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08-02-2020 at 07:24 PM
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Retro Pie: Conected to Sony Trinitron CRT

Over the weekend I had a breakthrough in my quest to get 240p or 480p out of a raspberry pi to a CRT.

There are 4 ways to get video from a Raspberry Pi. HDMI, Composite, using a header, or dircectly soldering to some video out posts. I tried the HDMI route but kept failing.

I could get HDMI to pump out 480i, which looks horrible on a TV. Lots of flicker, just does not look good at all. You have to fiddle and fiddle with the settings in a config file to try to force it to get to 480p which is a pixel doubling of 240p. Do I really know what all that means? Kinda. Did I get it workintg? nope.

480p for a TV is not really a widely used standard.

After giving up on that route, I googled for a bit and came across a RetroPie distribution that has been pre-configured to output 480p via composite cable.

RetroPie is a front end that provides a slick interface for Emulation Stations and RetroArch, each which are used to manage the various installed emulators. This particular image has been configured to talk to a CRT. The theme is is using is not fancy, but it works. When I booted it up I said "WOW, now I get it. CRT is far superior to LCD when it comes to these old console games". I mearn, I knew it already, but now I was hooked. I am so happy I have 9 CRT's kicking around. Oops 10. I just picked up this little fella today from a thrift store.

All I need to connect the Raspberry Pi to the Sony is a composite cable. Thankfully I had one of those cables lying around. I think they used to be used on a lot of DVD or HD cameras. The jack has 4 posts. Video, Left audio, Right audio, and ground. You can pick them up on amazon for 10 bucks or less. Some of them do not have the same wiring, so you might have to plug the video into one of the audio. Test all combinations if necessary, then get the tester out. There are plenty of videos on how to troubleshoot and even re-wire these. Thankfully mine is the right configuration out of the box.

The outpout goes right into the front of a Sony Trinitron I use for testing purposes. It needs some tuning as I picked it up off the street. For now it is great. 20 inch, nice and rich colors. Built in sound (like most TV's of course).

You see HDMI port beside the composite port. I am not using HDMI on this box, but I do have it on another (RecalBox) which has gorgeous high res content that is meant for big LCDs.

Handy dandy inputs on the front of my Sony. Nice and dusty, just like my wallet.

If you connect the Pi to your network, you can open up file explorer to "RetroPie" and you can copy ROMS, Splashscreens, music, etc. It makes use of SAMBA which is a linux tool that allows copying files between the Pi and Windows. Here is my own custom splash screen.

If you want to download the same image I am using, it can be found here:

Look for one with "CRT" in it. There are tons and tons of images. If you need any help just ask. I live for this stuff.

Likesonlyinajeep, 90skidJohnny, Bishop liked this post
  1. datagod's Avatar

    Inside the Kintaro case. This was 10 bucks on Amazon.

  2. datagod's Avatar

    Here are some of the Pi builds I have on hand. A variety of screens and cases.

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