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Altinex Distribution Amplifier DA1506RT Installation guide
VGA Balun II Application Guide
VGA Balun II
(500040, 500041, 500042, 500043)
Application Guide
Version 1.03
June 2009
©MuxLab 2006-2009
VGA Balun II Application Guide
The purpose of this document is to explain how to apply the VGA Balun II under
different operating conditions and to discuss issues not covered in the Installation Guide
that comes with the product.
Function of the VGA Balun II
The function of the VGA Balun II is to allow the traditional VGA cable to be replaced by
Category 5 (or better) twisted pair, thereby allowing VGA display screens to be located
up to 350 feet from the source at 800x600 resolution, exceeding standard VGA cable
distance limitations. The VGA Balun II finds applications in the following areas:
Multimedia Projector Systems: Allows the multimedia projector to be placed at
extended distances from a laptop or PC in a conference room or training room
environment. Allows the presenter to stand at a distance from the projector so as not to
obstruct the view of its audience.
Classroom PC Instruction: Allows a CRT monitor or projector to be connected to an
instructor’s PC via cost-effective Cat 5 twisted pair cable.
Video Information Systems: Allows display monitors or flat-screens to be distributed
throughout a complex via pre-installed Cat 5 twisted pair cable.
Industrial Process Monitoring: Allows CRT monitors or flat-screen displays to be located
at a remote distance from the central processor via pre-installed Cat 5 twisted pair.
Equipment With Which the VGA Balun II Works
The VGA Balun works with any equipment that supports VGA, XGA or SVGA signals,
including; PCs, laptops, multimedia projectors, CRT monitors, flat-screen LCD monitors,
plasma displays, VGA signal boosters, VGA signal splitters and VGA scan converters.
©MuxLab 2006-2009
VGA Balun II Application Guide
VGA Balun II versus VGA Balun (500010/11/14)
The VGA Balun II is positioned toward the new and pre-installed UTP market and is
designed to support short and medium distance/resolution applications via Cat5 UTP in
the VGA environment in the majority of VGA applications. The VGA Balun II is not
compatible with the 500010, 500011 and 500014.
The VGA Balun II (500040, 500041, 500042, 500043) does not replace the VGA Balun
(500010, 500011, 500014) completely. Although the VGA Balun II is designed to
support all VGA equipment via Cat5 UTP, there are minor performance differences
versus the VGA Balun which may cause the market to want to continue to use the VGA
Balun in certain scenarios, as follows:
A) Need for reset button with “sync-sensitive” displays: With certain sync-sensitive
monitors, the VGA Balun II may require its built-in Reset Button to be pressed each time
the VGA source is re-started or re-booted. This may be an issue in some applications
where certain models or brands of display must be used. In such a scenario, the customer
may prefer to use the VGA Balun even though STP cable is recommended.
B) Slightly Yellowish Hue with Certain Monitors: With some monitors, the screen may
have a slightly yellowish hue. This artifact may be eliminated by connecting the VGA
Balun II to a local ground via the built-in ground screw. In applications where
connecting to a local ground is not feasible, some customers may prefer to use the VGA
Balun even though STP cable is recommended.
C) Initial Delay in Image Stabilization: When booting up a VGA Balun II connection,
there is a delay of several seconds before the image stabilizes. Initially the screen has a
yellowish hue and then after a few seconds, the correct color balance stabilizes. This
may be an issue in some time critical or VGA switching applications and therefore the
VGA Balun may be preferred even though STP is recommended.
©MuxLab 2006-2009
VGA Balun II Application Guide
Application Table
There are currently three (3) product items in the VGA Balun range. The following table
summarizes their application
DB15HD Plug
VGA - PC Side*
DB15HD Receptacle
VGA - Monitor Side
DB15HD Plug
VGA - Monitor Side
DB15HD Receptacle
VGA - PC Side*
*The 500040/500043 are electrically different from the 500041/500042
Pin Configuration
The cable between the two VGA Baluns must respect the EIA568 wiring standard. Color
coding may be according to EIS568A or EIA568B as long as the wiring is straightthrough.
©MuxLab 2006-2009
VGA Balun II Application Guide
Displays Equipped with DB15HD Receptacle
Due to the product design, the VGA Balun-PC Side (500010) must be connected to the
source and the VGA Balun-Monitor Side (500011, 500014) must be connected to the
display. Most plasma and LCD screens have a DB15HD receptacle and therefore it is
recommended to use the 500014.
