CDi-220 RGB Mod


This mod is pretty easy, except for one thing:  You'll need to mount your own RGB port.  That involves choosing a connector, drilling a hole in the back of your CDi and mounting your connector.  Please read through the guide before proceeding and decide if it's something you're comfortable doing.

 

You'll need a few tools for this mod (more info on the tools can be found in the tools section):
- Soldering skills! 
- Torx screwdriver set to open the CDi case & internals

- Philips head screwdriver
- Soldering iron / solder
- Thin gauge wire
- 75 Ohm resistors, the lowest tolerance possible.  These are perfect: 

http://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/MRS25000C7509FRP00/PPC75.0ZCT-ND/595092
- RGB output port (any port will work, just make sure you pick a port with a matching RGB cable).

 

Unlike the other mods on this website, I've only tested this on two units.  One was a Philips and one was a Magnavox, but both "220", front-loading units.  As long as your CDi has the Sony CXA chip, this mod should work for you too, but please proceed at your own risk!!! 

 

- Start by removing the top cover:  Remove the two torx screws on each side and the top three screws in back:
 

- Next, remove the outer screws that contain the expansion socket.  These screws were one size larger torx than the case screws:

- Before you can remove the expansion socket, remove the two screws on top, then pull up from the area by the top screws to release the socket:

- You'll find the Sony CXA chip underneath the expansion slot:

- Solder R, G, B and CSYNC (please see the note about csync below) directly to the chip, as shown here:

- Here's the actual chip diagram, in case you're interested (click for full-sized):

- I ran into problems with csync from the Sony CXA1145 chip.  I don't have an oscilloscope to test the output, but I assume more circuitry is required.  It may be as simple as adding a resistor and capacitor, but to be safe, I decided to use a full LM1881 sync stripper.  It's a bit overkill, but ensured the output was perfect.  Here's a picture of the quick board I did;  Nothing special, just a basic NTSC RGB output (75Ohm resistors & 220uf capacitors), with a LM1881 circuit:

- If you'd rather not use a breadboard, simply solder 75 Ohm resisters to the ends of the R-G-B wires.

- Find a ground point to solder to your connector.  There's no "special" place to get ground, anywhere will do.  I used a multimeter to find a nice, clean spot on the board to pull ground from.  You can do the same, or even just get ground from the Sony chip itself (refer to the above diagram).

- Finally, solder everything to an output connector.  It doesn't matter what output connector you use, as long as you have a matching RGB cable for it.  I'm sorry to be so vague about this, but there's just so many possibilities.  I decided to use a VGA connector, since I could easily make any cable I needed, including VGA to SCART (please remember VGA is not compatible with RGB...I'm just using the connector).  I soldered CSync to pin 13 (H-SYNC) and ground to pin 6 (excuse the sloppy work, that was a quick test job...the final install was much nicer):

 

- The last thing to do is mount your new connector.  If you'd like, you can run the wires through the top vent holes and not cut anything at all.  It's a bit of an ugly solution, but you won't have to modify the console.

If you'd like to mount a connector in the back, it's a bit tricky, since you'll be drilling / cutting metal and not plastic like other consoles.  If you're not comfortable cutting metal, I suggest bringing it to a professional.  You can mount your connector anywhere you'd like, but I found the area in back near the "FCC ID" to be best, since there's a lot of room to work:

As a side note, I did nothing different with audio, as the two RCA connectors are already there.
 

Well, that's it!  Feel free to go back to the main CDi pageIf you'd like info on mods for other systems, head to the Getting RGB From Each System page or check out the main page for more retro-awesomeness.