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HP MediaSmart Server VGA/PS2/Serial Cables For Sale
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Author:  cakalapati [ Fri May 09, 2008 7:10 pm ]
Post subject:  HP MediaSmart Server VGA/PS2/Serial Cables For Sale

Want to connect a VGA monitor to your HP MediaSmart server? Check out the new and improved Gen2 cable!

The cable in this forum posting (the Gen1 cable) has been deprecated and is no longer being offered. The contents of this post are here strictly for historical purposes.

I am starting a small and humble cable building service to all my MediaSmart Server comrades who wish to have VGA and/or PS2 Keyboard/Mouse and/or Serial cable and would rather buy (and not build) a cable.

Why should you buy a cable?
-- You want to play with the BIOS settings or re-flash your BIOS
-- You want to boot from a USB stick to install another OS (Linux, Windows Server 2008)
-- You are a software/kernel/addons developer
-- You want to tinker but not risk shorting your MediaSmart Server
-- You don't have the time to build your own cable
-- You don't want to buy expensive tools for a one time project
-- You want the ability to troubleshoot any bootup problems without running a recovery that will destroy existing data
-- Buying is cheaper than building!

The Price:
-- $40.00 USD for the VGA Cable [DISCONTINUED. See the Gen2 cable instead.]
-- $70.00 USD for the VGA + PS2 Keyboard + PS2 Mouse Cable [DISCONTINUED. See the Gen2 cable instead.]
-- $90.00 USD for the VGA + PS2 Keyboard + PS2 Mouse + Serial* Cable (The Complete Set) [DISCONTINUED. See the Gen2 cable instead.]
-- Texas residents must add 8.25% sales tax to their order.

Shipping:
-- $5.00 USD via regular mail to USA (2-3 business day delivery time, no tracking number)
-- $7.00 USD via registered mail to USA (2-3 business day delivery time, with tracking number)
-- $5.00 USD via regular mail to Canada (5-10 business day delivery time, no tracking number)
-- $22.00 USD via registered mail to Canada (5-10 business day delivery time, with tracking number)
-- $26.00 USD via registered mail to Europe (4-7 business day delivery time, with tracking number)
-- $26.00 USD via registered mail to India (7 business day delivery time, with tracking number)
-- Areas outside USA/Canada? Expect to pay $26.00 (or more) for registered shipping.

Non-registered mail means that your cable is not insured and not tracked during shipping.
Registered mail means mail that your cable is insured and it is also tracked during shipping. No P.O. Box shipping please (this is not my wishes, but the courier's wishes).

About International Shipments:
Typically items that are under one pound (16 ounces) and less than $100 in value are not charged duties and taxes. However, it is at the discretion of the customs officer who handles that particular package on that particular day. You (the buyer) are responsible to pay any duties or taxes that your country decides to charge (if any).

Non-registered shipments to Canada (via United States Postal Service) does not require a customs form for items that are less than one pound (16 ounces) and less than $100 in value. However, you get no tracking and no responsibility for lost packages. If a cable is lost via non-registered mail, I will not ship a replacement cable. You pay less but take more risks.

In the unlikely event that your cable is lost in shipment, customers who ordered their cable via registered mail will get a replacement cable immediately. I do not do non-registered mail overseas.

Notes:
-- Cables are built as orders are placed, so there may be some lead time before your cable ships out.
-- Cable lengths are about 16 inches (40.64 centimeters)
-- All cables are tested with the MediaSmart Server (HP EX-470) before they are shipped.
-- All cables are shipped from Austin, Texas, USA.
-- Payment is made via PayPal (http://www.paypal.com).
-- All cables are shipped once payment is received.
-- There may be a wait time of about 1-2 weeks, depending on the supply and demand for parts.
-- You will be doing business with a company called VOV Technology.

* The serial connector uses a 3.3V TTL Signal to Serial-USB Connector.
The requirements for this are:
-- A USB connection on your desktop computer (useful is you are on a computer that does not have a serial connector--like a Mac or some modern systems)
-- You will need to install special drivers on your Mac/Windows box to have the computer see the virtual COM port. Linux (Ubuntu 7.x-8.04) have the drivers included with the distribution's kernel so no installation is required for these platforms. A driver CD will be included with your cable.

If you are interested, email me at "mss_cable_service<at>vovtech<dot>com" with:
1. The cable specifications (VGA only or VGA+PS2 Keyboard+PS2 Mouse or VGA+PS2 Keyboard+PS2 Mouse+Serial) and price (as stated above).
2. Your first and last name
3. The address where the cable should be shipped**
4. Your shipping preference (registered or non-registered mail).
5. Your phone number (registered mail requires the destination phone number)
6. Please include a repair kit (for an additional $5 USD) in case I break my cable (Yes or No) ***
[The Gen1 cable is discontinued in favor of the Gen2 cable.]

** Your shipping address must match your PayPal address (for security reasons and to qualify for PayPal's buyer/seller protection program).
*** A repair kit consists of a spare connector housing with at least 15 crimp connector terminals.

