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GanjaTron
December 16th, 2009, 05:50 AM
Howdy fellow trash collectors!

Woohoo, I have a VAX! Okay, so it's not a *real* VAX like the 750/780, just an El Cheapo VAXStation 3200 that wound up in the trash, equipped with a KA650 CPU and TK50 DLT drive.

After the initial euphoria I realised the monitor (standard BNC sync-on-green?), keyboard, mouse, and BC18 cable are missing. I did grab two LK201 terminal keyboards tho, and I found a pinout for building your own BC18.

Worse yet, the disk is missing. I understand this was a factory formatted ST506/412 MFM drive, and the RQDX controller can't format the drive "in the field".

Hooking up a terminal, I get the following error:



?62 2 08 FF 00 0000

[Register dump]

Performing normal system tests.

[Countdown stops at 03]

Normal operation not possible.

>>>


A few questions for the VAX Vizards here:

-- According to the KA655 maintenance manual (couldn't find one for the KA650), the failed test 62 is "console QDSS"; is it just complaining about a missing keyboard, or is this serious?
-- Can I use an LK201 keyboard with the VAXStation?
-- Where can I get one of those cool round mice?
-- Where can I get a formatted disk with sled?
-- Where can I get VMS on DLT?

Any help appreciated. I missed out on the VAX era, and I really wanna check out VMS with this baby.

Regards,

--Roland

pontus
December 16th, 2009, 07:11 AM
Howdy fellow trash collectors!


-- According to the KA655 maintenance manual (couldn't find one for the KA650), the failed test 62 is "console QDSS"; is it just complaining about a missing keyboard, or is this serious?
-- Can I use an LK201 keyboard with the VAXStation?
-- Where can I get one of those cool round mice?
-- Where can I get a formatted disk with sled?
-- Where can I get VMS on DLT?

Any help appreciated. I missed out on the VAX era, and I really wanna check out VMS with this baby.

Regards,

--Roland

Hi Roland

A nice find, you probably want to read this (users guide):
http://vt100.net/manx/details/1,51

The guide suggest that LK201 should work fine. Can't really help you out with the other questioins though.

GanjaTron
December 16th, 2009, 10:07 AM
Hi Roland

A nice find, you probably want to read this (users guide):
http://vt100.net/manx/details/1,51

The guide suggest that LK201 should work fine. Can't really help you out with the other questioins though.

Hi Pontus!

Thanks, I already tracked down the owner's manual. It of course skimps on tech stuff compared to the maintenance manual. I also found a wikipedia entry for the LK201 (surprisingly), and it explicitly mentions the keyboard shipped with the VAXStation.

I'll have to fiddle some more with the chevron prompt...

I can't get over how incredibly quiet this thing is!!! (Well, at least without the disk...)

--Roland

Twylo
December 16th, 2009, 05:26 PM
Congratulations!

The 3200 is nothing to sniff at. Sure, it may be small, but it's a real Vax alright. Just as real as any 750/780, and a hell of a lot easier to run without three phase power :^)



-- According to the KA655 maintenance manual (couldn't find one for the KA650), the failed test 62 is "console QDSS"; is it just complaining about a missing keyboard, or is this serious?


I believe it's safe to ignore this. If you can get to booting VMS, you'll find that you're running in a headless state, of course, but it will still run.



-- Can I use an LK201 keyboard with the VAXStation?


Absolutely. LK201 and LK401 will both work.



-- Where can I get one of those cool round mice?


That's a model # VSXXX-AA mouse. Alas, they're getting damn hard to find. I haven't seen one at any of the local surplus shops in about 8 years. I wish I had a spare I could give you, but I have exactly one, and I have to share it between my three VAXstations.



-- Where can I get a formatted disk with sled?


Again, not sure. Hopefully if you can find an MFM drive, you can get some kind soul with a VAXstation 2000 to format it for you. What you should look for, ideally, is either a DEC branded RD54 drive, or the Maxtor equivalent, a Maxtor XT-2190.



-- Where can I get VMS on DLT?


I can help with that. Let me know when you get a disk, and I'll be happy to send you a VMS 5.5-2 install tape (TK-50 format). It should fit (barely!) on an RD54 disk.



