View Full Version : need help with a Apollo 735/99

April 17th, 2006, 07:55 PM
Hi, i'm a noob :rolleyes: . Someone gave me this awesome old HP-UX system, a HP Apollo 735/99 with 128 mb ram and a drive box with a CD-Rom, 3.5 floppy drive and Tape Drive. :cool:

I'm trying to get this thing to recognize the cd-rom( ultimate goal is to install a web browser and get the old battlewagon online, and give it something other than one of the stock wallpapers) i think this old beast is running HP-UX version 9.

Any ideas on how to mount a disc( its a little different from Linux) or if theres specific CD-Rom drive that work best, etc?

November 14th, 2006, 01:54 AM
Did you ever get this machine working? These are really solid machines as you've noticed, and were fairly expensive when new. The chassis on mine is even signed by the assembler.

I have the general knowledge of how to get HPUX 10.20 installed off CD. Any older HP OS is not year-2000 compliant although the hardware is.

November 24th, 2006, 08:23 PM
Yeah its working, but it was used by a drafting/blueprint house. Its software suite is mostly geared towards that, however it does have PEX, its 3-D rendering extensions. However theres no web browser, the sound hardware isn't enabled ( probably doesn't have the drivers installed) and it seems i can't access the CD-Rom. It does have a great looking GUI, and i dug around and found a few small games like Tetris and Columns( had to really look, but its gui supports shortcuts so they're easily accessible now).

What i'd need more likely is a copy of its OS and a extra Hard Drive ( don't want to mess up its currently configured setup) to install it on. I have a 4 gig that would fit, but it seems its going to be one hell of a search( especially in the technology blackhole that is SW Georgia) for a OS disk.

December 2nd, 2006, 03:33 AM
Regarding the CD drive, does it show up in the boot menu? Tha would tell you if it's recognizable on the SCSI chain and what ID it is. I assume it probably needs a disk of some sort in it. If it's appearing than you should be able to mount it from the root account.

What version of HPUX are you running now? Certainly they are attractively presented, desktop-wise.

To test out your new hard disk why not simply install OpenBSD for hppa? It's a breeze. Just download the boot image (cd40.iso), burn to CD, boot it, and do the rest of the install over FTP. If you need specifics I have written instructions for my machine.

December 2nd, 2006, 06:22 PM
What version of HPUX are you running now? Certainly they are attractively presented, desktop-wise.

Its running HP-UX 9.12 i think. Tomarrow i plan to start working on it again. Heres a pic i took the day i got it.

December 3rd, 2006, 01:38 AM
Well, make sure your SCSI chain is terminated and check the ID. I think "ioscan" might scan the bus.

Here is a mount command that might work for the CD:

mount -r /dev/dsk/c0t2d0 /SD_CDROM

I think the number after "t" is the SCSI ID number and of course the last item is the mount point - change to suit your directory name.

December 3rd, 2006, 07:24 AM
How different is the 735 from the 715? The 715 was pretty easy to install NeXTStep 3.3 on it. You should be able to find NS 3.3 install disks on ebay. You have to be sure it's the complete set with HPPA support.


December 6th, 2006, 05:10 PM
Has anyone tried the HPPA version of Gentoo Linux? How well does it run( with X) on a 735 with 128 mb of ram?

December 6th, 2006, 07:09 PM
I used to have a 715/50 and it does the have same 7100 CPU series. I sold it as I had to reduce the size of my collection and it just didn't have the battleship quality of the older 735.

I'll keep my eye out for NextStep disks. Based on my experience with Linux on similar-vintage sparc32 platforms, I'm not too confident that it would run well on the HP, but have not actually tried it yet.



December 8th, 2006, 08:05 PM
Looks like the Video Board on your 735 is different than mine. Mine has 4 BNC connectors instead of 3 ( though i don't use the fourth one)

December 8th, 2006, 11:11 PM
That's interesting, although I think I've seen one before ... is it marked H/V as in composite sync?

I've never actually tried my video card as I have not owned a suitable monitor over the 5-years I've had this machine, until this week. LCD's are just fantastic - sync's on just about anything that moves! Have been working on the Suns and DEC, the HP is next.

