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ST to VGA (monochrome only) adapter


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#1 wood_jl OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Oct 3, 2010 11:43 PM

vga adapter.jpg

eBay Auction -- Item Number: 170540629209


I've already resigned myself to take the easy road to ST color graphics - a real SC1224.

Would this adapter be the easy road to monochrome, without resorting to buying a bulky (and apt to be seldom-used) SM124?

Anybody have any experience with this? In monochrome mode, will **any** modern PC monitor work? That is, does one need not concern themselves with 15.75KHz (and all that stuff) and just plug this into any VGA CRT or LCD? I assume this "does what it needs to do" to the monochrome detect, when it's plugged in? Maybe having this plugged into a monitor master would be just the ticket!

Sure would be nice to have a used throw-away-cheap 15" LCD monitor, or perhaps a locally-free CRT instead of paying exorbitant shipping on a bulk that'll see little use.
And maybe, the monochrome display could then be resized to fill the screen, unlike the blasted SM124. Or is this going to be the case, with any monitor?

Thanks for any suggestions!

#2 Rybags OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Oct 4, 2010 12:39 AM

Mono mode is actually ~ 71 Hz with a horizontal line time of ~ 28 uS.
Standard PAL is scanline is ~ 64 uS (~ 16 KHz), so the horizontal rate should fall within range for practically any CRT monitor.

Not sure what the actual resolution is, but considering the borders are somewhat large, it'd be somewhere around 800+ x 500

So, I'd say you'd be fine with most modern CRT monitors. LCD is a different story though, many just run at 60 Hz, best to check the specs to see if the one you want to use can go any higher.

#3 orpheuswaking OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Oct 4, 2010 9:20 AM

I had a friend build one for me and that's what I use for VGA on a CRT Dell 19" Monitor... Works great and I would recommend it if you plan on doing any serious Mono work.

Can't advise on a LCD though.

You could probably build one of your own for less than that costs, but having the audio out ports is NICE (I have an STe so I run audio out of the RCA jacks on the machine rather than the monitor port - but I recall you use a regualr ST so that cable would be good for you)

#4 wood_jl OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Oct 4, 2010 7:25 PM

I had a friend build one for me and that's what I use for VGA on a CRT Dell 19" Monitor... Works great and I would recommend it if you plan on doing any serious Mono work.

Can't advise on a LCD though.

You could probably build one of your own for less than that costs, but having the audio out ports is NICE (I have an STe so I run audio out of the RCA jacks on the machine rather than the monitor port - but I recall you use a regualr ST so that cable would be good for you)


Yeah, I like the way the audio ports are on that. I have no success at trying to solder to tiny things like cable pins; the solder doesn't "stick" to them. I end up heating it, seems like the solder won't melt, and the plastic in the plug starts to melt before it does. I just don't have the experience. I can solder a couple of wires together, and I have soldered a few things into the pads on a circuit board, but I'm kind of discouraged. I should check the community college and see if they still offer "electronics" classes to learn to do it right- but since it's a dying career, maybe not offfered.

I found some more ST VGA monochrome cables today, on Ebay, of course.

First couple are from eBay Seller: atarifreakz in the U.K.. Orpheus, you bought replacement drive mechs from them, eh? Good deal?

They are listed for more $-equivalent, but the shipping charge is so much less, they're a tad cheaper.

WITHOUT SOUND
atarifreakz_no_sound.jpg
eBay Auction -- Item Number: 150497200777

WITH SOUND
atarifreakz_sound.jpg
eBay Auction -- Item Number: 150493079740

Another seller, eBay Seller: cool-novelties with similar offerings, also in the U.K.

WITHOUT SOUND
cool_n_no_sound.jpg
eBay Auction -- Item Number: 390236060251

WITH SOUND
cool_n_sound.jpg
eBay Auction -- Item Number: 320526274539


Also, someone (yankee this time, only one for sale) has a monitor cable - vague picture makes it look like a brand new, std. Atari monitor cable - listed as a "monochrome" monitor cable.
mono_cable.jpg
eBay Auction -- Item Number: 290482998342

Am I to understand that there are, then, ST monitor cables (presumably DIN-13 male on both ends, although you can't see this one well) that are MONOCHROME ONLY??? This would mean the cable itself shorts (or whatever) the monochrome detect? I would have thought that would be in the monitor, not the cable. So this cable likely would NOT work on SC1224 (the one with the removable cable), or is the seller mistaken? It's been a long time since I had SM124 monochrome monitor, but I seem to recall the video cable was built-in. 2 kinds of cables???

