VGA to Arcade Monitor Tutorial



1 VGA Extender Cable
Small Light bulb (flashlight sized)
2 pieces of wire about 8 inches long
1 "AA" battery (the size that fits in your Portable CD Player)
1 Alligator clip (optional)
1 roll of electrical tape

Click here for the Pin out diagram.

Preparing and Mapping the VGA cable

First Buy a VGA extender cable from Radio Shack. Cut off the end that does not plug into your computer. It's best to cut it off as close as you can to other end because then you will have more cable to work with.
Some times the wires are wrapped up nice with a color coated plastic sheath that tells you which is the Red Green And Blue and then there are 2 wires separate (mine where Orange and white) and one wire (that should be black) that may be twisted together with all the metal wire that is weaved around the whole cord (just under the plastic on the outside of the cord there is a weaved layer of metal wiring to block and disturbance). But if your wires aren't wrapped nice here is where the light bulb comes in.

Print the picture from above if you have a color printer.
Look at the picture it shows you which pins are what, so pick a pin like green and test to see which one it is by....
(you might need a friend to help hold the battery, I did.)

On the end of the cable you cut strip back some of the outer plastic wire coating so you can see about 2 inches of the wires inside.
Peel back the woven metal wire that's just under the outer plastic.( but don't cut it off yet)
A note about the RGB wires in the VGA cable there are 2 wires that may be wrapped in the same red plastic sheathing. one is the red output and one is the red return. What ever you do make sure that the red / green / and blue return wires is separated from the output wires or you will get a really crappy picture. You won't need the return wires at all. (in the VGA cable I worked with the R, G, B wires were wrapped in a sheath of plastic and had an outer sheath on them as well, with the return wire wrapped around it the same as the extra wire woven around whole VGA cable.)

Wrap one end of a wire around the bottom metal cover of the light bulb.
touch the bottom (little metal spot) of the light bulb to the top of the battery.
Take the other wire (the one not used yet) and tape it to the bottom of the battery (it's easier than holding it)
Now attach the other end of the wire you just taped to the bottom of the battery to the alligator clip...
If you didn't buy an alligator clip then just wind the wire around a pin or needle so it is a little circle of wire that will fit around only one pin on the VGA cable.
Put the Alligator clip ( or little wound circle ) on the pin you want to test first, (like the Red pin).
Now all you have to do is touch the free end of the wire that is wrapped around the bottom of the light bulb to each of the wires hanging out of the back of the VGA cable until the light bulb light up.
When the light lights up mark the wire as what ever pin you were testing.
After all the wires are tested and marked we can move onto preparing the Arcade monitors cable for the New VGA cable you just Mapped.

Preparing and mapping the Arcade monitor cable

Take a look at the back of your arcade monitor. there should be a piece of paper glued to the circuit board, just under the big tube, telling you what all the little adjustment dials do. And it might tell you what the wires attaching to the Board do also. Or it might even say beside where the wire attach. In the picture is how my wires were set up. there was 1 red, 1 blue, 1 green, 1 ground, and one v + h sync wire. you will notice that on the VGA cable there is 2 wires for vsync and hsync but they can just be twisted together to make one and it works perfectly.

Cut the monitor cable as far down as you can you want as much cable as you can get to work with.
Again you must cut back the outer layer of plastic to get at the wires.
You will not have to map these wires as they are all color coded the same as they are attached to the monitors circuit board.
Have a look at my picture for the way they were mapped on mine.

Twisting and Taping

Before you go any further, make sure that all your wires have at least 1 inch of bare metal sticking out at the ends. This means all wires on the VGA cable and on the monitors cable.

Now the rest is easy but please read on you might miss something.
First you will attach the ground wire as it is the only one with a little trick to it.
Find the wire you marked ground on the VGA cable and find the wire for ground on the Arcade monitor.
Here is the trick. You remember all the wire you had to pull back just to get at the wires in the VGA cable? Cut most of it off, but leave about 8 of the little wires attached, twist this wire with the ground wire that is also in the VGA cable. (This will kill any disturbance from outside the wire giving you a great clear picture.)
now twist together the VGA and Arcade monitor Ground wires. (make sure to twist them good and cover it with electrical tape) 
now do the VSYNC and HSYNC wires. If there is only one SYNC wire coming from the arcade monitor then as I said before... just twist the 2 wires from the VGA cable together and then twist them together with the Arcade monitors Sync wire. (Remember to tape it up good)
Finally attach the red , green, and , blue wires all separately to the red, green, and blue wire of the arcade monitor. ( Don't forget to wrap each one separately in electrical tape or you won't get any picture at all).

Finishing Touches

Now that all the little wires that needed to be connected are all connected and taped up individually. you can now test the cable.

From here you can just plug the VGA cable into your computers video card and start up as long as you have a special front-end running that can output to an arcade monitor. ( I use ArcadeOS with the video output set to "1" which is special for arcade monitors)


Your screen is off center or rolling.

After you attach this arcade monitor to the computer you will have to make some adjustment s to the dials in the back as the monitor is not set up for the weird signal it is now getting sent to it.

Colors are all mixed up

If your video card can't support the right colors (like the cheap 1 meg Cirrus Logic ISA I was using at first) then most of the colors will look odd or there might even be color replacement like instead of black there is a shade of red. Try a different video card.

No picture at all

Not sure. there must be many different kinds of arcade monitors out there but the 20 or so that I've seen were all just about the same.

You were electrocuted and are now dead

Sorry. I can't take responsibility for what happens to you while you are undertaking this project. These Tutorials are here for my own sake. If you happen to be following them then you do so at your own risk.

Have fun. I know I did while I was fooling around with My Arcade project.
And please be careful, I had my dad discharge the monitor for me so I wouldn't kill myself. I suggest you do the same and ask someone for help if you are unsure about what you are doing when it comes to monitors.