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Cheap AV cable for the PC Engine console

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  • Cheap AV cable for the PC Engine console

    The original white PC Engine only has RF output and can be tricky to tune into a TV due to the Japanese RF signal differing from ours. Also, RF sucks and only provides mono audio, however I will say that the PC Engine has the cleanest RF signal I've ever come across.

    Fortunately, the PC Engine has a rear expansion port that we can access to gain composite video and audio from. Obviously you could mod your console with a more permanent solution, but for those without the skill, time or desire to deface their console here's a quick and cheap alternative.

    I only had a twin RCA cable spare that I was willing to rip up for the sake of this tutorial, so this cable only has right audio but it should still give you the idea on what to do with a 3-way RCA cable.

    - Buy a cheap 3-way (yellow/white/red) RCA AV cable. Places like the Reject Shop, Ned's etc usually have them for $2.

    - Cut off one of the ends:

    - The ground wires are loose on the outside, separate them from the insulated wire and twist together. Also strip the ends of the insulated wire:

    - Grab some of these connectors from an old PC. There's many different ways you can hook this up (will become apparent later on) so use whatever combination of single, double or triple pin plugs that you can find and that makes sense:

    - Now connect your main video, left and right audio and grounds. In the picture below, I've used the white wires as grounds, red is video and blue is right audio [Obviously you should solder and heat shrink - probably a good idea to use separate grounds for audio and video too to prevent interference]

    - This is the pinout of the rear expansion bus of the PC Engine:

    R = Right Audio
    L = Left Audio
    V = Video
    G = Grounds

    - Now we can hook everything up:

    - Proof is in the pudding:

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  • #2
    Thanks for posting.
    This is where it ends!


    • #3
      Nice little bit of work there Frank, thanks for posting.


      • #4
        Awesome! Thx Frank.


        • #5
          Thanks for that Frank!! This is what AA is about. Going custom in true backyarder style.


          • #6
            No dramas fellas.

            If someone here makes one let me know how you go and perhaps take some photos of your cable, which will no doubt be more professionally assembled than mine.
            SEGA love: | Nintendo love:
            PC Engine love: | Latest retro finds:


            • #7
              Nice post there Frank! Dave Wellington will be very keen to see this as he was asking about the one he just bought from me (that got sent off today Dave by the way).

              EDIT: Just noticed he thanked you for the post above.


              • #8
                Bloody fantastic MacGuyver job there Frank
                - my nerdy gaming blog...


                • #9
                  It's a pretty good solution in my opinion, cheap and easy to put together with no permanent change to the console. MJ does perform an exceptionally looking clean AV mod on these suckers though, and I love the blue power LED that he adds, so this is another good option too.

                  ML - yep it's MacGuyver at his best, but at least the console remains unharmed.

                  I actually put this post together for Dave, we were chatting about his PC Engine purchase in the Super Happy Smile Retro Wish Club group.

                  P.s. feel free to join the group all console/retro nutters.
                  SEGA love: | Nintendo love:
                  PC Engine love: | Latest retro finds:


                  • #10
                    Thanks again for posting Frank


                    • #11
                      Quick update, just as easy to perform the same technique to extract RGB from the expansion port of the PC Engine console. Most people do this in conjunction with a simple external amp, to boost the RGB signal, but with my TV it doesn't appear totally necessary.

                      ^ My camera is making it look darker than what it is to the naked eye.

                      To assemble the RGB cable, pretty much follow the same procedure as above and attach some header pins to a SCART cable as follows:

                      PCE Expansion Bus SCART plug
                      C23 - BLUE Pin 7
                      B23 - GREEN Pin 11
                      A23 - RED Pin 15
                      C22 - SYNC Pin 20
                      C21 - Vout (+5 Volts) Pin 16
                      C20 - GND Pin 4
                      C1 - SNDR (Right Audio) Pin 2
                      A1 - SNDL (Left Audio) Pin 6
                      C2 - GND Pin 4
                      That's just what worked for me, if I connected it any other way it wouldn't work. Some sites suggest pin 8 of the SCART plug for the 5V line but that didn't work for me, nor did using pin 18 for its ground. Using pin 16 my TV auto switched to AV and a 4:3 aspect ratio.

                      Some info and expansion bus picture courtesy of:
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                      • #12

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                        • #13
                          Just done this, thanks for posting Frank! Now I can play my PC Engine!


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