Way back I was tasked with filming my Wife’s family gatherings (and a few of my own), summer picnics, Christmas festivities, Thanksgiving dinners, Birthdays and countless other occasions. The primary video camera I used then (’80’s – ’90’s) was a full size VHF tape affair that sat on one’s shoulder (heavy). Over the years a lot of VHF tapes (40 or so) were produced and gathered dust afterwards. With that I decided, maybe 7 years ago or so I would see about transferring the video to a medium less prone to breakage. Since I no longer either had the camera or a VCR transport at my disposal It was time to look and see what was available to carry this plan out. I found a rather nice solution in ION’s VCRtoPC product. Easy to use, pop in the tape fire up the software and press play…that’s about it. In the end you end up with a burned DVD or a stored video file ready for further processing. The software has a nice video preview screen AND the box has composite video inputs as well.
Once the job was completed the ION unit was boxed and forgotten about up until quite recently. I decided to revisit the composite video out mod I has done years ago on one the two TS1000 early ’80’s computers I had acquired long ago. I worked, just not very well. the mod was simply tapping off the signal ahead of the incorporated RF modulator (using coax) to a rear panel mounted RCA connector. Easy but the results were a bit dark on a modern TV. Moreover lugging the computer around the house to hook it up was a pain. I needed another solution for testing that didn’t involve buying another set, we have enough!
Well as it turns out I had a reasonable solution all along once I thought about it. Getting the ION box software working with a bit more modern PC (Win7/64) turned out to be a bit problematic. Software updates didn’t help much and I ended up reviving an older XP machine and it worked a treat. The benefit of using this (although the preview screen size is a bit small..oh well) is that I can record the resultant video along with easy screen shot capabilities as well as the convenience of having it locally at my bench.
So now with an at hand solution it’s back to the issue I have with this old computer’s video output. After a bit of research on retro computer sites I’ve come up with, I think, a reasonable solution to the lack of acceptable composite video output:
I used a low noise 2N5088 NPN here but could be a variety of transistors including the ubiquitous ‘3904.
Here’s what the hardware implementation looks like:
I ended up gutting out the RF modulator since it’s circuity is no longer used.
Shown below are before and after screen shots of the direct ULA pin 16 connection and that of the circuit implementation shown above:
Overall a nice improvement for the old gal. Considerably better than the former quick & easy composite output method. So to wrap it up here’s a few additional screenshots of the TS1000 running some simple basic programs: