Linux on obsolete displays

linux on obsolete displays

[bryan chafy] has been hacking away to get older non VGA displays running on VGA hardware without using a scan converter. You can pick these old grayscales up for cheap or even free. The tricky part is modifying the BIOS to reprogram the VGA card to output a sync and scanrate that is NTSC compliant. He’s managed to do this with a WYSE Winterm thin-client. Another clever trick is the poor man’s triple head display which stores a different image in each portion of the RGB signal.

14 thoughts on “Linux on obsolete displays

  1. That’s pretty f-ing cool… Think about this, too… Using the triple head method would also be a great way to independently drive each CRT of an older Rear Projector bigscreen television. That would be pretty nifty…

  2. Re #3: An interesting idea springs from this: Just use two of the color guns of the old rear projector big screen television (say red and blue). Then, make some glasses with a red and a blue filter for each eye. Finally display left-hand and right-hand images. You’ll have a cheap big-screen 3D-TV! It boggles the mind! ;)

  3. Don’t just think of the small TVs. You can also use large old workstation monitors. You can get those cheaply or even for free. I could get them for $15 each or less at a university surplus sale.

    I was using a 19″ monitor from a Sun workstation for a while. The ATI Mach64 drivers allowed me to customize the refresh rate in Windows. Linux allows customization via SVGATextMode and XF86Config. I wanted to use the monitor for DOS too so I wrote a TSR and later converted it to a BIOS extension which I burned to an EPROM that I put in the network card. svgatextmode and x drivers for the card provided all the information I needed to write that tsr.

  4. Hi, that was C00L, but modifying the VGACard Bios isn’t new. I have to done it to make it work with the Arcade Monitor. All people who has a PC inside his Arcade Machine has to done this (or buy an expensive VGACard…)

  5. > What is pictured looks to be the cheapy $27
    > black-and-white antenna-driven TV from
    > walmart.

    The TV I used was a Coby CX-TV1
    ~$18 at amazon.
    athough Ive seen the exact same model under different names (newtech, memorex, etx). It has composite input.

    > but modifying the VGACard Bios isn’t new. I
    > have to done it to make it work with the
    > Arcade Monitor. All people who has a PC
    > inside his Arcade Machine has to done this

    Any links to this, these people, or an image? Some other places Ive found to be somewhat helpful are and

  6. Are there any other websites out there devoted to using the VGA card to drive composite video in this manner? I’m really interested in exploring this as a possible display method for small screens inside my shuttlecraft project (as seen in this video)

    Please point me to any websites.

  7. Very nice!

    btw, the Coby sets (among the dozens of cheapie brands selling that design) can be had for less than $10 in some electronics stores. Otherwise, a neighbor’s junked console TV wouldn’t be bad either.

  8. Would it be possible to rig up a similar cable for converting a composite or component signal to VGA?

    I’ve got a dual-VGA-input flatpanel that I’d like to try things with….

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