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Quick Jump:

Setting Things Up

Once you've got your D9200 or Betson monitor and an ArcadeVGA card, there are still a few things you'll need to do besides just plugging everything together. With the right prep work, you can save yourself a lot of headaches later on.

My first recommendation is to simply plug in the monitor to an outlet. If it's working, you should see a message appear that states something similar to "No Signal Detected: Check Cable." Trust me, you want to make sure the monitor at least works before you connect it to your video card and especially before you install it in your cab!

Ensure that the monitor works before you install it!

Next, you should install the AVGA card in your PC. Note that if you're moving a PC into your cab that has been using a PC monitor up until now, you should first set the display settings to 640x480x60Hz refresh rate if possible, although Windows XP will normally only let you set the display to a minimum of 800x600x60Hz via the Display control panel. You can use a utility like MultiRes to set the display to 640x480x60Hz. (Odds are this step isn't necessary, but it doesn't hurt to play things safe!)

Uninstall the current video card drivers (or just remove the current video adapter from the Hardware section of the System control panel) and shut down the PC. This way, after you install the AVGA card you can be certain that when you restart the PC it will be in a resolution supported by your arcade monitor.

Why is this important? Because neither the D9200 nor the Betson arcade monitors support standard DDC communications with a PC.

DDC? Let me explain: DDC is a "plug and play" monitor standard in the computing world, and a DDC-capable monitor is able to communicate with an attached PC to tell it what the monitor's capabilities are, such as the maximum supported refresh rate and resolution. If you're curious, you can download a program such as PowerStrip and access the "Monitor Information" option to see your monitor's DDC information:

The PowerStrip DDC Results from my Desktop PC's Planar PX191 Monitor
(Note the image size, max resolution, and max frequency settings)

Since none of the arcade monitors I've ever encountered support DDC, Windows has absolutely no idea what sort of video the monitor is capable of supporting. This means, unfortunately, that Windows will happily let you set the display settings to a resolution or refresh rate that the monitor cannot support.

The PowerStrip DDC Results from the Betson Multisync Arcade Monitor and ArcadeVGA card
(Note the "n/a" under video type and image size.
The max resolution and frequency settings were hand-set)

So, what happens if you make a mistake and set Windows to an unsupported resolution? Best case, you just can't see the picture and your monitor displays a "signal out of range" error message. Worst case, you fry your monitor. Either way, it's not a good situation to be in, and this was the primary reason that DDC was invented to begin with.

The PowerStrip error message if you try to directly read DDC information
from a Betson or D9200 arcade monitor

Note: If you do somehow mess up and set the display to a resolution your monitor cannot handle, quickly shut things down (pull the plug if you have to!) and then "Safe boot" into Windows (hold down the Shift key while booting or press F8 and select "Safe Boot" from the menu) and reset the monitor's settings to a safe resolution.

XP Clean Install Note: If you are doing a "clean install" of Windows XP with the ArcadeVGA card, be aware that WindowsXP will force the display into 800x600 mode for the setup process. This shouldn't be a problem with either of the arcade monitors I've mentioned, but be aware that it could be a problem if you're using a monitor that cannot handle 800x600. In this case, you'd need to install Windows with another monitor, then switch over to the arcade monitor once XP was up and running.

Windows Prep Work

Once you've installed the AVGA card and Windows has installed the drivers, it's time to make sure that no one ever can accidentally set the display to a resolution or refresh rate that your monitor can't handle. Luckily, there is a very handy utility out there that can do just that.

The utility is called RefreshForce, and you can use this utility to ensure that Windows "plays nice" with your arcade monitor.

RefreshForce Utility

Using RefreshForce, simply select all the listed resolutions higher than 800x600 and delete them. This removes these settings from the Windows registry, ensuring that no program will ever be able to accidentally try and change the video settings to an unsupported resolution.

You'll also need to check each of the remaining supported resolutions and ensure that the refresh rate for all resolutions never exceeds 60Hz. (60Hz, by the way, is the standard "refresh rate" for North American NTSC television, which shows 60 fields per second, a field being either all the odd scan lines or all the even scan lines in a frame, meaning that you've got about 30 frames per second for TV. But I digress...)

Once you've saved your settings, Windows and your arcade monitor should live together in harmony.

Flickery Display? Tri-Sync It!

If you're using a Betson, D9200, or other "tri-sync" monitor (15Khz, 25Khz, and 31-38Khz), you'll want to override the ArcadeVGA card's default interlaced modes for 640x480 and 800x600 resolutions by downloading a patch called the "Tri-Sync Utility" from Ultimarc.

Why is the display flickery in these modes? As I mentioned in the section above about television displays (which are interlaced), in an interlaced video mode each frame is drawn twice: first the odd lines of the frame are drawn, then the even lines of the frame are drawn. This allows a greater display size with less video bandwidth, but at the cost of some "flicker" as each set of odd or even scan lines is drawn onscreen.

The ArcadeVGA card uses an interlaced display mode to display a 31Khz video mode using just 15Khz video, which allows 15Khz arcade monitors to actually display Windows. Using the Tri-Sync patch allows the ArcadeVGA card to output true 31-38Khz video modes for resolutions 640x480 and above, and will get rid of the flicker on monitors that can support true PC video signals.

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