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Author Topic: GBS Control... inexpensive open source upscaler/downscaler  (Read 1251 times)

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Howard_Casto

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GBS Control... inexpensive open source upscaler/downscaler
« on: July 24, 2020, 07:52:22 pm »
You guys see this?



I'm thinking of building one.  While not quite as good it seems to be comparable to the OSSC and other more high end solutions.  Your input can be component, scart or rgb/vga and you set settings via a web interface.  Lag is virtually non-existent in most resolutions.  Something more interesting is the ability to downscale to 240p....  The uses for our stuff should be obvious on that one.  I kind of like this one because it gives you options.  The other low-end solutions (retro-tink/rad2x) seem to want to limit you to one input type and this one, in theory, could handle just about everything but composite and s-video. 

I think it's like $40 total in parts and you have to solder a few wires on... doesn't look too bad.   

opt2not

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Re: GBS Control... inexpensive open source upscaler/downscaler
« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2020, 09:53:55 pm »
Yeah Iíve been following this project on the shmups forum. Very cool modifications here. The downscaling is awesome. If I didnít already have an OSSC or Ultracade UVC Iíd look seriously into doing this.

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Re: GBS Control... inexpensive open source upscaler/downscaler
« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2020, 11:04:36 pm »
Someone send Howard $40 so he can build one and report back to us.

Chop, chop, opt2not.

This forum needs more threads about Arcade 1Up cabinets.

Howard_Casto

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Re: GBS Control... inexpensive open source upscaler/downscaler
« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2020, 12:40:49 am »
Eh I've got Amazon credit again... I'm debating over this or a gdemu to repair my dreamcast.  Honestly though I never played my dreamcast that much when it was working. 

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Re: GBS Control... inexpensive open source upscaler/downscaler
« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2020, 01:16:43 am »
Hmm... well as per usual Amazon has marked it's stuff up accordingly.  With an hdmi adapter I'm getting a total of around $54, not including a power supply and some scart connectors.  Can you guys look around for a better place to order a power supply if you get a chance?  I've been looking but they are either stupidly expensive for what they are (like $25) or they come over on the slow boat from China, so I might be able to get started this fall.  I'm going to check fleabay to see if I can beat these prices and still get them here in a timely fashion in the morning.    I'm also wondering if anyone has made a box for the gbs 20xx over on thingiverse.  It wouldn't be hard to model and I'd like to connect a scart connector to the unused "arcade" connector with a switch to turn on/off that resistor mentioned in the video. 

Also would a dual output board be useful for streaming?  I've got hdmi splitters so I don't know how necessary that'd be. 

opt2not

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Re: GBS Control... inexpensive open source upscaler/downscaler
« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2020, 01:57:14 am »
Someone send Howard $40 so he can build one and report back to us.

Chop, chop, opt2not.
get on it, new fancy job winner.

Howard_Casto

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Re: GBS Control... inexpensive open source upscaler/downscaler
« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2020, 08:41:41 pm »
Ok folks my step dad has a 37inch jvc crt... early 2000's/late 90's  (when they started making the tube flat).  It's got component in.  I could use the upscaling on these boards to get that up to 480p to avoid issues and use some component cables.  With proper attenuation I could also run arcade pcbs through the tv with this correct?  I swore I wouldn't fool with crts ever again, but now that I've got the room and my back isn't in constant agony.....

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Re: GBS Control... inexpensive open source upscaler/downscaler
« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2020, 09:31:55 am »
You should be able to use this for arcade boards to CRTs, yes. 

I'm using a stock GBS8200 to go from Med Res to VGA on my SF Rush the Rock cabinet (for now).  Since I won't need that board anymore once I convert it to a multi-racer, I'm probably going to make one of these. 

Looks like it does amazing up/downscaling to 240p with very, very low lag. 

Good, cheap option for PC -> CRT without having to RGB mod...

