Forum Rules and Etiquette

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This forum is part of our mission to promote the preservation of vintage computers through education and outreach. (In real life we also run events and have a museum.) We encourage you to join us, participate, share your knowledge, and enjoy.

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Rule 5: Copyright and other legal issues

We are here to discuss vintage computing, so discussing software, books, and other intellectual property that is on-topic is fine. We don't want people using these forums to discuss or enable copyright violations or other things that are against the law; whether you agree with the law or not is irrelevant. Do not use our resources for something that is legally or morally questionable.

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Weired pattern on 1501486 CGA adapter

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    Weired pattern on 1501486 CGA adapter

    Dear all,

    I recently received a CGA adapter of type 1501486. When I put it in the computer and boot it up, I see a pattern like the one in the photo attached. Every second character seems to have a red background, spaces are replaced by an apostrophe, colons( are replaced by a 'z', periods (.) by the letter n and so on.

    Since these types of CGA cards are pretty rare here in Germany, I would like to rescue it. I assume that some RAM chip is defective. Has anyone any idea on how to diagnose this issue and find a solution on how to fix this?

    Best Regards


    If it has socketed RAM chips, try swapping them between sockets to see if the display changes. If it does change, some or all of the chips are bad. If it doesn't change, something else on the card is bad.


      Looks like bit 6 of video-RAM is stuck high. You can see it from the fact that all ASCII characters have been "OR 0x40"ed
      Current systems owned by me:
      Vintage:IBM PC/XT submodel 087 ( 1983 ), [Kon]tiki-100 rev. C (1983), Compaq Portable I ( 1984 ), IBM PC/XT submodel 078 ( 1985 ), IBM PC/XT286 ( ~1986 ), 3x Nintendo Entertainement Systems ( 1987 ).
      Obsolete:Commodore A500 ( ~1990 ), IBM PS/2 model 70/386 type 8570-161 ( 1991 ), Atari Lynx II ( ~1992 ), Generic Intel 486SX PC ( ~1993 ), AT/T Globalyst Pentium w/FDIV bug MB ( 1994 ), Compaq 486DX4 laptop ( ~1995 ).


        On my CGA card, I simulated an 'output stuck high' failure mode of the RAM chip for bit 6, chip U51. The resulting screen display is shown at [here].

        Compared to what the OP is seeing, the background is different (always red versus sometimes red). Maybe that is due to a different failure mode of U51.


          Thank you modem7, per and GiGaBiTe for your helpful responses. I attached a picture of the card below. The RAM chips are not socketed. I understand it is consensus that there is some issue with bit 6. It is high most of the time, but apparently not always, hence the checkboard pattern. I also understand that bit 6 is the responsibility of chip U51. So I will buy a new memory chip and replace the existing chips in U51. Is it save to solder in a socket and put the new chip in that socket? Or should I then expect any new issues?

          IMG_8828 (4).jpeg


            Originally posted by jens.hafner View Post
            Is it save to solder in a socket and put the new chip in that socket? Or should I then expect any new issues?
            By putting in a socket, you are doing the soldering of the U51 position once. That is good, because if the replacement RAM chip you buy is faulty, then you will not need to do any soldering when you put in the second replacement RAM chip.


              That sounds good. I learned that every connection and every socket may cause signal reflection and signal degradation of signal strength and quality. But this is not relevant here, is it?


                Originally posted by jens.hafner View Post
                That sounds good. I learned that every connection and every socket may cause signal reflection and signal degradation of signal strength and quality. But this is not relevant here, is it?
                In this case, not significant enough to cause any concern.