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Color video from SE/30 for cheap?


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What's the cheapest way to get color video out of an SE/30? Even 256 colors at 512x384 would be perfectly fine. I find that my interests in this computer are more often limited by lack of color than lack of hardware on this. And I could just pull out my Performa 630CD for that, but it takes up so much more room than a compact Mac.

 

On a side note, has anyone attempted to make a modern video card for classic Macs? It really seems like it wouldn't take much hardware to make a very impressive video card for these. I can almost imagine the components in my head well enough to consider prototyping one, especially with that "designing cards for Macintosh" book floating around.

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You are a couple years too late... Someone used to sell Radius IIsi Pivots on ebay for 30 bucks but stock eventually ran out. It sorta fits inside the SE/30, with an adapter and a few mms shaved off its side.

 

And as far as I know there aren’t any modern alternatives. Although it would be kinda cool if someone were to copy one of the top end cards.

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There's a guy a mile from my house with a simisimac SE/30 who I just made an offer to who has an Xceed SE/306-48 (I'm pretty sure of it), which does do 8-bit color OUT from the SE/30 at 640x480—I don't have a way to test it 100%, but it looks to be VGA compatible… just need an adapter I guess.

 

Photo from the ad — don't know if Xceed's other ext. monitor brackets look the same or not.

906515-1542499555-804593.JPG

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35 minutes ago, modulusshift said:

Are you offering to sell it? Give me a price and I'll consider it, for sure. I'm just across the rockies from you so shipping should be reasonable too.

If he accepts my offer and I can confirm it works I'll consider it. I was hoping (counting chickens before they're hatched) to trade or part trade it for an accelerator. I don't want to sell you a bum product at any rate, so I'll have to test it once the simisimimimimimi-ism is gone after a re-cap.

From what I've found there's a jumper that switches between Mac 640x480 and PC VGA 640x480. That's even assuming it's even the SE/306-48.

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Aren’t the sources and schematics including PAL/GAL code for the 306-48 out there?

I think I have seen something along those lines... not sure if it was complete or not though.

 

All cards without custom ASICs were pretty similar no matter who manufactured them. Only very few PALs/GALs for the bus statemachine and a lot of 74 logic, VRAM and a RAMDAC.

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2 hours ago, Bolle said:

Aren’t the sources and schematics including PAL/GAL code for the 306-48 out there?

I think I have seen something along those lines... not sure if it was complete or not though.

 

All cards without custom ASICs were pretty similar no matter who manufactured them. Only very few PALs/GALs for the bus statemachine and a lot of 74 logic, VRAM and a RAMDAC.

Found it:

https://vintageapple.org/macbooks/pdf/Micron_Technology_Xceed_SE-306-48_1989.pdf

 

Has the code for all the GALs but is missing the schematics. If someone has that card and wants to lend it to me I can buzz it out and provide schematics.

Easiest way to have a diy SE/30 display card without having to work out too much magic to interface something modern to the SE/30 bus with all its quirks.

It's probably not going to be cheap though if one wants to clone that card. It's perfectly possible though with all the information in that document.

Edited by Bolle
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4 hours ago, sstaylor said:

Boy, I imagine he'll be glad to unload that.  He's been advertising it for over a year.  Hope it works out for you!

Thanks! Yeah, fingers crossed. Not nearly as long as that hopeless soul still asking $1,900 for that performa 5200. Has that been up for 3 years? That's what it seems like...

 

Bolle, do you need it physically or would several high res scans do it? It is more than two layers?

Edited by jessenator
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Wow, that's an amazing document you've got there, Bolle. I'm really starting to develop an appreciation for vintageapple.org that I wasn't expecting, they do some amazing work collecting and digitizing all of that.

 

Obviously this isn't going to be a very inexpensive project if I do decide to do it, but that's worth it to have more to tinker with for sure. I wonder what the practical maximum resolution one of these machines can handle is? Could I get 24-bit color on a 4k display with a big enough buffer? :) I don't know, but I hope I'll find out!

