Posted by: kurtsh | July 17, 2011

INFO: Samsung Series 9 micro HDMI-to-VGA dongle or “How to use a VGA projector with a Samsung Series 9”

UPDATE 4/4/12
I got this from a reader and thought it might be important for some of you to see:

“It worked!  I ordered that part and it was for sure Rev 02. It worked on everything I threw at it. Big auditorium, messy, spaghetti, set up and boom. It was up without a hitch. Now I get whey they stopped production of the old one!  Places like Zones as it listed by it’s US part number AA-AH1NAMB/US (but not ever in stock). Which is not the Samsung KOREAN number, which is the one that you took a pic of, BA39-01122A. So by pure accident I happen to find an identically described part of very similar cost on the samsungparts.com (US company but official Samsung parts supplier) that happen to match the label on your dongle.”

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UPDATE 10/28/11:
I posted this earlier and thought everyone should see what the new VGA dongle looks like in case some of you coming in from Quora didn’t know that this new improved dongle is available.
http://kurtsh.com/2011/10/28/info-new-improved-vga-dongle-for-samsung-series-9-is-available/

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UPDATE 7/27/11:
Well, I tested the Plugable USB-VGA-165 USB to VGA Adapter and lo-and-behold, it WORKS consistently on all projectors and all VGA cable lengths so that’s the good news.  The bad news is that its performance isn’t fantastic.  Its rendering is done using your system’s actual CPU so you’ll notice that highly-intensive graphics like PowerPoint 2010’s new ‘flashy’ transitions do in fact work, but they’re not QUITE as smooth as your Samsung’s native display adapter.  I bet you get 24fps instead of 30fps.

But it does work and for $45, it’s worth the investment to be able to always connect to a projector.  Think of it as insurance.

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imageORIGINAL POST:
The Samsung Series 9 has a “micro HDMI” port on its left side instead of a VGA port which is what most folks are used to for external displays or projectors.  The question comes up, how do you connect to a projector if it doesn’t have an HDMI port of some sort?

The answer is basically that Samsung sells a dongle that converts the micro-HDMI-to-VGA for around $30-$40.  This answer is well known if you do a number of searches on the Internet.  Here’s where you can purchase the dongle from Zones: http://www.zones.com/site/product/index.html?id=003830626

SIGNAL LEVELS
An issue sometimes arises when you attempt use the dongle with a projector.  It turns out that there are a couple revisions of this dongle and early versions may not work with your situation:

  1. REV01This dongle works for short VGA cables like those used with portable projectors.  The dongle might have difficulty successfully transmitting a signal across longer cables however like those in pre-cabled conference rooms with projectors mounted to the ceiling.
  2. REV02This dongle is brand new as of July 2011 and may not be readily available.  I’ve read that it works for most lengths of VGA cabling. (I don’t’ own one yet, so I can’t say for certain but this comes to me on very good authority)

HOW TO TELL WHAT DONGLE REVISION YOU HAVE
This is the tricky part.  The dongle’s revision is on the bar code label of the plastic material that initially wraps the dongle when it’s shipped to you.  There are no other indications as to what revision you have so if you lost the packing material, there’s doesn’t appear to be any way to visually tell near as I know other than to test the dongle itself and see if it works over long VGA cables.

To be honest, the REV02 dongle is very new so if you didn’t receive the dongle in July 2011, you most likely have REV01.

ALTERNATIVE SOLUTIONS
imageIn the meantime, I’ve been working on finding an alternative solution for this being that I have REV01 in my laptop bag.  A coworker suggested this VGA signal booster which I purchased:

imageI also picked up a portable KVM from IOGear that provides VGA signal boosting since I thought this might be more useful in the long run when working with two laptops.

I also have an EXTERNAL USB 2.0-based VGA display adapter on order to see if that will work well.

  • imagePlugable USB-VGA-165 USB to VGA Adapter ($45)
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004D0QC0A
    (I selected the “Plugable” (sic) brand because of the consistently good reviews I’ve seen about their products.  You can also install multiple Plugable adapters on a single computer to get up to 6 additional displays)

Honestly… I haven’t been able to prove that any of the USB signal booster solutions work consistently because I haven’t had enough time.  When I do find something that works with everything (and I receive the Plugable device and test it), I’ll be sure to post my permanent solution.


Responses

  1. Connect Samsung Series 9 to a projector?…

    Samsung sells a mini-HDMI-to-VGA dongle for ~$30 available at Provantage and Zones… it’s frequently out of stock however.  You can also check eBay.  There are a few revisions of this dongle and the early one may require a signal booster for VGA cabl…


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