VERTICAL NOISE BARS KILLED FOR ALL CAPTURE CARDS! - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 84 Old 08-28-2001, 09:39 PM - Thread Starter
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I found a fix for the Zoltrix cards I have sold. I am sharing it publicly, as there are too many cards out there that I have sold to effectively have them sent to me. In my opinion that would be rude..and without merit to keep it to myself.
So, here it is:

The ADAC (analog-to-digital converter) for the chroma input on the chip (878 chips) has a GROUND REFERENCE... RIGHT BESIDE the C-IN (which is the analog-to-digital chroma converter) This ground reference is VERY IMPORTANT. It is what decides the noise floor characteristic..and is sensitive to ground noise.

What is right beside it..that can create a constant, controlled noise characteristic?

The I2C clock chip.

(in the Zoltrix, it is the 8 pin IC that is stamped "CSI") It is a small surface mount job on the cyberlink cards, for those that are experiencing problems with that card.

The ground plane for the AGND pin (pin 109 I believe) is SLIGHTLY elevated in ground potential, compared to the surrounding area. The clock generated off of the I2C chip INFECTS the ground plane of the AGND for the chroma input (CIN). The composite inputs are slightly further away, and are less infected.

So, what you have to do, is to scrape off the edges of the ground plane areas, and apply some solder to join them back together again...BOOM!! Noise is gone!!

I did it in multiple spots on the back side of the board...what it is on the back of the ZOLTRIX GENIE TV cards, is that small area that looks vaguely like the state of Texas. That 'area' must be soldered back to connectivity with the main ground plane body. Then, the front side must be done as well, right next to r5,c36,c38,and c37. This area must be joined back up to (soldered back together with) the area beside c13. Then you are done. It takes a few minutes with a razor or small jeweler's screwdriver to scrape the green coating off of the board copper, then, solder with about a 35 watt soldering gun. Wire won't do. The soldering must be a mass doing, like I have proposed. The difference in ground potential that is causing this problem is probably less than 0.1 ohms. So, a wire soldered across something is probably not going to do it. Do both sides,and the bars will be GONE!


I will publish photo's of the procedure as soon as possible.



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post #2 of 84 Old 08-28-2001, 10:06 PM
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Hi Ken

Another great finding! Can I assume that you will be adding this step to your current back-ordered Mod cards? It would make your card even more worthwhile waiting for http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif


p.s. Did you ever get my e-mail regarding your screen goo?
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[This message has been edited by Charly Cui (edited 08-29-2001).]

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post #3 of 84 Old 08-28-2001, 10:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Yes I did get the e-mail, i ma just waiting for the production batch to happen. It is supposed to underway right now.

As for the fix, I failed to mention it has the effect of making the card look EVEN BETTER than it did just two daya ago.. wich was with the new, upgraded design, which was better than the older ones already. All new cards will go out virtually noise free. On my HTPC, I can now look at the projector noise floor, via the signal coming off of the capture card. Now that's pretty good.

Who the hell neeeds a scaler, with that?

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post #4 of 84 Old 08-28-2001, 10:50 PM
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Fantastic!

Can't wait til your card arrives! I'm feeling like a kid waiting for his Christmas present.

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CC

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post #5 of 84 Old 08-29-2001, 02:25 AM
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Ken,
I'm interested in buying one of these cards, can you tell me if you'll ship to the UK and how much it costs and how I go about arranging payment? And how long will it take you to supply one?

Thanks,
Andy.
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post #6 of 84 Old 08-29-2001, 03:22 AM
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I am also interested in buying one, may be we can arrange an European co-buy.

bye

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post #7 of 84 Old 08-29-2001, 07:46 AM
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KBK -

A great bit of research. Good work.

- Tom


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post #8 of 84 Old 08-29-2001, 07:56 AM
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Thanks Ken, I will open mine up and have a look, over this weekend (I'm getting my shiny new htpc here in a day or two)
After this htpc was finished the noise could not be gotten out with careful cable routing and card placement, so hopefully this will solve the problem.
I will post back in here after I complete this fix.
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post #9 of 84 Old 08-29-2001, 10:14 AM - Thread Starter
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This should be the exact sort of fix that the cybermail requires as well. If it is the 10 vertically oriented noise bars.. that just sit there, and don't go anywhere.. or ever change, then it is the same problem. It comes from a different mounting, and different chip, but the same source. And, once again, it is a fraction of an ohm's resitance..which if you know anything about this sort of thing, is very small. But critical, as usual.

