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VidCard Rosetta Stones? DA-15 <-> DE-9 <-> HD-15Translations?

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Not sure if I've ever posted anything as a conquest, but I think this one truly fits the bill.

 

post-902-0-55853900-1483537758_thumb.jpg

 

When I saw that breakout board my VidCardAholic chip dropped back to newcomer again on a one day binge. I don't even have an SE. :I

 

I'd snagged this one on a $12.99 BIN without even noticing the unpopulated thruholes. That was just to play with Radius' mysterious DE-9 interface to the early Radius FPD monitor dreams of Fontographer/Illustrator grandeur for my SE/Radius16 when they were new and financially unobtanium. I figured I could noodle it out without buying an SE or a Radius VidCard.

 

post-902-0-89997000-1483538363_thumb.jpg

 

Next week can't come soon enough! :D

 

 

 

 

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It looks like my OP was about as cryptic as usual, maybe more so? Whatever, lets try it with some more on point visual aids.

 

Here's why the SE Card is so important, the interface between VidCard and breakout panel board is a 16 pin IDC header cable. The DA-15 will hopefully have the bog stock Apple spec pinout. With a little continuity testing and a bit of luck, I'll have the mysterious DE-9 Video Interface from the stone age of Macintosh Display Technology figured out.

 

post-902-0-59020700-1483560466_thumb.jpg

 

Since I haven't even got an SE for testing, the first card I snagged on a lark was intended to explore DE-9 VideoVoodoo with the IIcx. It turns out this NuBus card may very well be much handier than I'd hoped.for a second reason.

 

Note the unimplemented HD-15 thruholes next to the DE-9 Connector! VGA and its HD-15 connector were introduced by IBM in 1987, three years before this ©1990 NuBus Card. So I've got two chances at finding a conversion table from the ancient DE-9 video interface to a documented VidCard interface from a more recent era of Macintosh Graphics Cards.

 

The listing called this an Apple Card, we'll see when the results from DeclRom spelunking are in. I'm guessing it was made by a third party unconnected to either Apple or Radius. I didn't see any info on the development dates for SVGA or XGA in a quick search, but it stands to reason that a VidCard mfr. might have doubled down their bets by supporting both the then standard TPD interface and emerging Video Standard technologies

 

post-902-0-92737000-1483560453_thumb.jpg

 

We shall see.I know olePigeon and a few other folks here that will be very interested in any results that might be forthcoming. [:)]]'>

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I have a Lapis card for the SE I snagged right before Christmas that has a similar breakout board to DE-9 and VGA.

 

Like olePidgeon, I wanted it to figure out how to get video out of the headless MicroMac SE chassis' we picked up.

 

Nice thing about the MicroMac/Lapis card that came with the chassis is that there is a passthrough to plug the accelerator card on top. This is missing in the straight Lapis card.

 

I can send you some pics of my card as well in a day or so, or even send it along if you want to try and buzz it out. That's what I was going to do :)

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Very cool! Just send pics of both sides of the PCB. Buzzing it out is easy, we can compare notes after I get mine figured out. [:)]]'>

 

Color me jealous re: you guys scoring those beasts, now that was a conquest! I'd love to see HiRes pics of both sides of every board in those puppies.

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I've got another one on the way! No Rosetta Stone translator connection on this board. However, it's the perfect translation test for the Compact Mac FPD/TPD cards listed on eBay and already in the hands of many comrades here  .  .  .  and no SE required!

 

Not to mention that it's yet another NuBus gem for overflowing Plastic Storage Drawer of Radius Treasure!

 

post-902-0-17768500-1483983436_thumb.jpg

 

p.s. the first two VidCards are on the truck out for delivery very soon now! [:D]]'>

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So... perhaps of interest. Did any of those cards actually output to both connectors at once? All modern video cards turn off a port when they do not have anything connected, and I believe that even, say, if you had a bunch of Tobys in one Mac II, it wouldn't activate the port if there was no monitor attached. (In fact, some people used VGA adapters on servers so a machine would believe it had, say, a 640x480 display connected, so they could easily VNC/Timbuktu/whatever or if there was a Mac model that would not finish booting if there was no display attached.)

 

If not, there may not be a whole lot that can be gleaned simply from having a card that has both, unless you have a Radius FPD that you can connect, then unplug even though the machine still thinks the monitor is there. At that point, you don't really need a card with both.

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You misunderstand, we don't need to add connectors for the second port at all.

