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Old 02-06-2004, 09:48 PM   #1
Travis86
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I can't figure out what kind of monitor connector is on my SGI Origin 200 server.


I got an SGI Origin 200 server off of eBay a while back and since then I've been trying to find a monitor adapter for it. At first I thought it was a male VGA connector, but when I got a gender changer I found it wasn't.

An SGI monitor in their "legacy products" section says it will work with an Origin server, but it says it has "Analog VGA and digital DVI-I" connectors. The connector on the back of this machine isn't either of those, and that's even more puzzling.

Here's a picture http://www.travisdart.com/pictures/sgi/DSCN0126?full=1. The monitor connectors in question are marked "1" and "2".

Also, there's another connector that I thought might be a DVI connector, but on closer inspection, I don't think it is. Here's a picture of that connector: http://www.travisdart.com/pictures/sgi/DSCN0129?full=1. Sorry about the super blurry picture.

Thanks.

Last edited by Travis86; 02-07-2004 at 12:20 AM.
 
Old 02-07-2004, 11:53 AM   #2
wapcaplet
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I'm not sure what that is; looks like it might be an older DB9 connector (for MGA, CGA, EGA, etc.) I found this list of standard connectors with some googling. I've heard that a lot of SGIs use the 13W3 connector, but that's definitely not what you have there.

As for the second one, it doesn't look like any video connector I've seen (and it's not on that list, though that list isn't complete - DVI isn't on there); it's probably some other kind of serial port. I bet if you searched around for the SGI you have, you could find some schematics and whatnot that would tell you what it is.

Last edited by wapcaplet; 02-07-2004 at 11:56 AM.
 
Old 02-07-2004, 11:55 AM   #3
wapcaplet
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(oops)
 
Old 02-07-2004, 03:25 PM   #4
Clansman
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hi!

. have you tried looking after official documentation for that server?
. can you get in contact with the person who sold it to you?
. can you use a serial console and skip the video card? (not tellig you to, just aking)

the server looks very nice. i have an alpha where i work and i really like the kind of casing and position of periferals. what kind of hardware is there in your server? does it run linux???

[]
 
Old 02-07-2004, 03:58 PM   #5
Clansman
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i did some searching...

found this:
http://techpubs.sgi.com/library/tpl/...r=007-3415-003
which points to this:
http://techpubs.sgi.com/library/tpl/...r=007-3415-003

it's the official owner's guide.

i'm affraid your server does not have a graphics card to connect a monitor. none of those connectors are for monitors.

"The monitor connectors in question are marked "1" and "2"." - those are serial connectors.

that makes sense. it is a server - doesn't need a monitor for everyday-usage, so it doesn't need a graphics card either.

sorry to dissapoint you.

[]
 
Old 02-09-2004, 10:22 PM   #6
Travis86
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I went to the list of standard connectors that wapcaplet linked to and it says something about a 9-pin VGA connector. I thought I had figured out why SGI says their VGA monitor will work with my computer that doesn't have a VGA plug. It's because they are talking about 9-pin VGA instead of normal 15-pin VGA. So, I rush off and buy an adapter.

Unfortunately, it was then that I decided to read the manual. I found it very interesting, but couldn't understand what they were saying about serial ports. Why would SGI make a monitor for a computer that has no video card?

Well, I got to the bottom of that, too. I checked the monitor site again, and somehow my computer isn't on the compatible list. All of the names begin with "O," and it's very confusing. Then I recall thinking, "That Clansman.... He sure is off his rocker." And he was right all along.

Now I'll try to find a serial connector. Thanks for your help.

And, Wapcaplet, say hello to your friends Mousebat, Follicle, Goosecreature, Ampersand, Spong, Looseliver, Vendetta, and Prang, as I assume that's where you get your name.
 
Old 02-10-2004, 07:03 AM   #7
Clansman
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hi again travis,

i am not sure you understand the concept of a "serial console"... let me explain you:

. your server does not have a graphics card, nor those 9-pin plugs are weird monitor connectors. it is supposed to be that way. those 9 pin plugs (as you have already found out) are standard serial ports - RS232, V.24.

. your server is a server, it was built to be working 24/7 doing something hidden in a basement with air-conditioning, locked up. generally no one will be around it when it works (or even when it stops working... just a while after that), so no monitor is needed.