Any help appreciated. I missed out on the VAX era, and I really wanna check out VMS with this baby.

Regards,

--Roland


Good luck! I absolutely love VAXen and VMS. Very fun to play with, I hope you can find an RD54 for it.

You didn't mention, does it have a DELQA or DEQNA ethernet cards? If so, you can always netboot NetBSD on it in the meantime.)

GanjaTron
December 17th, 2009, 05:25 PM
Congratulations!

The 3200 is nothing to sniff at.

Hi Twylo!

I still wonder why they tossed it out. I mean, the bloody thing just sat there on top of the pile for passers-by to gawk at! Of course it drew a snide remarks from teenie-bopper wankers who didn't have a clue what they were looking at (and these were CS students)!



Sure, it may be small, but it's a real Vax alright. Just as real as any 750/780, and a hell of a lot easier to run without three phase power :^)
Um, isn't it too quiet to be a real VAX? ;)



That's a model # VSXXX-AA mouse. Alas, they're getting damn hard to find. I haven't seen one at any of the local surplus shops in about 8 years. I wish I had a spare I could give you, but I have exactly one, and I have to share it between my three VAXstations.

No worries, I'll look out for one, maybe even on eBay... depending on how outrageous the resellers' prices are. That camembert design kicks ass!



Hopefully if you can find an MFM drive, you can get some kind soul with a VAXstation 2000 to format it for you. What you should look for, ideally, is either a DEC branded RD54 drive, or the Maxtor equivalent, a Maxtor XT-2190.

The drive shouldn't be much of a problem, depending on how tolerant the controller is with the drive geometry. The sled required to mount the drive is another story. Build your own?



Let me know when you get a disk, and I'll be happy to send you a VMS 5.5-2 install tape (TK-50 format). It should fit (barely!) on an RD54 disk.

Great, I'll take you up on that offer when I grab a disk...



You didn't mention, does it have a DELQA or DEQNA ethernet cards? If so, you can always netboot NetBSD on it in the meantime.)
It's a DELQA according to the bulkhead label and the PROM bus scan -- can I use a standard AUI to TP transceiver? The bus scan also reports 24mb of RAM (woohoo!), but for some reason doesn't list the RQDX disk controller. Is it missing or part of the tape controller?

I still haven't figured out how to get at the cards and check exactly what's installed -- I've yet to read the BA23 owner's guide. Btw, isn't there supposed to be a panel covering the cards on the rear bulkhead? Another bit that's missing...

Regards,

--Roland

GanjaTron
August 9th, 2010, 06:00 PM
Hi again folks,

I'm reviving this thread as I've acquired an RQDX3 controller and an RD54 drive for the VS3200. It turns out that the 50pin connector from the drive distribution panel in the BA23 was missing (I improvised with an internal SCSI cable), which suggests the VS was never equipped with a drive to begin with, but probably netbooted instead. This makes sense, since the lab had an 11/780 and 11/750 at the time.

Now I've run into some major headaches attempting to install the RD54/RQDX3 combo. The jumpers are in their default settings, CSR is at 772150, and drive select is at #2 (pins 3-C
shorted) on the RD54.

The RD54 spins up and the RQDX3 shows up with SHOW DEVICE in the console, but SHOW UQSSP shows *four* RD51s:

DUA0: RD51
DUA1: RD51
DUA2: RD51
DUA3: RD51

I gleaned from postings on comp.os.vms that newer ROMs may be necessary for RD54 support (this RQDX3 may not necessarily have actually been connected to the RD54). Alas, upgrading the firmware ROMs to 23-339E5 and 23-340E5 didn't help either. Why am I seeing FOUR DRIVES???

Did the drive lose its format (assuming it *was* formatted), or is there a hardware fault in either the drive or the controller? Note that the blinkenlight on the RQDX3 lights briefly before going out on powerup, so at least it seems to pass the selftest.

Btw, the BA23 has the most insanely dense cardcage I've ever had to fiddle around in. Those boards are practically glued to each other!

Twylo, any chance of sending me that VMS install tape? (I'll cover postage, no worries).

Never expected DEC hardware to be such a hassle. Thanks for any hints!

Regards,

--Roland