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Thread: Anyone able to provide some guidance for an SGI Indigo2?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
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    Bay Area, California
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    Default Anyone able to provide some guidance for an SGI Indigo2?

    Hi everyone! Many years ago when I lived in Albuquerque I picked up a sweet SGI Indigo2 at a surplus sale. Mine was originally owned by MIT, going by the inventory stickers on the back. I've got the Indigo2 itself, plus a nice SGI keyboard and mouse to match. The whole kit has been in storage for 12-13 years and I'm honestly not sure if I ever spent any time with it even when it was "new to me" - I bought it in a large lot of vintage / surplus computers, and other machines pulled my attention before I had a kid, moved multiple times, started a new career, etc.

    Anyway. I've been able to power the machine on and connect via Serial from my MacBook Pro, from the PROM Monitor I learned that the machine is equipped with the following:

    195MHz R10000 CPU with FPU
    256 megs RAM
    "High Impact" graphics system
    1 SCSI CD-ROM drive
    1 SCSI hard drive

    So all-in-all, not a bad configuration to play with! Unfortunately, this is as far as I've been able to get. I have a monitor which (as best I can tell) should be compatible with "Sync on Green" video (I've tested with 3 LCD panels, but the one I'm most confident in is the NEC MultiSync 1700M+ seen in my pic above - it specifically says "composite sync on green compatible" in the product documentation), but I just cannot get the damn SGI to show an image on any display I've tried. I bought a 13w3-to-VGA adapter on eBay which was specifically noted for being SGI-compatible - it looks like it's had the necessary pins removed to make it compliant with this generally-reputable article.

    Any suggestions here? I can sorta watch the machine booting while connected via Serial terminal, but that's where I'm getting stuck and I'd really like to explore the machine and OS further than this.

    Thanks for any guidance you can provide!

    Huxley

  2. #2
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    Principality of Xeon (NJ)
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    Default

    With old style fixed frequency crt monitors at least, you can add syncs to the green input with resistors. There's probably a lot of flexibity with the values, but I have no specific memory and can't tell you where to start.

    I don't know if sgi stuff is difficult, but the issue may habe to do with the polarity of the signals coming out of the sci. Iirc these were compatible with the bog standard sony oem gdm-1950 or similar. But I had a 48khz Sony monitor that worked with my Mac Iix + emachines futura sx, but not with my friend's powermac. I don't know the specific reason, but the image was out of sync, suggesting it didn't lime something about the sync pulses, rise and fall time or whatever. Maybe. But who really knows.

    Try and post around for instances of known good monitors to use. Or look for big Sony or o/w branded crt monitors in your area.
    Last edited by tipc; October 16th, 2019 at 01:26 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    Central VA
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    I use a Samsung SyncMaster 930B for my test bench, it'll sync on green from SGI and Sun gear. I've heard there's some difference between 13W3 converters, that some work on some machines and not others, but it's never personally been an issue for me (I have a handful and they all seem to work fine on various Sun and SGI machines).

    You'll have a dead DS1286 module in there, I made up a little repair board for them or you can follow the various guides online for hacking a battery into the old encapsulation. A dead one won't keep it from coming up, though.

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Kamloops, BC, Canada
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    Two possible things here.
    Make sure a PS/2 keyboard at the very least is attached, otherwise it defaults to serial port 1 for the console
    The other is the console variable might of been accidentally set to serial-only. Use your serial terminal, go to the PROM and use
    Code:
    setenv console G <enter>
    init <enter>
    = Excellent space heater

  5. #5

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by wowbobwow View Post
    Hi everyone! Many years ago when I lived in Albuquerque I picked up a sweet SGI Indigo2 at a surplus sale. Mine was originally owned by MIT, going by the inventory stickers on the back. I've got the Indigo2 itself, plus a nice SGI keyboard and mouse to match. The whole kit has been in storage for 12-13 years and I'm honestly not sure if I ever spent any time with it even when it was "new to me" - I bought it in a large lot of vintage / surplus computers, and other machines pulled my attention before I had a kid, moved multiple times, started a new career, etc.

    Anyway. I've been able to power the machine on and connect via Serial from my MacBook Pro, from the PROM Monitor I learned that the machine is equipped with the following:

    195MHz R10000 CPU with FPU
    256 megs RAM
    "High Impact" graphics system
    1 SCSI CD-ROM drive
    1 SCSI hard drive

    So all-in-all, not a bad configuration to play with! Unfortunately, this is as far as I've been able to get. I have a monitor which (as best I can tell) should be compatible with "Sync on Green" video (I've tested with 3 LCD panels, but the one I'm most confident in is the NEC MultiSync 1700M+ seen in my pic above - it specifically says "composite sync on green compatible" in the product documentation), but I just cannot get the damn SGI to show an image on any display I've tried. I bought a 13w3-to-VGA adapter on eBay which was specifically noted for being SGI-compatible - it looks like it's had the necessary pins removed to make it compliant with this generally-reputable article.

    Any suggestions here? I can sorta watch the machine booting while connected via Serial terminal, but that's where I'm getting stuck and I'd really like to explore the machine and OS further than this.

    Thanks for any guidance you can provide!

    Huxley

    Huxley, did the IDE diagnostics complete successfully? Also, what happens if you try to start the system from the serial console? (Option 1)

    If you go to option 5, you can type printenv at the console, and it should spit out all of your environment variables. Please upload a photo.

    Thanks,
    Lorenzo

  6. #6

    Default

    I can't provide any specific guidance, but if you're working on an SGI system I wanted to make sure you were aware of the replacement for the old nekochan SGI forum/hub at https://forums.irixnet.org/

    They're focused on SGI but play host to all different types of workstation/unix communities and are possibly a bit more active than this forum tends to be.

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