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This document sent me off on yet another insane hack tangent, but I started it in its own hacks thread for once! If we use this blueprint and scale the card back to 8-bit grayscale the game moves to a different playing field. Output optimized to drive a new A/B design that supports Micron's internal GS neck board allows usto bypass internal video and it's ridiculous timing limitations entirely. We'd need an analog guy to design the board around an available flyback transformer. The 12" Monochrome Pizza Box Topper's board would be the conceptual model and the upgraded PSU hack would supply the power, simplifying the board significantly.

 

Pull the Video ROM from the SE to set the board up to run in its slot $E interrupt/memory map location and it ought to be good to go. The kicker would be adding a floppy power adapter to the board and headers for a 68030 socket interface and you have the three stock Slot IDs and PDS card stack remain untouched. Set it up to run at those three locations as well as $E just in case. 8-bit internal grayscale at 640x480 for the SE/30? :blink:

 

A new Analog Board for the SE/30 sans internal video complications?

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4 hours ago, jessenator said:

Bolle, do you need it physically or would several high res scans do it? It is more than two layers?

I would need to have it on my bench to buzz it out. If joe has one of those cards he can do it as well though.

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The 81C478 is going to limit the resolution to 1024x768 max.  I doubt we could find any of those chips anyway to make new cards based solely on this design, but a set of schematics would definitely help us with a modern equivalent.   Probable first steps would be to program a GAL using the equations @Bolle posted, and drop it in.  Check for function, and continue until every GAL is replaced to verify what we have is what really is.

 

 

IMG_0025.jpg

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OK, one more bit of insanity: Does anyone know if there is such a thing like an LVDS controller chip available that might be flexible enough to run in reverse?

s-l1600.jpg

You'd be setting up the buffer to dump its bits into the controller in the data format of LVDS out and feeding it backwards to VGA or HDMI inputs converted to outputs. Is there an open source FPGA design for anything remotely like the controller above that might be tweaked to run in such a manner?

 

Since we're examining video out from the SE/30, why not use HDMI output and a modern display (maybe a wide screen format?) to keep it all in the digital realm? No RAMDAC need apply. :huh:

 

LCD-Controller-Board-HDMI-VGA-AV-for-Drive-LVDS-TTL-Display-Screen

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Possibly now completely off topic at this point in the thread, but riffing on what you just brought up @Trash80toHP_Mini, i had actually been looking into this for a crazy hack idea of:

1. grabbing video output from a video card and turning that into vga,

2. converting vga->hdmi, 

3. sending it to a raspberry pi video-in hat,

4. piping that to an airplay server software onboard, and

5. airplay video stream from your old mac to an apple tv.

 

Sounds nuts but i think it’s totally doable. 

 

In my research i found this video on using an hdmi video input hat on a raspberry pi to twitch stream an old nintendo. Seems our project isn’t that different.

https://www.hackster.io/tinkernut/raspberry-pi-twitch-o-matic-190a15

 

 

The video-in hat is new and not too expensive at 70 euros:

https://auvidea.eu/product-category/csi2bridge/hdmi2csi/

 

You’ll also need an a vga to hdmi converter. Thee are cheap ones on amazon ($12ish) but i’m not sure if they’re sufficient, or if you need to spend big bucks to get a proper upscaler ($150+). Depends on how standard a video stream is being output from these cards (or analog board), and whether upscaling can happen in software easily enough to output a standard 720p or 1080p stream via hdmi/airplay. If we’re trying to get a 512x342 input into digital we’d need a fancy upscaler, whereas a normal 640x480@60hz is sufficient for the $12 amazon ones (supposedly). For color outputs sync-on-green is solvable by how the cable is made i think, else we’d just need db15->vga adapter.

 

Another way to do this analog to digital conversion would be to build one of those chip data grabbers like what nishida radio did for IIgs HDMI adapter, which clips onto the video chip and vampires it’s digital signal. That is ideal since you skip analog step, but a lot of work.

