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Soroc serial terminal - Part 3. FrankenSoroc's display


Veteran Member
Apr 24, 2009
Canberra, Australia
After I decided it would be too hard to find and fit a 12" CRT, I found there would also be problems getting a LCD display suitable for the 12" aperture in the cabinet fascia.

First attempts were to reuse one of several 15" VGA LCDs I had lying around, thinking I could just configure the display to run a 640x480 window centred in a 1280 wide SVGA screen. I spent a lot of time, and got a lot of advice from these forums, on ways to do it.

The main limitation was that I was committed to a DOS platform and ANSI text mode, so could not use a GUI windowing system from either MS or Linux. If I was willing to use one of those and accept the very long boot times, any LCD display that would fit in the cabinet would do.

I experimented with OpenGem and with DesqView. DesqView provided means to present a sized and positioned window running the terminal task, and DesqView and will also use ANSI.SYS within a DesqView window. But it also imposed its own window decoration scheme and added layers to the boot procedure.

Next I investigated whether either DOS MODE commands, or ANSI.SYS modes, could force the LCD to run a centred 640x80 text display. In theory, and on some displays, this would work. The problem is that every LCD digital monitor has its own programmed response to detecting a low-res video mode. This is programmed in monitor firmware, not in the VGA/SVGA driver of the computer. Any modern LCD is almost certain to stretch a detected VGA display window to fit the detected dimensions of the LCD screen.

After a lot of frustration I went back to online auctions and was lucky to find a 12" LCD VGA display, new old stock, at a very reasonable price. It was sold as a Point-of-Sale cash register monitor.

Unless and until I find someway to rebuild the Soroc with a 12" CRT, this will be the Soroc monitor.
A standard AC Mains > 12v PSU fits in the base of the Soroc cabinet, with a short length of AC cable wiring active, neutral and ground to the connector block from the Soroc's original switch and fuse.