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Thread: MCE2VGA with a PCjr

  1. #1

    Default MCE2VGA with a PCjr

    My recent PCjr monitor troubles made me wonder if there was a way I could hook my PCjr up to my regular DOS/Windows setup and avoid having to rely on proprietary PCjr parts. Right now I have my PCjr with its own setup while my DOS/Windows systems are all hooked into a KVM and Audio selector and a nice 20" Sony Trinitron monitor. I'm able to stack the PCs and save a lot of space by not having to have a separate monitor/mouse/keyboard for each one. If I could somehow integrate my PCjr into that setup, I could really save space in my too small game room.

    Up until now, that hasn't been possible due to the PCjr needing a proprietary keyboard and monitor which also doubled as the speakers. However I stumbled across a device called the MCE2VGA which is supposed convert all the classic graphics modes into VGA. I'm not sure how well it works with the PCjr, but it's supposed to work with Tandy graphics in addition to CGA so I can't see why it wouldn't work. Another issue is the non-standard PCjr video plug, but that can be overcome by getting a CGA breakout board or by using a homemade adapter (more on that later). The audio I believe can be tapped from the RCA jack on the back of the system and routed to a pair of speakers. Thankfully I already have a PS/2 to PCjr keyboard adapter so that's not an issue. With all these parts I *think* can hook the PCjr up to my KVM, but I have some questions:

    1. Has anyone actually used the MCE2VGA with the PCjr? How well does it work?

    2. If I use a PCjr to CGA adapter, will I still be able to get the Tandy/PCjr modes with a device such as the MCE2VGA? I assume the adapter is just a pin converter.

    3. Speaking of CGA adapters, in a box of PCjr junk I got a long long time ago I found what appears to be a homemade CGA adapter cable. It has standard 18 pin PCjr display port plug on one end (two rows of 9) and what appears to be a CGA plug on the other end (two rows, top is 5 pins bottom is 4). At first I thought maybe it was a serial adapter, but the PCjr serial port appears to only have 16 pins. I assume that such adapters were a common place thing back in the day, but is there a simple way to test this? I don't have a CGA monitor to try it with, so maybe doing some continuity testing?

  2. #2

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    There was an original IBM adapter cable that allowed connecting a 5153 to a PCJr. There are quite a few on eBay right now.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by jafir View Post
    There was an original IBM adapter cable that allowed connecting a 5153 to a PCJr. There are quite a few on eBay right now.
    Yeah I think that's what I have. Maybe not the official one, but that's gotta be what it is.

  4. #4
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    Default

    2. If I use a PCjr to CGA adapter, will I still be able to get the Tandy/PCjr modes with a device such as the MCE2VGA? I assume the adapter is just a pin converter.
    Yes you would, the austere CGA colour palette was a limitation of the CGA card, not the monitor. A CGA monitor itself was quite capable of displaying all 16 colours at once in graphics mode.

  5. #5

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    Good to know. I wish I could see some video of it working with a PCjr so I can decide if the quality of the video output is worth the price.

  6. #6

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    It's quite a bit more than just a pin converter:

    https://github.com/lfantoniosi/mce2vga
    "It's all bits on the bus, Cowboy! It's all bits on the bus!" -- Tom Beck, #1ESS Instructor, Southern Bell Opa Locka Training Center

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by DDS View Post
    It's quite a bit more than just a pin converter:

    https://github.com/lfantoniosi/mce2vga
    I was talking about the PCjr to CGA cable

  8. #8

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    MCE2VGA work fine on IBM 5155

  9. #9
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    The MCE2VGA works well for its intended purpose, which is to connect to 4:3 VGA monitors and LCDs. It performs some rescaling, which may or may not be an issue (it bothers some people, others don't notice).
    Offering a bounty for:
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  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trixter View Post
    The MCE2VGA works well for its intended purpose, which is to connect to 4:3 VGA monitors and LCDs. It performs some rescaling, which may or may not be an issue (it bothers some people, others don't notice).
    I don't suppose there are pictures to show what you're talking about are there?

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