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Thread: Super retro trio tear down - Taking apart the SR3.

  1. #256
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    Extra impressions, and this is seriously reaching indescribable levels of fail:

    -Light gun compatibility is COMPLETELY non-existent. The NES Zapper's trigger works, but the sensor doesn't seem to see anything, the Super NES Justifier does the same thing, the Genesis Justifier doesn't even work, and neither does the Sega Light Phaser for Master System games.
    -Compatibility with the Arkanoid controller for the NES side is also broken (button works, spinner is unresponsive).
    -The Genesis side has an odd problem with the controller port switch where if the Super NES controllers ports are the only ones active, the video is noticeably brighter than if all controller ports are active.
    -Later Super Retro Trio Version 2s are said to come with better quality controllers, but the ones mine came with are starting to really get on my nerves with their absolutely terrible D-pads. They are an older design, though.

    This is a complete farce, and during that comparison I hinted at, I'm going to be VERY hard on RetroBit for what they did. They need to be put on blast for having a product that was actually GOOD, only to turn around and release... THIS! I can't even describe this thing because it's a failure that is beyond words. It's despicable and has to be called out.
    HATES ATGAMES WITH A PASSION


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  2. #257
    Hedgehog-in-Training Hedgehog-in-Training Amakyusa's Avatar
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    Ace,

    Could you post some pictures of the board so we can identify our versions and the differences? I bought mine recently and I have no idea what version it is, but definitely it is not the one shown in the pictures of early posts. But the controllers they came with mine feels really similar to the original SNES controllers (rubber start and select buttons and good d-pad).

    UNIVERSAL AMP BOARD UPDATE: My parts supplier 'made me a favor' and sent some parts I ordered to the other side of the city I live, but he sent me a new batch already. So as I promised, I'll post some news soon.
    Last edited by Amakyusa; 08-22-2017 at 12:28 PM.

  3. #258
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    Is there an easy way to tell which SR3 I'm buying? Are the ones with controllers that have Genesis ports always version 1, and the ones with SNES connectors always version 2? I'm scouring the internet for a version 1 model (like in used listings on eBay) but I'm relatively certain there's only SNES connector models available right now.

    edit: one of the eBay sellers replied to my message and says his controllers have the Genesis style ports. So if that's all it takes to identify a v1, I'm going to snag it. Sounds like it's much better than the currently-shipping crap.

    I sent Retro-Bit an email through the contact form on their site asking about the current state of this console. I can live with minor NES audio issues. I refuse to deal with constant distortion. Will update the thread if I get a reply.
    Last edited by derFunkenstein; 08-22-2017 at 04:03 PM.

  4. #259
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    Quote Originally Posted by derFunkenstein View Post
    Are the ones with controllers that have Genesis ports always version 1, and the ones with SNES connectors always version 2?
    That's correct, though keep in mind that some Super Retro Trio Version 1s are prone to S-Video desync on the Super NES side, specifically those with the KA2198BD. These have overall better video quality than the older variants with the CXA1145, but the desyncs can be pretty annoying. You can work around these by connecting both the Composite and S-Video outputs at the same time to your TV or video scaler, although the ideal thing to do here would be to rework the video circuits.

    Quote Originally Posted by Amakyusa View Post
    Could you post some pictures of the board so we can identify our versions and the differences? I bought mine recently and I have no idea what version it is, but definitely it is not the one shown in the pictures of early posts.
    If your PCBs are green, it's Version 2, and the original audio amp design is gone, replaced instead with the shoddy garbage circuits used on the RetroN3 since Version 2. No joke, the circuits are IDENTICAL. Also, if your pack-in controllers have Super NES controller connectors, it's Version 2.
    HATES ATGAMES WITH A PASSION


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  5. #260
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    well I snapped up that SR3. He said he'd had it for not quite a year, so it's probably somewhere in the middle between the junky video chip with desync and version 2. S-Video desync won't be an issue anyway, since I always have composite and S-Video both plugged in on all my consoles that have both. Thanks for the reply, Ace.

    edit: first thing I'm gonna do is play Super Mario World with a Genesis 6-button controller. If that's wrong then I don't wanna be right.

