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 http://www.wimsbios.com http://www.biosmods.com and http://www.mameworld.net/pc2jamma/monitors.html

  6. 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.

  7. 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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