DCHDMI - Any feedback from people who took the plunge?

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NightBreeze
undertow
Posts: 25

Re: DCHDMI - Any feedback from people who took the plunge?

Post#11 » Sat Sep 14, 2019 7:13 am

@Capone1423, rest easy. You got the right stuff. The flex cable was changed to the orange see-thru one quite early on (maybe pre-order round 3?).

NightBreeze
undertow
Posts: 25

Re: DCHDMI - Any feedback from people who took the plunge?

Post#12 » Sat Sep 14, 2019 8:01 am

Might as well add my experience.

So I got my DCHDMI (round #8) a while back and finally did the install 2 weeks ago. My board, 1.3a and orange see-thru flex cable. Also the WiFi antenna was smaller than in the install instructions/video. It was quite lightly packed but seemed to survive well anyway.

First I took my sweet-ass time modding the case. Others say that it looks perfect, like it came that way, but I’m not 100% satisfied. See, I had a DC case where the black drill hole guide wiggles. So I followed the instructions and pressed it down, drilled three holes, flipped it and pressed it down, drilled the two remaining holes. But, the holes did not line up horizontally. More like a “w” instead of “—“. This gave me a starting “border” that I felt came too low. If the two remaining holes had been aligned and higher up I could’ve left the bottom edge slightly higher creating a tighter fit. It came out really good all things considered though.

PS. Make sure your bottom shield (metal plate) is really, really flat (after cutting/bending off the piece). This will allow your DCHDMI to mount lower. Do this *before* expanding the hole too much in any direction. I used a hammer and a piece of wood.

Then came the soldering. For most of it I kept my iron at 330C. When removing the resistors, I used a slightly larger tip but otherwise a quite small pointy tip. I also used the larger tip for the high-heat ground area where you’re supposed to add some solder (I think I used about 420C here). Flux is a must, but I had a flux paste which does not immediately soak/spread out. This turned out to be non-optimal since I couldn’t properly see the pins/flex cable. But it wasn’t an issue in the end. First the audio contacts went well (edge of flex). Then the first side of the video DAC contacts also went well, I aligned it by pushing the flex against the edge of the pins, but I made the mistake of not ensuring the other side with fewer pins also aligned well. This had the consequence of the flex cable being slightly offset from those pins. Not by too much, but the contacts had to be made “/“ instead of “|”. Due to this also the resistor nearby those pins didn’t align properly. The biggest issue here is the increased risk of bridging two connections. Btw, I did spend time going over all those pin contacts, applying more flux and making sure everything makes a good connection, and verifying with multimeter that there are no bridges.

After those main points. The rest went pretty smoothly, although I struggled with the high-heat area (ground) a bit.

There are also three contacts on the bottom side of the mobo (for reset and controller buttons). Make sure you have good wire for this! I used some old wire I’ve stripped from a rj11 cable back in the day. It’s very stiff so I had to tape it down in a few places. I’ll probably replace those when I have the chance.

Also, be careful with the flex connector, I had never used one like this before and its was a bit hard to operate with one hand while holding the mobo in the other :D...

Anyway, worked on first try (to my surprise) but I ran into some oddities (that I did not find documented anywhere!) that made me uncertain about everything being OK (especially considering the offset pins).

The issue was that when I switched to cable detect (no cable connected) the display image would “spin”, or flicker and move in the vertical plane so that it looks like its spinning top to bottom. It would keep doing this until the DCHDMI had fully started up. Maybe because it applies bob filter later? Anyway this is supposedly normal behavior. Can also be observed in certain resolutions in 240p test suite and tweaking the bob/passthru on either 480i or 576i in different combinations.

Another interesting tidbit was that I experienced complete WiFi breakdown with GDEMU + LG TV, whereas with GDEMU + 27” Dell display the WiFi worked OK. With GDROM it worked in either setup as expected.

I used VGA a long time ago, but only composite recently, so I can’t really compare, but I love love love the quality of DCHDMI! PS. My TV can render 960p, but it refuses to boot up on 960p, so if I power down in 960p, I’ll have to Left+Right+Start+Y+B to reset the resolution to get an image, then I can switch back to 960p. Could probably be solved in firmware to trick my TV (same with Dell display, btw).