 

I’m a big fan of raspberry pi’s because they’re extremely well supported (which matters for preservation) and seem to be ideal multipurpose bridge computers for all these related projects like

- adding wifi,

- adding bluetooth (bluetooth kb/mouse -> pi -> pipe inputs to usb -> usb wombat -> adb)

- modern web stuff like https->http proxy and converting modern webpages to 1bit clickable gifs,

- handling 1-bit spotify cover art,

- setting up dropbox (add it to pi, create local webserver for a dropbox folder, point Cloud7 extension at that url on boot, voila dropbox on 68k mac)

etc etc.

 

I’ve been holding onto this idea for a while hoping to execute it and do a big reveal of a classic mac with modern i/o (wifi, bluetooth peripherals, airplay) but life has gotten in the way of ambitious hobby projects. Someone interested in taking the plunge here and give it a try? maybe @ants?

 

(note: if you ever wondered what product managers do for fun, it’s coming up with ideas like these :P )

Edited by nickpunt
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I've tried a bit of the video stuff already, but with limited success. I have a RasterOps ColorBoard 264. I bought a DB-15 to VGA adapter and also a cheap $20 VGA to HDMI adapter.

 

However the HDMI adapter refused to accept the VGA signal, which I can only assume is because the RasterOps output is 66hz and not 60hz.

 

Perhaps there might be better HDMI converters that will accept 66hz, but I'd check the tech specs carefully before purchasing!

 

Lol I'm also a Product Manager, and as such I've also got heaps of ideas and almost no time to work on them :p

 

I agree the raspberry pi holds a lot of promise for bridging vintage Macs with the modern world, but alas I'm so time poor :(

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Interesting notion, nick. VGA to Composite Video is a cheap cable adapter, I use one on the bedroom bench from 6500 kluge to 42" panel. "Flicker free" Classic Mac Video freqs to the 60Hz VGA adapter could be a big problem. but it's something I can easily test for you. You'd be limited by the resolution of Composite to 640x480 or less IIRC.

 

Composite-to-HDMI is a simple box that I have on hand as well for the large VHS movie collection. Tying the two together will be easy and I'm off today and tomorrow. [:)]

 

s-l1600.jpg

 

Can't find a pic of mine, which was more expensive a couple or three years ago, but it's likely no better than this one for $18.49.

 

Now all I need is an inexpensive box to do VidCap from an HDMI input to post a Video Classic Mac Gameplay on my 42" panel for close examination of the resolution achieved. Haven't searched yet, suggestions?

 

edit: looks like the pic is mislabeled:  the USB power input says AV Input. My box uses a lump-onna-rope adapter.

 

@ants you beat me to it! Mac Video frequency is almost certainly the Achilles' heel of the project. ISTR there being really expensive converters to do it, but could easily be wrong about that. I've asked about VidCard under/overclocking to shift those blasted "flicker free" output freqs to 60Hz, but never got an answer IIRC. Was hoping a crystal can swap on the RCPII/IIsi VidCard could be a solution? :huh:

Edited by Trash80toHP_Mini
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What's the benefit of composite video in all this? Is it to grab the signal from the video card / AB? 

 

@Trash80toHP_Mini the raspberry pi hat I linked to can do HDMI in if you need to capture signal for recording. That's what the guy in the video was doing (tho he was then piping that vid stream to twitch).

 

Yeah bummer about the RasterOps 264, I also have one but lack a monitor that handles 66hz. Didn't realize the Radius Color Pivot IIsi also couldn't do 60hz, that was my backup solution! :/

 

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12 hours ago, nickpunt said:

What's the benefit of composite video in all this? Is it to grab the signal from the video card / AB?

Yep, and converting to Composite takes Pi out of the equation:

 

On 2/25/2019 at 3:05 PM, modulusshift said:

What's the cheapest way to get color video out of an SE/30? Even 256 colors at 512x384 would be perfectly fine. I find that my interests in this computer are more often limited by lack of color than lack of hardware on this.

