Setting a custom res for tiny monitor?

By Mugsy
Feb 7, 2013
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  1. Interesting question: I'm a PC tech that often provides on-site service. Sometimes I need to hook up two PC's at once but the customer only has one monitor.

    I have a portable 7" digital TV. Very handy. It sure would be great if I could bring it with me on jobs and hook a PC up to it. Using an adapter, I can plug a VGA cable into the 1/4" "Video In" plug on the side, but the resolution is only 480x234 and I don't think Windows can support such a low resolution natively.

    Anyone know of a way I can make this idea work?
  2. oscar1987

    oscar1987 TechSpot Enthusiast Posts: 104

    I have tried it before with a monitor in a vehicle...same idea like yours. no success.
  3. fimbles

    fimbles TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 1,198   +105

  4. Mugsy

    Mugsy TechSpot Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 404

    Thanks for the reply's.

    Oscar: What did you do to try and create the lower resolution?

    Fimbles: I'd prefer having two screens so I can see both PC's at the same time, but that might be worth looking into if nothing else pans out.
  5. fimbles

    fimbles TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 1,198   +105

    Is it possible to create a "custom resolution" in your Ati catalyst control centre?
  6. TheHawk

    TheHawk TechSpot Enthusiast Posts: 186   +6

    Hey Mugsy. Pardon me, I appear to be missing something. This other pc you're trying to hook up I assume is your pc which you might use for troubleshooting,etc. Is it a desktop or possibly a laptop that works but the screen is bad/broken?. I ask since I travel with a netbook in case I need Net access,etc when the customers pc is down.
  7. Mugsy

    Mugsy TechSpot Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 404

    Hi Hawk.

    No. I build new PC's (among other services) for customers and am often asked to personally deliver them, hook them up, and move all their data from one PC to the other.

    Typically, they only have one monitor, meaning I must go through the time consuming task of copying all their data to a flashdrive, disconnecting the old PC, hooking up the new PC, then restoring all their data to the new PC. And is often the case, there's always something you miss, and going back would mean disconnecting the new PC, reconnecting and booting their old PC, and going through the whole process over again.

    It would be great if I could just run both computers side-by-side and copy files between them in realtime using an Ethernet crossover cable. I can get by w/o a mouse and a second keyboard isn't that big a deal, but I can't carry around a full-sized second monitor on every job.

    Rather than spend additional money on a portable monitor for such rare use, I was wondering if I could just use my portable 7" digital TV (with inputs) as a portable monitor. Problem is, the physical resolution is only 416x234... below anything Windows permits.

    However, it just dawned on me that my old 8" portable DVD player that has been in the closet for over a year has A/V jacks and (I believe) a resolution of 720x480... which Windows can support, so I'm looking into that now. Very light & portable, it would be really cool if it works.
  8. TheHawk

    TheHawk TechSpot Enthusiast Posts: 186   +6

    Ok, now I understand. In your shoes,and not wanting to carry a small (17" monitor with the proper video adapters for the new build depending on what the monitor has) would be to have an IDE and/ or SATA external drive enclosure and remove the drive from the old system and connect it via USB to the new. I would then copy what I needed (or forgot) to the new system AFTER I did an AntiVirus scan of the contents before copying to the new system. This is assuming that the new system has an AV program on it. I had a 17" LCD I used when I worked on people's system at home, very light. It sometimes was too much of a hassle working in a customer's home instead of at home where I usually had all I needed.
  9. Mugsy

    Mugsy TechSpot Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 404

    I have such enclosures and adapters, but removing a drive (or often more than one), putting it in an enclosure, then later reinstalling the drive back into the old machine is a much bigger job than simply connecting two PC's to run side-by-side.
  10. TheHawk

    TheHawk TechSpot Enthusiast Posts: 186   +6

    Depending on what info you had saved (or the client wanted later), and how often you did these actions, I guess you might have a good handle on what to save right off the bat (My Documents folder), and a good interrogation of them of what is critical for them for you to save. I used to face the same issue since they never did as I asked, which was to back up their data prior to me doing a reformat and OS reinstall. I had a checklist to read off to them, things like Favorites/Bookmarks, iTunes music downloads, wanted e-mails, downloaded programs and registration numbers,etc.I hammered them to save digital camera pics to DVD as people never seemed to do it. I hope your portable DVD can give you what you need. Good luck.
  11. Mugsy

    Mugsy TechSpot Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 404

    Just tried connecting my PC to my portable DVD player and it didn't work. But there are too many sources of error to know exactly why.

    The DVD Player has a 1/4" din plug for Composite video, and another 1/4" din for "s-video". I already own a "composite to 1/4 inch" cable for connecting a DTV tuner to the player, so I found/purchased a D-Sub (VGA) to Composite (and S-video) adapter cable online. I then booted my PC using my regular monitor and set it to 720x480 resolution, rebooted to make sure it stayed that way, and then shutdown and connected my new adapter cable.

    But my videocard only has DVI ports, so I had to use a DVI-to-VGA adapter on the end. I then plugged the cable into my DVD Player using my Composite-to-Din cable.

    Turning on the PC, I could not get the screen to sync, with white lines of "boot text" racing to the right. Hoping it was just a "resolution" issue, I waited for Windows to start, but I never got the blue login screen. Windows was probably reporting an error I couldn't see. I shutdown using the power button on my PC and reconnected my monitor.

    Possible sources of error:

    The DVI to VGA adapter not producing a true VGA signal.
    The cheap VGA-to-Composite cable not producing a "true" Composite signal (maybe "s-video" would work better?)
    (I considered that the DVD Player might actually be a resolution other than 720x480... maybe 704x480? But the startup BIOS text wouldn't care about that.)
    The DVD Player itself might not handle certain signals.

    I found actual "portable LCD monitors" on eBay for around $85, but I was really hoping to come up with a solution that didn't cost me any money (besides the $2 adapter). I might try the experiment again using s-video or a different portable device someday, but for now, it doesn't look like it'll work with my setup.


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