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View Full Version : IBM 5151 - Voltage and video card issues



fantasma
April 25th, 2014, 04:18 AM
Hello! First time poster here. It was about time I joined since I've been into 80s computing for these last couple of years, and I read the forum regularly. I'm a member at Vogons too, I've seen many of its users posting here too.

I've just got an IBM 5151 monitor, and I want to try it in a 286 machine which I'm currently using with a CGA card and a 5153 (here's a picture and its specs: http://www.vogons.org/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=27940&start=560#p343681). Before trying anything I'd like some opinions, because there's two issues to take into account:

1 - The monitor's 110v and I live in a 220v country. We usually have voltage converters for imported electronics and such, but what concerns me is that the machine is running at 220v. Would there be any electrical problem if I have the machine and the monitor running at different voltages? Obviously, the 5151 would have to be plugged directly to the wall with the converter, and not to the 286's PSU. Also, this PSU has a voltage selector switch, maybe I should run everything at 110v?

2 - I don't have an Hercules card at the moment, but this CGA card that I use has a "Color/Mono" switch. With the 5153 I use it in "Color", if I change it to "Mono" I don't get any picture. I always suspected the switch is for monochrome displays, can anyone confirm if it is? It's probably the same type of card the user mikey99 mentions here (http://www.vintage-computer.com/vcforum/showthread.php?13214-Configure-graphic-%28CGA-Mono-VGA%29-on-XT&p=78038#post78038). Here's a couple of pictures of the card:

http://i.imgur.com/PxNMhZH.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/cLyWKoj.jpg

Apparently, this CGA card came with the Samsung SPC-3000V (http://electricdreams.ath.cx/card/ks-4.php?current=3&s2=1), an XT machine.

Any insight will be apreciated. Please bear with me, I always wanted one of these and I don't want to fry it :) Thanks!

vwestlife
April 25th, 2014, 06:52 AM
The "color/mono" switch on the CGA card is probably for the composite output. It probably does not have any support for MDA/Hercules video output.

krebizfan
April 25th, 2014, 07:44 AM
There were several CGA/Hercules Video Cards released back then. I have not seen any that had a external switch to control it. For an internally switched counterpart, look at http://stason.org/TULARC/pc/graphics-cards/E-H/GOLDSTAR-ELECTRONICS-INTERNATIONAL-INC-CGA-Monochr.html I don't know if the specific card can work correctly with a 5151. It most likely won't burn out the monitor if you hook it up even if it doesn't work.

The voltages sent through the video cable should same no matter what voltage the 286 is set to work with. I would attach as few parts as possible to a converter so leave the computer at 220v unless you have to plug the monitor power cable into the 286. No real science behind the suggestion but I had problems with the converters available to me back when I was living in Germany. Mind that was 25 years ago so it is possible that recently made converters will work a lot better.

deathshadow
April 25th, 2014, 08:38 AM
I've owned a good number of cards that did both CGA and monochrome -- and usually yes, they had a switch like that on the back, or a set of dip switches.

So long as you don't try to run it for too long (wrong frequencies can damage monitors if you let them just sit and burn) it's worth at least trying. Typically a CGA on a mono won't burn it out, it'll just display junk. (other way around however... bad things can happen unless you have one of the magical MDA cards that can show 8 color text on a CGA display)

fantasma
April 25th, 2014, 11:54 AM
Thanks for all the answers. I've taken out the card to give it a better look, it has a set of jumpers. It'd be great to have some documentation, but I couldn't find anything apart from it being part of the SPC-3000V. I've taken some hi-res pictures though:

http://i.imgur.com/3hhtcxm.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/Bcx78HO.jpg

I think I'll try it only for a little time, and if it doesn't show anything, I'll see if I can get a Hercules clone card.

reenigne
April 25th, 2014, 12:07 PM
1 - The monitor's 110v and I live in a 220v country. We usually have voltage converters for imported electronics and such, but what concerns me is that the machine is running at 220v. Would there be any electrical problem if I have the machine and the monitor running at different voltages?

There's no issue doing this at all - once the power leaves the PSU it's low-voltage DC no matter what comes in. I run a 5160 on 240V connected to a 5153 plugged powered by a step-down transformer at 120V and it all works fine.

vwestlife
April 25th, 2014, 01:40 PM
The voltages sent through the video cable should same no matter what voltage the 286 is set to work with. I would attach as few parts as possible to a converter so leave the computer at 220v unless you have to plug the monitor power cable into the 286.

The 5151 is designed to get its power from the switched auxiliary outlet on the back of the computer's power supply. Therefore if you have it set up that way, you'll need to run the entire computer on 110 volts via a step down transformer; otherwise if you run the computer on 220 volts, it will pass that through the auxiliary outlet and fry the 5151.

Or, you could connect the 5151's male IEC power connector into the end of a regular IEC power cord and run it on its own 110V step-down transformer, while the computer's system unit runs on 220V. In that case just remember to disconnect the 5151 from AC power whenever the computer is not in use, as the 5151 lacks its own power switch, so if you leave it plugged in, the CRT heater will be left on all the time, shortening its life.

paul
April 26th, 2014, 02:21 AM
1 - The monitor's 110v and I live in a 220v country.

See my post (http://www.vintage-computer.com/vcforum/showthread.php?38507-IBM-5151-monochrome-monitor-how-to-convert-to-worldwide-voltage&highlight=kiwi) regarding converting the 5151 to worldwide voltage.

fantasma
May 6th, 2014, 02:52 AM
Hello, just wanted to update you guys on this. I had to wait a couple of days before trying anything because I had to get a new voltage converter. Yesterday I got it and guess what... it works!

The system boots up with some error beeps, but then it starts fine. It shows the message "Display adapter failed; using alternate".

I have to say I'm really impressed with the sharpness and the overall quality of the image, I've never seen a 5151 in person before. I have seen on YouTube that some cards can use it as a monochrome CGA monitor, but here it works in Hercules mode.

I'm quoting my last message with some better pictures of the card, since someone may have missed it (it got approved by the moderators a couple of days after I posted it, and didn't bump the thread).


Thanks for all the answers. I've taken out the card to give it a better look, it has a set of jumpers. It'd be great to have some documentation, but I couldn't find anything apart from it being part of the SPC-3000V. I've taken some hi-res pictures though:

http://i.imgur.com/3hhtcxm.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/Bcx78HO.jpg


paul:That's a very nice modification, I'll keep it in mind. It would be useful to avoid any accidents.

RaptorZX3
August 12th, 2014, 10:24 PM
i have this same card, but i have the game1/game2 bracket with it (so 2 game ports on the back of the computer). I have no idea what to do with this card, it's in extremely good condition considering its age (no rust, little-to-no dust on it), and i'm not really into collecting PCs that old, so...i might trade it to someone who want it and they may have something i want.

i posted something about this very same card right here:
http://www.vintage-computer.com/vcforum/showthread.php?43894-ID-this-video-card