Basically, it is a certian number ofd ground references on the left side of the conexant 878 chip that act as 'reference points' for the contrast range and absolute black level. These work in conjunction with the dynamic characteristic of the AGC (automatic gain control) circuit. As the overall gain of th signal wanders, and the character of the signal wanders, the influence of the ground disurbance of the secondary clock (I2Cclock) can be seen to peak and then wane. Mostly it shows up in uniform colors and in scenes that are almost all black. The AGC circuit makes the bars really show up in the black scenes. On my cards, when this problem rears it's ugly head, it REALLY shows up. With it gone, the dynamic range I have put into the cards really comes to the fore and makes the inputs look very good. I was amazed at the fact that I was geting such clarity and depth from my old Lasrdiscs.

As far as abvilability, e-mail me for details.

IF you have one of my cards, and are not up to the task, and feel that YOUR particular card (some have the problem..some do not) could benifit from this, then send it to me. I will do some minor upgrades for a $20 fee, and fix this problem as well. If ti is a more recent card, I will fix the problem for free, but you will have to pay shipping.

If one has access to a soldering gun at all, I think that most can do this fix quite easily themselves, by just working with the soldering that needs to be done on the back of the card. As for the cybermail cards, I haven't looked too closely at the one I have yet. The secondary clock IS isolated, and out onm a limb, ground-wise..so it could easily need a bit of help to quiet it down.

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[This message has been edited by KBK (edited 08-29-2001).]

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post #10 of 84 Old 08-29-2001, 10:36 AM
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would your KBK mod also work on cybermail cards?
i hope the vertical noise mod is not much different and will also be easily done with the cybermail
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post #11 of 84 Old 08-29-2001, 11:50 AM
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Actually what i'm seeing with my WinTV 401 are horizontal lines, the lines are very thin and 'frying'. With a old Extreme card i also see 10 vertical snowy lines. Do you think the same mod will benefit also the Hauppauge cards ?

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post #12 of 84 Old 08-29-2001, 12:16 PM
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KBK feel free to post the SSX_KBK picture I sent you - otherwise you might get overwhelmed with cards without the problem. I tried and cannot - seems I need a web server?

Mine will be on its way back soon. I am wondering though if you could perform your hotte mod on a card with good board layout to start with (such as the Falcon) what it would look like compared to these cheap cards with lousy board layout. It looks to me like you are replacing cheap SMD with expensive discrete components so they would benefit both types of cards right?
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post #13 of 84 Old 08-29-2001, 12:19 PM
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Hi Ken

What are the chances of a similar fix for the BT848 based cards?

Brian
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post #14 of 84 Old 08-29-2001, 02:05 PM
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So, do you have any experience with the Cybermail cards and how one would mod it? This is the 10 herringbone vertical stripe issue so many have?

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post #15 of 84 Old 08-29-2001, 02:11 PM
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What about the moving horzontal noise bars problem?

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post #16 of 84 Old 08-29-2001, 02:14 PM
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could someone post a pic of the moving horizontal bar
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post #17 of 84 Old 08-29-2001, 09:32 PM
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would this work on cybermail cards as well?
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post #18 of 84 Old 08-30-2001, 08:08 AM
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I just received my card from you a few days ago and it does look much better than my Cybertainment. I do however have the noise you are referring to and would like to fix it myself. With your instructions in hand and a warm soldering gun I am about to try it but I think I am missing something. If you have picks please post if not any additional help would be appreciated. You mention soldering an area back to connectivity with the main ground plane. For a person not familiar with this type of work area and ground plane doesn’t cut it. I know you are just trying to help so don’t take this in a bad way but can you be more specific? It may just be over my head but I want to try if possible. If I break it well it is only a couple hundred bucks.

Thanks,
Kerry
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post #19 of 84 Old 08-30-2001, 09:02 PM - Thread Starter
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I will get some photo's up as soon as possible.