. the visual interface to the world your machine is meant to use is the one seen on serial consoles. serial consoles were extremelly common years ago, and commonly called "terminals", or more acurattely "dumb terminals". these were small (10-12") monochrome monitors with a keyboard attached, small and simple logic inside and a serial connection. the only thing they ever did was receive ASCII chars from their serial connection and show them serially in the screen. that's all! no operating system on them, no software, no drives, no nothing.

. the terminals were made when computers were very expensive, so one's company would buy a big expensive computer and connect to it several dumb terminals so people could work. the terminals were just slaves of the central computer as they did no processing at all! they simply sent the ascii chars typed and received the answers from the computer.

. your server is meant to work with such devices. old, deprecated and out of use. but don't rush into e-bay looking for a Digital VT220 dumb terminal.... there is another way out. simply use a "console connector" or null-modem, connect it into one of the serial ports of your server (it should have come with your server, assuming you bought it with the original accessories) and plug the other end it into any pc's serial port. then use a terminal program, such as hyperterminal (from microsoft) and there you go! you have a home-made dumb terminal in your pc!

hope i cleared that out for you.

[]
 
Old 02-10-2004, 12:45 PM   #8
Travis86
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I understand.
 
Old 03-03-2004, 11:28 AM   #9
Merlin53
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Hello,

You have a powerful machine, but it wasn't meant to be used as a graphics system. If you're running linux on anything, you can use Ethernet to connect to the server and it will run aps using Xwindows over Ethernet. You can configure your server to autoboot at power on, or sit and wait for the ACK from a console before booting up.
Try using a serial cable connected between another system (linux/Windoz) to the first serial port which is the console port. I believe the baud is 38.4 by default, 8-bit,1-stop-bit.
The boot process first goes through the POST and then loads a prom-based mini-os that lets you do a few things before you ever boot the real OS. If you set the autoboot switch using "nvram" it will go from power on to full up without any input.
We have a simular system here, and connect via RLOGIN from other systems to do any work on it.
If you don't have a network switch/hub to connect via Ethernet, you can use what's called a cross-over cable to connect one system to the other. It simply reverses the data lines in a standard Ethernet cable so two computers can talk to each other.
If there is a password on the "root" account and you don't have it, you're pretty much out of luck. Inless you have the distribution CDs from Silicon Graphics and reload the system from scratch you won't be able to break in.
You can find a lot of into about the system from the Silicon Graphics website. Try looking around on http://www.sgi.com

Good Luck!!!
Merlin53
 
Old 03-03-2004, 01:20 PM   #10
Travis86
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I hope they've reset the root password, because there's no CD drive! (or CD's, for that matter.)

Thanks for the other info, too. I know that this computer isn't for graphics, but every other computer that I've ever seen has a video output. I guess I just have to get used to the "server world."

Also, you say I have a "powerful system" and you seem to know a lot about SGI stuff, so in your opinion, exactly how much is this thing worth, anyway? I got it on eBay for $200 (plus $100 for shipping), but I've seen them for sale elsewhere for $3,000 or more. Places like here ($2995 - $4500) or here (695.00 = $1,270.43) or
here ($3695). Are these people being ripped off, or did I get a great deal?
 
Old 03-03-2004, 01:50 PM   #11
Merlin53
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Howdy Travis86,

I think you got a GOOD buy! But like beauty, it's in the eye of the beholder. The thing is, do you have a use for it? SGI systems are very well engineered! I've used them since the mid-eighties when they used M68000 chips as the cpu.
The main advantage you have is the "mother board" design which uses a technique that allows all sub-systems to comunicate at the same time, as opposed to the "PC" front side bus where only one system gets access at a time.
It would make a great web-server, or a file-server for other "unix-like" systems. If you have Linux systems you can rlogin to the SGI and use the power of the SGI to do work, compile software, use it as a router/gateway, all kinds of things.
You may be able to get a copy of the original distribution from SGI if you call them and tell them you purchased the system as-is. They have a tool free number.... 1-800-800-4SGI Pretty easy to remember. You will need the serial number off the back of the system.
Usually the root account has a password, and you can't break it as far as I know. If it's set, and the person that sold it to you can't provide it, you're up the creek. The only way to get around it is to do a complete re-install of the system. I would contact the seller and see if you can get something from them...
You may need to get an external CDROM that plugs onto the SCSI connector on the back of your system. Another answer is to get a Unid/Linux system networked to your server and use bootp to boot from a remote machine's CDROM.

Good Luck,
Merlin53
 
  


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