You will receive an email when your cable is ready to ship. Upon receiving your request, I will then send you my PayPal email address.

Thanks and happy MSS tweaking!
Charles

Attachments:
File comment: Some users prefer not to damage their MediaSmart Server, so they install their cable coming up the back of their box and out one of the spare hard drive bays.
GI0F2243 (Medium).JPG
GI0F2243 (Medium).JPG [ 62.24 KiB | Viewed 51595 times ]
File comment: An example of a VGA cable. The cable is approximately 16 inches (40 cm), which is perfect for almost any installation.
GI0F2253 (Medium).JPG
GI0F2253 (Medium).JPG [ 21.84 KiB | Viewed 51626 times ]
File comment: An example of the VGA + PS2 Keyboard + PS2 Mouse cable. If you plan to update your BIOS, make sure you either have one of these cables or that you have USB keyboard functionality enabled by default in your custom BIOS.
GI0F2391 (Medium).JPG
GI0F2391 (Medium).JPG [ 27.91 KiB | Viewed 51009 times ]
File comment: A closeup of the connector for the VGA + PS2 Keyboard + PS2 Mouse connector cable. Each connector is tested before it is released and is assembled with professional equipment.
GI0F2605 (Medium).JPG
GI0F2605 (Medium).JPG [ 29.9 KiB | Viewed 51603 times ]
File comment: An example of the complete set (VGA, PS2 Keyboard, PS2 Mouse and Serial). Since the serial uses TTL, special hardware is needed to convert these signals into serial signals your computer understands. The hardware enumerates as a virtual COM port device.
GI0F2636 (Medium).JPG
GI0F2636 (Medium).JPG [ 39.61 KiB | Viewed 51585 times ]
File comment: Cable installation and removal instructions that will extend the life of your cable.
Cable Installation and Removal Instructions.pdf [460.48 KiB]
Downloaded 2455 times
File comment: Instructions on how to enable the serial port in the HP MediaSmart Server BIOS. Customers ordering the complete set (VGA + PS2 Keyboard + PS2 Mouse + Serial) need to do this before utilizing the serial capabilities of the cable.
Enabling the Serial Port on the HP MediaSmart Server.pdf [720.7 KiB]
Downloaded 1956 times

Author:  T-Bone [ Sun May 11, 2008 10:54 pm ]
Post subject: 

I am not sure exactly what the USB plug is for. Can you explain what I would use that part for?

Author:  cakalapati [ Mon May 12, 2008 8:47 am ]
Post subject: 

The USB plug is a virtual serial port emulator. When your install certain drivers onto your desktop computer and plug in the USB connector, your computer will see the USB device as "COM3" (or "COM5" or whatever the next com port number is on your desktop computer).

Many modern computers, laptops and Mac computers no longer ship with DB9 serial connectors. However, almost every computer in existence (yes, even the Macbook Air) ships with a USB port. Having a USB serial converter allows people, who may not have a DB9 serial connector, to communicate via serial to their MSS box.

Also, since many computers ship with USB ports in the front of the computer, many find it more convenient too.

Author:  T-Bone [ Mon May 12, 2008 10:09 am ]
Post subject: 

Wow! thanks for the info. one last question, cant u already do what your talking about with the USB plugs on the front of the unit? ill definitely be ordering one of these as soon as a recover from the cost of my HDD and router to get my server up and running.

Author:  Randyrtx [ Mon May 12, 2008 10:21 am ]
Post subject: 

Nice work!

A question on the VGA capability... does it only function during bootup and for the BIOS settings screen, or is it active after WHS is fully up and running?

Author:  Diehard [ Mon May 12, 2008 2:53 pm ]
Post subject:  Got my cable, thanks.

Just a note to say I got my cable. You shipped Monday and I got it today (Monday) in Montreal. So that was fast.

Good quality job, the hacker in me already cut off the VGA casing so I could thread it through the hole I made at the back of the case where the Kensington connector is.

16" as I ordered was perfect. Just enough room to reach the front of the case and over the top to allow it to plug into the PCB while sliding it back. Putting back the cage went smooth. No wires were pinched or damaged in any way.

The second thing I did was install Server 2008 demo on a spare 500 Gig drive using a USB key.

Thanks again.[/img]

Attachments:
File comment: I also cut out the metal grill inside to reduce any whistling. Maybe I'll replace the 2 fans with wider blue lit ones as someone else did.
006.JPG
006.JPG [ 508.51 KiB | Viewed 51385 times ]
DSC00439.JPG
DSC00439.JPG [ 492.51 KiB | Viewed 45598 times ]

Author:  T-Bone [ Mon May 12, 2008 2:56 pm ]
Post subject: 

Sweet job Diehard thanks for the Pics.

Author:  cakalapati [ Mon May 12, 2008 3:06 pm ]
Post subject: 

Quote:
cant u already do what your talking about with the USB plugs on the front of the unit?


