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Television Standards Converters, Modulators etc Standards converters, modulators anything else for providing signals to vintage televisions.

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Old 24th Mar 2019, 9:02 pm   #161
1100 man
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Default Re: Hedghog standards converter

Hi Semir,
That really does look like a lot of work! That's the great thing about the HH, we can all add our own personal touches.
I do like the LED behind the 'o'- a very neat touch!

Mine will have to consider itself lucky if it gets put in a box- although I've opted for the larger case which will give me room to add modifications which I'm sure I will end up doing.

Well done on a very professional end result- I hope you enjoy using it!

All the best
Nick
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Old 24th Mar 2019, 11:53 pm   #162
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Default Re: Hedghog standards converter

One test I've been keen to try on the Hedghog is to see how well it copes with input from a VCR. Now this is a rather unfair test for any converter as the ability to cope with sync jitter, noise, dropouts and all the other issues from a VCR is well outside it's design parameters.

Early VCR's were an amazing technology and like colour TV in the '70's, pushed the existing technology to it's limits. Without doubt, they are the most complex things to ever have been given to consumers.

So I enjoy sourcing vintage material on VHS from boot sales etc and my VCR of choice is a 3V29. Now these really aren't great from a sync jitter point of view, so I didn't know what to expect from the HH.

The HH handles it perfectly with no issues! Even with the tracking control adjusted to give almost a complete screen of noise, HH doesn't even glitch. It doesn't mind severe dropouts, the worst it does if the sync disappears completely is just give a momentary blank screen which is fine. The problem I found with the Aurora was flash frames of test card C would appear randomly which was disconcerting!

So I was more than a little impressed, I really didn't expect it to behave that well, especially using a 3V29!

All the best
Nick
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Old 25th Mar 2019, 12:22 am   #163
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Default Re: Hedghog standards converter

Nick,

Thank you for testing HH with a VCR, actually you beat me to it, as I was also wondering how well the Hedghog would cope with unstable signals from a VCR. So far I've only run it on stable DVD outputs and this would have been the next test. It is certainly good to know that VCR signals work well on the Hedghog. I have an HR-7700 and an HR3300 here that I need to overhaul, so this is one of the next things on my agenda.

Semir
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Old 26th Mar 2019, 1:58 am   #164
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Default Re: Hedghog standards converter

Hello everyone,

Today I received two more Cyclone II FPGA boards from Aliexpress. Unfortunately both are faulty. When connected to 5V power none of the LEDs light up and the boards can not be accessed by the USB blaster. There seems to be a series of bad quality boards being offered at Ali from different vendors. This is now the second time I've received bad boards. The first delivery I got only one of two boards worked the other was also dead. Fortunately I got my money back the next day after claiming this via the "open dispute" function in Ali, but this does not solve the non working board issue of course.

I noticed that on the bad boards the cathode pin of the power LED next to the 1117 3.3V voltage regulator is not connected to ground as it should be. This is not a soldering issue but the board simply lacks the track that is needed to connect the LED to ground - a bad copy of the board I presume.

In general the soldering is very bad one board had a glob of solder bridging several pins on one of the four headers, and the FPGA most likely has bad joints. When I power up the board the crystal generates the 50Mc clock and some of the pins on the header have a steady voltage on them. Other pins, however, seem to have a floating voltage and go to high level when I press on the FPGA chip. This indicates that there are some bad joints and the FPGA probably is missing some signals. I am not going to mess with the boards and will claim them.

I would be interested to hear what experience other members had here who had ordered some boards from Aliexpress.

What a mess... It will take another 4-6 weeks for the next batch of boards to arrive, hopefully those will be of better quality.

Semir
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Old 26th Mar 2019, 8:04 am   #165
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Default Re: Hedghog standards converter

I received a batch of ten yesterday, like you none of the power LEDs are functioning, two have shorted FPGA chips, the rest are totally unprogramable.
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Old 26th Mar 2019, 9:10 am   #166
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Default Re: Hedghog standards converter

Oh dear, sounds like it might be wise to avoid that supplier! I was lucky that both of mine worked ok, they were from 2 different eBay sellers in China, the soldering wasn’t the neatest in the world, and some tidying was required, but other than that they are fine.

Semir, I like your version of the Hedghog!

Regards
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Old 27th Mar 2019, 12:17 pm   #167
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Default Re: Hedghog standards converter

It is a pity that there are faulty FPGA boards around.
I was fortunate, I purchased my FPGA boards (around 10) one at a time from random sellers on AliExpress and ebay and all were OK. That would have been a couple of years ago now.

Hi Semir
Your Hedghog turned out very well. I like the LED in the 'O'.

Hi Nick
Thanks for testing the Hedghog with a VCR. That's something that I haven't done. Its good to know that it works well.

Frank
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Old 29th Mar 2019, 10:27 pm   #168
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Default Re: Hedghog standards converter

Hi again,

After Aliexpress (shame on them) refused to reimburse me the full amount for the faulty boards, I had nothing to lose so I made an attempt at repairing the boards and I managed to get both faulty boards into working order -yey! Here's what I did:

- First I added a solder joint next to the power LED to connect it to ground.
- Then I fluxed all the pins of the FPGA chip with a "Stannol" fluxer pen.
- While applying slight pressure to the FPGA chip I heated the pins on all 4 sides with a hot air tool until I could see the solder melting.
- Then I fluxed and re-soldered all the pins of the EEPROM and the headers

After this procedure the board would still not flash the three LEDs, so I assume they come unprogrammed. Unlike before they now got recognized by the Altera programmer though. So I gave it a try and was able to program the first board -LEDs performing the "Hedghog flash" sequence after a power cycle. Then I applied the same procedure to the second board and this now could also be programmed.

