case you don't, it's an 8 bit console that uses only four integrated circuits: an ATMega, a RGB to NTSC video converter and two linear regulators. It can display up to 256 simultaneous colors, resolution can be up to 360x224, supports NES and SNES controllers, can display up to 32 simultaneous sprites and has 3 wavetable channels + 1 PCM or noise for sound. Not bad for a bare ATMega without any external processors!


I wanted to build my own version, even simpler and smaller than the original. I decided to remove the RGB to NTSC video converter, as here in Europe nowadays most (if not all) televisions have a RGB input. I also decided to remove the 5V regulator, as I'm powering it with a 5V brick. I have used SMD components to  make the board even smaller. For the video output, I have decided to put the same DIN connector used in the Genesis/Megadrive console, so I can use my Megadrive RGB cable to connect this console to the TV. The result:







The console works great, video is really clear (and best viewed in a CRT TV). The most difficult part in making this console was finding the SNES connectors. I bought a cheap multitap in eBay and salvaged the connectors. To enclose the console I have used a cheap and small box (Hammond RL6115, about 2€ in Digikey). The box was customized using just some drills, abrasive files and patience.

This was a very easy to make, funny and rewarding project. You can find schematic and Gerber Files (GPL v3 license) here. For more information, devkit, games and the latest firmware version, go to the Uzebox homepage.

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