  6. #261
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    Don't say the KA2198BD is junky just because it desyncs, this isn't the KA2195D Sega like to use on the Genesis Model 2. The video quality of this encoder is miles ahead of the KA2195D, but is prone to desyncing due to either incompetence or a misguided assumption as the video circuit is the same as the one used for the CXA1145 and hasn't been adjusted properly to account for the KA2198BD's S-Video output not quite matching that of the CXA1145, particularly with the fact the KA2198BD can directly drive a 75ohm load while the CXA1145 needs a buffer first (mind you, every part of the Super Retro Trio uses a buffer for Composite, Chroma and Luminance as this prevents any sort of undesirable artifacts, discoloration, etc. from directly mixing the video signals off the NOAC, GOAC and the video encoder connected to the Super NES side's TCT-976 PPU clone).
    HATES ATGAMES WITH A PASSION


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  7. #262
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    Ah, OK, I misunderstood. Either way I won't have a desync problem, and I do appreciate the warning to use both cables.

  8. #263
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    So I got that rev1 SR3 in the mail today. First impressions are very favorable compared to the rev2 I bought in early July. The SNES audio isn't distorted, the NES audio is vastly improved, and the Genesis audio even sounds closer to my Genesis 2 than the newer revision. I know it's all about cost savings with these things, but I can clearly see where they went from a really good product to a really sub-standard product and I can't for the life of me figure it out.

    I didn't open it up, so I don't know what video scaler I have, but with all four cables (including S-video) attached to the TV, I don't see any sync issues or weird video artifacts. The NES palette isn't exactly right, but it's pretty close compared to my front-loading NES unit. The SNES-style controllers are OK, I guess, but not as good as the real thing. That was true of the rev2 unit, so it's not like they took a step forward or back or whatever.

    I did play Super Mario World with my Sega 6-button controller, and it's honestly not bad. The buttons are mapped out like this:

    L X R
    Y B A

    Not sure where Select is, but Start works as it should. Guessing the Mode button but I didn't need it so I don't know. The Genesis controller with the SNES version of Super Street Fighter II is pretty nice, though. All of the Everdrives work just as they should, as far as I can tell. SMB3 MMC3 was pretty good at least.

    Granted this is only after around 2 hours of screwing around with the system, but: Overall I give this thing an A- (there are still a few minor audio hiccups and some jailbars on the Genesis side). It works great overall. The current version (which I sent back to Amazon a week after I got it because the audio was so horrid) I'd give a D+ just because it at least works with Everdrives, but the horrid audio is something you just don't want to deal with. It's night-and-day different. My ears aren't the greatest and I'm sure the 1st rev has some buggy audio somewhere, but the difference is just so jarring.

  9. #264
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    Select would be on the Mode button with a Genesis controller on Super NES games.

    Quote Originally Posted by derFunkenstein View Post
    The SNES-style controllers are OK, I guess, but not as good as the real thing. That was true of the rev2 unit, so it's not like they took a step forward or back or whatever.
    This, I do not agree with, unless your controllers are different to mine. My Super Retro Trio Version 2 came with pretty crappy controllers that look to be the same meh controllers the FC Twin comes with, only with a far less responsive D-pad. Aside from a texture that made the controllers feel cheap, the Super Retro Trio Version 1's controllers were miles ahead of the ones my Super Retro Trio Version 2 came with.

    Make sure you do not use the Super NES side too often until you can get the RAM replaced by 5V RAM. An inspection would be required to pin down exactly which of the four RAM chips need to be replaced.

    I'm still working on fixing the Genesis side's S-Video as while I figured out why Version 1's S-Video output is full of vertical lines (Luminance taken from the wrong place on the circuit), I'm getting some smearing over S-Video now. Also, make sure to test the NES side with Castlevania II, there are some faulty Super Retro Trio Version 1s floating around with broken APUs in the NOAC resulting in the console spewing out loads of false notes.
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  10. #265
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    The controllers internally are different from the actual SNES controller. With a SN91 by Cirka, the internals are interchangeable with a real SNES. In fact, I've resurrected SNES controllers by swapping the PCB from a Cirka into a Nintendo controller and it works fine. That would not be possible with these. The buttons are a little loose and the D-pad is a little floppy, but they're not "bad". Just not as good as the original, and definitely not what I was buying the system for.

    I've only used the SNES side sparingly since I got it because I grew up with the NES and Genesis. But I'll keep that in mind, for sure. Would epoxy and small heatsinks on the SNES memory do any good? I'm definitely not handy enough to replace the memory chips myself.

    My main goal was to save some space in my living room - my vintage consoles are still hooked up in my "office" room with a CRT. Castlevania III sounds fine, but I haven't tried the second game. I'll check it out.

