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Brad
8th May 2007, 07:20 AM
I thought some of you guys might be interested in this nifty piece of kit. It basically will drive arcade monitors from standard PC video cards. Sure it's been done before but this is elegant and damn simple.

http://community.arcadeinfo.de/showthread.php?t=8170

Cheers,

Brad

rash
8th May 2007, 08:07 AM
Would be good to here from people in aust that have tried this as it saves having to buy an arcadevga card.. Just a little worried about the xp start up screen and what it might do to the monitor but it looks like a j-pac will stop the nasty resolutions getting through. I am using an ATI Radeon 9200se but wont be able to test it for a few weeks when i get my monitor..

agrajag
8th May 2007, 08:08 AM
Thanks for the link....nice

@lien_Zed
8th May 2007, 09:30 AM
thanks for the info, i will be watching this one:cool:

elvis
8th May 2007, 09:40 AM
Plenty of software out there that does this already if you don't want to wait:

Windows:
Powerstrip: http://entechtaiwan.net/util/ps.shtm

Linux:
SVGALib: http://www.svgalib.org/

Powerstrip on Windows works with normal MAME (no need for AdvanceMAME). Just set your modelines, fire up MAME/MAME32, tell it to auto-select the mode and it will ask Windows to change to the mode closest to the game you've selected.

SVGALib with AdvanceMAME on Linux is a little trickier, and requires a bit of know-how, but gives a similar result.

Brad
8th May 2007, 09:53 AM
The great thing about this software is that you don't need the hardware OR AdvanceMame.

Also it's free unlike Powerstrip.

Brad
To each their own

rash
8th May 2007, 10:03 AM
my only concern is that if the software failed one day there may be nothing stopping the system booting up on the arcade monitor in much higher refresh rate and trashing the monitor..

Brad
8th May 2007, 10:11 AM
my only concern is that if the software failed one day there may be nothing stopping the system booting up on the arcade monitor in much higher refresh rate and trashing the monitor..

The project “Soft-15KHz” is about reprogramming of videoadapters and/or their drivers to make them usable with normal Arcade monitors and/or TVs.

It does this by doing small changes to the windows registry to add typical arcade screen resolutions, as well as tweaking some existing ones, and locking out all others.

----------------------

I would hope that if you are rebuilding your PC, that you'd be smart enough to build it on a normal monitor first.

Cheers,
Brad

elvis
8th May 2007, 10:28 AM
The problem is "safe mode". When Windows boots into that, it ignores the registry and forces VGA 640x480@60Hz 31KHz to the screen. Yeah it's a long shot, but one worth considering if you value your monitors. And all of the software methods mentioned so far can't stop that. Ditto for SVGALib or FBDev on Linux - I still can't stop my PC from displaying 31KHz modes for the 2-3 seconds it takes BIOS to start up and fall over to the video card and/or Linux kernel. That's a big problem for me.

What I'm keen to see is a hardware hacking project where people load their own custom BIOSes into video cards that will force 15KHz out of a card even when on Windows install and/or safe mode (480i will do it nicely, and keep full-screen mode). Think like the ArcadeVGA but open source and/or a community project. That would be neat. From memory someone started one a while back, but it died from lack of support. I only wish I had the low-level hardware knowhow to help and/or revive the project but I don't.

And no, I'm not interested in ripping off the ArcadeVGA BIOS and putting it on other ATI video cards. That's a copyright violation and it's stealing someone else's hard work. If I was going to do a hardware hack project, I would start from scratch and do it the right way.

@lien_Zed
8th May 2007, 10:29 AM
The great thing about this software is that you don't need the hardware OR AdvanceMame.

Also it's free unlike Powerstrip.




is that Free as in Freedom like the linux users rave on about??:unsure :blah-blah-blah: :lol

elvis
8th May 2007, 10:31 AM
is that Free as in Freedom like the linux users rave on about??:unsure :blah-blah-blah: :lol

**** Linux users. They're a bunch of raving hippies with no sense of reality. Nobody uses that crap anyway except for a few nerds living in their parents' basements.

rash
8th May 2007, 10:33 AM
Sorry i did not see the "locking out of all others".. All sounds really good. Pc is all built and set up ready to go. Front end etc. Playing though super video port at the moment. Might play around with it this week end

Brad
8th May 2007, 10:42 AM
The problem is "safe mode". When Windows boots into that, it ignores the registry and forces VGA 640x480@60Hz 31KHz to the screen. Yeah it's a long shot, but one worth considering if you value your monitors. And all of the software methods mentioned so far can't stop that. Ditto for SVGALib or FBDev on Linux - I still can't stop my PC from displaying 31KHz modes for the 2-3 seconds it takes BIOS to start up and fall over to the video card and/or Linux kernel. That's a big problem for me.

What I'm keen to see is a hardware hacking project where people load their own custom BIOSes into video cards that will force 15KHz out of a card even when on Windows install and/or safe mode (480i will do it nicely, and keep full-screen mode). Think like the ArcadeVGA but open source and/or a community project. That would be neat. From memory someone started one a while back, but it died from lack of support. I only wish I had the low-level hardware knowhow to help and/or revive the project but I don't.

And no, I'm not interested in ripping off the ArcadeVGA BIOS and putting it on other ATI video cards. That's a copyright violation and it's stealing someone else's hard work. If I was going to do a hardware hack project, I would start from scratch and do it the right way.

For sure that would be the best way. I love what Andy at Ultimarc is doing but damn those cards are expensive!

