Tri-Star/Super 8 Adapter FAQ   (rev. 0.22 20-Aug-2000)
                        ============================

The Tri-Star/Super 8 FAQ contains information about the Tri-Star (also known
as Super 8) adapter for Super NES consoles. The Tri-Star allows 8-bit NES and
Famicom games to be played on a SNES.

This document is currently maintained by Mark Knibbs <mark_k@iname.com>. The
previous maintainer was Zube <Zube@cs.colostate.edu>. Much of the layout and
content of this document is due to him.

The Tri-Star/Super 8 Adapter FAQ is Copyright  1997-2000 by Zube and Mark
Knibbs. It is freely distributable, *provided that no changes are made*. If
you want to e.g. convert the FAQ to HTML format to put on your web page, you
must contact me first.

Please send any comments, corrections, suggestions, additional information,
or whatever to me at mark_k@iname.com or mark_k@letterbox.com.

The latest version of this document should always be available from my web
page at
                          http://visitweb.com/mark
At the time of writing, this should redirect you to
                        http://home.freeuk.net/markk/



Revision History (starting from version 0.16)
----------------
0.22  Added details for Players Choice and URL for Innovation, who both sell
       the Super 8 for US$59.99.
      Some recent Super 8s and/or Tri-Stars have no RF modulator.
      Some recent Super 8s and/or Tri-Stars work with the Super Game Boy.
      The SNES Game Genie works with the Tri-Star.
      Dropzone, Kick Off and Qix also have the half-brightness-graphics
       problem.
      Dirty Harry has problems. (Thanks, Zube.)
      Quattro Sports shows the same problems on a real NES, so removed this
       from the NES games with known problems section.
      The Super Famicom game Fire Emblem shows a message about illegal
       copying of games, similar to Killer Instinct.
      Super Mario RPG does not work through the SNES slot at all.
      Added more information about the Nakitek GameSaver+.

0.21  Added details of a "swap trick" that can be used to allow protected
       SNES games like Killer Instinct and Tetris Attack to work through the
       Tri-Star.
      Mention that the Nakitek GameSaver+ is compatible with the Tri-Star.
      Added contact information for Multimedia 1.0.
      Removed story about Nintendo, Atari and NES adapter.
      Other minor changes.

0.20  The "stripey graphics" problem with the Tri-Star (and top-loading NES)
       can be fixed! I have written instructions on how to do this.
      Added note about Famicom audio; the Tri-Star does not support audio
       hardware in Famicom carts out of the box, but can be modified to do
       so.
      Mention about building an adapter to connect NES controllers to the
       SNES; added "Is there any way to connect real NES controllers?"
       section.
      Mention that there are some scans of the Tri-Star box and inside the
       Tri-Star linked to on my web page.
      Mention about audio overmodulation problem with RF output of NTSC Tri-
       Star.
      Added details about another manufacturing problem.
      Added note about new design SNES & Super Famicom consoles.
      Mention Dragon's Lair as another NES game that shows up with half-
       brightness graphics.
      Changed section order.
      Other minor changes.

0.19  Added "Tips and tricks" section, giving information about the test
       menu, how to return to menu from a NES game without switching the SNES
       off then on, and a couple of other things.
      Mention that United Game also sell the Super 8.
      Added pointer to web page with links to scans of the Tri-Star and box.
      Mention about "stripey" NES picture.
      Reversed order of Revision History section, and edited it slightly.
      Minor edits elsewhere.

0.18  Added information about problems with SNES "Secret of Evermore" and NES
       "Bram Stoker's Dracula".
      Changed style of headings.
      Other minor changes.

0.17  Added information about the Super 8 from Zube, and changed document
       title.
      Various minor changes.



What is a Tri-Star or Super 8?
------------------------------
The Tri-Star is a light (cheaply constructed?) grey, squarish adapter that
plugs into the SNES, sits mostly on top of it, and allows the playing of 8-bit
NES and Famicom games on the SNES. It has an RF out and a SNES type multi-out
connector providing A/V (composite video and audio) output. A lead goes from
the Tri-Star to the SNES' multi-out port, and you then plug your SNES A/V lead
and/or RF lead into the Tri-Star. When playing a SNES game, the Tri-Star
passes through the SNES composite video picture.

