View Full Version : Anyone here familiar with MicroVAX 3400 series?

August 11th, 2009, 05:57 PM
..or anything similar?

I hauled one home today, and I haven't got a clue.

It seems to have an internal hard drive, SCSI, ethernet (via AUI and 10base2,) a couple of what look to be terminal server boards (with accompanying cables,) and a tape drive, and it also seems to power up.

It's fairly stylish:

Should hooking a terminal up to one of the 25-pin connectors give me anything?

August 11th, 2009, 08:37 PM
SCSI is generally rare on a VAX. You more than likely have DSSI or SDI. If you get the numbers from the QBus cards we can give you an idea of what you have. These boxes will run NetBSD nicely and I suggest you join the mailing list if you decide to run it - there are a bunch of great people out there.

There should be a serial terminal port but I can't remember if its 25pin or not.

The MicroVAX 3400 is the higher end of the MicroVAX series as I recall. But don't expect it to be a speed demon. :)


August 11th, 2009, 10:30 PM
Nice machine. I just got one from the 3000 -series. Can't remember the exact model at the moment. They are pretty neat, they can netboot if the hard drives have failed, but they are quite sturdy. Runs VMS, BSD and a porting project of linux exists.

The console is likely an RJ45 connector which can be adapted into a DB9 or DB25 I think.

August 11th, 2009, 11:53 PM
The console port most likely takes an MMJ, kind of like an RJ45 but with the tab offset to one side. You'd need to find or make an adapter for that if you want to use a DB25 terminal. It may be easier to just bypass the panel and build a cable that plugs directly into whichever module provides the console.

August 12th, 2009, 04:26 AM
I have a MicroVax 3900 that I run NetBSD on. Great little machine.

Anyway, the console is an MMJ connector. Look inside the front panel and find the CPU board - it should be the one all the way to the left, and have a couple of switches on it. The MMJ connector there is your console port.

Making a cable isn't hard, but if you don't have any MMJ connectors, it gets annoying. Just use a 6 position RJ11 style connector and file off the clip. It'll work. The pinouts are (shamelessly lifed from the 'net) :

| 1 2 3 4 5 6 |
---------. .

Posit# Description Corresponding RS232
1 Data terminal ready 20
2 Transmit (+) 2
3 Transmit (-) ---\___ 7
4 Receive (-) ---/
5 Receive (+) 3
6 Data set ready 6

Also, open the front and list what boards you have. You probably don't have SCSI, that's rather rare (although the tape-only SCSI controllers are somewhat more common). It's probably DSSI.


August 12th, 2009, 04:58 AM
Thanks for the responses.

I was assuming it had SCSI due to the external connector behind the front panel with a terminator connected to it that looked very much like an HD50 SCSI connector. I noticed the MMJ connector as well, guess I'll start looking for/working on a cable.

I'll have to get the part numbers off of the boards later to get a better idea of what's going on.

August 12th, 2009, 05:20 AM
Yeah, all the boards should have numbers on the bulkead panels to tell you what they are. If they don't, then they could be third party boards. SCSI controllers were made for Vaxen, they're just pretty rare. DSSI uses HD50 connectors, and is NOT compatible with SCSI.

The first time you bring it up, you won't want it to automatically boot, you will want to poke around in the monitor a bit first. To do that, set the switch on the panel to the "dot outside the circle" poition. This will turn off autobooting, and dump you into the chevron prompt - >>>.

Also, once you get a terminal connected and get a prompt, you can do a SHOW QBUS to list your boards, and SHOW DEV to list attached disks and tape.


August 15th, 2009, 08:21 AM
Well, I put together a console cable and I was able to get the machine booted up, unfortunately I don't know the username and password to log on.

It also seems NetBSD doesn't support the DSSI disk controller in the machine (mentioned on the NetBSD site,) so it'd need to be netbooted if I were going to run that, which means the internal storage wouldn't do anything and that's no fun, but maybe one of these days I'll try it out.

August 16th, 2009, 07:23 AM
That was fun, found a walkthrough online about resetting the SYSTEM account's pasword and got logged on. I was able to run the WordPerfect 5.1 installed on the system and poke around through the old files.

Now to track down some way of getting it doing something fun on the internet.

August 16th, 2009, 08:46 AM
That is a really cool piece of old machinery. Inspires me to clean the pigeon carp off my 11/23+ and see if its got any life left in it