It's been a while since I indulged in Apple II hacking. I want to pick up where I left off, and that means finishing schematic & layout for an Apple II VGA adapter card. This is a semi-commercial project; "commercial" because I intend to sell it for a profit through my company, and "semi" because the profit will be very small (I do it mostly for the fun...).
I see new forum topics started every now and then on the subject of connecting Apple II to VGA monitors. Some composite-to-VGA converters seem to work, others don't. It would be nice to solve this problem once and for all. There are some alternatives out there, like Carte Blanche, but I would like to build something that is really simple and cheap (BTW anyone knows what the Carte Blanche costs?).
I have a prototype that works pretty good. My biggest concern now is price and volume. So that is why I am asking these questions:
How big is the potential market?
What do you think is a reasonable price for an Apple II VGA adapter card?
Price depends on the costs - 5%-10% profit would be o.k. - but the costs depend on the amount - there you should start with a little amound and test the reaction of the market...
I would order one in the range of 20$-50$ ...
(should work with NTSC and PAL)
$50 range would be reasonable IMHO, but not much higher because there are many aternatives in that price range.
If you put out a really effective advertising campaign and have a good price and a good product, I can see you selling at minimum 150-200 units. And after that, the sky's the limit, as I've found out.
I think there is more than one VGA adapter solution for Apple II already out there. I would research all of them, and try to discover how popular they are, and how many people bought them. I don't own any VGA adapter, but my impression is that this market is already "crowded," along with the market for solid-state storage solutions.
This isn't like the Uthernet II, for example, which has no competitor.
The cost to manufacture it + some dollars for your profit.
There are MANY products that were out there that will give out a VGA signal from an Apple II.
It all depends on where you get your product and from which manufacturer.
Most methods to get a VGA signal from an Apple II are not on sale anymore just as most in demand products for the Apple II are not on sale anymore.
There are two products that will compete with you from a2heaven.com, and the stand alone card also has the advantage of switching between color/amber/green/mono/scanlines, etc.
Just for you to know.
Out of stock.
Like I said: not on sale anymore.
And that matters. Because how many people who already own a VGA adapter will buy another? Your product had better be better than the one they already own.
Just to clarify, is this going to be an internal card for the Apple ][ and //e only?
If so, something to keep in mind is that a lot of us Apple ][ users are on the PAL system, so I'm not sure if an internal card would be compatible with a PAL board.
Not to mention that many systems may already be maxed out with cards.
If I were building a VGA converter I would make it external, and thus compatible with the ][, //e, ///, //c, //gs and potentially lots of other vintage computers out there. You would have a much larger market to sell to.
That's all not to discourage you, though. I've looked for a cheap composite to VGA converter in the past and found that so many just don't work that well. Having a VGA converter that actually does the job and does it well, would be great for a lot of people.
I think in general, a VGA converter will become increasingly important in the future as new televisions drop the composite standard (many years from now).
Here's the review of that new card at Call Apple.
Not the piggyback, but a stand alone card. In my opinion this is a very small market and you will not make a profit, none of the hardware creators does. Is a labor of love.
Any idea on when this might be available?
Thanks for the feedback!
Actually I wasn't aware that A2Heaven had a competing product available. In fact, their card seems to be designed a lot like mine! I also implemented multiple color modes (RGB, green, black/white, etc). I think there is no point in launching my card now :/
CWJ_Wilko - yes, this is an internal (peripheral) card for the Apple II family. It does not use the video generator/signal, so there is no distinction between NTSC/PAL systems. Instead it keeps an internal copy of the graphics memory, and generates the VGA signal from that.
A composite-to-VGA converter is more complicated to design, especially considering that the signal isn't exactly according to the standard.
As others have said, I wouldn't go into this to make a profit. Rather, you should be thrilled that you're continuing to contribute hardware to a system that has its roots in the 1970s. It's testament to an iconic computer and the strong community that is still behind it, decades later.
That being said - I've gone more than once to buy a modern add-on card for the //e and been disappointed to see that it's out of stock, with no word about whether it will be restocked in the future. The more cards the merrier.
Slot 7 is looking empty in my machine... hmm.
The A2Heaven VGA adapter for the RW3 is not perfect. It has not the right colors (one is completely wrong). If you look at the work of lukazi, you can see that the available solutions are not as good as they could be. lukazi has the best reproduction of NTSC artefacts to date. I have compared old TV, professional broadcast monitors and computer color monitors. lukazi comes the closest in my opinion. A2Heaven has adopted another closely resembled way of generating the NTSC artefacts, but its not perfect or as good as the way likazi chose.
Please don't let yourself be stopped by other implementations. Lets work together to get the BEST solution and not one or two that are just OK. I have several (older Linedoubler/Framedoubler) composite to VGA boxes that give very good results on CRTs (some TFTs have problems with the signal). If you are interested, i could supply you with one for development.
FINALLY there is someone who is saying the same thing that I have been saying for the longest time!
What color is wrong ?
i can replace it with correct .
i have uploaded some images here: http://www.applefritter.com/?q=content/a2-video-test
The TV files are from a early 90s tv (NTSC) the VGA Files are from the VGA-Adapter on the RW3
The VGA adapter seems to differentiate between the two gray variants, this is wrong on the //e
VGA-Adapter on the RW3 is not support DHGR .
If you can shot standard ribbon color test in HGR mode.
Also colors depend of your monitor settings too .
Really? Plamen, I am pretty sure I have used DHGR on my RW3+VGA adapter of yours.
The Carte Blanch II "was" $400.00 ( US Dollars ), and there was a limited run a year ago... It will do way more than VGA or HDMI output..
Are you focusing on a:
Composite to VGA solution??
RGB to VGA solution???
Composite or RGB to HDMI solution??
Because of the large quantity of VGA CRTs and Flat Screens, VGA is a minimum Target, but I have heard that newer Flat Screens are starting to drop the VGA Port..
Just so you know:
The Artifacting with the NTSC Signal, Composite to VGA or HDMI is desirable for Video Games..
Image Clarity, especially 80 Column, an RGB to VGA or HDMI is desirable for Text Mode..
Composite ( or S-Video ) adapters to VGA are around $30.00 to $40.00, ( US Dollars ) HDMI are about the same, and there are some on Amazon that are around $20.00, ( US Dollars )
I would think that Double that would be a good price for an Apple ][ Solution...
The Ultimate Adapter would be an RGB to VGA/HDMI that understands the Apple ][ NTSC Aliasing to provide correct color. If it based on Composite Input, make it selectible and adjustable, so that it can be used with other Devices, making it more Valuable by appealing to a wider audience..
With the number of Apple ][ people on the FaceBook groups and other Apple ][ sites, and a very flexible adapter, you might see 250-500 Units.
I would Set Up a Poll on the Apple ][ FaceBook group to see what interest in Real Apple ][ Hardware for Video Conversion there is... People doing Emulation Only won't be potential buyer...
VGA Adapters mentioned at A2 Central
Tandy CoCo and C64 and Apple 2 to VGA adapter
RE: Apple VGA adapter card
This thread may be a little stale but I thought some input on the A2Heaven VGA scaler may be of use. I have one of these that I purchased a couple of weeks ago. So far it has been tested in a II+, a Europlus, and a IIe without any issues. The selectable output is very good. I am most impressed with this piece of hardware. In the UK it is hard to get a decent composite monitor and most of the Apple II`s sold here are monochrome or do not have the PAL cards. These cards are a very cheap option on retaining the full colour and allowing the use of LCD monitors. Installation is quick install the card in slot 7 and add a couple of jumpers depending on model or Revision version of the mainboard.