Composite has close to enough bandwidth to handle 640x480. It shouldn't even break a sweat for that 512x384 @8-bit requirement. Gaming on the SE/30 letterboxed in color on my 42" HDMI panel would be oh so very cool. Doing it with a couple of adapters on the cable sans Pi could be the Economy Class ticket. Oddball flicker free freqs from 030 PDS VidCards converted to 60Hz VGA would be a First Class ticket.

 

Converting legacy Mac freqs to Composite in the Analog realm or to HDMI in the (hopefully simplified process) Digital world dovetails closely for the former and perfectly for the latter with current displays.

 

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

From the (nearly eight years old! 8-o) IIsiColorPivotII_PDS_Card_HackProject™ thread:

 

Same cable with ENHANCE Liberty Dial DA-19 -> DA-19 Adapter Results:

_"J"___640 x 480 x 66 Hz @ 8 Bit - 13"/14" RGB (Fixed Res Mac Monitor Standard)

_"F"___832 x 624 x 75 Hz @ 8 Bit - 16" Color (Fixed Res Mac Monitor Standard)

 

I'm wondering if some analog or digital equivalent of Three-two_pull_down might be applied to 13"/14" a/o 16" Mac resolutions to achieve 60Hz output? Only 640x480 is pertinent to the IP, especially over Composite. But consideration of Max Resolution output conversion of the RCPII/IIsi (RCP SE/30 and others as well) to HDMI would go hand in hand with discussing the requirement in the IP.

 

Roundoff error rears its ugly head for the xx.xxxxxx crystals involved in that equation when looking at the numbers, but may just match up?

 

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

Took a look around and found a great solution for HDMI capture, conveniently converting the family VHS tapes to DVD and even recording the makings for a blooper reel from several tapes onto a single thumb drive using its remote control. Taking the computer out of the setup requirements for VidCap is brilliant and for $71 itsounds almost too good to be true. Gamer toys present significant economies of scale. [:)]

s-l1600.jpg

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/HDMI-Ypbpr-AV-Video-Game-Capture-Card-1080p-HD-Recorder-Save-to-USB-Flash-Drive/163441477489

 

 

 

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I have a very similar capture device. It works beautifully. Will NOT work on HDCP protected sources, but that is easy enough to fix these days...

 

Three things to keep in mind, it is limited to 1080p30. It chops everything into 2 GB files, regardless of the size of the media you are using. So, you have to join the video files together after you are done recording to get a complete video. It's not a big deal, but I just like to warn people in advance so they aren't too surprised when they see a bunch of files all 2GB when they were expecting just one video file. Your audio output along the HDMI cable must be pure 2.0 stereo, anything else, the device will record nothing but static in the audio channel.

Edited by Paralel
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25 minutes ago, Paralel said:

I have a very similar capture device. It works beautifully.

Cool, thanks much!

 

Quote

Will NOT work on HDCP protected sources, but that is easy enough to fix these days... 

Another box had an evil suggestion, use the Component/RCA inputs for just that workaround. The snapshot button on the remote made me think of doing a reel showing every Mac in my extensive VHS/DVD movie collection.

 

< swerves back on topic >

 

Interesting finding:

 

Quote

Initial Test Results/First Draft of IIsi Color Pivot II Report:


<snip>


First round of tests done on expendable 21" MAG Innovision MX21F using Mac DA-19 Input


<snip>

Out of Sync/Horizontally Banded partial Image:
_"N"___512 x 384 x_?_Hz - 12" Color (Fixed Res Mac Monitor Standard)

 

That MAG Innovision Display has an LCD readout that lists every other Mac Res/Frequency combo. So I wonder if something hinky is going on there (a possible opportunity?) or if 512x384 was simply considered superfluous and not supported in the readout table of a 1600x1200 capable TPD?

 

< /swerves back on topic >

 

Edited by Trash80toHP_Mini
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