Mar 02 2017

Pi2Scart – RGB Video for Raspberry Pi

It’s 2017, and everyone is excited about 4K Gaming, except a few fellows who enjoy “Retro” Games. People like myself enjoy Games from the NES/SNES Era, when the optimal resolution was 240p.

With today’s standards, we expect modern Hardware  (like the Raspberry Pi) to output video via a digital interface (HDMI) in 1080p (FullHD) minimum.

I still have an old CRT (a great Philips 32″ Matchline), which still are the best to play old games on. Now although I connect my raspberry Pi to this TV with it’s Composite Video (and outputs a Video Resolution of NTSC;), the image quality is wishy-washy.

Enter Pi2Scart, a great little add-on from arcadeforge.net, which plugs directly into the GPIO from the Raspberry Pi.

Pi2Scart

Pi2Scart

The Pi2Scart is able to output a clean RGB Video Signal (with a clean sync signal) and supports outputting a resolution of 240p, perfect for “Reto-Games”. The Sound is passed through with a small 3.5mm Minijack cable (provided with the Pi2Scart)

All it takes is a little modification of the Raspberry’s config.txt.

I personally use Lakka, and had to make following changes : (courtesy of Arcadeforge’s Scart2Pi Product page)

mount -o remount,rw /flash
nano /flash/config.txt

Insert following lines at the end of the file:
disable_audio_dither=1
dtparam=audio=on
dtoverlay=vga666
enable_dpi_lcd=1
display_default_lcd=1
dpi_group=2
dpi_mode=87
hdmi_timings=320 1 16 30 34 240 1 2 3 22 0 0 0 60 0 6400000 1

Make your changes, then ctrl+x to save.

mount -o remount,ro /flash
reboot

After rebooting, I had a very clean image, with crisp colors and a much better contrast than with the composite Video.

Pi2Scart mounted on a Raspberry Pi 3

Pi2Scart mounted on a Raspberry Pi 3

I already have my usual systems (SNES, Mega Drive etc..) connected through RGB-Scart (see my RGB vs composite comparison) and I can tell the image quality of the Pi2Scart is equivalent of the quality of the original systems. (at least there is absolutely no noticeable difference)

With the Pi2Scart, it’s the first time I enjoy NES Games in RGB Quality, and it makes a huge difference in my opinion.

I’m happy with the Pi2Scart and can only recommend it to everyone who connects a Raspberry PI to a CRT.

 

 

 

Improvement in Picture quality cannot be better described than with some comparison pictures :

Left Picture = Composite, Right Picture = Pi2Scart (RGB) , use the Slider to adjust display.

For a GameBoy Game, the difference is very subtle

 

Notice the blurred lines around Mario in Super Mario  Land 2 on GameBoy?

 

But as soon as there’s color, the difference is more  noticable :

Zelda Oracle of Seasons on GBC

Mega Man 2 on the NES

Gunstar Heroes on Genesis / Mega Drive

Golden Axe Warrior on Sega Master System

With more detailed graphics, the difference becomes more and more visible:

Quackshot on on Genesis / Mega Drive

Super Mario World on SNES

Zelda Link to the Past on SNES

Some close-ups

Super Mario Bros. 3 Close-up on Mario

Quackshot Title Screen Close-up

 

Permanent link to this article: https://www.hiscorebob.lu/2017/03/pi2scart-rgb-video-for-raspberry-pi/

6 comments

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    • coderkind on April 21, 2017 at 2:33 am
    • Reply

    Hi. Thanks a lot for your settings post here: https://www.hiscorebob.lu/tips-n-tricks/lakka-optimal-video-settings-for-240p/. There wasn’t a section to comment on that page for some reason.

    I found a big difference between the “Pixel Perfect” Mode and “Full-Screen” Mode; the first is a lot sharper for me (using a Sony BVM), but it’s annoying that the image is surrounded by those black bars. NES and SNES have the black bars (as you’ve pointed out).

    I’ve noticed PC Engine is displayed offset to the left (with a larger black border down the right as opposed to the left).

    Are you finding therefore you’re having to tweak settings in Lakka per emulator therefore, or are there options in the config.txt to explore still do you think? I’ve only just tried setting it all up; will pass on any info I discover.

    1. Hi, Thank you for your feedback, the comments are now enabled for that post.
      I didn’t notice an offset for other systems such as PC-Engine (but I’m not using a PVM),I will look closer over the Weekend and keep you posted.
      Modifying config.txt will affect all systems, so I think it’s mostly an Emulator (Core) Option. Which Core are you using for PC-Engine?

      Edit 27/04/2017 :
      I have tried PC-Engine on my setup, but I didn’t notice any particular offset, on a CRT TV. Maybe you could try asking this in the Lakka Forums (https://forums.libretro.com/c/libretro/lakka-tv-general) , you’ll reach much more people, and maybe someone has a solution for your issue.

    • lucas milani santiago on April 26, 2017 at 7:34 pm
    • Reply

    Hello there! Thanks to your review, now I know that there’s a way to survive after my consoles explode. 🙂 Do you know if this accessory works with those other embedded systems, like the Orange PI? Some of these are more powerful than the Rasp PI3B. Thanks!

    1. Hi lucas!
      I have no experience with the OrangePi. The PI2Scart grabs the signal directly from the Raspi’s GPIO Header. If the OrangePi has a compatible GPIO Header then it should work. But to be sure I’d recommend asking this the creator of the PI2Scart :
      http://arcadeforge.net/Contact:_:7.html or via Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/ArcadeForge
      Have fun !

    • claudio on September 21, 2017 at 4:15 am
    • Reply

    Thanks to you I have it working on my PVM!!!!! btw you have the best TV ever made I also had back in the day a phillips match line 100hz of pure quality!!!

    1. Thank you for your comment, I’m glad this post helped you out!

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