Howard_Casto

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Re: GBS Control... inexpensive open source upscaler/downscaler
« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2020, 09:59:08 am »
Well an rgb mod is probably in the future... maybe not for this tv though.  I bought a gbs in the past and had to send it back as I just couldn't get a stable image on any hd tv.  I had heard of the gbs control in the past but that was in it's early stages with a mess of hardware boards and fudging... this seems streamlined now.  I think I'm going to start ordering parts later today.  I don't really have the time to mess with this stuff anymore but this looks like something I can do in a half hour or so. 
« Last Edit: July 27, 2020, 11:04:42 am by Howard_Casto »

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Re: GBS Control... inexpensive open source upscaler/downscaler
« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2020, 11:00:14 am »
If you don't hate flat screen CRTs, RGB modding any Trinitron with the BA-5D Chassis like THE KV-fS100, Fv300, fv-310 series is laughably easy.  Like a 35 min job.  And those tv's are pretty easy to find as CRTs go.

https://shmups.system11.org/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=63622&start=78


Howard_Casto

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Re: GBS Control... inexpensive open source upscaler/downscaler
« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2020, 01:08:16 pm »
Well the JVC is equally simple.  Unfortunately finding a trinitron has been difficult around here so I've got to work with what I have.  Anyway he's cleaning up their house and wants it out so I'll take it rather than see it thrown out and regret it later.  I might do a pedestal with it.... not sure what else I can do as it's too gigantic to fit in a normal cab.

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Re: GBS Control... inexpensive open source upscaler/downscaler
« Reply #11 on: July 30, 2020, 01:08:08 am »
Finally ordered all the parts.  Finding stuff that wasn't on the slow boat from china proved a challenge with the scart connectors.... they still don't get here till the middle of next month but it's better than waiting until October. 

If you want to order the bare minimum this might be around $40, but ordering from amazon and getting some of the optional stuff bumps up the price to where you've got to wonder if a retrotink might be a better option depending upon the application you are using it for. 

Quick run down:

GBS 82000 (Amazon) = $22.99 (I got the last one at this price and it's on backorder)
ESP8266 (Amazon) = $6.49
Power Supply (eBay) = $6.31  (I found a seller from Texas as the one linked to in the video was $20 with shipping)
Minimum Total = $35.79

Options-
Scart connectors (Rakuten) = $6.28
Vga2Hdmi (Amazon) = $12.99
Clock Generator (Amazon)=$12.99
Total With Options = $68.05

I didn't get the clock generator.... seems like more of a pain to install than the wifi module so I'll see if I need it first.  That makes my total around $55 which isn't terrible.  I would say that most people are going to need some of the optional stuff... if you are going to hook up rgb consoles to the thing I'd bet your cables all revolve around scart.  If  you are using a lcd and it's halfway modern you'll need the vga2hdmi as they've stopped putting those on tvs unfortunately.  If I rgb mod that tv I'm going to need a male to male scart cable and another connector so that's probably another $20 or so. If I don't rgb mod it the vga2component cables are another 10 bucks or so. The stuff adds up.  A lot of these costs would also be required on other solutions though so keep that in mind.   I took a look at the cases on thingiverse and none of them are super great.  They either lack a scart connector or stupidly put the connector on the wrong side (outputs) of the box.  I'll see if I can modify the files to make them more useable. 

We'll see folks if this is a success or if I blew all my amazon credit on a dumb project I can't get working.   :cheers:
« Last Edit: July 30, 2020, 01:10:34 am by Howard_Casto »

opt2not

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Re: GBS Control... inexpensive open source upscaler/downscaler
« Reply #12 on: July 30, 2020, 01:21:14 am »
Thanks for the breakdown, Howard.  :cheers: Iím really interested in seeing how this turns out.

Howard_Casto

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Re: GBS Control... inexpensive open source upscaler/downscaler
« Reply #13 on: July 30, 2020, 11:22:19 am »
Heh me too.  I had kind of written it off when I saw it several months ago, but as you said, it's shumps approved and those guys are bigger video nerds than we are.  (That's a compliment.)  I'd say that video snagged a lot of people as they've made amazing progress since the project was the next new thing.  Time will tell if it's worth it. 