December 9th, 2006, 05:41 PM
actually, the weird thing is, it says "Stereo" above it. :???:

December 14th, 2006, 05:53 PM
ok update.

I finally found an old style CD caddy so now i can use the machines original CD-Rom( once i get it hooked up) Yeah that doesn't sound like much but around here, even silly little common items like that are hard to come by. :rolleyes:

Basically what is the scsi boot order for these things 1-9 or 9-1? My HD is on the Fast Wide SCSI id 6 ( on the 68 pin scsi that it seems only HP-UX has a driver for).

Do these things use the same ID pool for both scsi busses or do the busses each have their own ID pool?

December 15th, 2006, 01:14 AM
The two SCSI busses should have their own pool as they have different controllers. The order shouldn't really matter - autoboot can be set for any ID. Use ESC to stop autobooting and you get a list of devices present. I only have devices on the narrow controller so I'm not aware of how the wide buss devices appears in the boot list. On mine the list shows Px, with x=scsi id for each device. To boot, type "b Px".

You are right - the other OS's don't seem to support the wide SCSI controller.

I'm seeing some info off the 'net that indicates problems reading CD's with earlier versions of HPUX. Certainly it needs to be an ISO9660 type. Look for comp.sys.hpux FAQ.

In any case, you should be able to boot from an OpenBSD 4.0 boot CD (burned from cd40.iso) and install the OS to a narrow hard disk on the narrow buss.

December 15th, 2006, 09:59 PM
well my Digital Priorus would have to donate its secondary hd to the Apollo if i were to use the narrow scsi.

December 20th, 2006, 07:14 PM
My 735 was assembled from a 730, essentially just by swapping over the CPU, I/O, and video cards, and the enclosure and fan assembly. One thing I also did was to swap over one of the two heatsinks from the 730 CPU board to make it easier to remove the board. It's slightly smaller and doesn't hang up on the back edge of the chassis when you slide it out.

What I didn't know at the time is that it was the actual CPU heatsink and it runs damn hot! I only noticed this now as I have the cover unscrewed so I can lift it off after shutting down and check things out. While running I'm measuring at least 60 C with a thermocouple, which I know is barely OK. Ambient is 20 C.

To compound the problem, I've noticed the (3) fans power source (which is independent from the others out of the power supply) is running at 9.25 V instead of 12 V! That sucks - the PS is labeled 12 V for that output.

On some internal photos of these machines I've seen a duct running from the fan to the CPU heatsink, and in other photos larger heatsinks, so I think it is a potential problem. The fan arrangement is pretty dodgy overall, IMHO, and looks like it's had a few revisions.

I cobbled up a duct out of cardboard and temporarily connected the fans to an external 12 V supply, and was able to get the temp down to 45 C - probably acceptable.

Just curious what your configuration is in this area?

Also, the hard disks don't have direct forced air cooling - perhaps explaining why I have noticed several complaints of premature disk failure. Just a heads-up to help keep this old stuff alive...

My CPU card, CPU at up-right corner:

Photo found on 'net:

December 26th, 2006, 07:50 PM
is the 730 in a smaller case? I know the 735 is freaking huge and is stuffed with fans. Maybe the 730 wasn't meant to keeps the 735's innards running cool. :onfire:

December 27th, 2006, 01:15 AM
The 730 and 735 cases are identical other than the label. Same with the backplane, fans, power supply, EISA adapter, frame buffer, and disk tray.

Really the only difference is the CPU card. The communications card is different but I'll bet either would work on either system.

I've fabricated an aluminum duct which I think will help a lot, but haven't fired it up yet.


December 28th, 2006, 07:26 PM
strange, my 735 runs fairly cool. :confused1:

January 25th, 2007, 08:18 PM
ok update.

I finally found an old style CD caddy so now i can use the machines original CD-Rom( once i get it hooked up) Yeah that doesn't sound like much but around here, even silly little common items like that are hard to come by. :rolleyes:

Basically what is the scsi boot order for these things 1-9 or 9-1? My HD is on the Fast Wide SCSI id 6 ( on the 68 pin scsi that it seems only HP-UX has a driver for).

