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SE/30: Micron Xceed Video Card, DB-15 to VGA

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Question for those of you SE/30 owners who use a PDS video card with an external display.  I have a Micron Xceed video card and grayscale setup. Grayscale works great on the internal CRT, but  I've never used the DB-15 port also offered by the video card.  I have a 15" Color VGA LCD that's about 10 years old.  Would this adapter on Amazon be all that I would need?  (Not sure how those DIP switches on the adapter are used in case like this though.) Note the horizontal scan rate mentioned in the Xceed manual page below of 31.5kHz, which seems rather odd (maybe common for Apple though?).  Any thoughts would be appreciated.  Thanks.

 

MicronXceedSE30_FemaleDB-15signals.png

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I have the same Xceed setup and run it successfully with a NEC multisync adapter that has no dip switches.  I have a generic 17" LCD from ENvision.  This same adapter works on my IIsi and IIci without issue and multiple resolutions.

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FYI, that's just referring to the VGA standard horizontal scan rate, which allows 640x480 at a 60Hz vertical refresh rate. By comparison, NTSC composite/S-video/etc is 15kHz, which is why TVs can only refresh alternating scanlines at 60Hz and have a 30Hz full frame refresh rate for a similar resolution. The higher the resolution and/or the higher the frame rate, the faster the horizontal refresh has to be to keep up - I think a 75kHz monitor can handle 1280x1024@70Hz for example. So while we talk about resolutions and refresh rates in terms of the vertical refresh, the horizontal refresh circuitry is the actual limiting factor that determines what a monitor is capable of.

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Gentlemen, thank you kindly for your informative replies!

 

So in summary you seem to be telling me the following:

  • Any Mac DB-15 to VGA Adapter will work with the Xceed PDS cards (for SE/30), with or without DIP switches (and in the case of adapters with DIP switches, all the switches should all be set to their default OFF positions).
  • Color video should display fine on nearly any VGA color display (LCD or CRT) at 640x480, 60Hz

Is that correct?

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1 hour ago, JDW said:

Is that correct?

Pretty much.

 

I had to scratch my head about what exactly that diagram was trying to tell you, but a quick google makes it clear... I think. The standard 15 pin Mac connector has multiple ways to send sync; it has a composite sync signal on pin 3, it can (sometimes) do sync-on-green on pin 5, and it has separate Vsync/Hsync on pins 12 and 15. Apple monitors took composite sync or sync-on-green, vanilla fixed-frequency VGA monitors (IE, an IBM 8513 or friends) need separate sync, while most multisync monitors can take either. So what it's telling you is *if* you're using a fixed-frequency VGA monitor you'll have to cable to those pins, a cable meant for a multisync that does composite sync won't cut the mustard even if you're running at the otherwise compatible 640x480@60hz mode.

(This part of the manual can probably be fairly described as technically obsolete now, since as "multisync", or at least "multi frequency", became the standard for VGA monitors you might indeed run into monitors that aren't fixed-frequency but still won't accept composite sync.)

I think just about any modern adapter will run the correct lines through. I don't know enough about the card to say if one of those "multisync" switchless adapters will do what you want. Does the Micron manual say it has sense line support? It seems like it's just saying it's "NC" on the sense line ports. If that's the case then, yeah, I imagine the switches won't do anything.

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@Gorgonops,

 

Thank you for your detailed reply.

 

Here's a photo of my Micron Xceed PDS video card, currently used in my SE/30 along with the separate grayscale adapter:

 

https://photos.app.goo.gl/mT1QfqqRcWVMLvUH8

 

My video card appears to be a "MacroColor 30HR v2.0" because it looks nearly identical to that of @joethezombie on his Flickr page here:

 

https://www.flickr.com/photos/joethezombie/33514932455/

 

I don't have the "MacroColor 30 Installation Guide" though.  Maybe @joethezombie does?  The scanned page from my opening post was taken from the older "Color 30 Installation Guide." I made a keyword searchable (OCR) version of that Color 30 PDF and attached it to this post for your reference:  

 

MicronXceedColor30Manual.pdf

 

I did various keyword searches in that guide for the word "sense" (which you mentioned in your post) but there are no matches.  However, I don't know if that older version of the guide really applies to the newer version video card I own.  

 

If anyone has the MacroColor 30 Installation Guide, please post or link it!  (A readme file on the software floppy says the MacroColor 30 guide also shipped with the MacroColor 30HR "because the two products are basically identical.")

 

Thanks.

 

P.S. Resolution info is found in this MICRON XCEED SPECS table.

 

Edited by JDW

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I spent some time going through my vintage Mac guides this evening and look what I found...