Both boards work when inserted into my Hedghog board.

The conclusion from this experience is that I will get a hot air soldering station and some more SMD tools.

Cheers

Semir
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Old 29th Mar 2019, 11:07 pm   #169
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Default Re: Hedghog standards converter

Well done, Semir!

I actually think pretty much all the boards in circulation would be considered 'scrap' by any decent manufacturer. They've either all come from one large faulty batch that should have been destroyed but have ended up on the market, or there are multiple makers churning out poor quality stuff.

I think it's sheer luck when we actually get a board that works! Apart from the two bridged data lines on my board, the soldering was generally pretty good. It certainly looked better under a strong lens than my soldering on the video decoder chip!!

I'm waiting for my second board from China, so will be interested to see what it's like. At least, ordering through Ebay, there should be no problem with a refund!

True to form, my shambolic computer skills threw their usual spanner in the works last night! I wanted to print the front & rear panel layouts- simple you'd think. It took some while to work out that you actually had to download the file before printing or else all the text just printed as garbage!
Once I'd solved that one, could I get the thing to print the right size? Er.. no. Always 5mm too small! A small pile of scrap paper and half an ink cartridge later, I finally managed it! Good grief!!

Cheers
Nick

Last edited by 1100 man; 29th Mar 2019 at 11:24 pm.
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Old 30th Mar 2019, 2:00 pm   #170
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Default Re: Hedghog standards converter

Semir, well done! A great recovery.
It's hard to understand what's going on when the two most expensive parts on the boards, the FPGA and memory are OK(they cost approximately 20 and 18 euro from RS).
But the boards are faulty solely due to poor soldering. From your description it sounds almost like molten solder had just been thrown at the board.

Frank
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Old 30th Mar 2019, 9:06 pm   #171
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Default Re: Hedghog standards converter

It sounds to me like manufacturers rejects that were destined for repair and re-marketing, and someone "forgot" to repair them.
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Old 31st Mar 2019, 1:43 pm   #172
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Default Re: Hedghog standards converter

Having a go at the faulty ones I have received, (some from same source as Semir) they all seem to be suffering the same issue which is very poor solder mask having been applied.
In all cases a build up of solder paste behind the pins of the FPGA, all the faulty ones I have received are now fully working after using flux and a dry soldering iron with the board held about 45 degrees vertical, this seems to help the solder to come forward from behind the pins.
Anyway, all happy now.
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Old 31st Mar 2019, 3:04 pm   #173
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Default Re: Hedghog standards converter

Hi Stephen,

good to hear that you got your boards fixed as well!

Taking into account that the FPGA alone costs more than the whole board, I guess this is another case of "you get what you pay for". The problem I see is that there is no telling what quality will be delivered when ordering from China regardless of the trading platform used. I would be happy to pay a little more but get working boards.

Currently it seems like a coin toss whether the boards work or not. As long as we can fix them it is a manageable situation but definitely not OK and I will keep complaining to AE and the vendors there should I receive non working boards. Once a vendor gets several bad ratings, perhaps they will question the source of the products they sell.

As a consequence I have now ordered a hot air soldering station for 32 and some other tools for SMD re-working. These tools and the knowledge gained from re-working boards may come in handy when performing other repairs, so there is a good side to this board issue. I have for instance a 42" LCD TV that intermittently has a washed out picture with stripes. I am pretty sure this is some kind of bad connection of a chip inside the TV. Once I get my tools I will have a go at it

Semir
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Old 1st Apr 2019, 10:28 am   #174
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Default Re: Hedghog standards converter

Hi Stephen.
Well done for getting hem working.

Frank
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Old 13th Apr 2019, 2:49 pm   #175
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Default Re: Hedghog standards converter

Hello all, at the moment I have a few bits available for the converter over in the parts offered section.
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Old 12th Jun 2019, 1:47 pm   #176
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Default Re: Hedghog standards converter

Six Hedghog ver. I in stock, when these have all gone I will revert to the Hedghog II. There is a price increase on the HH2.

Hedghog II Features:
The Hedghog II has all the features of Hedghog with the following differences.
All the components are mounted on a single PCB.
The FPGA is changed to a more modern Cyclone IV EP4CE6E22C8N.
The DAC is changed from 9 bit to a 10 bit.
It can be used as a System A modulator.
The video out socket is moved to the back panel to make room for an additional toggle switch on the front.

All credit should go to Frank who has done a brilliant job yet again;

PM for price of fully assembled HH2 if interested.

Thanks
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Old 16th Jun 2019, 12:40 pm   #177
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Default Re: Hedghog standards converter

Hi Frank.

A quick question. Could the BBC "pulse and bar" be included as a Video Insertion Test Signal as shown in this picture?

I've just realised that the attachment is tiny but can't make it bigger!
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Old 16th Jun 2019, 1:31 pm   #178
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Default Re: Hedghog standards converter

Hi Taz
I have to plead a certain amount of ignorance here.
The photo is a little small to make out but I take it that it would consist of a single line some where in the field blanking period.
The short answer is that it could be done. How much work it would take is another matter.
Was such Video Insertion Test Signals on 405?

Forum member Darius did a lot of work to remove such signals from the incoming 625 so the 405 vertical blanking period would be clean.

Frank
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Old 16th Jun 2019, 9:13 pm   #179
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Default Re: Hedghog standards converter

Hi Frank

Let me see if I can make the picture bigger. It was in the field blanking period. It was on all BBC1 405 line signals but not on ITA.
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Old 16th Jun 2019, 9:26 pm   #180
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Default Re: Hedghog standards converter

Hello again Frank.


Try this for size...
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