RetroTINK-Ultimate: Where is it?
Updated: Dec 26, 2019
Several people have asked what happened to the Ultimate: the Pi hat that outputted component, RGBs, S-Video composite video for running emulators on a CRT. Unfortunately, it hasn't gotten much love or attention these days.
To be clear, I still think it's a great device, especially for arcade systems where there simply aren't that many other options. However, as of 2019, I'm a lot less enthusiastic about the product and am slowly phasing it out over the next few months.
I'll start by stating: I'm the stereotypical old-school analog EE. It means I'm grumpy, lazy and absolutely hate dealing with software. My design philosophy has always been "plug-and-play" and making devices simple enough they can be used without a manual.
One of the current challenges is that the Pi is still extremely complex and error-prone. There are too many obscure settings, even for simple things like pairing a Bluetooth controller, and often changing the wrong one means the whole install is fried. We actually invented a term for that at my company: "Jungling". One of our engineers even threw it up on Urban Dictionary ( https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Jungling ).
Second, as of 2019, there are many other better options. The MiSTer, in particular, is an amazing platform. For the cores that are available, the MiSTer blows away anything software based in terms of accuracy and latency. It is very easy to connect a MiSTer to a component input CRT. Currently there's no S-video or composite, so maybe I'll take a look at that in 2020...!
I'll end by saying that my goal is not to take away from the absolutely amazing job that the developers and community have done for Pi based emulation. And even more so the support that I've gotten from everyone who has purchased a device and more so the ones who have contributed back with their own images. You all have my complete respect and appreciation!
12-26-2019: Sales are closed, sorry.
Here's also the info from the old website:
A CRT monitor supporting your desired input connection.
The correct cables for your preferred connection.
A Raspberry Pi 2, 3 or Zero
A good quality power supply and USB cable. I can't stress this enough. If in doubt, buy the official 2.5A adaptor.
The instructions assume basic familiarity with the Raspberry Pi (e.g., making SD card images, setting up a network, transferring files).
The instructions also assume basic familiarity with your video equipment (e.g., connecting the cables, configuring the inputs to the right mode).
Put your ROMS on a USB stick and you should be good to go. I only support Lakka. RetroPie image is supplied below if you still want to play with it on your own. Shane has kindly built a script to setup RetroPie here.
User EartyInt has aslo posted a resource here for an updated RetroPie installation for the TINK plus other RGB hats here: https://www.reddit.com/r/crtgaming/comments/dlmo64/crtpiproject_v10_the_retropie_image_for_crt_users/
Copy it over to your SD card, add games and play! Disclaimer: RetroPie/Lakka of course belongs to the creators and I thank them for their hard work. I take absolutely no credit besides modifying the config files. I do NOT supply or link to ROMs or any other copyrighted material.
Advanced Display Modes (Lakka)
The Lakka image has per-configured timing for other modes in addition to 240p. To use them, insert the imaged SD card to your computer. Open the config.txt file. You will find this block of settings: hdmi_timings=2048 1 180 202 300 240 1 3 5 14 0 0 0 60 0 42954545 1 #240p - NTSC perfect clock based on SNES/NES timings #hdmi_timings=2048 1 180 202 300 480 1 6 10 28 0 0 0 60 0 85909090 1 #480p #hdmi_timings=2048 1 180 202 300 240 1 3 5 14 0 0 0 120 0 85909090 1 #240p at 120Hz #hdmi_timings=2048 1 40 442 200 240 1 3 10 8 0 0 0 120 0 85909090 1 #240p at 120 Hz. modified timings for Apple 21in CRT #hdmi_timings=1280 1 80 72 216 720 1 5 3 22 0 0 0 60 0 74239049 1 #720p
Remove the # symbol in front of the line corresponding to the mode you wish to use. Make sure there is a # sign in front of all the other lines.
The 240p 120Hz mode is suitable for VGA monitors. Running at a vertical refresh of 120Hz allows the monitor to display 240p while maintaining a 31.5kHz horizontal sync. This is great to get real scanlines without using a shader which throws away half the screen brightness. A side benefit of 120Hz is that you get lower lag. To reduce motion judder, go into the video settings and set set Vertical Sync Swap Interval to 2 from the default setting of 1. Also if you're using a VGA monitor, don't forget to slide the sync switch from CSYNC to HV.
The 720p and 480p modes should work with both VGA monitors, HD CRTs and multiformat PVMs/BVMs. For VGA monitors, don't forget to set the sync switch to HV. For PVMs/BVMs either use component video or use a VGA->BNC and set the sync switch to CSYNC. For HD CRTs, use the component video output.
If you're in 720p or 480p, you'll need to go into the video settings and adjust the vertical viewport so that the display fills the screen.
Of course, S-Video and Composite will only work in 240p.