If this is not possible, then connect a short VGA male-to-male extension cable or gender
changer between the 500011 and the display. A photo of a typical VGA extension cable
and gender changer is shown below. The gender changer shown at the bottom right can
be found at the following link:
To locate a source for a VGA extension cable or gender changer please consult the table
of VGA cabling equipment vendors provided at the end of this document.
Picture Problems
During the installation of the VGA Balun II various picture problems may result. It is
important to know what is causing these problems and how to correct them.
Display Not Syncing Up Properly
This problem may occur with sensitive displays that have difficulty synchronizing on
start-up. The solution is to press the “reset” button on the either the transit side or
receive side balun and press auto sync button on the display. The screen hue will change
to a yellowish hue and then regain the original hue with a few seconds.
Smearing occurs when the edge of an image leaves trail traces similar to smudging a line
of ink on a piece of paper. This may occur as the length of twisted pair cable increases.
As the maximum distance specification is neared, the physical properties of the cable and
baluns begin to show this effect. This is due to the effects of propagation delay and
attenuation. Aside from using an active device with built-in tilt-amplifier to correct the
problem, the other possible solutions are; a) to shorten the length of cable or b) adjust the
contrast and brightness of the monitor.
©MuxLab 2006-2009
VGA Balun II Application Guide
Flutter occurs when the background fluctuates between light and dark. This symptom
may be due to problems with the grounding between the VGA equipment or the
connection may be picking up some external interference from a nearby power
transformer. A solution to minimize this effect is to adjust the monitor’s contrast and
Ghosting is characterized by a second video image being received after the main image,
resulting in a double image that is skewed in relation to the first. This is usually due to a
problem with the UTP cable connection itself. Poor crimping, untwisted pairs, some of
the twisted pairs may be longer than others, poor quality cable, or impedance mismatch
between the CPU and the monitor are all some of the causes. In these cases it is best to
replace the existing cable with a new one.
Wrong Colors
If the wrong colors appear in an image (i.e. blue appears where green should appear), the
problem may be due to swapped or split twisted pairs. The key is to verify the pin
configuration of the cable between the CPU and the monitor to ensure that the correct pin
configuration is respected. Please refer to the Installation Guide for further details about
pin configuration.
Loss of Image Detail
Loss of image detail may occur as the length of twisted pair cable increases. As the
maximum distance specification is neared, the physical properties of the cable and baluns
will begin to show this effect. This is due to the effects of propagation delay and
attenuation. Other than using an active device with built-in tilt-amplifier, one can
improve the image by shortening the length of twisted pair or reducing the picture
resolution. If the application operates adequately at a lower resolution (i.e. 800x600
instead of 1024x768), then setting the monitor to a lower resolution will help improve the
image. Another way to improve the image is to adjust the contrast and brightness of the
©MuxLab 2006-2009
VGA Balun II Application Guide
When is the Reset Button Required
Due to the fact that some displays are more sensitive than others and may not sync up
correctly, a RESET button is provided on each VGA Balun II to allow these displays to
re-synchronize. A RESET button is on both the transmit and receive side baluns for
greater convenience and ease of access.
If the initial setup yields an improperly
positioned image on the screen, using a pen or small screw driver, press the RESET
button located next to RJ45 jack on one of the baluns and then immediately press the
AUTOSET button located on the display unit. During this time the image will change hue
and gradually return to normal after approximately fifteen (15) seconds. Please see
following diagram.
When is the Grounding Screw Required
The VGA Balun features an optional grounding screw (see diagram above) that may be
used to clear up any image anomalies. For example, under some conditions, there may
be a slight difference in hue between the left hand side of screen and the right.
Connecting the ground terminal to earth ground will help clear this up. However, if there
is a ground loop problem in the building, connecting the ground terminal may negatively
affect the image. Therefore the ground screw should only be used if it improves the
overall image quality.
Start-up Image
During start-up the initial image may have yellow hue. The yellow hue is a result of the
“blue” channel being blocked momentarily by the balun in order to allow the display to
properly sync up. It is a normal function of the product and is required in order to allow
the product to support the widest range of monitors.
During start-up, there may be a two (2) to three (3) second delay before an image
appears. This is a normal function of the product and is done in order to allow the
©MuxLab 2006-2009
VGA Balun II Application Guide
monitor to correctly sync up. The VGA Balun II requires some additional energy prior to
reaching its normal operating level.
Bandwidth and Operation at SXGA (100MHz)
Although the VGA Balun has a bandwidth specification of 60 MHz, it will still operate at
screen resolutions with higher bandwidth; i.e.; SXGA (100MHz). This is because the
bandwidth roll-off above 60 MHz is gradual and not sharp, allowing the higher frequency
components through.