You right on safe-mode but I also seem to recall "something" somewhere that will prevent a system from outputting to the monitor in any other modes? May actually be Advance Mame or similiar?

Brad

rash
8th May 2007, 10:52 AM
What I'm keen to see is a hardware hacking project where people load their own custom BIOSes into video cards that will force 15KHz out of a card even when on Windows install and/or safe mode (480i will do it nicely, and keep full-screen mode).

I have seen software that will let you edit the bios on ATI cards but i think it is more for overclocking

Brad
8th May 2007, 11:02 AM
From the Author:


Yeah they are 31KHz, but to be honest, neither my Hantarex nor any of the TVs I had hooked up (those SCART RGB stuff rocks!) did blow up or take any damage. They simply cannot sync to it. You could either use a J-PAC to filter out the BIOS screens, or you could enjoy a doubled bios output (like that "feature" on the J-PAC). A third, yet not that nice way would be to use a second (S3 Virge PCI or such) VGA Card for BIOS and OS loading screens, and then disable the S3 in Windows so your main Video Card takes over (in 15KHz).

BYOAC Thread (http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?topic=66402.0)

Brad

elvis
8th May 2007, 11:05 AM
For sure that would be the best way. I love what Andy at Ultimarc is doing but damn those cards are expensive!

You right on safe-mode but I also seem to recall "something" somewhere that will prevent a system from outputting to the monitor in any other modes? May actually be Advance Mame or similiar?

Brad

AdvanceMAME/SVGALib and FBDev (Frame Buffer Device) in Linux can both hard-lock you to 15KHz, but the problem is that it's software, so it kicks in AFTER bootup. Your boot screen (the one that shows you the detected drives, motherboard splash screen, etc) is all hardware 31KHz. It's only 2-3 seconds of course (unless you press "DEL" and go into BIOS), but it's still a bit of a worry on older hardware if it's happening a few times a week.


I have seen software that will let you edit the bios on ATI cards but i think it is more for overclocking
Yeah overclock rates are easy enough because they are usually 1 or 2 values (core clock, mem clock). Also there's a lot of attention on them because there are a lot of gamers out there.

Video modelines are quite a bit of work because you have to write one for each modeline you want to make available. On top of that, they use unique modeline syntax which means you need to be a bit video engineering savvy to make sure you put in the right values and don't blow up your screen when testing. A good example on what you will need to know is here:
http://easymamecab.mameworld.net/html/monitor1.htm (Yes, all 13 pages)

This is essentially what Andy over at Ultimarc does, and I know just how many man-hours have gone into the ArcadeVGA cards. It certainly wasn't a weekend project. And to top it off, Andy has an engineering background and really knows his stuff. For a community/homebrew project, you'd need a few people of equal smarts to start it up and keep it going. Not kiddie stuff. :)

Brad
8th May 2007, 11:10 AM
I remember that some people are using a relay or similiar for automation and others are powering the cab after the PC is ready.

I have to ask though, if the monitor is off, how to they know that the PC is functioning as it should be?

Brad

rash
8th May 2007, 11:23 AM
it sounds like this software together with a j-pac is the go

elvis
8th May 2007, 11:37 AM
it sounds like this software together with a j-pac is the go

Yeah the J-Pac has that handy little 15KHz cutout/frequency halver on it (again, courtesy of Andy at Ultimarc who is one tricky little monkey). It's small hardware-saving bits of kit like that that make the difference. It still means you need some dedicated hardware however, and not a 100% software solution which is a bit of a bummer.

rash
8th May 2007, 11:41 AM
So i take it that the j-pack wont let anything though above 15khz.. Is that how it works.

Brad
8th May 2007, 11:47 AM
So i take it that the j-pack wont let anything though above 15khz.. Is that how it works.

exactly

Brad

elvis
8th May 2007, 12:15 PM
http://ultimarc.com/jpac.html

Towards the right of the picture you can see two little red jumpers on some pins. Next to them are the printed words "15KHz", "25KHz", "31KHz". You can use these as locks to make sure that only frequencies matching these will be passed through the J-Pac. So it's handy not only for 15KHz monitors, but 15/24KHz or even VGA 31KHz where you don't want a low frequency to get through.

rash
8th May 2007, 01:34 PM
Perfect. This thread will help a lot of people if as they go and try this post their results and which card they used.. It has helped me heaps..
Thanks Lads

Smit
8th May 2007, 02:03 PM
**** Linux users. They're a bunch of raving hippies with no sense of reality. Nobody uses that crap anyway except for a few nerds living in their parents' basements.

DAMN STRAIGHT!! :)

Smit

@lien_Zed
8th May 2007, 02:39 PM
**** Linux users. They're a bunch of raving hippies with no sense of reality. Nobody uses that crap anyway except for a few nerds living in their parents' basements.

:lol :lol :lol :lol :lol :lol :lol

GZ20TT
9th May 2007, 12:20 PM
Hi guys,
wasn't there another thread where Chris (Ozstick) said you still need an ArcadeVGA even with a J-PAC to stop monitor damage? It had something to do with the jumpers on the JPAC not being set up for continuous operation at 15KHz.

Is it that the solution is to use the software in conjuntion with the JPAC so that the jumper takes the "hit" as the BIOS does it's thing, then the software takes over to output a safe 15KHz to the arcade monitor? Then there is no need for an ArcadeVGA?

Frankie

rash
9th May 2007, 01:41 PM
Thats all the j-pac will have to handle..just that first bios boot screen and mabey the windows boot screen.. I think it will work well..