Build your own immersive VR setup for about $150!

Date: Sat, 18 Feb 1995 01:50:41 -0500
Subject: Re: TECH: VictorMaxx Stuntmaster for VR?

On Fri, 17 Feb 1995, Tom Benedict wrote:

> SAY!  Do you have any sources for the HMD you were talking about?
> How easy is it to write software for it?  What is the REND386
> software you were talking about?  (As you can tell, inquiring minds
> like mine want to know.)
> I'm also interested that you said your entire VR setup was under
> $150.  Is the HMD really that inexpensive?
> Thanks for all your help,
> Tom Benedict

The VR HMD is called the Victormaxx Stuntmaster. The resolution is
280x86 or something like that. It was designed for the Nintendo and
Sega game systems. If you hack apart the cable, you can rewire it
to a RCA plug. The input for the video is NTSC (you can plug it
in the Video out of your VCR and watch your favorite show in
low resolution).  To wire it to your computer, you need a 
VGA-NTSC converter. One available for around $30-$40 is called
the Game Zapper. Look for it in the Computer Shopper magazine.
 I used a nintendo powerglove for my 3-d tracking. Powergloves are hard
to come by these days. They stopped producing them about 5 years ago.
Check around in your local toy stores. A place called FUNCOLAND trades
and sells video game cartridges and controllers. They might sell it.
In order to wire the glove up to your computer, you need to build
an interface (get out the soldering iron). I believe the plans are
available by ftp on or somewhere called
check around /pub/msdos/VR or something like that. While you are
there, you can also download the REND386 software. The software was designed
to work with the glove interface (mentioned previously).

Victormaxx Stuntmaster  (order name=Victormax Virtual reality)
 is available at DAMARK Inc. (call 1-800-555-1212 for the phone number
I don't have it off the top of my head) It costs                  $59

Game Blaster vga-ntsc converter                                   $39

Powerglove                                                        $15

Misc. parts for the interface                                     $5

That adds up to about $120! 

With that you should have a suitable amount of VR "immersion". The
software allows you to walk through virtual "worlds" (the demo comes
with a house). With the glove, you can pick up objects move them around
and even rotate them. The software updates the screen pretty rapidly
somewhere around 30-50 frames/sec depending on how many objects are
in the window. I'm sure you'll have more to ask. I'll send the
spec sheets as soon as I get them uploaded. Good luck. Happy VR.

P.S I must warn you that this VR setup as with most VR using today's
technology is nothing like what you see in Lawnmower Man or the 
Aerosmith video. The HMD is merely a TV strapped to your head!

I'll be working out some head tracking for the HMD over the next few weeks.
Some ideas include using a digital compass, pots & weights, and ultrasonics.
I'm afraid that the xenon flash circuit used to illuminate the screen may
affect the electronic compass, but we'll have to wait and see...
The Stuntmaster- as is, has a pot which can track left and right. This
can be wired directly to the joystick port for head tracking in REND386.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------    Rolan Yang
    Electrical Engineering            New Jersey Institute of Technology

From: Max Minkoff 

Dear sci.virtual-worlds readers,

As many of you may already know, the VictorMaxx Stuntmaster HMD has
begun hitting the shelves nationwide over the past few weeks.  It is a
low resolution, bi-ocular monoscopic display (two eyes, one screen)
intended for use with Super NES and SEGA Genesis retailing for about
$200.  Within the coming months we will be coming out with higher
resolution monocular and bi-ocular HMDs for use with PCs and
compatibles as well as Nintendo, SEGA, and other platforms.  Our top
of the line binocular, high-res HMD with tracking is expected to sell
for well under $500.

We have already received calls from people who want to use the
Stuntmaster with their PCs, etc.  While we didn't design the
Stuntmaster for PC applications, we want to encourage creative
solutions using VR and our headsets.  To save people time and effort
in reverse engineering the pinouts for the Stuntmaster, we'll provide
the pinouts and some notes both at the end of this posting and as an
addition to the FAQ.  Furthermore, if there are other specific
questions regarding the use of the Stuntmaster that I can help you
with, please get in touch with me at .

