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Still quite busy... but here's a bit of news about the subject -- not as good as I'd like, though :(


I made a crude, ugly connector for this card, but so far I connected the several SENSE and SYNC lines plus the associated grounds only. No coaxial cables were soldered thus no picture would be possible; but at least I could check if my versatile Acer monitor syncs up properly with the card's (partial) output. Some evidence of this outrage:

7573377932_7b656e4deb.jpg7573377636_a7d836b3e9_n.jpg ;)

Now, the testing: I used a IIsi with 33 MB and System 7.5.5. An Apple 12" RGB was connected to the internal video output (to be able to see what was going on) while the Acer was hooked to the ColorPivot thru a typical, known good VGA adapter (and my cable).


Upon power-up, during the RAM test (33 MB do take a while on the IIsi!) both outputs were muted, as expected... but as soon as the internal video arose, the Acer detected some signal too! No picture of course, but from its menu there was a 68 kHz / 75 Hz signal, like that of a Portrait display -- confirming my previous probing with the oscilloscope. However, this was always the same any way I went with the VGA adapter's switches, plus it never showed up on Monitors control panel xx( although Gauge series's Slot Info was detecting it properly every time (slot $A). Warm restarts make the sync signals to the Acer disappear for a moment and then back again, as expected.


On the other hand, I recently got (from macmetex too) a Radius Pivot NuBus Interface (632-0070). Sharing the same DRAM (8x M514252A-80, just different package), the same big custom chips (297-0308 & 297-0309), the RAMDAC (Bt478KPJ50), the famous 14.3181 MHz crystal can and regulators (LM385 & LM393) plus most discrete components, I don't think it's crazy to assume both cards would have similar capabilities... even the ROM (DIP vs. PLCC) is labeled quite much the same: © 1992 Radius Inc. COLOR PIVOT V2.6 256K U5-0039-04-A (the PLCC version reads CLR/PVT V 2.6 0048-2A, there's much less space on it)


This NuBus card has the usual DA-15 connector, so I could easily check that it supports several display modes:

  • 512x384, 60 Hz (12" RGB)
  • 640x480, 66 Hz (13", not VGA)
  • 832x624, 75 Hz (16")
  • 640x870, 75 Hz (Portrait)


But whenever I had any other mode set on the adapter's switches, it kept displaying the usual grey screen with the Radius logo at the bottom at the "default" portrait mode: 640x870, 68 kHz, 75 Hz; looking very stretched on the wide Acer monitor -- not the safest thing to do if connected to a fixed-frequency incompatible monitor :disapprove: Of course, when on a compatible mode the Radius logo appeared for a moment, then the Mac cleared the screen and started booting, as expected.


Could it be that somehow the Pivot IIsi is not detecting a compatible monitor and thus disabling itself? Maybe when I get the coaxials soldered it could show the Radius logo, as the 'scope-detected activity on the RGB lines suggests. BTW, the sense lines' continuity on my crude cable checks out OK...


I hope to be able to complete the task in a few days, and come back with more info. I can't conclude anything so far :-x

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According to my experience, screen shots (Cmd-Shift-3) will only capture whatever screens show up on the Monitors control panel. I have however re-checked this particular case, and it captures only the 512x384 image of the 12" RGB I had at the IIsi built-in video port :( regardless of the sense code applied to the Pivot's connector -- either from the VGA adapter's switches, or from real Apple monitors, in particular the Portrait Display.


However, a funny effect was observed... I tried to do the same with no monitor at the built-in port, pressing Cmd-Shift-3 blindly and then Keyboard power-enter (for a proper shutdown). In order to avoid the long RAM test (33 MB), I was going to remove the 12" connector on the fly (yeah, I've done that many times without ill effects) and then power-R to reboot cleanly...


...but as soon as I disconnected (while running!) the 12" from the built-in port, the Pivot's output was muted -- the Acer no longer received sync signals! :?: Then, I issued (blindly) the restart command and... got Chimes of Death right after the normal bong xx( If cold-started this way, the IIsi bongs, does the RAM test and then the Death Chime xx( Plugging back a monitor into the built-in port makes everything go back to the usual way...


This is quite strange because, if the Radius Pivot card is not installed, the IIsi can certainly run completely headless: I've used it as a LocalTalk server that way, and a Cmd-Shift-3 does make a fancy 32x32 image with the "Menu bar" occupied by the small Finder icon (of the Application menu) and garbage in the lower half, with the arrow somewhere in the middle :o)


EDIT: just tried again, but putting a cruder jumper between one of the card's video outputs (pin 2, 5 or 9) to one of the monitor's DA15 video input lines -- for instance, pin 5 to pin 5 (green signal). The Acer display shows, clearly, a streched (it's portrait mode on a wide display!) screen with the usual Radius logo at the bottom, all green of course. Separate SYNC (13" won't do)


Unlike its NuBus sibling, this particular card rejects any sense code I could apply, considering it an unsupported monitor. Same when using the APD (only pin 9 gets the input, this time with the right aspect ratio)


Booting from 7.1 (instead of 7.5.5) changes nothing.


