NTSC Nintendo 64 RGB - OLD Guide

NTSC Nintendo 64 RGB – OLD Guide

This page is here for historical purposes only, some newer alternatives now available here and here.  This one links to this, which has ANOTHER RGB mod and Amp using the THS7314 Amp – This is now my preferred method for RGB’ing an N64.

The N64 console doesn’t officially support RGB.  It can be added to some models of the console, it has to be an NTSC console (although there is an early French Secam model that is also compatible), be careful though – as there are a couple of different NTSC versions, only the earliest ones are compatible.

Unfortunately there isn’t a easy way of identifying if a console is compatible without actually opening it up (some people say that the later limited edition coloured consoles are generally not compatible).  You have to take your console apart (Gamebit needed), remove all of the heat sinks and shielding etc until you can see the upper side of the motherboard.  If your console can be modified then the chip at location U1 will have “VDC-NUS BU9801F” printed on it, if it can’t be modified then the chip at location U4 will have “MAV-NUS RS5C282 (or RS5C382)” written on it.

UPDATE – some extra info from Link83 about serial numbers, motherboard revisions and a whole heap of stuff here, this chap knows his stuff!!  Getting the serial number is now a good way of finding if it’s RGB’able!

In case those forums go offline, here’s an extract of the info we’re after.

Extra Info Show

Thanks to ConsoleFun on the Assembler forums I now have a clear picture showing the chips which can and cannot be modified.

There are a number of different ways of doing this, it seems that some people experience varying results, this could be as a result of slightly different models of N64, different TVs etc.

The last N64 I modded I tried both methods here, lifting the legs on the VDC-NUS chip (method one below) , and then using Rx points (method two).  On my CRT TV method one was a little dark, on my LCD it was bright enough but I had horizontal lines interfering with the picture, when connected to my XRGB2 it appeared not to Sync – the picture was wobbling all over the place and the colours were all messed up.

I removed that mod and went with Method Two, as expected the image was far too dark.  I already had an Amp built so I fitted this into the scart plug.  The image on my CRT, LCD and XRGB2 the picture was fantastic.

Signal Point Leg AV Plug PinRed R8 17 1Green R9 19 2Blue R10 21 4

Method One

As featured on GamesX – if you follow this guide you have 2 options – although it’s not clear from the guide.  When the 3 wires are attached to the chip at location U4 you can either lift the legs of the chip or leave them attached to the motherboard.  If you don’t lift the chip legs then the RGB image may be too dark for you (an amplifier can be built), if you do lift the legs then the image may be too bright and/or have interference.  I’ve read and been told that if you do this method then you may not need any kind of amplification at all.

UPDATE – a few people have said that doing Method One and lifting the legs of the chip give the best and easiest  RGB picture without the need for any amplification (it may depend on the exact model of N64).  I’ll leave it up to you to decide which you want to try first – different motherboard revisions and TV models may impact which method works best for your console.

A few photos of Method One, I’ve tried to show that I lifted the legs from the chip, I’ve also used coloured wires to make it obvious which wire is what!

I started by using a scalpel in between two of the legs, heating up the solder and then using the scalpel to lift the leg up.  Be very careful not to break the leg off when lifting it.

I then added the wires to the AV socket, routed them around the edge of the board by the AV socket and cut the to length.  Once cut, I stripped the ends, tinned them and quickly soldered them to the relevant legs.

Method Two

A very quick job, only 3 wires on the under side of the motherboard.  Simply link up the points as shown in the following photo’s and table.

Again, you may find the image may be too dark for you (an amplifier can be built), alternatively there is a quick and easy internal amplification mod – although this can sometimes cause interference on the screen.  If you want to try it then link the points as shown in this photo using a small piece of wire.  It’s not recommended to do this internal booster now, I’ve read about it killing consoles after continued use, Link83 has just reminded me of where I read this, cheers again Link83 :-)

I originally gathered all of this information from GamesX webpage and forum, as well as the forums at Bordersdown and Rllmuk, thanks to Papercut at Bordersdown for the information regarding which models can be modified.