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Sun Ultra worstation to VGA LCD monitor

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Good evening all,


I have a question for the lovely folks of Atari Age. As I have ran out of options here - so I am hopeful someone here can shed some light on the issue I have been struggling with.



I've gotten my self a 1995 Sun Ultra 1 Creator workstation. It is in excellent condition, and it works just perfect. I've even managed to score a Sun Microsystems 21" CRT display which is just a beauty. Now, as this monitor is way too big for any room I plan to keep it in, I've wanted to see if I can attach it to a VGA LCD monitor.

The thing is, this workstation has the Sun frame buffer, and uses that "wonderful" 13W3 connection.



I've gotten this 13W3 to VGA converted off eBay, as that was supposed to do the job. It arrived, I connected it to my Dell 19" LCD (P190S), but nothing. It kept flashing from time to time, but no picture showed up. After some digging, it seems that the issue is that the Sun systems are using a Sync on Green (SoG) output, so I need a monitor that supports that. Okay - I got a LG Flatron (19") that supports SoG. But again: nothing. Okay, maybe the LG cannot handle the refresh rates, let me get something that a lot of folks in the retro world use: NEC MultiSync 1990FXp. Still nothing, this one does not even flash from time to time.


The question:

What can I use to connect this old Sun Ultra workstation to a LCD VGA monitor? Am I missing something. Is it the monitor? Is it the frame buffer?


Thank you all!






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It might be the adapter.  The Sun frame buffers are 31kHz capable in various resolutions.  Some adapters have a preset resolution, some use DIP switches.  I have a real Sun 13W3 to SVGA cable which I used with old Dell monitors, but they were CRT.  I honestly have not fired up my Sun systems in a long time, and I cannot recall if I ever used an LCD screen.  I might could grab my SS/20 and try it out.  As for sync-on-green, the only time I ever had that in use was with a real 21" Sun monitor.


Yeah, that 21" monitor is gorgeous, but it is heavy and gives off a ton of heat.  IIRC, it uses a Sony Trinitron flat-screen CRT.  Damned beautiful.


(I have an IPX sitting under my desk, but I am pretty certain it does not work as it had a leaky cap in the power supply when I put it down there years ago.)  Remind me around Thursday.

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The 7053 sync separator comes in handy if you happen to have displays that support the refresh rate, but not SoG.  At $139, it is pricey when bought new, but sometimes one pops up on eBay.  It does the job well, but it needs a separate power supply which I find annoying.  


Most high-end Eizo displays support SoG as they were specifically marketed to be used with workstations.  I got an Eizo S2100 (21'', 1600x1200) and an L685 (18'', 1280x1024) off eBay and had good luck with both of them on various machines that I had.


There is the Sync on Green DB which may be useful for selecting a suitable monitor, although it is focused on PS2 use and thus does not tell you whether the higher workstation resolutions are supported.


Good luck!

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