DVI-I to VGA Adapters
The DVI-I interface is a combined analog and digital interface found on some PCs and
screens. In applications where the analog (VGA) portion of a DVI-I interface needs to be
connected to a VGA monitor, the VGA Balun may be used in conjunction with a DVIVGA Adapter. The adapter extracts the analog video (VGA) portion of the DVI-I
interface and converts it to DB15-HD as shown in the following picture.
Cable on the Reel
Frequently it may be necessary to pre-test a VGA Balun installation with some spare
twisted pair cable. It is important to note that when the cable is on the reel, the picture
will be inferior. This is due to the increased magnetic induction created by the spool of
cable. In order to properly pre-test a configuration, it is recommended to un-coil the
cable and lay it out flat on the floor or in a cable farm structure.
©MuxLab 2006-2009
VGA Balun II Application Guide
VGA Distribution Amplifiers
In some applications it is necessary to distribute a VGA source to multiple screens. The
VGA Balun II works in conjunction with commercially available VGA distribution
amplifiers (DA). In order to operate correctly it is necessary that the VGA outputs on the
DA be fully isolated in order not to interfere with the synchronization pulses. The
following page provides a list of some of the VGA distribution amplifiers on the market.
MuxLab cannot guarantee performance for them.
©MuxLab 2006-2009
VGA Balun II Application Guide
VGA Dual head Cards
As an alternative to inserting a VGA distribution amp in front of the VGA Balun, some
vendors offer dual head VGA cards. When used, a pair of VGA Baluns may be
connected to each port thereby providing a neat point-to-point connection. The
advantage of this approach is that there are fewer points of failure and no extra power is
required. Matrox, for example offers the Millenium Dual Head VGA Card.
Laptops With Plug-and-Play (DDC) on External VGA Port
Some laptops support DDC plug-and-play and will not enable the external VGA port
unless it detects a monitor on the DDC line. Since the VGA Balun II does not support
DDC, it is necessary to disable the DDC feature on the laptop when connecting to the
screen via the VGA balun II. In order to do this follow these steps:
1. Connect a VGA cable between the laptop and the VGA display.
2. From the Control Panel, select the Display icon.
3. In Display Properties, click on Settings.
4. Then click on Advanced.
5. Select the Displays tab and click on the external monitor button.
6. Click on the Use DDC Information to disable the feature (un-check).
7. Click Apply and then OK.
8. Reconnect the VGA Balun II and Cat5. The display should now come up.
©MuxLab 2006-2009
VGA Balun II Application Guide
Classroom Projector Application
In many schools, classrooms now feature an overhead projector connected to an
instructor’s PC or laptop. The instructor typically sits at a PC or laptop at the front of the
class while an overhead projector displays the screen that appears on the instructor’s PC.
The instructor usually needs to be able to view the local PC screen while the class is
watching the projection display. From the cabling perspective, it is more cost-effective
to use Cat 5 twisted pair versus traditional bulky VGA cable. VGA Balun II at both ends
convert the VGA interface to twisted pair cable.
Classroom Projector and Keyboard/Mouse Application
In some installations, the PC, projector and keyboard mouse are in different locations. In
order to streamline the cabling over Cat5, it may be more cost-effective to manage the
video and keyboard/mouse cabling separately. The following diagram illustrates:
©MuxLab 2006-2009
VGA Balun II Application Guide
Point-of-Sale Restaurant Application
In the restaurant and fast-food industry, a point-of-sale (POS) terminal is typically
connected to a display monitor in the kitchen. The monitor displays information
generated by the POS terminal about customer orders to be prepared. The kitchen
monitor is often a VGA monitor connected to a PC-based POS terminal. The distance
between the POS terminal and the kitchen monitor is typically under 100 feet and the
screen resolution is usually 800x600 or lower. VGA cable is normally used to connect
the monitor to the POS terminal. However, VGA cable is costly and if there are multiple
connections, the total cost will be significant. By using the VGA Baluns, VGA cable can
be replaced by Cat 5 twisted pair as shown in the following diagram.
Digital Signage Application
Some applications require VGA video to be displayed simultaneously to multiple
screens. These applications include airline information systems or retail video kiosk
setups as shown in the following diagram.
The VGA Balun II works in conjunction with third party VGA distribution amplifiers. In
order to ensure reliable operation, is important to verify that the VGA distribution amp
has buffered (isolated) outputs. If there is not complete isolation between the VGA ports,
there may be intermittent image problems. For example, screens may not sync up
properly or some screens may drop out when other screens are powered on. It is
recommended to test the VGA Balun with the specified the distribution amp before
deploying it.