The Tri-Star casing was originally designed for use with the Super Famicom,
which unlike the US SNES has a flat top surface. You may want to put a small
book or similar under the Tri-Star if you're using it on a US SNES, or put
some stick-on rubber feet on the underside of the unit. (The PAL SNES has a
similar case to the Super Famicom, so there is no problem there.)

(Note: I have not used a Tri-Star with a new design SNES or SFC Jr., so I
cannot comment on how well it fits. If you have one of these consoles and a
Tri-Star, please let me know how well they fit together.)

The top of the unit has three slots: one for SNES games, one for (US) NES
games and one for Famicom ("Japanese NES") games. When the SNES unit is turned
on, the Tri-Star screen shows two options, one for 8-bit play and one for 16-
bit play. The SNES controllers are used for playing all games, with the B
button as the NES A button, and the Y button as the NES B button.

There is hardly any information regarding the unit itself. Not only doesn't it
come with any instructions, but there is no make or manufacturer anywhere on
the box. What little information there is as follows:

The model number is F-012 
The instructions are "Allows You to Play The Latest 8-bit Games on Your Snes
(tm)" and "Simply Plug into Your Snes (tm)"

The copyright year on the title screen is 1993.

THE TRI-STAR ENABLE YOU TO PLAY:
* 16-BIT GAMES
* 8-BIT U.S. / EUROPEAN GAMES
* 8-BIT JAPANESE GAMES
* NO EXTRA POWER SUPPLY IS NEEDED
* SCREEN SELECTION FOR EITHER 16 BIT OR 8 BIT
  GAMES (NO SWITCH REQUIRED)
* AV OUTPUT / RGB OUTPUT / RF OUTPUT


Note that the RGB output bit is false. There is no RGB support in the Tri-
Star. There is no S-video support either -- the pass-through lead which you
plug into the SNES multi-out only carries composite video and stereo audio. So
you cannot use an RGB or S-video cable to connect the Tri-Star to your TV.
Compatibility with PAL NES games is limited; see the "PAL issues" section
below.

For the best possible picture quality, I don't use the pass-through cable.
Instead I use a switch box. To this I connect an RGB lead from the SNES
multi-out connector, and a stereo AV lead from the Tri-Star. I have to switch
between the SNES and Tri-Star outputs depending on whether I am playing an 8-
or 16-bit game. The Tri-Star selection menu runs on the SNES side.

Also, at least for the NTSC Tri-Star, the RF output signal is quite weak.
There is noticeably more interference on the screen when playing a SNES game
than if you use the SNES' own RF out. With the RF signal output from my NTSC
Tri-Star, the audio signal is overmodulated. This means that for a given TV
volume control setting, the sound is louder than with a real NES, and there is
some distortion at peak levels. This could probably be fixed by changing the
value of one or two resistors inside the Tri-Star. The distortion problems may
be less severe or absent with other makes of TV.

You cannot use a Nintendo RF Switch with the Tri-Star. You must just use a
straight cable. You can however connect the Tri-Star to the _aerial_ lead of
the RF Switch, if for example you wish to have your old NES hooked up to the
TV as well as the Tri-Star. (The comments about the RF switch only apply to
the automatic switch supplied with NTSC consoles.)

It seems that more recent models of the Tri-Star, at least those sold in the
U.S.A. and Canada, do not have the RF modulator fitted. There is just a hole
in the casing where the RF out connector would have been.

The picture when playing NES games is not perfect. There appear to be faint
vertical stripes on the screen. The original Nintendo front-loading NES does
not have these, but the later top-loading model does. This can be easily
fixed! See the "How to fix the stripey graphics" section below. If you fix
this, your Tri-Star will have a better quality picture than a top-loading NES,
probably as good as the original front-loading NES.

