Friday, September 27, 2019

Fall Vacation

I have been on vacation this week, as I stated in previous posts this week. I painted the living room and made a cake for the wife's birthday. On Wednesday and Thursday, I tried to get some writing done and I did, although not nearly as much as I wanted to. I started out thinking I could punch out 5000 words, but it became really obvious to me that I was just not in the right mood and brought my bar down to 2000-2500. Well, I did not even make that, I think I finally got 1000 at some point.

One of the things I did accomplish was I made a cable for my Commodore 128 that allows me to access 80 column mode. To do this you have to be able to plug a monitor into the RGB connector on the back of the computer. The problem with this is, no RGB monitors have been made for probably 25 years. You can buy them on ebay, but they cost a couple of hundred dollars with no guarantee as to how long it will last. There are basically three ways to convert this output to something a modern screen can display, a $15 solution, an $80 solution and a $200 solution. Someday I may invest in the more expensive solutions, but considering I actually use my C128 only very rarely, it seems a waste of money to use those methods. The $15 solution does require a bit of work and will only display in gray scale, unfortunately, no color.

For this project, you need two things, DB9 Male D-SUB Adapter Plate Connector RS232 Serial to Terminal Board Signal Module and an RCA video cable. Both of these things can be had on Amazon for less than $8 each.

The first thing you will want to do is cut off one end of the cable and strip the insulation off. With these cables, you have two layers of wire, so genitally strip off the first layer of insulation. There will be wire wrapped around an inner wire, covered with more insulation. Twist up the outer wire, so it is out of the way, then strip the inner insulation and twist the inner wire. Make sure these two wires are separated and not crossed with each other.

The next thing you are going to do is connect the outer wire to pin 1 (or 2 if you like) of the DB9 connector and then connect the inner wire to pin 7. This picture shows the solder side of the connector, I would suggest using the connectors I linked to above, it uses screw contacts instead of soldering, it just saves time and energy.

That is pretty much it, plug it in to the monitor and the C128, depress the 40/80 Dis[lay button and turn your C128 on, if all went well, you should have a monochrome boot screen.

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