It depends on what you are trying to do. The cable is designed for developers and tinkerers who need access to the guts of the hardware (via a dumb bus) without going through a complex USB stack. Many developers are great coders but do not have the tools or knowledge to build effective cables. PS2 and RS232 are beautiful architectures from the fact that they are simple. USB is much more complex and with that comes more problems and headaches. For example, going through a USB driver to do kernel debugging is problematic. How do you debug an operating system driver when you depend on another driver in that operating system? The cable is also a must-have for Linux tinkerers.

The cable is not designed for everyone. I've built a handful of cables for individuals on this forum already. I'm just making it a little more public. If you have the tools to build your own cable, I encourage you to do so. If you have to start buying tools to build a cable, this offer simply gives you perhaps a better choice.

Quote:
A question on the VGA capability... does it only function during bootup and for the BIOS settings screen, or is it active after WHS is fully up and running?


The VGA cable works just like the VGA connector from your desktop computer. When the MSS powers up, you see the BIOS POST (Power On Self Test) messages and then your see the Windows Home Server 2003 progress-bar boot screen. Afterwards, you see a login prompt where, if you had a keyboard, you could press ctrl-alt-del, enter your password and log in as usual.

In other words, the stuff you see with the MSS VGA connector is synonymous with what you would see when booting Windows XP, except you are booting Windows Home Server instead. Once you are logged in, you can set the screen saver, play with video resolution, install software, yada yada yada. You can even open up IE and start surfing the web.

A word of warning though, messing with the guts of your Windows Home Server 2003 is something that HP does not support. But then again, neither does the RAM/CPU upgrade or any VGA connector.

Author:  Randyrtx [ Mon May 12, 2008 3:58 pm ]
Post subject: 

Quote:
The VGA cable works just like the VGA connector from your desktop cable. When the MSS powers up, you see the BIOS POST (Power On Self Test) messages and then your see the Windows Home Server 2003 progress-bar boot screen. Afterwards, you see a login prompt where, if you had a keyboard, you could press ctrl-alt-del, enter your password and log in as usual.

In other words, the stuff you see with the MSS VGA connector is synonymous with what you would see when booting Windows XP, except you are booting Windows Home Server instead. Once you are logged in, you can set the screen saver, play with video resolution, install software, wada wada wada. You can even open up IE and start surfing the web.


That's good to hear, thanks for the info. I wasn't clear on whether it was a fully-implemented port from the thread on the "mysterious" connector.

Oh, and hello from a fellow Austinite!

Author:  jetcopter [ Wed May 21, 2008 3:48 pm ]
Post subject:  question

Hello,

I just sent you an e-mail for the VGA cable. Can you still use a USB keyboard to make changes in the BIOS or do you need to get your PS2 cable?

Thanks!

Steve

Author:  cakalapati [ Wed May 21, 2008 4:36 pm ]
Post subject: 

You can use the USB connector to plug-in a USB keyboard to change the BIOS settings. The PS2 connectors are primarily used for low-level debugging, where you do not want to go through a complex USB stack.

Author:  Flattop [ Tue May 27, 2008 2:47 pm ]
Post subject:  A day late...

I could have used a cable a week ago when I tried to get RRAS running on MSS. I turned on the services and couldn't reconnect either with RDP or the console.

Do you accept checks? I don't use paypal (see http://nopaypal.com/).

http://www.merchantinc.com/ may work for accepting credit cards.

I think yahoo has some sort of storefront deal in which you can take credit cards through them, as another option.

I know, both of them are going to want a piece of your money, though.

Flattop

Author:  Flattop [ Tue May 27, 2008 3:15 pm ]
Post subject:  A day late... (cont'd)

I forgot to finish my story. I ended up having to restore the system drive and re-install the software on each of my computers.

Not fun. It would have been nice to look in the MSS box and see what was going on.

Flattop

Author:  cakalapati [ Tue May 27, 2008 3:48 pm ]
Post subject: 

I'm sure Paypal (and many other businesses) have drawbacks to some of their services. No company is perfect. If you looked at the 5-6 bad things about Paypal and ignore the 90+ good things, your vision of Paypal may be skewed.

I have considered other vendors, like Yahoo and even Ebay, but unfortunately, utilizing these services involves a price increase (which I and many others prefer not doing). These companies (Yahoo, Ebay etc) charge a premium to use their services and (like Paypal) also have pros and cons with their service policies. I am working continuously on trying to bring costs down.

I encourage buyers to post their buying experience to this forum for other prospective buyers. If you have bought a cable from me, please post you buying experience here. It will help others in determining legitimacy.

This particular forum topic is about selling a cable to help others do cool things with their MediaSmart Server. It's not about which merchant to use and why one merchant is better than another. If you want to continue talking about this, let's start a new topic. I will be happy to entertain constructive ways on improving the buying/selling process.

I'm sorry but I do not take checks. I am using Paypal to do all business transactions.

Author:  Flattop [ Tue May 27, 2008 5:14 pm ]
Post subject:  No questions on legitimacy

I hope I didn't come across as though I doubted your legitimacy. I think your cable looks great and I want one. I just have to figure out how to go about getting one.

I only doubt paypal's legitimacy (based on personal experiences, too).

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