Finally – A Big-Screen Vectrex

The Vectrex is in no way the most popular console of all time, but it is one of the more unique. Eschewing typical raster-based rendering, it instead relies on a vector-based display. Since the average home television of the era would be completely unable to display such signals, the Vectrex had its screen built in. This got [Arcade Jason] wondering – would it be possible to hook the Vectrex up to a bigger screen?

First, a suitable monitor had to be found. The 19V2000 turned out to be a good candidate – much larger at 19 inches, and found in a variety of arcade cabinets from years past. From there, the project became a matter of identifying the signal outputs of the Vectrex. [Arcade Jason] took the liberty of modifying the levels of the signals on the Vectrex board itself, and then fixing the now-overscanned image on the original screen by adjusting the onboard trimpots. With the Vectrex’s X and Y signals now boosted somewhat, they were wired up to the inputs of the larger arcade screen. For the Z signal, things got even hackier – a Walmart “Computer Amplifier”, typically used for speakers, was instead pressed in to service to amplify the signal.

There are plenty of wires running all over the carpet in this video, but the fact is, it works brilliantly. Future plans involve upgrading to an even larger 23 inch monitor, and possibly even experiments with color vector displays. It just goes to show that the Vectrex, even today, maintains a die-hard following.

Perhaps you’d like to try this, but need to fix your original Vectrex screen first? Never fear – that’s possible, too.


26 thoughts on “Finally – A Big-Screen Vectrex

        1. Exactly. R of human skin is high-ish, and thus for sufficiently low V, I through the body is safe.

          There’s a reason why AS/NZS:3000 declares >60V AC and >100V DC as “lethal”. Such voltage potentials would be present in that Vectrex cabinet, even in North America. That said, I’ll admit I really don’t like messing with voltages higher than about 30V, preferring to keep below 15V if possible.

      1. As the observer said to the mountain climber: “do not worry, the height isn’t dangerous, and falling down is completely safe, but be aware of the ground as it is the sudden stop that kills you”

        Take precautions, wearing rubber gloves could help. Always make sure you are not standing in a puddle of salty water. And remember… you don’t have to touch those high voltage wires.

  1. If only there was a way to hack in a replacement dual op amp chip that is used to drive the yoke in original Vectrex. It’s a tad undersized for the use, Vectrex was originally going to be used with 5″ CRT but the big cheese wanted bigger so 9″ CRT was used with virtually no change in the existing hardware.

    1. no change in the original hardware would be required since a 9” tube is physically longer than a 5” tube (longer beam distance) a larger picture would be on the screen.

  2. hey guys i have a much better method to do this now !!!! i will post a new video showing how to do this on 3 different types of vector monitors on my youtube channel arcade jason

  3. I have a Vectrex I got as a present when I was in high School. It was when Vectrex was going out. I used to play the demo at Musicland and loved it. They were discounted at King Norman’s Kingdom of toys from their original $199 down to $50.00 and the games were only $5.00. I don’t want to modify mine but would like to get it working again. I believe the only problem with it is the picture tube. When I turn it on I can hear all the sounds but there is only a dot in the middle of the screen. I have all my original games including the overlays which added color.

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