 

It's the traces on the dual connector cards leading from DE-9 connector to unimplemented thru-holes for the second connector that are of paramount importance. Visible and buzzed connections will hopefully lead to determination of the signals present on the DE-9 connector's pins. DE-9 appears to be in common to all but the BNC versions of Compact Mac VidCards predating adoption of DA-19 as the standard Macintosh Video Interface. This certainly does not mean that all DE-9 interfaces are identical, but we've had absolutely nothing to go on up until the discovery and acquisition of these three Rosetta Stone cards by ScutBoy and myself.

 

I'm totally burnt out from seven straight hours of testing and swapping components around in the first six victims from the 27" 1400 stack. I'm getting dressed and heading over to the rental office right now. We shall see what transpires! [:)]]'>

Edited by Trash80toHP_Mini

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Let's take a step back here:

 

Radius was founded in May of 1986 and run by the best of the best of the Macintosh Development team. Their knowledge of the inner workings of the Beta release 128K, the 1.0 release 512K and the four months previously released Macintosh Plus was matched by no other Macintosh developer.

 

< quote >

The MDA did not have any pixel-addressable graphics modes. It had only a single monochrome text mode (PC video mode 7), which could display 80 columns by 25 lines of high resolution text characters or symbols useful for drawing forms.

< /quote >

 

The Hercules Graphics Card (HGC) was the first bitmap addressable standard in the PC world. I ran them back in the day, like MDA and CGA it was a TTL output signal. Heck, If I were at Radius at the time I'd connect my monitors only to the unused pins of the MDA interface to ensure containment of the magic smoke!.

 

< quote >

The first Radius product was the Radius Full Page Display, the first large screen available for any personal computer. First available for the Macintosh Plus, it pioneered the concept of putting multiple screens in a single coordinate space, allowing users to drag windows between multiple screens. This was a concept that Apple later incorporated into the Macintosh II.

< /quote >

 

Early FPDs/Cards used a one BNC interface carrying an analog signal driving a 640x864 pixel 8 1/2" x 11" WYSIWYG page as compared to HGC's 720×348 pixel output.

 

GREAT Radius FPD writeup: http://32by32.com/radius-full-page-display/

 

 

 

edit: and now to open up the two boxes I picked up this afternoon! [:D]]'>

Edited by Trash80toHP_Mini

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post-902-0-37621300-1484017745_thumb.jpg

 

Just psyching myself up for the next delivery! [:)]]'>

 

Haven't unbagged the Radius NuBus TPD Card yet. I'm way too tired, that's for tomorrow when I set up the copy stand to document both cards. However I did give the Lapis Technologies DisplayServer Output Board for the SE Card a quick going over with the continuity tester. Looks like all the cable signals except what appear to be power and ground lead to the DE-9's pins and then just two travel from there to the DA-19's pins. Both are resistor limited and I'll have to compare to the DA-19 pinout tomorrow morning when maybe I can see straight again  .  .  .   :blink:

 

 

 

edit: found a great article on the Lapis Display Server that confirms my suspicions. Also found avadondragon's

Lapis Technologies SE-DPD video card info? thread from last year while searching, great info there as well.

 

Edited by Trash80toHP_Mini

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post-902-0-01681100-1484055716_thumb.jpg

 

In my ferenzied 1400 marathon induced state of frazzlement last night, I totally missed that bit about Jim Harris, co-founder of Lapis Technology having been a former president of Hercules.

 

EGA/VGA compatibility neatly explains why there are so many traces leading to the DE-9 connector on the SE breakout board. After I wake up the rest of the way, I'll noodle out the signal the comparison table. On the first pass after one cup of coffee, my WAG would be that the DE-9 connector is TTL EGA and the DA-15 is the Macintosh Video Standard that's convertible to the HD-15 analog VGA standard.

 

We shall see. Now I do wish I had an SE and an EGA monitor. If my WAG turns out to be the answer to this pinout puzzlement, does anybody have an SE + EGA combo in their collection for testing?

Edited by Trash80toHP_Mini

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The Hercules Graphics Card (HGC) was the first bitmap addressable standard in the PC world. I ran them back in the day, like MDA and CGA it was a TTL output signal. Heck, If I were at Radius at the time I'd connect my monitors only to the unused pins of the MDA interface to ensure containment of the magic smoke!.

It's sort of unclear to me what your intent was here in breaking them up the way you did but just FYI/to be clear, "Hercules" and "MDA" are *not* different "video standards" so far as the physical interface went. MDA was limited to text only because it only had 4k of RAM on the board and no method available for filling the output shift register with anything but dots from the hardwired character generator; a Hercules card is basically just an MDA card with a massive RAM upgrade and a few tweaks to enable graphical output and uses exactly the same monitor. (Which was in fact the whole point of the card.)

