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Thread: IBM 5153 Monitor EGA Modification

  1. #11

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    I use VGA in all my old IBM's with the exception of my 5155, I prefer using LCD's these days, Better for my poor old eyes, Having them imported must be a tad on the expensive side.

  2. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Malc View Post
    I use VGA in all my old IBM's with the exception of my 5155, I prefer using LCD's these days, Better for my poor old eyes, Having them imported must be a tad on the expensive side.
    Yeah whilst having proper period correct is "cute" it's often just not worth it. I've been really partial to certain viewsonic and dell 4:3 aspect LCD's for my 'middling' machines for some time. Both makers did some excellent work in how their scale converters handle the odd pixels, particularly on the 1280x1024 and 1600x1200 ones.

    The Viewsonic 17" VP171b in particular is an amazing display for standard 640x480 VGA since it's 2x horizontal and 2.13333x vertical resolution. I've got two of them, and they see use all the time, even as secondary displays on my garage machine when I need more desktop space since they pivot.

    Dell's 20" 2001FP is even better since it's got both composite and SVHS in with an amazing scan converter, in addition to VGA and DVI. It even syncs to CGA and EGA frequencies to the point all you need is a cable converter and 2 bit ladder DAC's to turn the RGBI or RGBrgb into the proper output levels. (they even used to sell cables for that!). First one I ever got did double-duty as my TV during some hard times. Now I own three of them... and it pivots so I can use them too as secondary displays without sucking down too much desktop space.

    Even better, both are TFT. None of that dual scan crap.

    As much as it's not period correct, it's just easier to go this route... particularly if price and shipping is a concern. Getting a LCD shipped is far less likely to get screwed up than a CRT.
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  3. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
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    Why not the best of both worlds?

    If I had a spare 5153 which was beyond repair I'd investigate further an idea I've had of mounting a suitable LCD inside the chassis. You lose of course the curvature of the tube but if it worked it would be quite a neat looking solution I'd imagine.

    As much as I'd love to try I doubt I'd ever have a dead spare to do it as they are pretty rare as it is down under.
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  4. #14

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    Interesting thoughts. I've considered replacing a CRT tube with an LCD panel within the same chassis on a few machines in the past. I think it could be done in a tasteful way and would certainly preseve most of the original "character" of the computer while gaining all of the benefits of TFT (easier on the eyes, more reliable, lower energy consumption, lower weight etc) but I've been very lucky in that I've been able to repair all of the CRT monitors that have come my way so far.

    I'm perhaps a little too obsessive about originality and having everything match, but hey, it satisfies whatever undiagnosed mild form of OCD I must have

    On the subject of importing... I've imported quite a few things over the years. Famicom stuff from Japan, Atari and NeXT stuff from the US etc. I've never made a loss when I come to sell it on locally as there always seems to be some "money no object" buyer interested if you check the right places. Particularly as I'm big on restoring everything to pristine condition and having matching manuals, boxes and peripherals. Perhaps I've just been really lucky so far. It helps me justify the expense to myself (and the wife) anyway!

    This probably sounds a bit crazy to those in the US when talking about something as common as the 5150 but they really do command top dollar in the UK. Perhaps I should start shipping over containers full of the things.

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
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    If you can get hold of an EGA card you can adjust the DIP switches to support a 5153 at EGA Mode 1 resolutions - 320x200 and 640x200 IIRC. Yes, it's a halfway house type solution, but works rather well.

  6. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hugo Holden View Post
    As mentioned in the article, I don't think the construction quality of a 5154 is as good as a 5153. The ventilation was poor, the PCB cooks up in the region of the video output amps and the vertical output stage, it shortens the life of the electrolytic caps there too.So I didn't warm to it. However, the 5154 was a revolutionary design concept and when working is great performer and its EGA images would be very hard to beat and much better than my mod to the 5153. I like the way the 5153 was physically built though.
    This.

    I once came across a pair of 5154's, one with a faulty video amp and one where a shorted cap had taken out the vertical amp. In the end I ended up swapping around the video amp module to get one fully working unit.
    Current systems owned by me:
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  7. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by dongfeng View Post
    If you can get hold of an EGA card you can adjust the DIP switches to support a 5153 at EGA Mode 1 resolutions - 320x200 and 640x200 IIRC. Yes, it's a halfway house type solution, but works rather well.
    OK, now I'm intrigued. Is this something supported by all EGA cards or is it specific to IBM EGA cards?

  8. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by SmellyGeekBoy View Post
    OK, now I'm intrigued. Is this something supported by all EGA cards or is it specific to IBM EGA cards?
    Wouldn't know about "all", but many/most did (i.e. ATI's EGA Wonder). Those 200-line EGA modes use CGA signalling anyway, so that feature simply does the same for text modes (and disallows hi-res graphics).
    EGA (and multisync) monitors weren't cheap, so EGA cards on CGA monitors were a thing.
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  9. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by VileR View Post
    Wouldn't know about "all", but many/most did (i.e. ATI's EGA Wonder). Those 200-line EGA modes use CGA signalling anyway, so that feature simply does the same for text modes (and disallows hi-res graphics).
    EGA (and multisync) monitors weren't cheap, so EGA cards on CGA monitors were a thing.
    Thanks for the help, my earliest experiences with PCs were in the early VGA era so I don't have a great deal of experience with CGA / EGA. I'm using this machine as an experience to learn. Is there any benefit to using an EGA card in such a way? I've seen videos on YouTube showing certain games and applications running much faster on EGA on the same hardware despite the improved graphics, presumably due to differences in ways that the card renders the graphics?

  10. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by SmellyGeekBoy View Post
    Is there any benefit to using an EGA card in such a way? I've seen videos on YouTube showing certain games and applications running much faster on EGA on the same hardware despite the improved graphics, presumably due to differences in ways that the card renders the graphics?
    If you mean faster than CGA, yep - EGA lets you do things like full-screen double buffering, hardware panning/scrolling, and so on to speed things up. You do need to haul more bytes around compared to CGA, but once they're all in video RAM, there's more you can do without having to rewrite them constantly.

    The only time EGA doesn't beat CGA is when you want to run actual CGA software. Any CGA code that bypasses the BIOS interface probably won't work as intended, since most of the EGA's CGA compatibility stops at that level. Certain EGA chipsets might have tried a little harder than IBM did, but I can't think of one that had 'perfect ' CGA emulation really.
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