 

XceedMacroColor30.pdf

 

:-)

 

I'll do a better scan of the entire manual with my flatbed if I have time this weekend, but for now my iPhone "scan" of those 3 pages will suffice.  

 

When comparing that PDF with the diagram in my opening post, we see some differences, most notably the absence of pins 12 & 15 on the MacroColor 30 (& 30HR) video card.  In fact, I flipped through the entire MacroColor30 manual and every instance of "VGA" was stricken from it.  Seems odd since the MacroColor30 is a newer and higher end card than the Color30.  Hmmm...  Anyway, does that mean a DB-15 to VGA adapter won't work at all with the MacroColor 30?

 

Perhaps there's still hope in light of this:

 

http://myoldmac.net/FAQ/RGB-VGA-DIP-switchconfiguration.htm

 

That webpage implies one should get a DB-15 to VGA (HD-15) adapter that has 10 DIP Switches on it, like this adapter on Amazon(In contrast, this adapter has no DIP switches, and since we are not told the internal configuration, it would seem impossible to know if it would work.)

 

Anyway, when pondering the table presented on that MyOldMac web page, it seems that we need to keep our eye on the "VGA/SVGA" row and note that only Mode-1 and Mode-6 do NOT use Pins 12 or 15, which is important seeing the MacroColor30 leaves 12 & 15 disconnected.  It says Mode-1 is "Composite SYNC" using the "SYNC signal (DB-15M pin 3) connected to HD-15F pin 13."  The MacroColor30 offers SYNC on pin-3, so I guess Mode-1 is correct.  That would mean the adapter's DIP switches 2, 3 & 5 only should be ON, the rest OFF.

 

@joethezombie, if you have ever connected your MacroColor30 to a VGA display using an adapter, please let me know which adapter and how well it worked.  I'd like to know more before I buy anything because Amazon Japan doesn't sell any of these adapters, so I'd need to purchase it on the US side and get it shipped to me here in Japan.  Thanks.

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Thanks for scanning in the manual:D

 

Literally nothing better than contributing something to the community that people thought was lost.

Edited by Paralel

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On 3/28/2019 at 7:33 AM, JDW said:

@joethezombie, if you have ever connected your MacroColor30 to a VGA display using an adapter, please let me know which adapter and how well it worked.  I'd like to know more before I buy anything because Amazon Japan doesn't sell any of these adapters, so I'd need to purchase it on the US side and get it shipped to me here in Japan.  Thanks.

Yes, I have connected to a modern display using some random 10-dip adapter I purchased from eBay.  I'm not sure of the make or model because there is absolutely no identification markings on the unit, and I acquired it so long ago that the listing is no longer viewable.  It works very well at 640x480 with millions of colors, or 800x600 60Hz with 256 colors using DIP positions 14679 on.  The monitor utility lists more resolutions up to 1024x768, but I was unable to get my monitor to sync with anything higher than 800x600.

 

I was going to try the Portrait Display with it, but haven't yet bothered, mainly because once an external monitor is connected, the internal display looses grayscale capability.  You'll get an extended desktop, but monochrome only.  Of course, I would much rather use internal grayscale.  If I want a big screen, I use my IIfx or Quadra.

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@joethezombie Thank you for your reply.  Being the impatient man that I am, I didn't wait until hearing back from you and instead chose to buy this Amazon adapter which doesn't have any DIP switches because that was the only one they were willing to ship to me here in Japan.  Hopefully it's in the 14679 configuration that you said would work.  If not, then I need to go through the hellacious waiting time and expensive of getting the silly DIP version adapter shipped to a family member, then re-shipped over to me.  Why on earth these sellers refuse to ship outside the precious US of A is beyond me!  It's just a silly adapter!  :sadmac:

 

It's good to hear that 800x600 works, even if it is 256 colors.  But a lot of games that work on 7.5.5 and under on the SE/30 require 256 or fewer colors anyway, so it shouldn't be a big deal.  At some point I want to make a YouTube video on the video card and grayscale and external monitor support, which is why I am making these adapter preparations now.

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For what it's worth I get around the shipping issue (to Australia) by using Stackry.com - there are a lot of equivalents, but they've worked alright for me. The reshipping tends to be expensive, but it's fast and reliable so far. 

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2 minutes ago, elbaroni said:

For what it's worth I get around the shipping issue (to Australia) by using Stackry.com

Nothing beats AM Forward because it's based on Oregon where there's no sales tax and their rates are the lowest I can find.  Even so, using a family member is cheaper still.  But it is the least expensive when silly Amazon sellers are just willing to be loving to their fellow man and be willing to ship anywhere in the globe.