The Super 8 is a re-badged version of the Tri-Star, functionally identical.
Everything written about the Tri-Star also applies to the Super 8. See below
for more on this.

There are scans of the Tri-Star box, main unit and inside the main unit
available from my web page.



Where can I get a Tri-Star?
---------------------------
NCS (http://www.ncsx.com/) no longer carries the Tri-Star. :(

Telegames Inc. (http://www.telegames.com/) carries a "SUPER NES 8-BIT
ADAPTER" for US$79.95. It is probably a Tri-Star.

Also see the Super 8 section below. The Super 8 is more or less identical to
the Tri-Star, and three companies sell it for US$59.99.

In the UK, the following two companies carry the PAL version of the Tri-Star
for 39.99:

      Fire International Ltd                    Telegames Ltd
      46-48 Silver Street                       Kilby Bridge
      Doncaster                                 Wigston
      DN1 1HT                                   Leicester
      England                                   LE18 3TE
                                                England

      Tel.: +44 (0)1302 321905                  Tel.: +44 (0)116 2880445
      Fax:  +44 (0)1302 322061                  Fax:  +44 (0)116 2813437
                                                telegames@compuserve.com
                                                http://www.telegames.co.uk/

Fire International are probably the main importers of the Tri-Star into the
UK, and I recommend you use them. They can also order an NTSC Tri-Star for you
(if you don't specifically ask for one, they will send a PAL model). They may
have to specially order an NTSC Tri-Star (at least, that is what happened when
I bought mine). If you want an NTSC model, make absolutely certain that you
specify that you want an NTSC-M Tri-Star and not a PAL one.



Has anyone ever seen a Super 8 and if so, where can one be bought?
------------------------------------------------------------------
In the United States, at least four companies sell the Super 8. Please let me
know of any others. All charge US$59.99 plus postage, except United Game whose
price last time I checked was $94.99(!). Check the total cost before placing
an order, of course.

       Innovation (also known as Ultimate Game Club)
       1491 Boston Post Road
       Old Saybrook, CT 06475
       Tel.: (860) 395-3090
       http://www.innovation1.com


       Multimedia Empire, Inc.
       18 Saint Mark's Place
       New York City, NY 10003
       Tel.: 1-800-413-5823
             1-212-539-1039
       Fax:  1-212-539-1645
       info@multimedia1.com
       http://www.multimedia1.com/


       Player's Choice
       This company has several retail stores, see the web site for addresses.
       Tel.: 1-800-942-0426
       webmaster@playersc.com
       http://www.playersc.com/


       United Game Source
       254 East Eau Gallie Blvd.
       Indian Harbour Beach, FL  32937
       Tel.: 1-321-777-3309 
       Fax:  1-321-777-3940
       sales@unitedgame.com
       http://www.unitedgame.com/


The box is a funky pink, purple and blue. Here are the bits from each side
(from a Super 8 that was purchased from Innovation):
--------
Front: Innovation (R) Super 8. Put the NES back in SNES!! Play All your
favorite Nintendo Games on your Super Nintendo!!! There is also a picture of
the Super 8.

Top Flap: By Innovation(R) Super 8 (and a smaller picture of the Super 8).

Left:
Super 8 By Innovation(R) (another picture)
Front Slot  
SNES & Super Famicom Cartridges
Middle Slot
Nintendo Cartridges
Rear Slot
Famicom Cartridges

Right:
* Now play your favorite 8 Bit NES Games on your Super Nes!
* You never need to remove Super 8 to play.
* Plug in SNES, Super Famicom, NES or Famicom Games.
* On screen cursor allows you to choose what type of game you wish to play.
* Requires a T.V. or VCR that has Audio/Video inputs to work otherwise buy the
VideoLink By Innovation to convert A/V to RF.
* Requires SNES A/V Cable NOT included. To order SNES A/V Cable or the
VideoLink see bottom of box.

Back:
Picture of back of TV and back of Super 8 / SNES

How to Hook Up Your Super 8.