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It sounds like your Mac Video Adapter might not be up to the task to me. IIfx had problems getting anything but 640x480 out of the Apple Display Card 24AC I sent him until he got a good adapter, now it's running fine.


I did all my RCPII/IIsi tests with the Enhance "Liberty" Adapter, the best of the best in my estimation. Which one are you using? :?:


As for what shows up in the Monitors Control Panel:



Full House 4: PixelTown Config.


The next post shows what happens when they don't play nicely together in Full House 5


I couldn't actually follow the details of what you were reporting, I'm really tired ATM. What monitors are you using?

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  • 1 month later...

I forgot to mention the Video Adapter Docs Scan Dump.

Let me know which one you're having trouble with and, if it's in the pic or on my list, maybe I can help you out with some documentation. :beige:


In your PM, you said you were trying to use your RCPII/IIsi with an LCD. Check the previous page for the output range of the card and check to make sure your LCD is a MultiSync.

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  • 1 month later...

I don't think I'd call it spectacular, but 16" @ 8bit Color is bigger, better and doesn't screw around with Bank A like the Vampire Video setup on the MoBo. That bit of nastiness only gives you 12" RGB or 640 x 480 in 8bit and Portrait at I'm not sure how many bits, but I'll bet it's not 8. If no monitor is sensed on the MoBo Video Connector at startup, none of the Meg of RAM in Bank A gets buffered for use as makeshift VRAM.


p.s. check out the first page, it lists all the resolutions tested.

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640x870 on a IIsi or IIci will give 4-bit. I remembered that from my freshman year in college, when taking a college chemistry class - small computer lab next to the main chemistry labs - contained an Apple IIgs ROM 3 that was pretty loaded, a Mac 512, a IIsi with Sony CPD-1304S hooked up, and another IIsi with a regular Color Pivot hooked up to the VampireVid port.


Interesting thread, btw.



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Cool. Not a problem.


OBTW: with respect to the SuperVideo control panel, didn't notice much improvement in video acceleration. Seems the same. Main issue seems to be the drawing of windows, etc. While playing Super Tetris or Apeiron, it seems function at a normal rate for a IIci. There is a separate Accelerator INIT used with the 2.07 control panel, which was rolled into the control panel for version 2.7... For now, I've upgraded back to 2.7.5.



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Most of the MoBo Video systems are as, or faster than, NuBus Video for most purposes, but limited to lower resolutions. Cards like the RCPII/IIsi run at the system bus speed as opposed to the 10MHz NuBus. Higher resolutions a/o DSP acceleration for doing transformations in pro level software like CAD Systems and filters in PhotoShop would be the realm of NuBus VidCards. Back in the Day, it was the standard DTP config to have a 13" RGB running off the IIci's MoBo Video and a grayscale TPD or FPD running off a NuBus Card.


For gaming, you're probably not going to see any improvement in speed because gaming resolutions are typically in the low range where MoBo video shined in that rime period. A NuBus Card with DSP Support would have been the winner hands down if gaming had ever taken off on the Mac.


As an interesting side note: by the time Dual Voodoo IIs were the cat's meow for supporting gaming engines in the PC world, the Mac had lost any chance at competing in the gaming market. My friends who are serious (read as obsessed) gamers are impatiently waiting for the development of gaming engines for Linux, Windows having become a serious limitation for them in terms of reliability in today's world.


The RCPII/IIsi, along with its competitors, are a special case. Overcoming one of the IIsi's purposely implemented system bottlenecks and giving a bit smaller bump in resolution/Color Depth/adding second screen support for FPDs and Pivots being their strong suit.


The IIsi was the combination of an upgraded/lamed SE/30 and a lamed IIci, having most of the features of both, but intentionally limited to keep it at the third tier of the Mac II line. Requiring a NuBus Chipset and Math CoPro to take up the expansion slot as well as soldering a severely limited amount of RAM in Bank A made it a pro-sumer IIci. Adding color/GS support, 4 MHz of bus speed and support for NuBus improved upon the SE/30 spec. Removing the L2 cache, support for more than a single NuBus Card, reducing FPD g/s bit depth and shaving 5MHz off the IIci's system bus knocked it down a peg in the Mac_II lineup. Limiting system RAM kept it from competing with either system for the Professional Graphic Art/DTP/CAD Workstation market segment.