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Well, I'm skipping for joy because the DIP-less DB-15 to VGA adapter I purchased from Amazon arrived today and it works perfectly with my Xceed Video Card to display color on an external VGA monitor, as shown in the photo below...

 

IMG_1502.thumb.jpg.c35eecb230bed3f9f317fb1a1ec51734.jpg

 

One question for you, @joethezombie.  You said your SE/30's CRT loses grayscale capability, but my internal CRT displays nothing at all (what you see in my photo above)!!  Is this what you see?  I've not tried switching resolutions yet, as I booted off my ROM-inator II Mega for a quick test.  But if you can use your SE/30's CRT along with an external display, I am curious as to why I cannot.  I'd love to hear your thoughts.  Thanks.

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What you are seeing is just a blank desktop, just the way your secondary monitor is supposed to be. Can't you move the mouse over on any of the sides of the external screen?

 

Check the monitor control panel. You should be able to see the internal screen there and position it accordingly.

You might have to restart afterwards to be able to actually use it.

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When I had my Xceed w/ grayscale hooked up to the external monitor the SE/30's did drop our 256 gray but was still functional as @Bolle mentioned. I could position the external monitor above, below, left, or right of the SE/30's and then move the menu bar at the top of the SE/30 to the external which I think makes it the primary monitor.

 

Your external looks great are you 1024 x 768 @ thousands or millions?

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BTW: @JDW is your VRAM issue still there? Can’t seem to see it on that photo of the external screen. May be just too small to see though.

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Sorry for my delayed reply, but being in Japan means a rather large time difference.  I'm unable to touch my SE/30 right now, but tonight I will test again.  Here's what I can say for now.

 

1. I've not yet tried to move a window from off the external VGA display past the display edge to see if it will appear on my SE/30's CRT.  I will test that tonight.

 

2. I only tested booting off my ROM-inator II MEGA, so I didn't have the ability to change or confirm resolutions, nor was I able to choose more than 256 colors.  Again, I'll examine that tonight by booting off my external HDD which has more software.

 

3. I couldn't test much last night because my SE/30 keep freezing.  The PSU, Analog Board, and Motherboard are all recapped, so it's not a power issue.  And all 8 16MB SIMMs are firmly fitted into their RAM sockets, and all the plastic tabs on those sockets are good.  I think it's the infuriating ROM-inator II.  That thing has a design flaw in that the PCB chosen for it is too thin.  And again, that's why in the ROM-inator II Manual (scroll down in that PDF to the page just before the last) they talk about a paperclip shim or rubber bands to try to fix the problem, but that doesn't fix the problem in my experience.  That's why I think adding fresh solder to all the pads front and back might help.  I'm just a bit scared to try it.  Anyone else try it?  Sure, I already have a IIsi ROM that's 32-bit clean, but the ROM-inator disables the RAM check at cold boot, enables use of HD20 mode on the Floppy EMU (which is greatly needed when you want to transfer more files than can fit in a 1.44MB floppy disk image), and it can boot from ROM and you can access your own software too (I have the programmer).  And heck, I paid for the thing, so I'd like to see it work without freezing my Mac. :-( 

 

4. I have two Xceed PDS video cards.  My MacroColor 30HR is the one with the VRAM problem whereby a vertical line appears on the internal CRT, and no, I've not tested that yet.  The card in my SE/30 last night does NOT have the VRAM problem, but it's a Color30 or Color30HR, I think, with noticeably fewer VRAM chips.  I will try to make time to test my MacroColor 30HR tonight.

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Adding solder to both sides of the ROM SIMM makes it worse in my experience.

Try adding some solder only on the back side. That way you still have a nice flush surface on the front to make contact. I am still having problems on some logicboards even though it’s a tight fit with the added thickness.

 

Problem is that most manufacturers only offer boards with 1.2mm or 1.6mm thickness. We would need 1.4mm for the ROM socket.

I tried 1.6mm and it’s way too thick and damages the contacts in the socket if you’re not super careful.

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3 minutes ago, Bolle said:

Try adding some solder only on the back side... I am still having problems on some logicboards even though it’s a tight fit with the added thickness.

So adding solder to only the back side will help but not entirely solve the problem.  OK.  Thank you for the first-hand experience.  It's a crying shame there's no perfect fix because the ROM-inator II MEGA is superb otherwise.