Howard_Casto

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Re: GBS Control... inexpensive open source upscaler/downscaler
« Reply #14 on: August 05, 2020, 05:38:39 pm »
Wifi board came in today and power supply came in yesterday.  I'm still waiting on the gbs itself and my scart sockets.  I'll probably go ahead and flash the board this evening to make sure everything is working. 

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Re: GBS Control... inexpensive open source upscaler/downscaler
« Reply #15 on: August 06, 2020, 09:59:13 am »
!!!! Nice looking forward to updates here..

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Re: GBS Control... inexpensive open source upscaler/downscaler
« Reply #16 on: August 06, 2020, 07:01:10 pm »
GBS is supposed to come in on the 10th, so hurry up and wait I guess....  those dang scart connectors are probably going to take a couple of weeks anyway.  I flashed the wifi board with any real issue (other than I tried with a power only cable the first couple of times).  The interface is pretty responsive but imho it needs a bit of cleanup to get rid of unnecessary sub menus. 

The one thing I will say that differs from the instructions due to some github changes is you want to click on the green button on the site, select "download zip", save that to the libraries folder and then, assuming you have winrar or something similar, right click on the file and select "extract here".  The clone feature on github can be wonky, so just do it that way.  Also, if you have multiple arduino installs on your computer like I do, be sure to launch the arduino exe that you want to use and load the sketch via file>open.  If you simply double click on the sketch there's no telling which arduino install will load up. 

Eh so I'm in a holding pattern.... I guess I could test the power adapter with a multi-meter. 

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Re: GBS Control... inexpensive open source upscaler/downscaler
« Reply #17 on: August 08, 2020, 02:08:19 am »
Scart connectors came in today.  Amazon updated my order status and the gbs is supposed to come in Monday.   I'm sure I'll really feel like messing with it after my root canal.   :angry:

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Re: GBS Control... inexpensive open source upscaler/downscaler
« Reply #18 on: August 10, 2020, 03:49:58 pm »
GBS Control came in today.  Hooked it up to the ps2 as that seemed the path of least resistance in terms of having to do stuff to test it.  It actually works unlike the gbs I ordered a couple of years ago so that's a start.  Also seems to handle the ps2's flaky 480i better than my scart 2 hdmi adapter I've been using previously.  Man it's got some blurriness going on though which seems odd when I'm feeding it component.  I'm assuming that's the main issue people have with the stock unit.  Anyway I got a root canal at 6 this morning so I haven't gotten a lot of sleep.  I doubt I'll get around to modding it this evening. 

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Re: GBS Control... inexpensive open source upscaler/downscaler
« Reply #19 on: August 10, 2020, 11:18:43 pm »
Ok I got the most basic form of the mod completed.... took me about 20 min or so.... other than that one debug wire it isn't exactly difficult to do.  I still haven't wired up a scart socket so again I went to the ps2 to try things out. 

Initial results were mixed.  I could get a sharper image by monkeying with the filters but since this is the ps2 it could be argued that sharpness is a bad thing.  The web interface unfortunately is the main issue with the mod.  It was just flaky and I even wired mine up with slack so the esp could be mounted beside the board instead of on top of it.  Toggle buttons didn't always toggle and some settings I tried wouldn't deactivate without a reset.  It could be a few things.... My esp module had male pins pre-soldered to it, so rather than solder directly to the module I used jumper wire and soldered one half to the gbs.... that might be causing an unstable connection.  Also I couldn't find a jumper so I just used a jumper wire to bypass the original chip.... I suppose the extra length of wire could be causing issues.  Finally I haven't removed the three trim pots yet... I wanted to take my time to desolder and reuse them on a jamma fingerboard for arcade pcbs.

I'll try and solder up a scart connector tomorrow and see how it fares with older consoles like the snes and ect. 