I hope this makes some kind of sense . . .


p.s. I also appreciate your feedback, J. It's encouraging, this project gets a lot of views, but very few replies. :-/

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. . . i can buy this video card, and use it as long as i make my own cable?


sounds like a pain in the butt


Actually it's not too bad, it's a fabulous deal, buy two in case you mess up the first one or we get it working in the SE/30. :approve:


Desolder the connector and then solder your wires directly into the thru-holes. I've got the cable so I haven't bothered to source thin co-ax like that used for stand-alone WiFi antennas.


Find that and a solder cup DA-19 connector and you'll be able to make a cable consistent with the original Radius spec. Dunno about RFI interference or possible crosstalk problems for video a/o the rest of the system if you don't use co-ax. The boffins in the 68kMLA Tech Support Division will need to chime in on that one, I'm just a knuckle draggin" hardware hacker in the SpecOps teams.


Eventually, I'd like to noodle out the wiring diagram to just throw 16" 8bit Color directly out of an HD-15 connector at the backplane.


So many hacks . . . so little time . . . :-/

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  • 2 weeks later...

Phew... After a long time with tons of work, I'm back again ;)


Glead to hear the discussion going on. I've had little time to keep twinkering on it, but here's an update/remainder of the state of my research:


•The card supplies a 640x870 (portrait) signal, no matter the sense code applied (from the limited selection I tried, that is) with the usual Radius logo on startup.

•The card doesn't show up on the Monitors control panel, thus the OS isn't supporting it :( Most likely I'm not supplying it the proper sense code, as you suggested. Anyway, the card keeps the Radius logo output, as if an unsupported monitor was detected :?:

•My LCD monitor does sync OK with this default output (although being a wide screen, the card's portrait output look awfully stretched!)

•I have been able to put the card's "default" output on the real RFI genera... I mean, Apple's Portrait Display ;) but with a sense code manually suplied thru my adapters -- same results, only the Radius startup screen, not detected by the OS.


About the adapters I used: here's a pic of all I have:


•The one at the top right has no switches -- came with a surprisingly short-lasting Sony 19" monitor and set ("modern") Macs to the highest-res Multiscan mode.

•The one at the top left seems pretty much the same as the one at bottom right on the picture of yours -- two rows of 8 DIPs (not shown). The original leaflet was lost long ago, but I found this which seems to be correct for it:


•Bottom right is my very first Mac-to-VGA adapter. It had a small mode table printed, but it's now rubbed off :( However, I did try each one of its 64 combinations on the Quadra 700, and wrote the results somewhere :-/

•Bottom left came as a freeby in another deal, and never had any instructions for it. However, I think I found its manual on the web:


But still haven't cycled thru all the settings in order to find a compatible mode for the IIsiColorPivot :I


Since you have the original cable for it... may I ask you to check continuity on the three sense lines in order to determine the full sense code expected by the card? You know: check each line against ground, and then between each pair of them, both ways -- some sense codes use diodes and thus are polarity-dependant. That way, at least we could try with one less variable...


All the best,

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Sorry, forgot about your request, Z. I've got to sort out all the hacks in progress and put a few away so I can get to it . . .

. . . it looks like a computer recycling bin exploded in my apartment. :-/


I think I'll dig through the Mac Video Drawer for the VGA adapters I have that match yours and test drive them.


Speaking of RFI Generation Units, I put a grounded, galvanized steel plate between my MPD and the PecisionView 2150. ;)

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  • 6 months later...

Z, where have you been?




Found a very interesting page googling for info on my NuBus Pivot card.




It seems as if someone has already done all this work for us! :lol:


The bottom line is interesting, is that new info . . . :?:

Sense Pins: Connect pin 7 to pin 10 for VGA. Leave pin 4 not connected.

. . . I'm wondering how they managed the 60 Hz timing conversion for VGA . . .

. . . forgot to mention that nice piccie . . .

. . . at least they linked to some connector possibilities!





Be that as it may: someone linked to an adapter pinout somewhere and there is one component to add between two of the lines, so there is progress to be made on this cable cloning project.

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  • 3 months later...



I have one of these cards from eBay in my IIsi and DIY cable† from the card to a Mac DB15 monitor connector I added to the back of the IIsi. One reason why I got the card was to get a higher resolution than 640×480. Since I couldn't find this info on the net, I decided to test all possible combinations of sense codes supported by my Mac to VGA adapter. The adapter is “Unimacfly” (looks similar to the one pictured top left above). It has 8 DIP switches, but of them 5 and 8 seem to toggle sync on green, so the remaining switches 1-4 and 6-7 had only 64 different combinations, all of which I tried.