So, that’s about everything I can think of for now, hope it can help someone :)!

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DCUltrapro
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Re: DCHDMI - Any feedback from people who took the plunge?

Post#13 » Mon Sep 16, 2019 4:32 am

Blimey... that's some detailed info on your experience... and if nothing else, it has helped me to make a decision not to make ANY EFFORT to try and do this mod by myself lol, I will simply save up some money and pay for the part and pay for someone to fit it... I think that's definitely the way to go for me
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NightBreeze
undertow
Posts: 25

Re: DCHDMI - Any feedback from people who took the plunge?

Post#14 » Mon Sep 16, 2019 10:43 am

DCUltrapro wrote:Blimey... that's some detailed info on your experience... and if nothing else, it has helped me to make a decision not to make ANY EFFORT to try and do this mod by myself lol, I will simply save up some money and pay for the part and pay for someone to fit it... I think that's definitely the way to go for me


Heh, it's a bit of a mess, was typing away on my phone, didn't realize how long it became :?.

One thing I want to add though, so as to not steal the fun from (deter) anyone needlessly, I thought the install would be harder than it was (my text might not have made it sound that way). To surmise, it was time consuming, fun, and challenging (lots of new stuff I haven't done before). I have quite little soldering experience (let's say I've previously soldered 2-3 times every 3-4 years). And I got pretty lucky with my tools, for example I just happened to find a little case of tiny drill bits perfect for drilling through the bottom metal/case (DCHDMI screw holes).

That said, I'm glad my experience could help you make a decision :)! It's mostly information I wish I knew/had handy when I was doing the mod.

No1Dopechampion
noob
Posts: 3

Re: DCHDMI - Any feedback from people who took the plunge?

Post#15 » Thu Sep 26, 2019 5:44 pm

I ordered a DCHDMI through a UK retailer at a resonable price I thought, think it was £140.
Anyway I did decide to install the kit myself as I was feeling brave and had soldering kit at home. I wont go into the installation as that part of it has been covered in previous posts.

Im here to share my experience with the device. Now i did back in the day when the dreamcast was still "alive" have 4x3 CRT TV and also later had a VGA box on a monitor of the time. Simply amazing quality visuals.
Now lets fast forward to 2019, with modern displays. Now everything seems fuzzy or soft . I have 2 flatscreens , one with scart and other has a VGA connection. Now I was surprised that even the VGA display doesnt seem that great. From watching RetroRGB and MadLittlePixel etc its likely most modern TV simply dont like old analog signals without going into too much detail.

Enter DCHDMI. I am truly in love with the thing despite its teeny tiny glitches (mostly booting issues that are easily circumvented).
It truly has pixel perfect reproduction , such clarity and colour I have not experienced on a DC since it was launched using a VGA box. Now you must be aware that we now own TV's vastly bigger than what we had back in 2000. I have a 47" and a 55" and have played on both. I can honestly say playing on the smaller 47" is actually better. That's because the DCHDMI is soo flipping crystal clear i can see every single pixel on the bigger TV, and its kinda off putting being able to see all those dots.
It is bliss playing on the other 47" as it seems a more natural picture.
Being able to see clearly a corner approaching in Monaco, the detail of my PSO char in the forest of Ragol has made it a worthwhile investment for me.
So the only way I can explain how nice it looks is a bit like going from DVD to Blu-Ray.

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camp_bell
noob
Posts: 3

Re: DCHDMI - Any feedback from people who took the plunge?

Post#16 » Sat Sep 28, 2019 8:16 pm

Maybe slightly off topic, but I've recently bought a set of Retro Gaming Cables' Dreamcast RGB SCART cables, which support the Dreamcast's 480p VGA output through the OSSC (or Framemeister apparently) and it's been the best quality picture I could hope for from Dreamcast, without any of the side effects I got from cheap third party VGA boxes and VGA cables. It's a more expensive solution (€154 for the OSSC plus £36 for the Dreamcast cable) but if you want the best quality picture from multiple consoles like I do, it's probably a better deal than ~$140 for the Dreamcast HDMI kit alone.

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