VictorMaxx would like to help support the VR community as best we can.
This includes not only technical support in the use of our products,
but in the development and licensing of VR technology and products
that you would like to bring to the marketplace.  If you would like to
discuss current VictorMaxx products, suggest new products, or bring us
new ideas or technology, please feel free to contact me at the address

Parts for an adapter from the 15-pin connector on the Stuntmaster to
NTSC, power, and joystick should cost about $15 from Radio Shack.
This assumes, of course, that you have an NTSC convertor for your PC.
Alternatively, you can purchase an adapter by contacting
.  The price is expected to be somewhere between
$30 and $40.

REMEMBER!  The Stuntmaster is an NTSC device: You must have a VGA to
NTSC converter to use it with your PC.  Future versions specifically
made to work with the PC will not need this kind of adapter.  NTSC
adapters typically cost somewhere between $150 and $300.

Technical Specs:

Resolution:     240x86 color triads
Field of View:  17 degrees
Weight:         ~2.5 pounds

These are the pinouts for the VictorMaxx Stuntmaster:

Pin #       Super NES mode      SEGA mode

1           +6V
2           Gnd
3           Data                SEGA R in
4           Clock               N/A
5           Latch               SEGA L in
6           Gnd
7           Vcc (+5V)           N/A
8           N/A 
9           Gnd
10          Video in
11          Data                SEGA R out
12          Latch               SEGA L out
13          Gnd         
14          Audio L
15          Audio R     


1. The Stuntmaster issues a "left" signal when the player turns
   his/her head to the left and a "right" signal when the player turns
   to the right.

2. There are two modes - scroll mode and scan mode.  In scroll mode,
   the Stuntmaster will issue a directional signal as long as your
   head is turned off of center.  In scan mode, a signal is issued as
   long as you are turning your head.  When you stop turning, the
   directional signal stops.  E.g. if you are in scan mode and you
   turn your head 30 degrees to the left, a left signal will be issued
   all the while that you turn through those 30 degrees, but will stop
   signalling when you stop turning.  When you then turn back to the
   right, right signals will be issued, even though your head is to
   the left of center.  SEGA only supports scan mode, but Nintendo
   supports either mode (use dip switch 3 to control mode - on is
   scan, off is scroll).

3. The sensitivity adjustment controls how many degrees you need to
   turn your head to issue a signal.

4. Super NES uses serial communication.  There are three lines: Latch,
   Data, and clock.  Data uses a 16 bit word, turning bits on and off
   to signify the state of the various button inputs.  This word,
   containing head tracking information, is then sent to the CPU on
   pins 11 and 12.

5. SEGA Genesis uses multiplexed (2x4) parallel communication plus two
   independent lines for up and down.  The right and left are sent to
   the CPU on pins 11 and 12.

For more information on the SEGA and Nintendo protocols, please refer
to the appropriate resources.

Hope this helps!!


Max Minkoff                                3501 Woodhead Drive, Suite 3
Director of VR Technologies                Northbrook, IL 60062    
VictorMaxx, Inc.                           (708) 291-7666                                (708) 291-1378 (fax)

   by Kyurius  (

Here is a little file I wrote up for someone inquiring about the 
Victormaxx Stuntmaster.

If you remove the 4 screws from the bottom of the Victormaxx, you should
be able to carefully pry or split the unit apart.

Notice that the unit consists of 4 PC boards:

-Tracking PCB
-LCD driver board
-LCD screen
-Power supply board

With care, the tracking PCB can be pulled out of the case and the
large multi-pin connector can be removed. This eases the removal of
the top half the casing. Using a little care, the "head strap" can be
loosened and removed from the earphone pieces. This lets you remove the
whole top half from the unit.

The tracking PCB has 5 multi-pin/wire headers running to it. The
purpose of these are clearly stated on the board, but will be repeated
here anyway:

JP4 - Power Board
JP5 - LCD board
JP6 - To external connector
JP8 - Tracking Potentiometer
JP9 - Speakers

To save the you the trouble of mapping the external connector pins 
to the internal multi pin connector, I have listed it
Pin #       15 pin connector    Internal Connector

1           +6V                 black
2           Gnd                 white
3           Data                brown  986 ohms
4           Clock               red
5           Latch               orange  (may be some diode conn) 985 ohms
6           Gnd                 yellow  
7           Vcc (+5V)           green
8           N/A                 blue
9           Gnd                 big black 
10          Video in            clear  
11          Data                brown  986 ohms Same As Pin 3
12          Latch               orange S.A.P 5
13          Gnd                 purple S.A.P 11
14          Audio L             grey S.A.P 12
15          Audio R             lt blue S.A.P 13