If your TV does not have A/V inputs, plug the A/V cable into your VCR. Do not
plug in RF Cables on the SNES or the Super 8.
* If you have a mono TV or VCR, plug yellow cable into video input & either
the red or white cable into audio input
* If you are connecting A/V Cable to your VCR, select external input on your
VCR in order for the Super 8 to work. Refer to your VCR manual for location
of external input switch.

Bottom:
Made in China. Innovation is a trademark of Innovation Technologies. Super
Nintendo, SNES, Famicom & Super Famicom are registered trademarks of Nintendo
of America, Inc. This product is designed and manufactured by Innovation. It
is not designed, manufactured, sponsored or endorsed by Nintendo of America,
Inc.

To order other Innovation products call (203) 395-3090 or write to:
Innovation 1491 Boston Post Road  Old Saybrook, CT  06475
SNES A/V Cable = $9.99 + $5.00 Shipping.
VideoLink = $49.99 + $10.00 Shipping.
--------

The picture of the Super 8 on the box is funny in that the "Super 8" label on
the front of it is not from the picture of the Super 8 itself. The "Super 8"
bit is part of the box artwork. This can be seen as the position of the Super
8 label is at an impossible angle with respect to the position of the picture.

The menu screen has a line under the pretty Tri-Star banner (!) that reads
"Super 8 by Innovation 1995."

The trace that is cut in the Tri-Star is similarly cut in the Super 8. (See
the "Does a Super Game Boy work in the SNES slot?" section.)

The Super 8 casing is exactly the same as the Tri-Star casing, apart from the
Super 8 label. Given the other similarities, the Super 8 seems to be a re-
badged version of the Tri-Star.

Although the Super 8 box says that you can't use an RF cable for hooking up
the Super 8 to your TV, you can. Perhaps the Super 8 failed to get FCC
approval when the RF jack is used.



Are there any limitations regarding compatibility?
--------------------------------------------------
Important: If you have a PAL NES and/or SNES, see the "PAL Issues" section at
the end of this document.

The biggest limitation appears to be that the second controller's Select and
Start buttons do not work. This is not much of a problem on games where the
first person can select a two player option (Pinball), but it renders two
player versions unplayable on games where the second controller's Start button
must be pushed for the second player to enter the game (Narc, Burgertime).
The reason for this flaw may be due to the original design of the Famicom
(the Japanese version of the NES), which did not have Select or Start buttons
on the second controller. Other than this, compatibility with NES and Famicom
games is very high. It may be possible to modify the hardware so that these
buttons work, but this would be complicated.

Note that really the Tri-Star contains a *Famicom* clone console. This means
that:
 Like a real Famicom, it has audio in and out lines on the Famicom-type 60-
  pin connector. This means that Famicom games which incorporate extra sound
  hardware in the cartridge sound as they should, unlike when you use a
  Famicom-to-NES adapter with a real NES. (But this feature is disabled; see
  the next paragraph.)
 Also like a real Famicom, the Tri-Star does not include the PCM sound
  channel which is built into the NES. This means that some NES games which
  use sampled sounds may not sound right. For example Galaxy 5000 has snippets
  of speech from other drivers on a real NES. On a Tri-Star the speech is
  unintelligible, though not completely absent; there is a kind of muffled
  sound instead.

A real Famicom has audio in and out pins on its cartridge connector. Some
games have extra sound hardware in the cartridge, and the audio in & out pins
are used to mix the extra sound channels with the console's own sound. The
Tri-Star also has these pins. However, the audio in & out are connected
together on the Tri-Star board. This means that any extra audio channels will
not be present. In this respect it is similar to playing a Famicom cartridge
on a real NES.

It is very simple to cut a trace on the Tri-Star board so that the audio in &
out work properly. You may want to do this if you have any Famicom carts which
incorporate sound hardware. Note that cutting this trace will mean that there
will be *no sound at all* from NES games, unless you plug a NES-to-Famicom
adapter into the Famicom slot (this would connect the audio in & out pins,
allowing NES sound to be heard). Of course, if you have a NES-to-Famicom
adapter, it's not necessary to use the NES slot at all...