©MuxLab 2006-2009
VGA Balun II Application Guide
Ground Loop
Video ground loop is caused by the video source and video display being connected to
grounds that are sitting at difference voltage levels, giving rise to a difference ins voltage
potential and consequently a current flow between the two devices. Ground loop
problems manifest themselves visually by displaying horizontal or wavy bands (“hum”
bars) that move up the screen. In order to confirm that there is a ground loop, try
temporarily isolating the video source or display from the building AC ground by
plugging the equipment into the AC outlet using a 3-prong to 2-prong AC adapter. For
safety reasons and according to the electrical code, it is not advisable to use this method
as a permanent solution. In order to permanently correct the problem, the ground loop
must be isolated or attenuated. One option is to use MuxLab Active VGA Balun II Kit
(500140) that incorporates ground loop isolation.
Alternatively, tThe following third party devices provide ground loop correction for a
single VGA (RGBHV) video channel.
Altinex DA203 1-in 1-out Equalizer
Extron GLI 350 Ground Loop Isolator
Jensen Ground Loop Corrector
©MuxLab 2006-2009
VGA Balun II Application Guide
Newer Plasmas without Tint/Color Adjustment
It has been found that on some newer plasma displays, there is no color/tint adjustment.
Therefore, when used with the VGA Balun, as the maximum distance approaches the
limit, there may be a visible loss of certain color components due to the inability of the
plasma display to automatically compensate for a weaker color component. For example
MuxLab has noticed that the Samsung SP-S4223 and Pioneer PDP-433CX were not able
to recover a weak green component signal at 200 ft of Cat5. In this situation, it is
recommended to use the active VGA Balun Kit (500035).
Sync-Sensitive Plasma Display
A number of cases have been documented where Samsung LCD and plasma displays
have not been able to synch up when the VGA Balun II and Cat5 cable are connected.
Currently the cause is unknown, although it is speculated that Samsung VGA input
circuitry may not tolerate any signal loss even at short cable runs. Several Samsung
models that have been documented include: PPM50M6H, HPT5054, FPT5084 and
LNT4053. The problem has only been seen with the 500042. The 500041 has not has
this issue. In order to correct the problem, MuxLab has modified the 500042. All
modified units are marked “Rev B”
Sync-Sensitive Projector
A similar case to the above has been documented when the 500042 Rev B is used with
Dell Projector 1409X. When the projector is connected to a different source and then
switched back to VGA, the projector fails to sync up. The only way to reliably re-sync
was to unplug the Cat5E cable and reconnect. The reset button on the baluns did not
work consistently in this case.
©MuxLab 2006-2009
VGA Balun II Application Guide
VGA Cabling Sources
The following table provides a list of vendors who sell VGA equipment and accessories
that work in conjunction with the VGA Balun II.
VGA cables, Distribution Amps
Black Box
VGA cables, splitters
Kramer Electronics
VGA Distribution Amps
VGA Splitter, Distribution Amps
VGA switchers
Hall Research
VGA switchers, VGA converters
NTI Inc.
VGA switchers, gender changers
Magenta Research
VGA distribution amps
VGA converters, scalers, cables
©MuxLab 2006-2009
VGA Balun II Application Guide
HD15 (VGA) Pin Configuration
The following table provides the pin configuration of the HD15 (VGA) connector:
Pin Name
©MuxLab 2006-2009
Red Video (75 ohm, 0.7 V p-p)
Green Video (75 ohm, 0.7 V p-p)
Blue Video (75 ohm, 0.7 V p-p)
Red Ground
Green Ground
Blue Ground
+5 VDC
Sync Ground
Monitor ID Bit 0 (optional)
DDC Serial Data Line
Horizontal Sync (or Composite Sync)
Vertical Sync
DDC Data Clock Line
VGA Balun II Application Guide
The VGA Balun II is ideally suited for many applications. It is important to verify the
type of equipment being used, the type of cable, and the distance required and the picture
resolution needed before proceeding with an installation. If in doubt, please contact
MuxLab Sales or Customer Technical Support for assistance at 877-689-5228 (North
America) or e-mail us at
MuxLab Inc.
8495 Dalton Road
Montreal, (Quebec)
Canada H4T 1V5
©MuxLab 2006-2009
Telephone : .............................+1 514-905-0588
Toll-free (North America) : .........877-689-5228
Fax : ........................................+1 514-905-0589
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