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Re: GBS Control... inexpensive open source upscaler/downscaler
« Reply #20 on: August 12, 2020, 03:34:15 pm »
I built one a couple days ago. It was a big improvement for a Golden Tee Fore convert to lcd. The 8200 now accepts the 25khz vga right out of the Voodoo 3 card into the 8200. The image previously had a really bad shimmer or wave rolling through it, the gbs control had mostly cleared that up. I didn't add the clock mod yet but I'll give it a shot next week.

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Re: GBS Control... inexpensive open source upscaler/downscaler
« Reply #21 on: August 12, 2020, 10:22:22 pm »
Yeah picture quality is noticeably better... I'm just having trouble with the interface behaving like it should.  I'm going to build a scart connector this weekend and I can give it a real test with some 2d consoles. 

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Re: GBS Control... inexpensive open source upscaler/downscaler
« Reply #22 on: August 13, 2020, 08:38:10 pm »
So those trim pots to adjust the rgb that are supposed to be optional?  Yeah they aren't optional... you have to remove them.  All of my problems cleared up after the removal.  I've only tried the ps2 and snes but thus far the picture looks really good.  It does seem to have an issue adjusting the screen geometry but you can tweak it a little manually so it should be fine.  I obviously soldered up the scart connector but I haven't hooked up audio yet.  I just got tired because those damn pots were such a pain in the ass.  I couldn't get solder to stick to them well, so I couldn't desolder properly and had to snip them off.  Likewise bridging the pins was difficult because I couldn't get solder to stick. 

Anyway it looks great now.  I threw in Maximum carnage for a 240p test.  You see in that game the bad guys become translucent for a second before they die.  The effect is achieved by alternating every other line of the sprite on and off rapidly.  If 240p isn't handled properly you'll see lines.  No lines folks so it's doing it's job. 

I'll finish it up later on and I'll look into making/printing a housing.  When I'm done I'll fire up the elgato and upload some test footage. 

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Re: GBS Control... inexpensive open source upscaler/downscaler
« Reply #23 on: August 14, 2020, 08:17:23 am »
Shoot -- yeah I saw a youtube video of a guy building one of these and he removed the trim pots...   
do you have any idea if this introduces any kind of delay?

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Re: GBS Control... inexpensive open source upscaler/downscaler
« Reply #24 on: August 14, 2020, 12:14:37 pm »
According to the people that made it about 1-1.5ms with some of the processing effects turned on... less without it.  That seems about right but honestly, despite what some might claim you really can't notice lag until it gets in the double digits and for some people not even then so it's hard for me to know one way or the other.  I can tell you that if there is lag there isn't a whole lot.  Most lcd tvs, even in "game mode" introduce more lag than this thing is probably going to. 

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Re: GBS Control... inexpensive open source upscaler/downscaler
« Reply #25 on: August 14, 2020, 02:04:02 pm »
Well one of the jumpers I soldered on to replace the trim pots fell off.  I guess I'm going to have to pull out the big guns and try to desolder with my heavy duty gun and hope I don't burn a  hole in the board.  Then I can put the jumpers in the thru-holes and even if the solder joint isn't great it should still stay in place.  I've honestly never had this much trouble on a new board before and it's odd because all the solder points I had to connect for the esp stuck to the board fine. 

Anyway I'll hook up audio and search the forums to see if the geometry offsets are a known issue.  You have up to 10 presets you can save so worst case I fix it manually and save the settings. 

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Re: GBS Control... inexpensive open source upscaler/downscaler
« Reply #26 on: August 15, 2020, 01:16:49 am »
Ok.... day three of tinkering.... I think things went much better this time.  I got all the last remnants of the trim pots out of there and soldered on jumpers properly.  I still couldn't get the geometry to auto lock for whatever reason so I took the time to center/stretch things manually and saved it to preset 1, which is auto-loaded on startup.  All 240p signals are properly centered now, which should cover 90% of the consoles I own.  I've got 9 more preset slots for the rest so it should be fine. 