Some SNES joysticks (e.g. Quickshot) do not work.

Super NES games with known problems:
 "Super Mario RPG" (Nintendo/Square) fails to work at all.
 "Donkey Kong Country", "Killer Instinct", "Tetris Attack" and the Super
  Famicom game "Fire Emblem" do not work through the SNES port. Instead a
  notice about unauthorised copying of video games is displayed. You can get
  around this by using a "swap trick"; see below for details.
 "Secret of Evermore" (Square) works up until part way through the end of
  game sequence. When your craft is about to land to pick up Elizabeth, the
  console seems to hang with a blank screen. This was probably not intentional
  on the part of Squaresoft's programmers.
 The Super Game Boy does not work properly, but the Tri-Star can be easily
  modified (really mended) to allow this. See below.

NES games with known problems:
 "Bram Stoker's Dracula" (Sony Imagesoft) PAL version -- if you jump up at
  the beginning of the game, some graphical corruption appears momentarily.
  There is an occasional "slow-down" effect here as well. However, the game
  seems okay after the first screen or so. A real NTSC NES plays this PAL
  game without graphical problems.
 "Dirty Harry" --  On a normal NES, the first two presses of the Start
  button display title and programmer screens; the third press brings up the
  "Start Game" or "Enter Password" screen and the fourth starts the game. If
  nothing is pressed, the game cycles between a graphical title screen, the
  title screen and the programmer screen. On the Super 8 however, it simply
  cycles between the screens.  No amount of button pushing on either
  controller gets to the start game screen.
 "Dragon's Lair" (Elite) -- graphics are around half the normal brightness.
 "Dropzone" (Mindscape) -- graphics are around half the normal brightness.
 "James Bond Jr" (THQ) -- graphics are around half the normal brightness.
 "Kick Off" (Imagineer) -- graphics are around half the normal brightness.
 "Noah's Ark" (Konami) and "The Immortal" (Electronic Arts) both have some
  parts at half normal brightness.
 "Qix" (Taito) -- graphics are around half the normal brightness.
 "Firehawk" (Codemasters) -- one version of this cartridge (without the
  built-in switch) does not work, but this game also fails on a top-loading
  NES.

Most or all other Famicom clones also exhibit the half-brightness problem.



What is the swap trick to allow games like Killer Instinct to work?
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Some games do not work through the Tri-Star, instead displaying a notice about
not running on game copiers. There is a way to play them without removing the
Tri-Star. It involves removing a cartridge while the console is switched on,
so this is risky. Do not blame me if you damage your console and/or Tri-Star
by doing this! I really don't recommend it, but it worked okay the one time I
tried.

Here's what you need to do:
 Turn the SNES off
 Plug a SNES cartridge that does work through the Tri-Star into its SNES
  slot.
 Turn on the SNES. Choose 16-bit at the selection menu so that the SNES game
  starts.
 Wait a few seconds to get to the game's menu screen or game screen.
 Hold down the SNES Reset button. Keeping the Reset button held down, remove
  the SNES cartridge and replace it with a problem one like Killer Instinct.
 Release the Reset button. The protected game should then start without a
  problem.

Thanks to George Gruschow for discovering this technique.



Can this unit play "locked-out" games? 
--------------------------------------
Yes, almost all unlicensed games work. Games that assume the lockout chip (of
older NES machines) is present do not work. A UK Firehawk cartridge is the
only one that I know of, although probably all US versions of this game have a
switch in the cartridge to allow the game to be played.



Is there any way to connect real NES controllers?
-------------------------------------------------
Yes, though this is only possible for normal controllers. Exotic things such
as the Zapper are impossible to connect, at least without major modifications
to the hardware and boot ROM. I do not know about the Power Glove, Power Pad
and R.O.B. since I do not own these. R.O.B. is likely to work since it only
emulates a normal controller.

