Monitor advice needed for IBM 5150

Need advice on how to get my IBM PC 5150 from Sep 1982 to work with a monitor. PC seems to power up fine, but the original 5151 monitor no longer exists. Are there any monitors that will work with the original mono video card that's in the machine? Or, should I get a color card for this machine (I have an IBM/Lenovo ThinkVision L191p/9419-HB7, but the mono card is 9-pin while the monitor is 15-pin VGA. Any advice is welcome, including where to get a new video card for a DOS system. Thanks in advance for any help.


  • edited June 2022
    In general, your best bet to get things going is to get an ISA VGA card.

    The important considerations are:
    1: Your 5150 motherboard must have a BIOS revision later than the first version.
    2: You can use an ISA card that has a 16-bit ISA plug. I believe a genuine 5150 motherboard has enough clearance on all of the sockets for this.
    3: The card must be compatible with 8-bit slots (That it, it switches to using 8-bit data bus communications). Many 16-bit cards were, but some later 16-bit cards were not.
    4: The card must also be compatible with 8088 CPUs. Some cards might be hardware compatible with an 8-bit only slot (such as might be found on a 286/386) but the VGA BIOS might require a later CPU. In some cases, upgrading the 8088 CPU to a V20 might work around that issue.

    Now, there are other options. If you went with a CGA card, there are devices that can upscale RGB to higher resolutions.

    Many "TV"s have composite input that will work with CGA, but the results are usually not very readable.

    Most VGA monitors can not sync to MDA/Hercules video timings. Plus, that is TTL, not analog video. There are a few exceptions such as the original NEC Multisync. I've even been told that some of the flat panel NEC monitors can come close.

    Or you could find a nice MDA/Herc compatible mono monitor on eBay and hope the post office doesn't smash it to bits.
  • Thank you for your quick response. I was hoping a custom cable would make the monitor work, but will look for the ISA VGA card as you suggest.
  • I bought a 5151 on eBay recently for not too much and it survived the shipping. It’s pretty light compared to some of the other monitors. Others that could work are old typewriter/word processors like smith corona or brother with a mono crt. And there are common brands like Princeton graphics or amdek that had mono monitors.

    Another option is the rgb2hdmi:
  • Thank you, Jafir. I'll check out the rgb2hdmi option. I'm having no luck finding old mono crts where I live (Las Vegas, NV).
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