I spliced in a micro usb cable to the power so the hdmi adapter doesn't need it's own power supply.  I also hooked up audio to a 3.5mm jack that I'll mount in the back of the box.  This only makes sense as the hdmi adapter and any tv with a vga input is going to use a 3.5mm jack.  I want to order some rca jacks to  put in the front so component sources have an easy way to adapt down to 3.5mm as well. 

It looks like I need to ditch the jumper connections and solder straight onto the esp.  The main issue is I'll have to make the box larger due to the added height and with 3d printing smaller is better.  For now I'll leave it alone though. 

I also want to cut the trace to power so I can add a power switch. 

So here are my impressions:

Picture is good.  Not NES classic/emulation good but darn near close.

If there is lag there isn't a lot.

Despite the fact that  didn't install a clock generator I haven't noticed any obvious screen tearing.  When I use larger resolution sources that might change though. 

I've tried a component console (ps2) and a rgb one (snes).  Picture quality is excellent on both.  I had to adjust the geometry for the snes... maybe it's because it's a 240p signal or something.

When you cut the signal to the gbs, it takes quite a while to "give up" and turn itself off.  Thus why I'm installing a switch.  This could be annoying if you are using a hdmi switch or anything that needs that signal to die when you are done playing.   

The web interface... it's not great.  Don't get me wrong it gets the job done, but it looks like it was optimized for a tablet or laptop which is odd as I'm sure most people want to use their phone.  Interfaces are my thing... I wonder if the authors would mind me taking a stab at it.  That being said, once you get things the way you want there really isn't any reason to go into the interface again.  The only thing I could see a person doing is maybe toggling scanlines on and off for 2d and 3d games respectfully. 


I've still got more to do but tips for building:

Yank those trim pots off.  Do that as soon as you make sure the stock gbs works.... they are a pain in the ass and if you take them off later you risk breaking off a wire you've already soldered on. 

Make sure you leave some sort of breakout for power.  I'm guessing we are going to see add on dongles similar to the OSSC in the future and having an easy way to tap into power will just make things easier later on.

People seem to have trouble with that  debug wire..... I didn't so I don't get it.  Just pre tin your wire with a very small amount of solder (no blobs).  Hold the wire in place and heat until melted.  No biggie. 

When adding in a scart connector many sites suggest you solder ground to every ground on the scart connector.  This is stupid and a waste of time.  Why?  Well most game consoles only have one ground... two at the most.  On rgb cables that ground is soldered to every ground on the scart connector just in case.  So it's really only one ground or two if audio has separate ground.  So long as you have ground on your connector hooked up to composite/sync ground you are good to go.  If you are overly cautious you might want to also solder to common ground.  I suggest you use the separate audio ground on the scart connector for audio just to reduce the chance of introducing interference.   That being said older computers might need all the grounds.... that's not my area of expertise. 

Anyway more news as it develops.  I don't know how much more time I can invest in this right now so that might be it for a little while.  I promise I'll get those video captures soon.  The elgato is in my old pc.... have to put it in the new one. 

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Re: GBS Control... inexpensive open source upscaler/downscaler
« Reply #27 on: August 15, 2020, 01:21:32 am »
Oh one more thing.... is anyone in the shumps forums or elsewhere on the hunt for a composite decoder chip?  If a board could be built for that the gbs control would handle just about everything.  I hooked up one of those cheap plug n play consoles to the component port just to see and that black and white image was quite crisp. 

Howard_Casto

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Re: GBS Control... inexpensive open source upscaler/downscaler
« Reply #28 on: August 15, 2020, 07:52:14 pm »
Spent 20 min testing this evening.  Genesis and Saturn do fine as well.  It really does seem to be a thing where you set those settings for 240p once and then you don't have to bother ever again.  I'll try some component consoles next time to see how it handles widescreen and ect.  I'm very curious about the Wii because I believe it drops down to 240p when playing some virtual console games.