The SNES controller is backwardly compatible with the NES one. Because of
this, it is easy to make an adapter to allow NES controllers to be hooked up
to the SNES. You can take NES and SNES controller extension cables, cut them
in half and join two of the pieces together to make an adapter. In fact, by
joining the other two pieces, you can make an adapter to connect SNES
controllers to a NES. For detailed instructions on how to do this, see my web
page.


 
Will the gun from Lethal Enforcers (SNES) work with the shooting games?
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Almost certainly not, though it has not been tested. The two types of gun
probably work in completely different ways. The same goes for the SNES Super
Scope.



Does a Super Game Boy work in the SNES slot?
--------------------------------------------
Not out of the box. In some cases the Super Game Boy border comes up, but the
game never loads. In others, it loads and plays painfully slowly, complete
with super-slow sound effects. Super FX games may also have problems running
on an unmodified Tri-Star.

However, the Tri-Star can be easily modified such that the Super Game Boy will
work normally. See my web page for instructions on how to do this. The cause
of the problem is that the Tri-Star does not connect one of the SNES game pak
connector lines through to the SNES cartridge. You just need to re-connect
this line on the Tri-Star PCB. The instructions include an explanation of why
the Tri-Star may have been made like this in the first place.

Some recent Tri-Star/Super 8 units are apparently compatible with the Super
Game Boy. In this case there will be no need to modify your unit.



Do Game Genie-like devices work in any of the slots?
----------------------------------------------------
NES and SNES versions of the Game Genie work in their respective slots.

Datel's NES Pro Action Replay (not sold in the USA) does not work.

Datel's SNES Pro Action Replay 2 does work.

A "Game Action Replay" will not fit in the slot, but if the cover is taken off
the Tri-Star (by removing 4 screws), it will. Games inserted into the Game
Action Replay slot may work through the Tri-Star, but this has not been
confirmed.

The Nakitek GameSaver+ works. However, due to its shape you cannot have a NES
or Famicom cartridge plugged in at the same time as the GameSaver+. The
GameSaver+ allows you to play SNES games in slow motion, and take a "snapshot"
of your position in a game whenever you want, which can be restored at any
time. Protected games like Killer Instinct work fine through the GameSaver+.
If you have a GameSaver+, this is better than doing the slightly risky "swap
trick" described above.



Can one return to the main screen without switching the console off and on?
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Yes, but only from playing a NES game. See the next section.



Tips and tricks
---------------
I discovered some things about the Tri-Star which are not mentioned on the
box:

 By holding down buttons A & X when the SNES is turned on, a test menu
  appears giving the ROM checksum. The checksum for my Tri-Star is 187C. Zube
  told me that the checksum for his Super 8 is F61E. If your value is
  different, let me know. There do not seem to be any other things in the test
  menu; pressing any button just returns to the normal selection screen.

 Holding down the Y button when the power switch is turned on causes the SNES
  game to start immediately. Holding down B when power is turned on causes the
  NES game to start immediately.

 When playing a NES game, if you press Reset whilst holding down buttons A &
  X, you go back to the test menu (& therefore onto the 8/16-bit selection).
  You do not need to turn the power off then on.

 You can also hold down the Y button whilst in a NES game, and press Reset to
  directly start the SNES game instead.

I have not found a way to return to the selection menu after playing a SNES
game, short of turning the power switch off then on. If you discover that this
is possible, please let me know.



What happens if both 8-bit slots are filled? 
--------------------------------------------
The conjecture is that neither program would work. This has yet to be tested,
as it risks damaging the Tri-Star and possibly the games.



Do four-player NES games such as Smash TV work with a SNES multi-tap?
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Probably not. This has yet to be tested. It may well be possible to connect a
NES four-player adapter like the NES Four Score to the SNES, and play four-
player NES games that way.



Do Super Famicom games fit in the SNES slot without an adapter?
---------------------------------------------------------------
Yes. In fact, the Tri-Star also acts as a "universal adapter", allowing many
PAL SNES games to be played on a US SNES. To play more recent PAL titles, most
of which include a 50/60Hz check, you will have to modify your SNES. Details
can be found on my web page.



Who made this silly thing?
--------------------------
The name of the manufacturer is not known.



