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How to drive Macintosh Color Display from SE or Composite Video?

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So, I might be getting a decently sized conquest of Mac stuff this weekend from trades. There'll probably be a post from me in that section around Satueday, but for now I've got a question.


Among this lot is a Macintosh Color Display, the 640x480 CRT. From what I've heard and read, the only input is a DA-15 cable. I have two questions regarding this. Firstly, is it at all possible to wire an adapted to allow composite input? The form factor and resolution would be perfect for my N64 and C64 if so, and I'm willing to solder a cable. This seems quite unlikely, but honestly, I'd be over the moon if it was possible. I've been looking for a decent CRT for a while and if this is possible it'd fit the bill perfectly as well as being useable with Macs.


Secondly, I want to get this monitor running with my SE as an external display. What kind of card would I need to drive this and how could I get one? I know they're pretty rare, likely, and I haven't got a ton of money. What makes should I be on the lookout for? I haven't got a pizza box Mac or a tower to hook it up to; I've currently only got compact macs.


So, it looks like a nice monitor that isn't too big (14"), and I'm happy to have it when I get it. I was just wondering what I need to do to get it going and could use all the advice I could get. Thanks!

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Since no one has replied I'll throw my limited knowledge in. I had a friend make an Xbox component (not composite) to VGA adapter a few years ago. It stands to reason that the same could be done for the DA-15 connectors. However, I don't think you can just solder some wires together to get composite direct to VGA/DA-15. I think that requires some active hardware to do the conversion. I could be wrong though.


As for the SE to Color external monitor, I know there exists one internal card for the SE that had the proper hookup (DA-15) and supported limited color output. The name is escaping me but recently there was an SE in eBay finds that had the back panel for that card and if I recall it also had the name of the card on it in the photo. However, it is incredibly rare.


Another option for getting that monitor hooked up to an SE is another color adapter that plugged in via SCSI. Again, the name escapes me but that product is slightly less rare. I feel like one pops up on eBay every 18 months or so.


Probably not the answers you were hoping for. That said, if the monitor is in good working condition it would work with anything Macintosh II all the way up to the beige G3 series. Also, the SE/30 had a lot more options in the way of graphics cards that utilized the standard DA-15 port. Still expensive, but less rare.

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Thats not all...


the IIgs monitor is basically a mini-arcade RGB monitor. 


it runs composite scan/NTSC 15.625Khz line frequency, so it cant sync anything higher or lower than old style TV, or CGA... 


And, its RGB. 


So, you would need a Composite to RGB adapter that also splits off the sync signal. 


Then, and only then, you can use a IIgs monitor, but ONLY as a composite monitor, so its like hooking up an old tube TV with RCA inputs to something. Good for a commodore, TI, or a TRS-80 but thats about it. 


Or, a IIe. Or even an NES if your into vintage gaming.

Edited by techknight
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Well yeah, the GS and Mac video signals are completely different. (And I should have made that more clear, especially since I have a IIgs). The signal levels are completely different, the sync is completely different. Completely incompatable. Honestly, I am kind of a little surprised that they share the DA-15 connector. Now you just need to get a IIgs to hook that monitor up to ;)

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I was reading the pin-out information for the IIgs' video connector, on the DA-15 connector there IS composite video out. (See: https://support.apple.com/kb/TA36688?locale=en_US) While the monitor doesn't normally use the composite video out from the DA-15 connector, I wonder if when connecting corresponding pin on the monitor to a composite video source, it would work with a standard composite video signal. That would allow it to work with composite video output from your N64 and C64, assuming the monitor works that way.

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No. I dont think thats how that works. 


the IIgs monitor is an RGB monitor ONLY, Analog at that... Just like an arcade system. 


the composite is on the DA-15 connector so 3rd party manufacturers could make a composite monitor that was only IIgs compatible which I dont think anything ever came of it, considering the IIgs has a standard composite RCA jack on the back anyways. 


And I think the apple monochrome monitor used the composite out on the DA-15 but I never owned one so I am unsure. 

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Wow, that's a whole lot of helpful info. I actually picked up the monitor today and it powers on fine (light comes on and you can hear the CRT) but there's nothing on the screen. Makes sense since I haven't got anything to hook up to it.


Just.in.time, thanks for the insight. Im sorta remembering reason about the SCSI color adapter, it could have been called "Scuzzygraph" or something. However, as you said, since the connector is different from a Mac monitor, that wouldn't do me any good.


Themk, man, I'd love a IIGS. I have to get most of my stuff locally though and vintage computer stuff is pretty rare. Added to that, I haven't got a lot of space, so if I wanted one, I'd have to move another computer out. Right now I'm trying to sell two Apple Printers. So for now I'm just gonna keep the monitor around. I may eventually make a trading Post thread for it if I can't get a II or a IIGS in trade locally. It'll just sorta be in limbo right now, as I'm trying to fix up a Mac Classic I got in my Mac conquest today. Hopefully I'll find somethingto put it to use with!

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