Sunday, 21 July 2013

Exploring the Loewe E3000 chassis

Recently the flyback on my prized Blaupunkt fried itself. It was pretty crazy because my girlfriend and I were watching r a g e at the time. The screen starting shaky, the colors got freaky and then a big cloud of evil black smoke started coming out the back. Luckily I was quick on my feet and cut the power before things got too crazy. Pretty sad day though... I'm surprised I didn't actually cry after that event! I've ordered a replacement flyback through Dönberg so hopefully that unit can be brought back to life

In the meantime, I picked up a super-rare Loewe Calida 5072. I've only seen one other specimen like this in 2 years of daily searching. This TV features a semi-flat 68cm Philips tube and the fabled E3000 chassis. I paid premium for this beauty and the picture quality is a amazing!

Street Fighter III
Calida 5072 (E3000 chassis)
The images produces are super-crisp and stable. The only problem is that while the E3000 produces a superb picture, it's extremely fussing about the signals it gets sent. There are certain refresh rates that won't sync and it crops lines from many games.

After some intense testing I have learned that the TV has two basic modes: PAL and NTSC. The Service Mode allows you to set separate geometry values for each mode.

The PAL mode will show a maximum of 285 lines and will sync up to 52 Hz.
The NTSC mode will show a maximum of 233 lines (pretty poor) and will sync down to 57 Hz.

This means that the TV is far from ideal when it comes to running native resolutions and refresh rates for the wide range found in MAME. However, the awesome picture quality makes the TV worth persevering with... especially for the quality it can bring to 224 line arcade games.

I'm currently in the process of confirming these observations and constructing a thorough set of monitor specs for use with GroovyMAME. I'll be reporting back here shortly...

4 comments:

  1. Hi there - I've been looking at the post e3000 4:3 non-processing Loewes & saw that the very earliest Arcada an Art models are 50Hz non-processing. The Arts have a piece of glass in front of the screen, which I don't like, but do you think that the Arcada might be as good or even better than the e3000 models?

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  2. I guess what I'm really getting at is that I'm having a hard time at finding out which of the later 4:3 non-processing 50Hz Loewe TV's were top-of-the-line. I'm pretty sure now that the Profil & Contur weren't, but not sure about the others (Calida, Art, Arcada, Planus).

    Anyone have any ideas?

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  3. Loewe ARE top-of-the-line. They didn't make anything that was junk! The whole Calida/Art/Aracada/Planus labelling is more to do with aesthetics than anything else.

    As far as I know, the only chassis types that were 50/60 Hz were C9003, E3000 and E3001. I'm sure they made analog chassis before these ones but I've never seen any vintage Loewe SCART models in Aussie.

    What's the chassis type on the Arcada you were looking at?

    You will find that, just like cars and computers, TVs are all full of the same components. It all comes down to chassis design and condition of individual units.

    For example, B&O TVs cost WAY more than a Loewe or Grundig but still use the same Philips tubes. Trust me, the doesn't correlate with the price (at the time). It was more to do with marketing and aesthetics.

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  4. That helps a heck of a lot - I was beginning to suspect that they were all very similar so thanks for clearing that up :)

    I think you're right - the Arcada Loewes are q2000 chassis and later. I was wondering if the very first models were 100Hz free. I think maybe the 72PIP was but it has PIP so is probably full of other unwanted processing anyway.

    I'm curious about the B&O's. They're much more common than the Loewes here and easy to come by (& pretty cheap!) but I'm put off by the fact that they have smoked/grey tinted pane of glass in front of the actual screen. I don't know whether this was supposed to increase contrast or make it look stylish, but I've heard people say that it reduces screen 'pop' and brightness - the qualities I love about CRT's.

    Some people seem to like these TV's but my feeling is that if I have a great tube, I don't want a piece of smoked glass in front of it! Has anyone had experience of these?

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