Any recent problems in manufacturing?
-------------------------------------
CyberBlade <cyberbld@enter.net> reports that a recent batch of Tri-Star
adapters from NCS have a non-working RF port. Caveat Emptor.

H. Meun bought a PAL Tri-Star that did not work properly -- the controllers
did not function. It turned out that the end pins of the NES & Famicom
connectors were longer than the others, and they were bent to be nearly
parallel to the circuit board. This was probably done on purpose, to secure
the connectors during manufacture before they are soldered to the PCB. It
seems that one or more of these longer pins was short-circuiting with another
track on the PCB. Trimming the longer pins seemed to fix the problem.

Some other people have reported problems which are related to the video switch
chip inside the Tri-Star (this selects whether the NES or SNES picture
appears).



How to fix the "stripey graphics"
---------------------------------
As mentioned above, faint vertical stripes are visible on the Tri-Star's
picture. These are quite noticeable, especially when playing a game that
scrolls horizontally, such as Super Mario Bros. Nintendo's own top-loading NES
consoles have this problem too.

This problem can be easily fixed. If you open up your Tri-Star and take the
top off, you will see there is space for a capacitor behind and to the left of
the Famicom slot; a circle with a + sign is printed on the board there.

Buy a 1000uF electrolytic capacitor (rated at 6.3V or above; I used a 50V
one). There is a fair amount of space inside the case, so it doesn't have to
be very small. You can get one from Tandy/Radio Shack or any electronics
supplier; it should not cost much.

Using desoldering braid and a soldering iron, remove the solder that is
blocking the two holes inside the circle. Insert the capacitor, making sure
the positive terminal is in the hole towards the rear of the board (where the
+ sign is printed), and the negative terminal is in the other hole, nearer the
front of the board. Push the capacitor down close to the circuit board so most
of its legs are through the other side.

Carefully solder the two legs of the capacitor on the underside of the board,
and cut off any excess wire. That's it! Put the Tri-Star back together and
test it out. Enjoy your stripe-free picture.

A similar modification could probably be done to the top-loading NES. Contact
me if you want information on how to do this.



PAL issues
----------
This section is only relevant if you have a PAL SNES, NES and/or Tri-Star.

The Tri-Star is available in both PAL and NTSC versions. If you live in a
country which uses the NTSC TV standard, such as the USA or Japan, you should
buy an NTSC model.

If you live in a PAL country, the situation is trickier. Buying a PAL model
will allow you to use the RF output, but in common with other PAL consoles
(including the PAL NES) there are black borders at the top and bottom of the
screen, and games play 16 2/3% too slowly due to the lower frame rate.

If your TV can handle an NTSC composite signal, you can buy an NTSC Tri-Star,
and play games full screen at the correct speed via an A/V lead. These leads
are widely available -- the Nintendo 64, SNES and Tri-Star use the same kind
of lead.) If your TV cannot handle NTSC composite, the picture will be in
black-and-white.

Due to lockout chip differences, an NTSC Tri-Star will not run as-is on a PAL
SNES. You either need to use a universal adapter (a very clumsy solution), or
disable your SNES' lockout chip. For details on how to do this, see my web
page.

It is vital to understand that, regarding software compatibility, the PAL Tri-
Star is EXACTLY THE SAME AS THE NTSC ONE! This means that the PAL Tri-Star can
run almost all NTSC NES and Famicom games, including those which do not work
properly on a real PAL NES.

However, some PAL NES games do not work properly on an NTSC NES, and vice
versa. Taking the previous paragraph into account, this means that SOME PAL
NES GAMES DO NOT WORK PROPERLY ON ANY TRI-STAR! Examples of this are Asterix,
Digger T. Rock, Elite, Time Lord (all unplayable due to corrupted graphics),
PinBot, Double Dragon III and High Speed (these hang the console). Some
others have very minor corruption which does not affect game-play.

If you only have PAL NES cartridges, you may be disappointed with the level of
compatibility. The majority of games work, but there are likely to be some in
your collection which do not.

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