To cut the long story short, the combination of switches 2 and 4 on (together with the always-on 5 and 8 to disable sync on green) I can get 832×624, and Radius DynamicDesktop also allows me to switch to two other modes on the fly: 640×480, and "Full Page" which is apparently a higher resolution mode but my TFT won't display it correctly. In any case, that seems to be the highest resolution mode available with this card, and this combination of switches is the only that allows using it (and the only one that allows switching between three resolutions with Dynamic Desktop).


To help find the same mode on other Apple->VGA adapters, this combination of switch is called the 16" Color display in the manual of the adapter.


An additional discovery I made that toggling switch 1 on the adapter on the fly causes the display to pivot, i.e., the monitor will see the same resolution but the image is rotated 90°. The computer won't boot with switch 1 on, however, so if this pivot method is used it seems it can only be pivoted after booting.



† My cable from the IIsi card to the DB15 connector is basically just straight through, pin 1 on the card goes to pin 1 on the display connector, etc. Pin 8 was left unconnected but I doubt it matters.

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Interesting, does your monitor display a stretched image in the Portrait mode? Is your TFT 4:5 or widescreen? Have you tried it in the pivoted mode? It might just work, since your TFT seems to be vintage Mac tolerant. It's dealing nicely with the offbeat output frequency of that card rather nicely.


Welcome aboard and nice work, BTW. It's nice to see another VidCard hacker has joined the ranks of the MLA! :approve:


@z: hi, I seen you've been back recently, still to busy to play around with this? ;D

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If the "full page" resolution is selected, the TFT (Dell 2405FPW) incorrectly detects the resolution and the image is both squashed and cropped, i.e., not all of the desktop is visible and computer pixels are not correctly mapped to TFT pixels. Too bad, since it would probably have been the highest resolution available with this card, but I'm quite happy since 832×624 is already a big improvement over 640×480.


In the pivoted mode at 640×480 or 832×624 everything works perfectly since the pivoting is done by the video card, i.e., the TFT does not even see a resolution change occur. So if one wished to use the portrait mode at 480×640 or 624×832, it can be done, but it cannot be invoked in software and the computer does not boot correctly in pivoted mode, so it must first be booted with the monitor sense lines indicating the 16" RGB display and then one of the sense lines (the switch one of my adapter is connected to) toggled to rotate the image afterwards. Of course this means that the TFT/monitor must also be physically pivoted to be usable…


So for using the pivoted mode one might want to wire an external switch to that line (easy to do either from the adapter or from the header on the card itself), but personally I think I'll stick with the landscape. =)



As for TFT compatibility with vintage Macs, it does not actually wake up from power saving mode automatically when the 832×624 resolution is used, but pressing one of the screen buttons turns it on and the image will then be correctly detected. My other TFT, Fujitsu P27T-7 does not seem to like 832×624 (the image shows but is offset so that part of it is cropped and not fixable by adjustments available)… Both displays can do 1152×870 perfectly with the Quadra 800, however, and of course the standard 640×480 and 1024×768 with every vintage computer I've tried.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Phew! Hi again! Sorry for being absent all this time... life's got rather complicated and, among other things, I've been giving birth to my very-own-designed 6502 computer -- now that's retro! ;)


Fortunately, things are starting to settle down now, so I'll be back into the delicious world of 68k Macs real soon... currently, the IIsi is sort-of buried below a lot if stuff, I'll try to clean up that as soon as possible.


I've seen the schematic of the connection a few posts above... while I was already aware of extended sense codes, it's worth noting the diode placed between the sense lines; I'll definitely try that on my IIsiColorPivot, probably with the diode directly soldered to the board in order to eliminate the risk of some bad connection.


One the other hand, I can't rule out the possibility of my card not being in working order... this was purchased you-know-where in untested state, and the other RadiusPivot I have (for NuBus interface, but I assume it's pretty much the same thing otherwise) does work perfect with my Acer monitor and most (if not all) of the sense codes I try.


Hopefully, you'll hear soon from me with the results of the diode hack... thanks again to all for your contributions!

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Welcome back! The 6502 sounds like fun, I hope the other complications aren't too, too difficult.


I'm thinking the card is fine and the cable needs the diode. I got several of those cards (the price was right) and am planning to desolder the connectors and hardwire the cable. All (three?) of my boards tested good. I don't think I've ever gotten anything from Rob that wasn't fine, though everything he sells is pretty much as is/untested.


I'm looking forward to hearing your results.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi and thanks (again) for the warm welcome... Things aren't that complicated, just more/new tasks at work with less pay :-/ but still can afford some hobbies anyway.


