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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 7th Sep 2020, 5:31 pm   #1
stevehertz
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Default What standards converter?

Having collected and restored many vintage TVs in the 70s and early 80s including quite a few pre-war ones and the rest that were all no later than 1950 models (nothing bigger than 9"), I now have a solitary TV22a that has awaited restoration for some 30 odd years. That day may be coming soon and so I am starting to consider a standards converter. The role of the unit will be, simply, to enable me to watch off air TV programmes on the TV22 (only) in the UK.

What SCs are currently available that fulfil my criteria and what are the pros, cons and prices of each?
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Old 7th Sep 2020, 6:21 pm   #2
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Default Re: What standards converter?

Steve, I can highly recommend the ‘ Hedghog’ converter designed by Frank Cuffe.

Stephen (Freya) of this forum can supply a pre assembled unit ready to plug in. Might be worth sending him a PM.

Cheers. SimonT.
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Old 7th Sep 2020, 6:25 pm   #3
Dave Moll
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Default Re: What standards converter?

Unless the Aurora is still in production, this is probably your only option in the absence of something becoming available on the second-hand market.
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Old 7th Sep 2020, 8:30 pm   #4
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Default Re: What standards converter?

There is Another Way.
Why convert from another obsolete standard (625)
You can generate 405 line composite video directly with a graphics card in a PC and a handful of passive components to mix the VGA R G B and sync signals. Then you will probably need a System A modulator, I use this one

https://www.earlytelevision.org/405_modulator.html

here it is in action
https://youtu.be/ahzdx4KgWBg
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Old 7th Sep 2020, 9:07 pm   #5
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Default Re: What standards converter?

I can also supply Franks VOL modulator ready built.
https://electronics.frankcuffe.ovh/vol
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Old 8th Sep 2020, 7:35 am   #6
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Default Re: What standards converter?

Have Aurora given up on standards converters? Their website now seems to be focused on vintage car audio with the converters listed under 'legacy'.
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Old 8th Sep 2020, 8:01 am   #7
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Default Re: What standards converter?

Thanks for the input so far. Some suggestions are going over my head as I'm not computer/software savvy in the least (if that's what they're about?!). I need a ready made, black box that will perform the task as stated. I don't want to build anything, just hook it all up and channel hop. Cheers.
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Old 8th Sep 2020, 8:36 am   #8
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Default Re: What standards converter?

Quote:
Originally Posted by stevehertz View Post
I need a ready made, black box that will perform the task as stated. I don't want to build anything, just hook it all up and channel hop.
Hi Steve,
In that case, a ready built 'Hedghog' converter as supplied by Freya will be perfect for your needs.

I built two of them just for the fun of it, but Stephen (Freya) can supply them fully assembled and cased and all ready to go. Just feed video & audio in and you get 405 line out on RF bands 1 & 3.

They have useful front panel switches to select various options such as equalising pulses, inbuilt test pattern, input from a 16:9 source, output in either 4:3 or 5:4 format and output channel selection.

They work very well and I have been very impressed so they certainly get my vote!

Hope that helps,
All the best
Nick
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Old 8th Sep 2020, 9:16 am   #9
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Default Re: What standards converter?

I’ve had the pleasure of using both the Aurora, and the Hedghog, they are both excellent converters. The Aurora is the smaller of the 2, and is just a black box with AV in and RF out, it switches to the test card with no input signal, and if you want to you can change the test card to whatever you want. Downside is that all the option switches are hidden inside it.

The Hedghog has all its options available on the front panel, and is also a simple AV in, RF out. Test card has manual switching, rather than auto. It’s hard to choose between them really, picture quality is excellent through both!

Regards
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Old 8th Sep 2020, 10:21 am   #10
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Default Re: What standards converter?

May I ask a few questions on the aurora/Hedghog/HedghogII, am I correct in thinking that these all need the correct composite Video signal input i.e. 625 line PAL in to be converted conversion to 405 line. This done in the boxes like a video store and forward. Does it need positive or negative sync video input?

In the case of the VOL modulator, I am assuming it needs to have the video input already as 405 line format again would this be positive or negative sync video input?

I like the idea of using output from a computer with any device, so I am wondering if anyone has used the HDMI to 3 RCA CVBS Full HD Video 1080P AV Scart Composite Converter Adapter's on Ebay at around £6 to drive the converters as video out is getting a bit rare on the cards.

Thanks for any clarifications.

Adrian
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Old 8th Sep 2020, 11:43 am   #11
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Default Re: What standards converter?

