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How to Make a Composite AV Cable for the TurboGrafx-16

How to Make a Composite AV Cable for the TurboGrafx-16

TurboGrafx-16Technically speaking, the TurboGrafx-16 was the first 4th generation console.  It was a 16-bit system in an 8-bit world but never gained much momentum in North America.  NEC designed it as a competitor to Nintendo, but the Master System and NES were giving way to the likes of the great Genesis vs. SNES war, and the TG-16 faded rather quickly along with other 4th generation consoles such as the AES and CD-i.  Though the system continued to see upgrades in Japan, it never really got the proper treatment in North America.

Released in 1989, composite outputs were not standard at the time.  A large cover on the back is removable, and reveals a series of pins designed to accommodate expansion modules.  One expansion was the TurboCD which is a fairly rare find nowadays and runs a smooth $400.  Another expansion simple added the composite outputs but these are also hard to find and in many cases are more expensive than a used TG- 16.  If you’re looking for a solution to the default RF signal, there’s no need to spend much money.  By using a composite cable and a few other parts, a custom cord can be made relatively quickly and easily.

This is a great first project for anyone interested in fiddling around with these older electronics.  The raw materials are cheap, it’s a difficult project to mess up and even if this happens it’s not a huge deal.  If you’ve never used a soldering iron, this cable will provide some good practice.  Don’t be intimidated, literally anyone who can follow directions will be able to pull this off.

What You Will Need:TG16 Cable Materials


  • Soldering iron and solder (60/40 Rosin-Core recommended)
  • Wire stripper
  • Wire cutters
  • Small needle nose pliers


  • RCA composite cord (3 colors, at least 6 ft long)
  • Crimp style female pin connectors
  • Small gauge wire (18-20 g)
  • Heat shrink tubes
  • Electrical tape


What we’re going to be doing is cutting off one end of the RCA cable and leaving the other end intact.  The intact end is what will plug into your TV.  On the other end we’re going to separate the various wires, extend them with a bit of our own wire, and seal up the connections as well as any other exposed wire except for the very ends.  We will end up with 4 ends with an inch or so of wire sticking out.  To this we will attach the pin connectors and again seal any exposed wire.  The new end that we’ve created will slip directly onto the pins on the back of the TG-16.

Continue on to Step 1:  Gathering Tools and Materials >>

Written by The Cubist

The Cubist

Co-founder, Head Author, & Site Technician

Find out what these ratings mean and how I rate video games.

I collect as much video gaming paraphernalia as I can get my hands on, especially when it comes to hardware. With over 40 systems including oldies like the ColecoVision and Intellivision, obscurities like the CD-i and 3DO, and the latest and greatest including the Wii U, PS4, Xbox One, 3DS, and PS Vita, I get easily overwhelmed. Most of the time you can find me firmly nestled sometime between 1985 and 1995 when it comes to my games of choice, but I’m also having a great time seeing what the 8th generation has to offer.

Currently in love with: Mortal Kombat

Email me anytime, about anything:

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