Monitor "Blinking" on and off during 6.1 install on Ultra 60

James Tanis jtanis at
Sat Aug 19 05:50:05 UTC 2006

On 8/19/06, Patrick Reich <dminor at> wrote:
> Hi,
> I have an ultra 60 with dual 450Mhz UltraSparc processors
> and a creator3d video card.  The video card has a 13w3
> adapter connected to a gateway FPD1530 15" flat panel
> monitor.  When I boot from the 6.1-RELEASE install CD,
> the monitor starts "blinking" on and off which makes
> the install impossible (I'm 40 years old and my eyes
> don't work that well anymore :)  I also tried the most
> recent Sparc64 snapshot with the same result.

It shouldn't be the freebsd, I honestly have the same exact setup with
no problems. The only difference between our two set ups that I see is
the monitors used.

> This monitor is capable of 1024x768 at 75kHz and I have
> the output-device environment variable in OBP set to
> screen:r1024x768x75.  I've tried a few different
> iterations of this setting but all I can do is
> slow the blinking down - it never completely stops.

Are you sure these are valid values for the openprom? My knowledge is
honestly limited here but I believe Sun has typically in the past used
specific resolution/frequency settings with their monitors as opposed
to the typical "multsync" type monitors most of us use. I'm unaware as
to whether this limitation is enforced by the monitor, openprom, or
both. I've never used a Sun with a monitor that supports less than
1152x768 at 75hz so I've never needed to bother forcing a particular
resolution, I let the prom choose it for me.

> I tried connecting a Samsung SyncMaster 712N 17" flat
> panel capable of 1280x1024 at 75kHz.  This monitor
> does NOT blink on and off during install but unfortunately
> this monitor belongs elsewhere.  The blinking is also
> present when I boot the system off the hard disks
> with the 15" monitor reconnected again.

This looks to be caused by either your monitor not supporting
1024x768 at 75hz or perhaps malfunctioning. Other possibilities include
the openprom or creator3d card not supporting that mode, I'm pretty
sure it should.. I'm just not positive. If it works with *any*
monitor, it is far less likely to be caused by the system/os in my

> Has anyone else experienced this issue?  I checked mailing
> lists and bug reports but I'm not finding anything.  Is
> there an argument I can pass in to OBP to remedy this?
> I'm fairly positive the monitor is not at fault; OpenBSD,
> NetBSD and Solaris behave fine but I'd prefer to run
> FreeBSD on this machine.

While that is odd, process of elimination would seem to insinuate that
this is not an issue with freebsd at all and is either caused by your
monitor, your openprom, or an incompatibility between your settings
and their capabilities. Off the top of my head I can't remember, but
check if its possible to force 1024x768 without specifying a specific
refresh rate. This should eliminate the possibility of you attempting
to force a resolution/refresh combination that your openprom or
creator3d card does not support.

Does it do the blinking even before the operating system is loaded?
More specifically, how about when at the openprom prompt after having
hit stop-a before the boot loader starts up the kernel? If not,
perhaps it is freebsd and the driver simply does not support this
mode? Also, are your positve that the other operating systems are
still running at the entered resolution/refresh rate when they are
booted up (with the 15").. perhaps those other OS's have taken some
sort of corrective action..? I have a Sun Ultra 60 with 2x450mhz
processors and creator3d card running FreeBSD 6.1.. I've never hard a
problem like this -- but I've only ever run at a few resolutions..
1152x768 & 1280x1024 being the most common.

James Tanis
jtanis at

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