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post #20 of 84 Old 09-01-2001, 09:20 PM
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Is it as soon as possible yet? Sorry to bug you but I only have 2 days before I hit the road again. I really want to play with my new card at its best.

My experience so far is in favor of the HiPix card being the best Scaler but I have faith we are close.

Thanks,
Kerry

One of your favorite customers?

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post #21 of 84 Old 09-01-2001, 11:14 PM - Thread Starter
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My problem isthat my brother crashed his server a while back,and hasn't been able to get the connectiviy put back together wellenough to make it so I can post photos. So, I will have to do some shots tomorow afternoon,and send them to you. Once I have the shots, then.. away they go. Noon tomorrow, or noon Sunday, latest.. we hope.

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post #22 of 84 Old 09-02-2001, 11:02 AM - Thread Starter
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If anyone wnats some shots of the old vs. new.. of this work, on the Zoltrix cards, then send me an e-mail, and I will get the shots to you. These are pictoral before/after shots of the board, for purposes of DIY to correct this problem with this board.

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post #23 of 84 Old 09-02-2001, 12:47 PM
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Thanks Ken I think I will give it a try I received your pictures and they were very readable.

Peace,
Kerry
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post #24 of 84 Old 09-02-2001, 12:52 PM
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sense ye have the piccys now could you post them?
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post #25 of 84 Old 09-03-2001, 06:08 PM
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Success I think. I tried the suggested mod listed in this post although I have not soldered before so it was somewhat a challenge. After reinstalling the card I still had some minor vertical noise bars or what I think is noise. I then deleted my ini file and restarted selecting Zoltrix card no Tuner 3-500 MHz processor and best video. After that I simply selected Greedy HD and NTSC with no 3:2 pull down or fall back. This was done on a 3.06 version of Dscaler. The picture looks great with no noise that I can see. This is the best that I have seen and probably as good or better than HiPix scaling for DirecTV via TiVo but time will tell and some more testing. I also want to test DirecTV without TiVo although I cannot imagine watching TV that way.

Peace,
Kerry

Thanks KBK your card rocks!
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post #26 of 84 Old 09-03-2001, 11:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Did I mention it makes the TV tuner considerably quieter?

After all, it is a radiative/proximity/grounding/shielding problem.

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post #27 of 84 Old 09-04-2001, 02:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by KBK:
i ma just waiting for the production batch to happen. It is supposed to underway right now.
I would love to get my hands on one you don't mind Aussie $.
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post #28 of 84 Old 09-05-2001, 01:37 AM
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More GREAT stuff from AV Science forum's one and only KBK !!!

I'll let you know how it went... http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/confused.gif

Cheers,


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post #29 of 84 Old 09-06-2001, 01:07 AM
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Ken,

Your mod worked beautifully.

At first I was taken aback by the pictures, fearing shorting out small surface mounts, etc. But careful reading of your clear explanation made it an easy task. I used the smallest jeweller screwdriver in my Radio Shack kit to scrape the board, and with 3.25 magnification glasses from the One Dollar store (my kind of pricing!) it was a walk in the park.

This is the first time that I feel that I can use my HTPC for scaling outside source - with dScaler's latest 3.06 beta version, I plugged my HLD-X9 into the S-VHS input and get about 95% of the picture quality of a direct input to a display - this is probably because I haven't yet upgraded to a Radeon (more later once I slide in a 64DDR).

Anyways, now it is clear that one can scale a SUBERB laserdisc picture for front projection. The money saved on those outrageously priced scalers can be used to buy a top notch LD player such as the LD-S9 much discussed in the DVD/LD Hardware forum here at AV Science.

I've seen some posts about "cheap acquisition cards for D-Scaler". However, I'd recommend buying what is probably the best deal around at any price: KBK's modded Zoltrix card, it makes it at last a viable alternative to outside scalers!

I'm ready to junk my quasi new (used only one hour) Guillemot Maxi TV3 card, which is a joke in comparison.

THANKS again Ken!!!



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post #30 of 84 Old 09-06-2001, 08:30 AM
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Could some kind soul publish pictures of this mod? The steps sound relatively simple and the idea has been placed in the public domain (thanks Ken!) but I'd like a picture I can compare to before destroying my board. http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif

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