VGA Mod without buying tools?

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Joined: Mar 20 2005
Posts: 23

I have 2 Mystics, neither of which have the VGA Mod. I've never used a dremel and am not a tech guru like many posters here & at the other CC forums (Stuart's especially). You guys have such detailed instructions that I have been able to connect the dots:

1-doing the ResEdit hacks for the 575, less the VGA mod
2-replacing the stock 575 CPU with a full 68040
3-installing new hard drives, floppy drives, RAM etc.

In other words, I follow instruction well without -perhaps- understanding what exactly I'm doing all the time (like opening The Pickle's template for the ResEdit hack for the non-VGA 575, what does that do exactly?) And everything works.

Now I'd like to do the VGA mod to at least one of my Mystics and I don't own a dremel and have never soldered anything in my life. Can I use something else to do this, like an exacto knife or something that may take longer, but might be better for someone with limited experience who only has one shot at not ruining the analog board? The soldering seems to be relatively easy to pick up, but that dremel, in addition to being a pricey purchase, seems to demand some serious skill at such close quarters.

Don't suppose there's anyone in the greater NYC area who'd want to assist surgery on my analog board.

Advice or ideas greatly appreciated

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Joined: Dec 21 2004
Posts: 82
Things to consider...

I tried the knife trick, but it didn't work. The knife couldn't cut enough to make a clean separation.
You don't have to lay down big bucks for a Dremel. Sears sells a Craftsman brand that is fairly inexpensive and does a decent job. If you plan to mod a computer, or perform little odd jobs around the house, it's not a bad investment.
You're correct that some skill is needed to operate the tools, but you can practice on scrap wood, pieces of plastic, or Intel motherboards (sorry, I couldn't resist). The key is patience, a clean, well-lit work area, and no distractions. The actual cutting won't take that long. I didn't cut the "Pin 20", but rather, removed the long contact on the board. That might save you a tear or two.
Soldering follows the same guidelines. Slow and steady wins the race. Sure, the initial layout of some cash is needed, but when you put it back together and see that wonderful 640x480 screen, you can proudly say "I did that!".
Stuart's and Chris' instructions are infallible (especially that part about the beer).

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Joined: Dec 20 2003
Posts: 354
I second the practice suggest

I second the practice suggestion. I was also nervous about it, and practiced on a dead analog board. Since old worthless computers are very common, find a motherboard and practice enough to get a feel for cutting PCB material.

Although others might disagree, I think the analog board connection (changing the sense lines) is easiest to change with the harness wires. It is a really tiny space to be dremelling and soldering.

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Dr. Webster's picture
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Joined: Dec 19 2003
Posts: 1687
I was actually able to succes

I was actually able to successfully do the trick with the knife. What I ended up doing was taking out about a 1mm section of the trace--make two deep cuts 1mm apart, perpendicular to the trace. Then use the blade to scrape away the trace in between those two cuts, until you get bare PCB.

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tmtomh's picture
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Joined: Dec 20 2003
Posts: 568
Knife and Harness

I've found it very easy to do the isolation with an Xacto knife - works like a charm, very easy.

As for the sense line bit, I ruined one analog board trying to do that, and ever since then I've always done it in the harness. Takes two minutes, and as long as you first double-check that you're cutting the right wires, it's foolproof.

My $.02.

Matt

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Joined: Mar 20 2005
Posts: 23
okay, 2 more Post-VGA question/Mystic Question

Well, I think I might give the exacto a wack tomorrow, mostly because the lack of a motorized cutting tool puts my mind at ease. I will take the practice makes perfect advice when I pick up a soldering iron for the first time (electric heat, oddly, doesn't stress me out).

1- Will I need to undo the ResEdit hacks after the VGA mod, or will I simply have another resolution option in the monitors control panel?

2- If I installed 7.6.1 with the CC mobo still in, then did all the Needed ResEdits to get it to accept the 575 mobo I've yet to see an explanation of getting OS 8/8.1 on there. Can I simply update and the ResEdit Mods will carry over to the new system folder? I know that may seem like a stupid question,painfully obvious to most, but seeing as how the CC stock mobo won't let me install 8 I was a little worried an update might be more than a little tricky.

Maybe I'm missing the point of the VGA mod, will I essentially have a "true" 575 afterwards or will software tinkering still be in order? I'll read back over Stuart's descriptions.

Thanks for all the help.

tmtomh's picture
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Joined: Dec 20 2003
Posts: 568
VGA -OR- ResEdit, not both

If you do the VGA mod first, then you should be able to just install OS 8 on the 575-upgraded CC. Once the VGA mod is done, there is no ResEdit hacking needed.

As for whether you need to undo your 7.6.1 ResEdit hack once you complete the VGA mod, I don't know for sure, but based on what the CCFAQ says the hack does, my guess would be that the hack will not cause any problems once you've done the VGA mod. Specifically, the ResEdit hack changes the boot process for the machine. But the new boot process is compatible with a 640x480 display, so you should be okay.

But I could be wrong. Maybe others here have a definitive answer.

Matt