Edited by wood_jl, Mon Oct 4, 2010 7:27 PM.


#5 Rybags OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Oct 4, 2010 7:31 PM

I would guess that if Atari had a mono monitor with removable cable, the short would occur in the monitor, so that the cable would still work with colour monitors.

That first one you posted seems to have audio... for $20 or so, well worth it considering the scarcity of the DIN plugs required, plus the fact it'd be a right fiddly sort of thing to construct yourself.

#6 wood_jl OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Oct 4, 2010 10:13 PM

Mono mode is actually ~ 71 Hz with a horizontal line time of ~ 28 uS.
Standard PAL is scanline is ~ 64 uS (~ 16 KHz), so the horizontal rate should fall within range for practically any CRT monitor.

Not sure what the actual resolution is, but considering the borders are somewhat large, it'd be somewhere around 800+ x 500

So, I'd say you'd be fine with most modern CRT monitors. LCD is a different story though, many just run at 60 Hz, best to check the specs to see if the one you want to use can go any higher.


To be on the safe side, I won't assume this works with any LCD. I haven't used a plug-in analog (VGA connector) LCD in some time, but the last el-cheapo I remember just seemed to look identical when I changed refresh rates on the PC. The one sold by eBay Seller: atarifreakz links to pics of it working on an LCD, which looks kind of cool. So, I'll just be hopeful, anyway. The displays across *any* ocean from here (U.S.) seem to be more versatile than those here.

Posted Image

Posted Image

Check out the big-ass image, filling the screens to the border. TAKE THAT, SM124 WITH YOUR 1-INCH BORDERS ON A TINY SCREEN.



That first one you posted seems to have audio... for $20 or so, well worth it considering the scarcity of the DIN plugs required, plus the fact it'd be a right fiddly sort of thing to construct yourself.


You are correct, sir. I just decided to quit fiddle-farting around and order the blasted thing. There's always some ultra-cool Atari-thing, and it's always across an ocean from here, and then I hesitate because it's not free, then I can't get one.

I decided on the one from Poland, because I love the RCA jacks for audio - I hate 3.5mm stereo jacks, unless I have no other choice.

vga adapter.jpg

eBay Auction -- Item Number: 170540629209

#7 Rybags OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Oct 4, 2010 10:21 PM

That's a good idea...

test any prospective monitor first on the PC. If it'll do 800x600 @ 72 Hz then it should handle the ST just fine.

Although many LCD monitors will give you a very limited range of Refresh Rates to choose from - but with some nVidia and ATI drivers you can force your own custom rates.

#8 wood_jl OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Oct 4, 2010 10:38 PM

Probably the hard part with most available LCDs (assuming they'd work and put up a display) is finding one that's 4:3 aspect ratio. I can't stand seeing 4:3 resolutions stretched and distorted. I'd gladly take black bars on the side, but I don't think "force 4:3 mode" is an option on modern widescreen displays. My last notebook had 4:3 (1024 x 768) and was quite fun to go full-screen with MAME and Atari800win. Can't say it's a pleasure at 1280 x 800 (or whatever the hell I am running now).

The "ultimate" LCD display to me was the 1600x1200-native 20.1" 4:3 displays, from **several** years ago. They were close to $1000 U.S. at that time. Before LCDs became affordable, everything went blasted widescreen, because items that couldn't boast of that "feature" probably would have stopped selling.

#9 atarian1 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Oct 5, 2010 12:03 AM

The cable will work for LCD screens too. I actually tested a cable I made with about 10-15 monitors at work of various brands (NEC, Samsung, Dell, etc) and they all work. The only exception was Viewsonic - I don't know why they didn't work... :?

The difference is in the quality of the picture due to the scalar built into the monitor to rescale the screen to a non-native resolution. It's hit and miss for me. I tested 5 NEC monitors and 3 look bad, but 2 looked awesome. The Dells and Samsungs look OK, but the ones I tested were widescreen monitors, so everything was stretched out. Otherwise, they looked OK.

You can find 4:3 monitors - just stop looking at Best Buy, Target, Walmart, etc. They are available through mail order. I see some on the NEC online retail store, the Dell website, etc. Stop looking at mainstream stores for non-mainstream items. :|

#10 AstFan OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Oct 5, 2010 4:42 AM

Mono mode is actually ~ 71 Hz with a horizontal line time of ~ 28 uS.
Standard PAL is scanline is ~ 64 uS (~ 16 KHz), so the horizontal rate should fall within range for practically any CRT monitor.
Not sure what the actual resolution is, but considering the borders are somewhat large, it'd be somewhere around 800+ x 500
So, I'd say you'd be fine with most modern CRT monitors. LCD is a different story though, many just run at 60 Hz, best to check the specs to see if the one you want to use can go any higher.