If you haven't figured it out, SAP = same as pin

OK Here's my wonderful contribution to the Garage VR world:


What you'll need:
 2-  Male D-Sub 15 pin connectors
 1-  2 pin single row header 
 1-  100K resistor
 1-  500K or 250K potentiometer (must use correct size and have similar 
     shaft dimensions 500K is more favorable- see below)
 *-  You will also need some wire    

This modification will remove the Nintendo/Sega tracking capabilities of
the Victormaxx and replace it with tracking which can be interfaced to the 
IBM PC joystick port. Software is currently available (Dave Stamp and 
Bernie Roehl's REND386) which can make use of this interface. This modification
would be most beneficial for those who have adapted their Victormaxx to 
accept VGA input (probably via VGA-NTSC converter -Game Zapper?).

Open up the unit as described above. 
Detach the right earpiece "module" from the unit and carefully pry the
 two plastic pieces apart by using a screwdriver at several spots on the
Unscrew the two screws which hold the potentiometer to the unit.
You must now find a 500K or 250K potentiometer which will match the 
 physical dimensions of this pot.
Cut or desolder the three wires leading to the potentiometer. 
Remove and set the pot aside.
Solder the three wires onto the new potentiomter in the same order (brown
 is in the middle)
Fit the pot back into the casing and screw the two screws so that the pot
 is secure. If the plastic T-cover doesn't fit perfectly over the pot-shaft,
 some hot melt glue may fix it. You might also try wrapping some tape around 
 the shaft.

Locate the large multi pin header connector (JP6)

Cut-yes CUT- the red and orange wires aproximately 1-1/2 to 2 inches
 from the bottom of the connector. 
The two ends of the wires which lead to the header connector (PCB side) can 
be left alone. Solder the other two wires to the 2 pin Header (listed in the 
above parts list).
Remove JP8 connector from the Tracking board.
The 2 pin Header plugs directly into this header connector.
  CLARIFICATION: The black square connector with the red,brown, and black
  wires is pulled off the board. The 2 pin header is plugged into this black
  header connector - NOT the tracking board.

Making the plug:

Get out the 15-pin Dsub connector

Pins of significance:

4 & 5 - potentiometer out (to joystick port)

9-  ground
10- video in

13- ground
14- audio left
15- audio right

If you haven't done so already (most likely you have), you can
solder RCA plugs to the above pins and interface your Victormaxx to 
a VCR.
I have a 1/8" stereo plug wired to pins 13,14,15 so that it can be 
directly plugged into my SoundBlaster card.
Also, I have an RCA jack wired to pin 9 and 10 which plugs into the
Game Zapper unit.

Ok, back to business. Solder a 100K resistor between pins
8 and 6 on the SAME D-sub connector going to the Joystick port.

Solder two wires between the 15 pin connector to the other 15 pin connector.
The "pin-outs" for the two wires are shown below.
Victormaxx side 15 pin Dsub                     Joystick Side
   pin 9               goes to                  pin 1
   pin 10              goes to                  pin 3

I would advise using a hood for the Dsub's so that these wires do not easily
pull out of the connector.

Thats all!

Center the pot and run REND386. Turning the pot left and right should 
cause the image to pan left and right.

You may have to unscrew and adjust the orientation of the pot so that it
will be centered with reference to the T connector. stick, and your shoulder.
If turning your head causes the image to translate in the wrong direction,
connect the 2-wire header pin to the other two holes (either red-brown or

Close up the unit and -there you have it- an IBM PC head mount display
with left and right tracking.

Stuff left to do:
Up and down tracking can be done with a tilt sensor.
Two wires are left available inside the Victormaxx:
 pin 3 - brown
 pin 8 - blue

These can be wired to pin 6 and 8 on the joystick connector (which
references the up and down)

Good luck. I hope you don't blow up your Victormaxx. If you do, I take
no responsibility for it :). Happy hacking!

 Rolan Yang     Electrical Engineer                   
4 out of 10 people are annoyed by ^ this.