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Thread: IBM 5150 monochrome monitor video problem

  1. #1

    Default IBM 5150 monochrome monitor video problem

    Hi,

    I bought an IBM 5150 yesterday with an old monochrome monitor (It's not an IBM monitor by the way). The problem is, this monitor has no power switch! Do you guys no if this monitor just activates with a video signal or what? I've tried it a couple times with no success. With the power cord plugged in, it doesn't make any noise but it does feel a little warm on the vent after a while. I (carefully) opened the case and everything looks decent with no blown fuses. I also checked the video cable for shorts and tried the brightness controls and such.

    The IBM 5150 passes the self test (just by listening to it and seeing that the floppy drive gets activity after a short while) so I assume it's working okay. (I believe it has a EGA card installed) I tried the monitor on another vintage PC as well with no changes.

    Any ideas would be great,
    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    In the case of monochrome monitors, the usual practice was to connect the monitor to the female IEC power connector on the back of the 5150. The monitor even had a power cord so configured.

    There's absolutely no reason that your current monitor can't be (or shouldn't be) so configured.

    Adapters, if your monitor power cable isn't removable, are available.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by programmer6502 View Post
    The IBM 5150 passes the self test (just by listening to it and seeing that the floppy drive gets activity after a short while) so I assume it's working okay. (I believe it has a EGA card installed) I tried the monitor on another vintage PC as well with no changes.
    FWIW, I don't believe you can test that mono monitor with an EGA video card.
    If you're looking for DS/DD or DS/HD 3" or 5" floppy disks, PM me. I've got some new, used, and factory over-labeled disks for sale.

    There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in. -- Leonard Cohen
    ☞ Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.

  4. #4

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    Great! I'll probably buy one of those adapters and hopefully the monitor will work! In the mean time though, I noticed that my video card has some headers on the top that say RCA near them. Can it be configured for composite video so I can use my old B/W CRT TV as a monitor? I know this was an option when it came out but my IBM doesn't have the original composite out shown in the user manual.

    Here's some pics:

    DSC_0549.jpg

    DSC_0551.jpg

    I tried to look the manual for this video card but couldn't find it.

    Thanks

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stone View Post
    FWIW, I don't believe you can test that mono monitor with an EGA video card.
    Depends on the EGA card--the Everex, for example, can certainly be configured to drive a monochrome display.

  6. #6

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    Thanks for the replies!

    I'm wondering if this monitor is dead because usually you can turn the brightness up and see that it's working, but this one does absolutely nothing. That other old PC that I have has a setting for monochrome and even the proper power plug for this particular monitor. But like I said, that one didn't do anything ether.

    While I figure out what's going on with the monitor, I'm wondering if I could use a composite out signal so I can use my old B/W TV with the IBM. I know this was an option when the 5150 came out, but mine doesn't have the card shown in the user manual that accomplished that. But I noticed on my video card that it has a header with six pins on the top that says RCA near it. I wounder if that's for composite out? I can't find the manual for my card though. It's a Video7 card that looks pretty much like this

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck(G) View Post
    Depends on the EGA card--the Everex, for example, can certainly be configured to drive a monochrome display.
    Since he 'believes' it's an EGA card I think it's beyond his capabilities to reconfigure a video card even if it is a Everex.
    If you're looking for DS/DD or DS/HD 3" or 5" floppy disks, PM me. I've got some new, used, and factory over-labeled disks for sale.

    There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in. -- Leonard Cohen
    ☞ Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.

  8. #8
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    The monitor is on as soon as power is applied (so don't leave it plugged in unnecessarily).
    But you won't see anything at all until it receives a video signal.

    It also takes a few seconds to warm up and if it's fairly clean you should see a slight glow from the back of the tube.

    NB: as mentioned, you will need an MDA/MGA input - check what card you have.
    Last edited by SpidersWeb; September 25th, 2014 at 01:53 PM.
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  9. #9

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    Okay, I fired up the computer with the cover off the monitor and saw a light on the back of the tube but within a seconds it went away. Is this a sign of some bad circuitry or bad power supply in the monitor?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by programmer6502 View Post
    I bought an IBM 5150 yesterday with an old monochrome monitor (It's not an IBM monitor by the way).
    How confident are you that the monitor is monochrome (MDA)? Is there a marking of some sort?

    Quote Originally Posted by programmer6502 View Post
    Here's some pics
    The video card has a BIOS expansion ROM it. That puts two requirements on the 5150 motherboard, both of which must be met:
    1. That the motherboard's BIOS ROM be the third (dated 10/27/82) revision. See [here].
    2. Switches 5 and 6 on switch block SW1 be set to on. See [here].

    Re point 2. That is the case even if a card (one with a BIOS expansion ROM) is configured to produce CGA or MDA signals.

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