You forget something: mono is progressive scan, with 71 x full frame. Vertical res is too big for any PAL or NTSC mode. Color mode is interlaced 50 x (or 60x) half frame (half vert. res). So, mono mode can not work on monitors without VGA support.

As most of LCD support VGA you can use Atari mono on them with proper cable/adapter..

#11 Rybags OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Oct 5, 2010 5:20 AM

The whole conversation was assuming a VGA capable monitor to begin with. And ST colour modes, like most old computers, isn't interlaced, it's just progressive 15 KHz.

#12 AstFan OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Oct 5, 2010 6:09 AM

The whole conversation was assuming a VGA capable monitor to begin with. And ST colour modes, like most old computers, isn't interlaced, it's just progressive 15 KHz.


Interesting, as you are who talked about LCD running just at 60 Hz. But original poster talked about cheap, used LCDs, which are for sure VGA monitors.

It may be considered as progressive, but still work with displays intended for interlaced (PAL, NTSC). Not to mention that on some TVs you will see it as really interlaced. I just said so to keep it shorter.

And what is: 'with most of modern CRT monitors' ? In fact, ST color modes are not usable on 98% of them. I had one, where 50 Hz worked, but it is really rare case. I think that you calculated well horizontal part, but forgot vertical one :)

#13 Rybags OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Oct 5, 2010 6:12 AM

The topic is only about ST in monochrome mode, I only listed stuff relating to colour as comparison.

ST in colour mode is essentially the same as normal TV except for "no interlace" - hires mono is way different.

#14 orpheuswaking OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Oct 5, 2010 9:27 AM

Regarding Atarifreakz, I would highly recommend his stuff... The replacement drive he sent was cheap even with shipping and he sent detailed installation instructions even down to how to cut the STe case to accomodate the drive button... (Although I ended up picking up a OEM drive and using that, but I have the other as a spare in case that one dies too)

I would not hesitate in buying that cable if I didn't already have one.

#15 Goochman OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Oct 5, 2010 3:03 PM

I got the Poland one also - if for no other reason the cable looks to be longer - I dont understand the UK one appears to be about 3 inches long...........

#16 orpheuswaking OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Oct 5, 2010 3:29 PM

Well most people use a monitor that already has a built in VGA cable. so adding another three feet is not needed... (although that's not always the case with LCD monitors)

#17 Goochman OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Oct 5, 2010 7:16 PM

Oh I didnt notice - is that a male->male connector on those other cables (or female->female)?

Anyhow cant wait to try it.

Wish kjmann was able to get the color cable working for the ST - thats what I really wanted, but not having to drag out a monitor to mess with my Ultrasatan II will be a blessing.

#18 remowilliams OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Oct 5, 2010 7:46 PM

I've used my homemade ST mono > VGA adapter on a bunch of LCDs. It generally works nicely, depending on how different LCDs react to 'phase' adjustment and/or scaling.

The harder part is usually finding something thats 4:3.

#19 Guitarman OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Oct 9, 2010 3:12 PM

Make one yourself. I used this to make my own. Works great on a LCD flat panel.

vga.gif

#20 orpheuswaking OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Oct 10, 2010 9:08 AM

Make one yourself. I used this to make my own. Works great on a LCD flat panel.

vga.gif



Yup, that's what I had my friend make me (although we skipped the Audio part)... Would ave done it myself, but i'm not good enough to solder on 13 pin DIN plugs...

#21 OldAtarian OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Oct 13, 2010 3:18 PM

Why can't you use the color resolutions with one of these?

#22 wood_jl OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Oct 13, 2010 6:20 PM

Why can't you use the color resolutions with one of these?



You used to be able to, back when monitors like the Nec Multisync were in the early generations called stuff like "Multisync 2A" (or something like that). Those old monitors would match the low horizontal scan rate of 15.75khz (or something like that) which is necessary to show graphics from old computers like the ST/Amiga. Some time (a long time ago) they all moved to higher and higher freqencies and (for some reason) they all pretty much simultaneously dropped the ability to scan low enough for these dinosaur computers. I haven't the foggiest notion WHY they would drop the lower ability; perhaps one of our technically-inclined friends here can chime in!!!

