Stratasys Dimension SST 768 DIY VGA Connector

So I’ve come across a new toy: a Dimension SST 768 3D printer! But, it was having some difficulty turning on and working. Tearing into the back of the system, I found three DC power supply boards (24V, 12V+5V, and 120V), a single-board computer, an overly-complex logic/controller board, and what’s labeled a “Power Distribution Board” which connects to all the steppers and other hardware.

First order of business was to check the power boards, which were all spot-on voltage output. Ruling that out, I needed to see what was going on during the boot process.

Thanks to another helpful blog post, I discovered that the SBC was an Ampro P5v – which was awesome, because the label for the board is buried under another one, and I couldn’t see it without tearing it all down. Didn’t feel like it that day.

From the manual for the SBC, we discover the pinouts for the video port, J5:

Pin Signal DB-15
1 Red 1
2 Ground 6
3 Green 2
4 Ground 7
5 Blue 3
6 Ground 8
7 Horizontal Sync. 13
8 Ground 10
9 Vertical Sync. 14
10 Fused +5V Power n/a

I dug out a ten-pin connector with ribbon cable attached, from an old 9-pin serial backplate. Snipped off the serial port, sacrificed an old VGA cable (since there were no DB15 jacks in my junk pile), and rigged up an adapter. It works perfectly! There are also keyboard and USB and all the other I/O you could want on that SBC, documented in the manual.

Now that we’re in, it’s time to root the beast, turn on SSH, bypass the cartridge EPROMs, and make some awesome. My beloved MakerBot, your big brother has arrived!