Hi Adrian,

I’m currently using one of the HDMI converters to run YouTube through my Aurora with no problems, I can’t remember if I’ve tried it on the Hedghog, but I see no reason for it to not work. Both converters require 625 line composite video as available from the SCART socket on VCR’s, Freeview/Sky boxes, DVD players, and I’ve also used a video iPod and a Sumvision cyclone media player with both converters.

I can’t be 100% sure about the modulator, as I don’t have one, but I guess you will need a source of 405 line material for it to work.

Regards
Lloyd
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Old 8th Sep 2020, 11:53 am   #12
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Default Re: What standards converter?

Thank you Lloyd for your response, that is good to know, I will get one on order at the price, it may be useful for other things if I do not get a 405 TV.

Adrian
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Old 8th Sep 2020, 1:23 pm   #13
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Default Re: What standards converter?

Quote:
Originally Posted by AdrianH View Post
May I ask a few questions on the aurora/Hedghog/HedghogII, am I correct in thinking that these all need the correct composite Video signal input i.e. 625 line PAL in to be converted conversion to 405 line. This done in the boxes like a video store and forward. Does it need positive or negative sync video input?

In the case of the VOL modulator, I am assuming it needs to have the video input already as 405 line format again would this be positive or negative sync video input?
Hi Adrian
You have the right idea on how the converters work. They all need a composite 625 line input 1Vpp. The syncs will be negative.


Vol is a standalone 13 Channel Band I/III System A modulator. It needs a 405 line composite 1Vpp input. Again the syncs are negative. Unlike Hedghog Hedghog II can be used as a modulator only.


Frank
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Old 8th Sep 2020, 1:26 pm   #14
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Default Re: What standards converter?

From my own past limited searches for info I see that there's a a Mk2 Hedgehog. What's that about? Mk2s of anything always leave a question in my mind that the 'Mk1' version may not have been designed correctly in first place. Not that there's anything wrong with correcting it! So what's the improvement?
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Old 8th Sep 2020, 1:33 pm   #15
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Default Re: What standards converter?

So set top boxes the likes of which came out at the time of the launch of digital TV are suitable for feeding the required signal into the SC?
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Old 8th Sep 2020, 3:26 pm   #16
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Default Re: What standards converter?

Quote:
Originally Posted by stevehertz View Post
So set top boxes the likes of which came out at the time of the launch of digital TV are suitable for feeding the required signal into the SC?
Any set-up box that has a SCART socket is suitable. You just need a SCART to phono (RCA) cable. If it only has HDMI you would need a converter.
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Old 8th Sep 2020, 4:29 pm   #17
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Default Re: What standards converter?

Hi Steve
The original Hedghog used a EP2C5T144 FPGA development board. I got reports from constructors that the boards that were on the market were of varying quality and that it was a bit of a lucky dip if you got a good one or not. That coupled with the fact that it was probable that at some point the boards would be no longer be made lead to the development of Hedghog II.

Hedghog II doesn't use a development board instead it has has the FPGA mounted directly on the PCB. It uses a more modern Cyclone IV FPGA were Hedghog Mk1 used a Cyclone II. There are some circuit changes but nothing major. The only difference in features is that Hedghog II can be used as a System A modulator. There is no real difference in performance between them.

Now that there is a Mk1 and Mk2 a constructor can choose between constructing a Mk1 which is a little easier to construct and chancing their luck with the FPGA board or construct a Mk2 and purchasing all the components from a reliable source.

Constructing a Mk1 or Mk2 is no small task and I take my hat off to all those that have done so. In their shoes I am not so sure that I'd be brave enough to take it on.

I use a set box all the time with a standards converter but not for off air. I use it with a USP stick and record what ever I need to the stick. A stick can hold a lot of film's. I also have a range of test cards on it.

Frank
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Old 10th Sep 2020, 7:57 am   #18
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Default Re: What standards converter?

I have recently taken delivery of a HEDGEHOG Mk2 standards converter from Freya.
It is excellent in every way and I would suggest anyone purchasing one of these super units will be happy with it.
The Aurora has done us proud allowing these vintage receivers to live again and in my honest opinion the Hedgehog is a very worthy successor. Regards, John.
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Old 10th Sep 2020, 11:04 am   #19
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Default Re: What standards converter?

I have bought, yet to be delivered today, a Hedgehog 2 from Freya.

Thanks everyone for your much valued inputs, appreciated.
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Old 11th Sep 2020, 6:54 am   #20
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Default Re: What standards converter?

Received my Hedgehog, super quick service from Freya - thanks.

Can someone supply a link to suitable scart lead with the necessary plugs to connect between set top box and Hedgehog 2 please?
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