#23 SuperSparky OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 14, 2010 7:50 PM

Why can't you use the color resolutions with one of these?



You used to be able to, back when monitors like the Nec Multisync were in the early generations called stuff like "Multisync 2A" (or something like that). Those old monitors would match the low horizontal scan rate of 15.75khz (or something like that) which is necessary to show graphics from old computers like the ST/Amiga. Some time (a long time ago) they all moved to higher and higher frequencies and (for some reason) they all pretty much simultaneously dropped the ability to scan low enough for these dinosaur computers. I haven't the foggiest notion WHY they would drop the lower ability; perhaps one of our technically-inclined friends here can chime in!!!


With LCD's it's just a matter of firmware and most don't have the software to sync to the "old" frequencies. However, for CRT's the problem is with the horizontal output transformer. Extra relays and special horizontal output transformer windings had to be switched to for the lower sync frequencies. These extras cost money, as well as the extra circuitry to support those scan rates.

The simple answer is cost versus demand.

#24 Goochman OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Oct 20, 2010 5:57 AM

vga adapter.jpg

eBay Auction -- Item Number: 170540629209


I've already resigned myself to take the easy road to ST color graphics - a real SC1224.

Would this adapter be the easy road to monochrome, without resorting to buying a bulky (and apt to be seldom-used) SM124?

Anybody have any experience with this? In monochrome mode, will **any** modern PC monitor work? That is, does one need not concern themselves with 15.75KHz (and all that stuff) and just plug this into any VGA CRT or LCD? I assume this "does what it needs to do" to the monochrome detect, when it's plugged in? Maybe having this plugged into a monitor master would be just the ticket!

Sure would be nice to have a used throw-away-cheap 15" LCD monitor, or perhaps a locally-free CRT instead of paying exorbitant shipping on a bulk that'll see little use.
And maybe, the monochrome display could then be resized to fill the screen, unlike the blasted SM124. Or is this going to be the case, with any monitor?

Thanks for any suggestions!


My cable just arrived and it worked great - plugged it into my LCD monitor and it worked like a charm. Only wish we could get color this easily :(

#25 wood_jl OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 21, 2010 6:54 PM

My cable just arrived and it worked great - plugged it into my LCD monitor and it worked like a charm. Only wish we could get color this easily :(


Mine got here today, and it works great, too!!

After I bought mine, I messaged the seller and told him his listing was hard to find because he had it listed as "Atari ST sVGA interface" and a search for "Atari ST VGA" wouldn't bring it up. I only found it because I searched for "Atari VGA" (and it still didn't come up) and he had a Falcon VGA-thingie for sale that I looked at, and I clicked to "see other items" of his and then found it. Funny how easy it is to miss things on Ebay searches. He relisted it and took off the "s" so now it's here:

eBay Auction -- Item Number: 170553306315


It's totally awesome!

DSC03620.JPG

It has 3 RCA jacks on it, as opposed to the picture in the listing. Obviously, the audio is on the red and white. It pipes the ST audio to both connectors. But this third video connector? Fool that I am , I just had to plug a composite monitor to it, to see what would happen. How could I not? Of course, nothing happened. I was secretly hoping this would double as a composite cable (not in monochrome mode, of course) and of course that was a silly thought.

At my local Goodwill, they had a selection of CRT monitors for $10. I spotted one I was interested in. The price stuff with colored pricetags when they're put out, and everything's always 1/2 price for a certain color. I waited, knowing CRTs aren't a hot prospect. So I got this Dell-branded Trinitron 17" flatscreen for.....<drum roll>... the grand price of $5!

DSC03608.JPG

Oh man, this combo just smokes the old SM124 so bad, it's unbelievable! I was absolutely not willing to pay shipping on a SM124. This is the first time I've ever seen ST monochrome on anything but SM124 with 1-inch borders around the 12" screen. What a difference!

I played a game of "Balance of Power" cause I remember it was better on monocrhome because of the map's higher resolution/

DSC03618.JPG

Anybody have a list or site (repository) of ST monochrome games? Now I'm really wanting to play with hi-res stuff for a little while. I remember Ultima II and Megaroids, and BoP mentioned above. Anything else? I don't seem to recall there being much at all.

I'm very happy with this. While I do wish there was a way to do color, I'm pretty content with the SC1224 and I was willing to pay shipping on that, but not monochrome. How glad I am that I never did!!!

edit: You guys who made your own cables like this years ago, please stop laughing at me. Thankyouverymuch.

Edited by wood_jl, Thu Oct 21, 2010 6:57 PM.





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