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@Bolle I am looking at my SE/30 now.  Are you sure that adding solder to the BACK side of the ROM (not the chip-side, but the BACK side) is best?  I would think the opposite would be true.  The pins pressing on the back look locked in place whereas the pins on the chip-side of the ROM seem to move a little.  There's no way I can apply fresh solder to all the pads evenly (some solder will be raised up very slightly higher on some pads than others), I would think doing that on the chip-side would be best, since the motherboard pins could probably accommodate that better.  Again, please let me know your thoughts.  I'm a bit afraid to do anything for feature of messing up my ROM-inator.

 

Well, I tested with my Xceed MacroColor 30HR (the one with VRAM problems).  My VGA display did not work at all with it.  Not sure if that is related to the VRAM problem (I doubt it), or related to my DIP-less adapter.  Since I don't have an adapter with DIP switches, I cannot know for sure.  And silly Amazon sellers in the USA refuse to ship to me in Japan.  So if any of you have a spare DB-15 to VGA adapter with DIP switches you are willing to part with, please send me a Message!

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Here's a photo showing how 1024x768 looks on my VGA display at 16 colors (which are the max colors for the Xceed Color 30HR), and note how it is shifted to the left and up too much on the display:

 

1024x768.thumb.jpg.1c261dd4b033ca241d9fb4040d6ba162.jpg

 

And here's a photo at 832x624, also with 16 colors and this time shifted up and to the right too much:

 

832x624.thumb.jpg.0da579659e1af41c562d5ce80beaadff.jpg

 

And here's a side-by-side of my two Xceed video cards:

 

XceedCards.thumb.jpg.413127bc27c3953c051c8142a09450c2.jpg

 

Here is the Xceed Video Card Comparison Chart.

 

I'd really like to test my MacroColor 30HR with the VGA display, but again, I need an adapter with DIP switches to do that.  Any generous souls out there with a spare one, please Message me.

Edited by JDW

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If the Xceed card only has pin 3 and is following the standard DA-15 video pinout, its only outputting composite sync any maybe sync-on-green. VGA monitors only support separate horizontal and vertical sync with a small subset also supporting composite or SoG. Many of the switched adapters have a built in sync separator to convert the composite sync or sync-on-green to separate H+V sync. You can build a relatively simple circuit using a LMH1980 chip too.

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13 hours ago, Bolle said:

Problem is that most manufacturers only offer boards with 1.2mm or 1.6mm thickness. We would need 1.4mm for the ROM socket.

I tried 1.6mm and it’s way too thick and damages the contacts in the socket if you’re not super careful.

 

Is it 1.4mm?  I ask, because I thought that the old ROM SIMMs and 30 pin SIMMs are .050".    While newer stuff is pretty standard at .063".

 

Ah, did a little googling and the drawings I found, though I'm not sure how standard they are, indicate that the thickness should be .047" to .055", which is 1.19mm to 1.4mm.   

 

So 1.2mm is near the extreme thin side of the specification and 1.4 is near the extreme large end of the specification.   Larger is likely to result in a snugger fit...

 

Ah, found this drawing from AMP, at DigiKey for the 822019-2 64 pin socket (822019 drawing is actually for several different pin counts, but -2 is 64 pins).

 

According to this drawing, the SIMM should, indeed be (.047") 1.19mm to (.054") 1.37mm with .050" (1.27 mm) as the nominal thickness.

 

 

 

 

822019.pdf

Edited by trag

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On 4/13/2019 at 2:39 AM, trag said:

According to this drawing, the SIMM should, indeed be (.047") 1.19mm to (.054") 1.37mm with .050" (1.27 mm) as the nominal thickness.

@trag  That's the problem!  I used a pair of precision Japanese digital calipers to measure my three ROMs as follows (measuring thickness at the pads):

 

SE/30 Stock ROM: 1.26mm (no issues)

 

IIsi ROM: 1.30mm (no issues, see photo below)

 

ROM-inator II MEGA: 1.13mm (occasional freezes, especially after having warmed up)

 

IMG_1507.thumb.jpg.e36f4005e6c852ddbecbe538f68180cb.jpg

 

Previously, @Bolle said he added solder to BOTH SIDES of the ROM-inator only to find it made matters worse for him.  He then suggested to me to add solder only to the BACK side, which I interpret as "the cross-bones side" (i.e., opposite the chip side). I then asked him why adding solder to the chip-side pads wouldn't be better, but he never replied.  I asked why because when I view my ROM's back side (crossbones) side pads, I see little nicks in them to indicate they've made contact, but when I view the chip-side pads, I don't see the little nicks.  

 

So I'm unsure what to do at this point.  But I do know that following the ROM-inator documentation (rubber bands, etc) does NOT work because you are just pushing on set of pads closer to the motherboard pins while creating a pin-gap on the opposite side.

 

Thoughts?

 

Edited by JDW

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