 

Anyway, a couple more notes about the "9 pin standard" so far as it applies to PCs: All three 9 pin TTL video standards, MDA/HGC, CGA, and EGA all use the same pins for vertical and horizontal sync, pins 8 and 9, and all have a ground on pin 1. How many of the remaining pins are wired is your best clue as to what standard the card you're looking at is designed to support; if it has 7 (and optionally 6) connected there's a reasonable chance it's MDA compatible while if *all* the pins are connected it might be EGA...

 

However, when you're looking at something like an oddball video card for something like a Macintosh that happens to have a DE-9 connector on it, all bets are pretty much off. Even IBM misused the DE-9 connector on the completely incompatible with anything before-or-since "Professional Graphics Controller", which used a VGA resolution analog RGB monitor with composite sync, early Multisync monitors often had unique 9-pin pinouts that required their own cables (NEC's Multisync and Mitsubishi's Diamondscan lines were an infamous example), various full-page display vendors might use whatever pinout they felt like for their proprietary monitors... etc. I'm really not sure you're going to learn a whole lot useful by staring at the traces on these adapter cards other than *possibly* getting an idea of whether a given card uses IBM compatible TTL sync or... something else (*).

 

(Note: VGA uses TTL sync that's electrically compatible with the sync signals of the older IBM video standards, although of course it's running at a different rate. So, well, I guess you may well learn something if you find that on some multi-monitor compatible card that has both 9 pin and VGA connectors if there's traces between pins 8/9 and 13/14 on the two ports respectively; the thing you will have thus learned is the 9 pin port *is more likely than not, but far from definitely* indeed for something like an MDA monitor. For whatever good that does you.)

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The early 9-pin NEC Multisync (and some other early RGB monitors) used the PGC pinout for analog RGB input before VGA's HDI-15 showed up. See attached file with a nice "decoder ring" of early video standard pinouts. The only one that is missing is MDA, but its similar to CGA minus the R,G,B channels with video on pin 7.

CABLE.HTM

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I'm aware that Hercules was an MDA-compatible monochrome graphics standard developed by Van Suwannukul for the special purpose of displaying the Thia Alphabet on the PC. You may poo-poo it as being just MDA with a lot more RAM, but it was a groundbreaking achievement. Having used Hercules Graphics Cards for running CorelDraw back in the day on a Page White TTL monitor, I can say Hercules was more than enough differentiated from IBM's MDA to consider it a separate standard.

 

Check out the InfoWorld article above for the information supporting my EGA connector/DA-19 Mac -> VGA WAG. The breakout card has 6 distinct traces heading to the DE-9 connector with two pins tied together from one trace. The last two appear to be tied to ground, including the Square pad and the pad adjacent to it. I'll post pics of my Rev.3 DisplayServer breakout card this afternoon. In the meantime, the pinout/traces are pretty clear in the enlarged section of the listing pic in the second post.

 

I haven't searched the socketed XILINX part at U2 on the main board yet, but my guess has been RAMDAC.

Edited by Trash80toHP_Mini

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The second photo of the NuBus card caught my eye. Those solder bridges labeled "ECL" in particular. The card might be using the rather obscure ECL video standard that the Atari TT used for it high res video modes. Some info (and a convertor) here: http://www.tenox.net/hw/tenoxvga/

 

Pinouts (9-pin): http://old.pinouts.ru/Video/ecl_pinout.shtml

 

ECL = Emitter Coupled Logic

 

Used by old Sun, Apollo workstations along with the Atari TT..... and maybe old Radius displays.

Edited by NJRoadfan

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In the meantime, the pinout/traces are pretty clear in the enlarged section of the listing pic in the second post.

All right. If we operate under the assumption that that DE-9 port is anything "PC compatible" then it has to be either MDA or CGA, it can't be EGA. Reason: It looks like pins #1 and 2 are tied to ground, and pins 6-7 are tied together. Pin #2 is defined as a second ground on MDA and CGA, but is one of the color lines for EGA running in the 350 line mode, which rules out driving an EGA monitor. Meanwhile, tying 6 and 7 together would make sense if you wanted to use an MDA monitor to display only 1-bit video at the high-intensity brightness. The only question remaining would be why they bothered wiring the CGA color lines (3 through 5) if it's only a monochrome card that wouldn't likely support a 200 line video mode. Perhaps they're there for multisync TTL monitors expecting 3 or 4 line RGB (and they're all actually tied together on the host card) (*), or perhaps there's some other type of monitor supported by that port that uses those pins. (Always a possibility) But, yes, the one thing we can definitively say is it's not EGA.

 

(*) Edit: This conjecture is actually supported by the pinouts on that document NJRoadFan attached, IE, look at the "Pin assignments for other computers" section, 8 and 16 color TTL modes.