Do these things use the same ID pool for both scsi busses or do the busses each have their own ID pool?

It's been awhile since I've installed anything on my old HPs, so I can't comment on the boot order for the 700 series, but the IIRC for the 380 and 425 the order was high to low. I think the following is OS-dependent, but I also vaguely recall something about the HP boxen preferring the CD-ROM to have a certain SCSI id. That may be only for NextStep. Sorry for my lousy memory.

You may also find that certain older cd-roms won't reliably read burned media, and I especially recall having this kind of trouble with the older Toshibas, which is probably what yours is. If you can't get it to mount burned media, I'd try to find a newer Plextor model. They're compatible with just about everything and have a strap to set 512-byte block mode for booting. I scored a couple external UltraPlex 40Xmax drives from a recycler awhile back and highly recommend them.

I don't know if NextStep 3.3 will run on a 735, but it's beautiful on a 715 or 712. With NextStep installed, you won't *believe* the 712 has an 8-bit framebuffer! The 712 and 715 are not battle tanks, however, so if that's what you're into they're probably not your thing.

March 21st, 2007, 01:47 PM
Nextstep 3.3 will run on this old beast, but it seems to be hard as hell to find. I know a hospital around here running their X-Ray Patient information system on a 9000/800 series ( never saw the machine, just the hyperterminal window on a WinXP when they log in) that might still have some 10.20 or even 9 disk ( my machine is lisenced for 9) but I haven't talked to their IT people about it yet.

March 21st, 2007, 05:05 PM
I'm pretty happy having 10.20 on my 735 as it's just a museum piece/toy. Having a reasonably-modern SCSI-3 50-pin disk seemed to help the speed too - it's now quite a bit faster than with the old half-height drives. Mine has the additional wide HVD SCSI port but I don't have a suitable disk, carrier, or cable.

I was able to get the 2-D version of ME10 to run, a CAD program of the same vintage.

Did you get your CD drive to work?

March 21st, 2007, 06:16 PM
haven't tried just yet. I'm out of blank CDs at the moment, my plan is to burn a netbsd or openbsd disc just to see if i can get it to boot from CD.

March 23rd, 2007, 04:06 PM

Well I now have a new problem. I tried to boot it up today and it froze durring VUE login. With no way to shut it down nicely I restarted it, and now it just sits there before it inits the Video Board. I crossed referenced the LED codes it displays and it is saying I have a Cache Adressing error and ( the one I'm really worried about) a ROM Checksum Failure :flamejumping: . Is there anything I can do about this before boxing it up until I can find a new CPU board? Could it be Dust or dead insects?

March 23rd, 2007, 06:35 PM
I'm fairly certain the ROM is on the communications board, not the CPU board. If it's a socket you could try pushing it in harder. Certainly anything "mechanical" in nature is most likely to be the problem - connectors, memory, etc.

As far as the video card is concerned, if you remove it the machine reverts to a 9600N1 serial console, so that might be a way of eliminating that item.

March 23rd, 2007, 07:30 PM
could a HP95lx act as a serial terminal? Its serial Cable is allready wired as a null modem and it does have a terminal program.

March 23rd, 2007, 07:49 PM
I don't know about the HP95lx but certainly any PC with a terminal program pointing to an RS-232 port set to 9600 baud, no parity, 1 stop bit, Xon/Xoff. And a 3-wire (minimum) null modem cable.

The response is exactly like it is on the video card, i.e., the boot selection comes up first.

Terry Yager
March 24th, 2007, 07:08 AM
With the right software and a null modem, the 95LX should make a nice terminal. I used to use my Poqet PC that way (till it died). Just remember that the 95LX only has a 40-column screen which might be a problem for you.


March 24th, 2007, 09:31 PM
So far I've use the 95lx to play with the Win2000 Telnet server. Works pretty good, if only there were any apps for win2000 telnet. Any way the now 'comatose' 735 and 95lx are sending info back in forth. The Apollo throws a 6 onto the 95lx screen each time I reset the Apollo. If the 735 was working fully, I bet the idea would work.