Back to our thread, I've been experimenting a bit with the IIsi and the Radius Pivot PDS card... first of all, after this period of inactivity, the PSU is misbehaving a bit -- things like firing up on just plugging and then not powering off (yes, the power button is not at the stuck "server" position) so it's asking for a recap at some point... however, after some warm up period it seems to do just fine for the testing.


To summarize, here are the test conditions:

  • Mac IIsi with 33 MiB of RAM, 250 MB HD (stock ROM)
  • System 7.5.5 (pretty barebones)
  • Apple 12" RGB monitor connected to the built-in video port (to see what's happening!)
  • Acer LCD wide-monitor (vintage Mac friendly)
  • My Radius ColorPivot IIsi PDS card
  • My crude connector (but continuity checked out OK) now with all relevant lines
  • 10-dip VGA adapter (the best documented one I have, see my previously posted bottom-left adapter)


Now, the bad news :( I can only get the IIsi (with the Radius) to boot after a really cold start (powering off for a couple of minutes won't do), otherwise after the RAM test (takes some time for 33 MiB :I ) the dreaded Death Chimes are heard (with just a standard pattern on the 12") xx( The few times it boots (from cold) no card is detected by SlotInfo, or the Monitors control panel. In this state, the Radius card itself seems to output some signal (64 kHz horizontal and a rather odd 69 Hz vertical, as stated by the Acer monitor and confirmed by the 'scope) but the image itself mostly consisting of a dot pattern, sometimes moving in a randomly fashion -- but somehow affected by user interaction :?: Tried on another working IIsi I have (9 MiB RAM) but got the very same behaviour...


Then I tried what I suppose to be a very similar card, except for the interface: the Radius Pivut NuBus -- same big chips, same VRAM, even the declaration ROM has exactly the same contents (have read both with my EPROM programmer). But this card has the usual DA-15 monitor connector, making things much easier. This goes of course thru the NuBus/FPU adapter I have, tested good with many other cards.


No boot problems here... but regardless of the sense code applied (tried the whole list above) this card always output the aforementioned 64 kHz horiz./ 69 Hz vert. sync signal, which my Acer monitor mistakenly identifies as "1440x900" and the auto-adjust feature can't center properly -- but the image is definitely present and readable. However, with some DIP settings the 640 x 864 (as Monitors indicate) desktop looks heavily stretched as expected for a portrait mode on a wide screen; but some others give the same sync signals but a tilted desktop, this time identified as 864 x 640.


Further investigation makes me think that the only sense line checked by the card is Sense Line 0, that is, pin 4. And it only switches between "regular" portrait mode and the tilted one, but no other modes are generated -- somehow reasonable because of the only Xtal on board. However, my previous testing with that very same card revealed the availability of a few "standard" screen modes, which I can't get right now -- most likely because I used another adapter back then, which (if memory serves) is currently installed on Dad's 7500 and thus far of my reach...


Anyway, if we assume both cards (Pivot IIsi and Pivot NuBus) are the same with just a different interface (which seems reasonable) then that very different behaviour is highly suspicious... maybe I had the bad luck of getting the only malfunctioning unit of these PDS cards, or simply I broke it at some point :I However, I won't rule out that hte card's hardware is fine except for those !"$%&@# PLCC sockets for the decl. ROM, which I know to be "temperamental", to say the least... I did have some troubles reading the ROM, in fact. Will try to clean & tighten that.


Or maybe they're not the same and I'm doing something wrong with the PDS version... or some software incompatibility (?)... I'm not using any specific extension, but I was hoping the card would be accesible for the desktop, if not getting all of its capabilities.


After I get the PLCC ROM socket revised, I'll check again and let you know.

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As a new IIsi owner, after reading through this whole thread, I'm interested but confused. The card is only $3.00! But from what I can tell, Trash80 is the *only* person who's actually gotten one to work? And that was using an adapter cable pulled from some SE/30 video card? I'm also not sure how to build a DIY adapter cable. There's some discussion of a "straight through" cable, but Trash80 mentioned something about using coax cables? I also think there's some overlap between discussions of how to build a Pivot-to-Mac monitor adapter cable, vs a Pivot-to-VGA cable. Has anyone succeeded in building a simple DIY adapter cable that actually works?


Possibly dumb question, but if you build a DIY cable, where do you physically mount the video connector on the IIsi? Do you build some kind bracket that fits the opening on the back? If so, then wouldn't that prevent using the pass-through PDS slot on the Pivot card to add something like ethernet? Since there's only a single opening in the case, but you'd need both a video connector and an ethernet connector there?

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