Edited by Gorgonops

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I unbagged the NuBus "Mac II Dual Page" Card for the photo session. I've got great pics to run through GraphicConverter before posting them. After loading the roughly culled pics on a fresh Zip250 to sneakernet them over to the QS'02, I decided it was time to fire up the pet IIfx. It has all my DeclROM spelunking utilities ready to rock and roll. It was a real kick to see the big Radius PrecisionView 2150 in action again after what must have been at least a couple of years to get the pet IIfx back into action! [:)]]'>

 

Anyhoo, here are the results:

 

Lapis Dual Page Video ©1990

Rev: 400cOEM1024x768only

 

The etched ©1991 Lapis Technologies Inc. verbiage is so tiny I didn't notice it before I put it under the magnifier lamp.

 

So now I've got a second Lapis Card with a DE-9 connector, this time with HD-15 thruholes. This one is NuBus so I can actually test it. I've also found a couple of solder cup terminated HD-15 connectors in the hoard. That rocks because I can locate one anywhere I can find an appropriate spot on any backplane plate that matches up with the soldered DE-9 connector and another port. Older NICs come to mind as possible donors.

Edited by Trash80toHP_Mini

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OK, here are the promised piccies:

 

Solder side mirrored to match to component side for comparison

post-902-0-76667200-1484093560_thumb.jpg

 

post-902-0-37530000-1484093571_thumb.jpg

Conventional view of solder side.

 

post-902-0-19991800-1484093605_thumb.jpg

 

post-902-0-01829300-1484093678_thumb.jpg

 

post-902-0-31741600-1484093703_thumb.jpg

 

post-902-0-75619800-1484093724_thumb.jpg

 

Tha all important pinout details:

 

post-902-0-07550000-1484093745_thumb.jpg

 

post-902-0-95229400-1484093760_thumb.jpg

 

 

 

 

edit: I really should have blown the dust off the cards. ::)

Edited by Trash80toHP_Mini

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I'm ignoring the Nubus card, because you can't actually see which pins any of the traces run to because they're obscured by the connector itself on the component side.

 

As for the SE board, I don't have the patience at the moment to chase the schematic through the interlink between the output board and the card itself and from there try to chase signals the various components on it (which looks to be something of a fool's errand anyway, because most of it is PALs and the Xilinx ASIC, which we have *no idea* what they're set up to do), but if you look solely at the tracework on the output board you'll see that the only common pins between the DE-9 and the DB-15 are some grounds. The one pin on the DB-15 that does have a signal is pin 5, which is driven through a resistor and a diode from its own line on the interlink connector. In my opinion this tells us all we need to know about the DB-15: Pin 5 is "green video" on the regular Mac connector, which can also carry a composite sync signal, and therefore is capable when combined with a ground of driving a BNC-plugged Radius FPD monitor via the appropriate cable. The fact that no other pins on the DB-15 get a signal indicates that this card can drive that sort of monitor and *only* that sort of monitor with that port.

 

As for what it says about the DE-9 port, the unfortunate answer is "nothing". Just eyeballing it it looks like some, if not all, the lines going to it are buffered through a 74LS244 and I don't see *any* resistors or anything else that would act like a DAC, so I would bet that it only supports TTL monitors. Beyond that, well, I think it's either RTFM or hook it to an ancient TTL-capable multisync with cable compatible with CGA and MDA and see what happens.

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OK - below are the pics of my card. Note that my connector board is silk-screened as "SE Output Board - VGA" for whatever that's worth. Let me know if any more pictures will be helpful. I did these quick on the top of my desk, so apologies for the bad lighting.

 

post-2160-0-38992500-1484096990_thumb.jpg

post-2160-0-93343200-1484097010_thumb.jpg

post-2160-0-62602900-1484097040_thumb.jpg

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In my opinion this tells us all we need to know about the DB-15: Pin 5 is "green video" on the regular Mac connector, which can also carry a composite sync signal, and therefore is capable when combined with a ground of driving a BNC-plugged Radius FPD monitor via the appropriate cable. The fact that no other pins on the DB-15 get a signal indicates that this card can drive that sort of monitor and *only* that sort of monitor with that port.

 

Actually, I've got 5-BNC connections on the Radius PrecisionView 2150 (which won't be used for this kinda crap) and on the 21" MAG Innovision CRT with the cute little MHz (refresh rate) readout panel. Both these MultiSyncs handle just about whatever I throw at them, so we'll see! I'm particularly looking forward to receiving the NuBus Radius FPD Card. If it gets here as quickly as the Lapis card did from the same seller, I could have it by Friday. With that info on MNS, it should be fun to hook it up and see where it goes! :D

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