  11. #266
    Creator of the Mega Amp Raging in the Streets Ace's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by derFunkenstein View Post
    I've only used the SNES side sparingly since I got it because I grew up with the NES and Genesis. But I'll keep that in mind, for sure. Would epoxy and small heatsinks on the SNES memory do any good? I'm definitely not handy enough to replace the memory chips myself.
    Absolutely not! This is not a thermal problem, this is running the RAM way beyond even their absolute maximum specs. Adding heatsinks will do you no good; the RAM is overvolted past the absolute maximum of 4.6V (even then, depending on the chips, voltage should not exceed 3.6V) and the I/O is 5V with no level shifters. You must replace the RAM to prevent premature failure of your hardware, no exception. Post a picture of the Super NES board from both of your Super Retro Trio so I can pinpoint which of the RAM chips need to be replaced.

    UPDATE: The Super Retro Trio Version 2 comparison has begun on my YouTube channel.

    Last edited by Ace; 09-01-2017 at 07:09 PM.
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  12. #267
    Hedgehog-in-Training Hedgehog-in-TrainingSports Talker JamesF's Avatar
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    So it seems that for now there is no proper hardware clone system.
    Such a shame they destroyed the Super Trio in V2, it could have been a fantastic clone with proper engineering.

    For me, the best console experience that is not the real vintage hardware is Retroarch on a PC with VGA->SCART(RGB) in 240p on a 15kHz CRT.
    With proper integer scaling and color palette it looks and sounds 100% as the original console with RGB cable on a CRT, also enabling blargg NTSC filter looks identical to the Composite signal.
    The only difference is that you can't insert a cartridge but have to use roms, otherwise 8bit & 16bit consoles emulation can look and sound identical to the hardware with 240p PC resolution and a 15kHz CRT.
    I use 1280x240 resolution which is a perfect integer for 256x240 and 320x240 for NES, SNES and Genesis games.
    Last edited by JamesF; 10-12-2017 at 11:58 AM.
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    Not without doing extensive mod work, at least, and even then, good clone NES chipsets are far and few between. There exists only one Super NES clone chipset under different names (mostly the older variants of the design that are in a bigger QFP package than the latest size-reduced TCT-970 chipset) that is generally quite good, though I did come across a few PPU anomalies (severe discoloration in Contra III's overhead stages and Nosferatu's opening is partially broken). GOACs, however, are fairly consistent, with different designs having different ways to output video (most output S-Video that is then downmixed to Composite, but some GOACs like the SM801, which has not been seen in any Yobo/Hyperkin/RetroBit/etc. clone, have a hidden RGB output as well) as well as different audio paths (some GOACs have integrated headphone amps that are pretty damn good, though they can't be pushed as hard as, say, a TDA1308, which has a lot of voltage swing allowing for extremely high gain without clipping). GOACs are mostly mangled by bad external circuits, likewise with the Super NES TCT-970 chipset (except when the PPU falls on its face like I specified), though NOACs are mostly badly reverse-engineered from the original chipset, often seemingly derived from a highly flawed 2A03 clone by UMC, the UA6527. This is the chip that is responsible for the reversed duty cycle plague that has resurfaced to the point where clones have regressed nearly 10 years in terms of accuracy and compatibility. It's back to the 2008-2010 period where virtually every clone being released has reversed duty cycle NOACs bar a few exceptions. Nowadays, though, especially with the HDMI clones, it seems the plague is even worse.

    I'm afraid the only way to get a proper NOAC design is to make one yourself on an FPGA like with the AVS. It's been 12 years since NES hardware clones have become legal due to the NES' hardware patents expiring, and the only thing NOAC hardware clones have managed to do in this time is run around in circles. That is to say, they started off rather meh with reversed duty cycles and compatibility problems, then reversed duty cycles were starting to go away and compatibility improved a bit, only to regress back to square one, rinse and repeat. This is getting old and only serves to add to the already sub-standard reputation hardware clones have.
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  14. #269
    Hedgehog-in-Training Hedgehog-in-TrainingSports Talker JamesF's Avatar
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    I think I will be happy with a console emulator box IF:

    1. It outputs true to hardware (240p, 480i hi-res mode) video signal from analog video outputs.
    2. It outputs true to hardware audio.
    3. Has all the hardware controller input ports, and USB ports.
    4. Cartridge slots (optional), or SD card slot.
    5. Powerful enough CPU to run the emulators smoothly without stuttering.

    Currently not even that exists.

    If the Retron5 had a Composite or S-Video outputs that behave like the hardware (240p, 480i hi-res mode) it would have been a much better console, considering the constant system updates.
    But since the Retron5 has only HDMI output, I would rather use Retroarch and MiniPC with "official controller to USB adapter" and VGA->SCART(RGB) for a much more stable and authentic experience on a CRT.
    Last edited by JamesF; 10-12-2017 at 01:06 PM.
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