RGB-to-VGA adapter & docs was: Re: HP "Field Guide" ?

Christian R. Fandt cfandt at netsync.net
Thu Mar 24 17:55:02 CST 2005

Upon the date 08:24 24-03-05, Joe R. said something like:
>At 10:33 PM 3/23/05 -0500, you wrote:
> >
> >Also, in my 9000/375 there is a board which fits into a smaller card guide
> >assy (i.e., it is not the same physical size as the CPU and video modules,
> >but smaller) which has a paper sticker with several numbers including the
> >part number: A3057674-11.
> >
> >It has an 80286 CPU chip on it which leads me to think its some sort of I/O
> >processor (?). No connector headers on the board; all connections go
> >through the edge connector. Can't find anything while searching on the
> >A3057 portion of the p/n (Axxxx is a type of part numbering scheme HP used
> >for some boards and stuff) nor on many combinations of parts of the p/n.
>   Darn! I've seen those cards but I can't remember what they are.
>   <snip>
>   OK I finally got the grey matter working and I remember what those cards
>are. They're DOS coprocessor cards. Yes, your HP can run MS-DOS. Somewhere
>I have some of the cards but I never found software for them. If you got a
>drive with your system, look at it carefully and see if it has the
>necessary SW. If you find the SW, I'd love to get a copy.

That's indeed correct Joe. Thanks very much. Can run MS-DOS?! Kinda like 
putting cheapest, low performance tires on your classic Corvette, IMO :-)

Carlos had indicated in his message just before yours that it could be the 
Series 300 DOS Coprocessor, 98286A.  I pulled the CPU box out, pulled the 
card and indeed it says 98286-6xxxx in the etch on the solder-side of the 

I fetched my 1989 HP catalog and found a whole page on just the Series 300 
DOS Coprocessor. Back then, HP came out with their version of an office 
automation software system called "NewWave" for IBM PC ATs. They apparently 
wanted to enable the 9000/200 and /300 workstations to be integrated into 
an IBM PC AT software environment. Hence, the 9826A.

Now, the next problem is to get the machine running so I can see if the 
Coprocessor s/w even exists for you Joe.

I lack a correct monitor for the fixed frequency output of the RGB card. 
The card is a 98547A which has three BNC connectors; sync on green. I've 
got an old and HEAVY 19" display in poor condition stored down in the back 
garage and cannot get to it because its literally buried under boxes of 
'stuff' and a large group of early car radios I've kept for parts and/or 
restoration. Not sure if the thing would sync to the HP's fixed freq output 
anyway. The two fixed freq monitors specified for the 98547A are the HP 
98751A (19") or HP 98785A (16").

The machine was found at the Dayton Hamvention back in 1999.  The HP 
9000/375 CPU box, HP 7958B 152 Mb hard disk, and the HP 9144A tape drive 
had been removed from some sort of military transit case. There's a US 
government NSN number stenciled on the side of the CPU box. I'm going to 
check with some of my military radio collector friends to see what it 
translates to. The fellow who had bought it earlier that day wanted just 
the case and I got the three HP boxes for $20 or $30. No KB, mouse or other 
items were with it then. The system probably was never issued to the field 
judging from the pristine cleanliness of everything.

The CPU module was a 9000/340 (98574) but had been upgraded, according to a 
sticker upon it, to a 9000/375 which uses a 68040 CPU chip. Great!

Since the purchase, I've been trying to find a way to view the RGB output 
on a typical VGA monitor that would sync to the output. I've gathered most 
everything else needed: keyboard and mouse came from a list member & three 
RGB coax cables came home from the Rochester Hamfest several years ago. Not 
a single page of documentation though, and I'm one to try to fully document 
my collection if possible. Just the HP catalogs are on hand.

I found my HP/UX 5.5, BASIC/UX 5.5 and HP/UX 7.0 distro tapes, all still in 
shrinkwrap and their licence certificates, that I had squirreled away for a 
rainy day. I think Linux and one or two of the BSD's have been ported to 
run on this system. Anybody have the HP Pascal 3.1 or 3.2 system?

Just last week in one of my occasional searches for a video solution, I 
found this RGB-to-VGA adapter product:
Hmmm, yeah. Just right!

So, I inquired about the price. They emailed back $695.00  (gulp!!!)  Take 
a look at that little thing!  $695??

Well, I guess I'll keep looking  ):-\

Anybody have ANY ideas or a source of an *affordable* RGB-to-VGA adapter?? 
I don't think this has been discussed here before, has it?

Whatever it would be will probably strip the H & V sync off the green 
signal output and send them to the appropriate pins on the HD15 VGA 
connector. I might even be tempted to build my own adapter if I could lay 
my hands on all the tech specs for both the HP's RGB output signals and the 
VGA input signal requirements of a contemporary VGA monitor. I'm like a 
Tony Duell on stuff like this: if I have time and technical resources at 
hand I can roll my own.  Again, IF I have time :-\   This would help at 
least one or two others on the list too, I suppose.

How about documents -user manuals, tech data, service manuals, etc.?? 
Anything at all around in paper or .pdf for any of this h/w? Nothing on 
bitsavers.org. Anybody have HP 9000 websites?

Thanks for your input.

Regards,  Chris F.


Christian R. Fandt, Treasurer
Antique Wireless Association, Inc.
Jamestown, New York   USA
                          email:  cfandt at netsync.net
                          Electronic/Electrical Historian
                          URL: http://www.antiquewireless.org/     

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