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Thread: VAXstation 4000 model 96

  1. #1
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    Default VAXstation 4000 model 96

    Right

    Now its time to work on the 4000 but running into some unusual problems

    Sometimes the PSU wont start. I imagine the system uses some sort of interlock between boards ? Have removed installed modules and notice there are no standoff's so when the extra ethernet adapter is plugged in, it cocks the daughter card its plugged into, I have reset it right and the PSU is powering up, but it was hit and miss before so that might not be it.

    Main problem is the error lights, I am getting 7,6,5,4 plus 1 lit and its not in the manual !

  2. #2

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    Not sure on your experience level so pardon any advice that may seem condescending, not my intention.

    PSU might be bad or some gremlin is on the board somewhere. Check the Capacitors in the PSU, if they're good and your PSU is still having power issues, remove all daughterboards and disconnect any drives, then attempt to boot with only the mainboard connected to power. Also, if you're familiar enough with power supplies, you could check the output voltages.

    If you're reading error lights correctly (HEX and from left to right 7,6,5,4,3,2,1,0), your VAX LED codes are displaying a Power-Up and init code, I'm basing that on the fact that I've noticed a lot of VAXes seem to share the same LED codes from model to model. You are however right, I can't find what code that is.

    Beyond your issues, with the VAX powered (more or less) what's it doing? Nothing?
    Collector of all things Digital, but mostly VAXes and corporate knick-knacks (books, mugs, etc).
    VAXes: VAX 4000-100A, VAXstation 3100-30, VAXserver 3100, VAXstation 4000 VLC
    Randoms: DECpc LPv+, Rainbow 100B, DECbridge 90, DECserver 300

  3. #3
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    Thanks, my experience level is 'complex' to describe. Got involved peripherally at work in the 90's with our system that ran as a data logger to the system I was really responsible for, so have 'bits' of experience, though mainly due to personal interest in all things computer.

    Right, startup sorted

    The simms for memory bank 1 needs to be in slots 0A,0B,0C,0D but the banks aren't in that order on the main board, they run 0A,1E,0C,1G,1F,0B,1H,0D.

    I had a simm in every other slot, so was missing a simm from one bank. As it happen's I had another four 16mb simm's (that I had taken out when having problems with the PSU and wanted a 'minimal' sytem) so fully populated to 128MB and it runs through the memory test on the console.

    I think the PSU issue must be to do with the turbo channel adapter. From the manual, it should have been installed with standoffs from the main pcb. Everytime you install the Turbochannel module, it pushes down on that end of the adapter and lifts one end of the plug between the adapter and the main board. Its a bit of a dogs dinner to be honest, but working now.

    So, now it comes up to the >> prompt

    Next a SHO DEV command and, oh dear. The RZ26L-E is making an awful noise Not heard the like since an 80mb CMD drive on our Honeywell DPS6 head crashed. It is the system disk so cant boot, but there is another RZ26 in the machine so its probably time to do a clean install of VMS on that one, though I might have a poke about where I got this machine from and see if there are still any left.

    This machine only has a floppy. I do have a separate DLT drive but no installation tapes. I could I suppose try and do a standalone backup from the 4000 VLC and try to restore it to the VAXstation, but not sure how successful that would be. I do have the VAXVMS 7.3 ISO from the HPE hobby program but have never tried to do anything with them as all my machines are working on V6 ok and I would need a CD drive ?

    Any ideas ?

  4. #4

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    Glad to hear you got it figured out.

    Yes you would need a CD drive for the ISO. I'm sure you've read how picky VAXes are about CD drives.........

    You could however, either use the VLC as a boot node (where by the Model 96 would get it's OS from the VLC) or even provide a remote install. The procedures to do this are well documented and out there somewhere, probably why I don't remember how to do it.

    I have used my VAXstation 3100 as a "slave" where it was booting into VMS/DECwindows off of another one of my VAXes, it's kinda slow (even by 3100 speeds which are slow already), even when you use a local swap disk.
    Collector of all things Digital, but mostly VAXes and corporate knick-knacks (books, mugs, etc).
    VAXes: VAX 4000-100A, VAXstation 3100-30, VAXserver 3100, VAXstation 4000 VLC
    Randoms: DECpc LPv+, Rainbow 100B, DECbridge 90, DECserver 300

  5. #5
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    Remote boot from the VLC ?, interesting, might try that just for fun.

    Getting a bit thick on VAX's in my garage. Thats two 3100's, a 3300 a 4000/96 and a 4000 VLC.

    Time for a cluster !

  6. #6
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    One question

    Can any 50 pin SCSI drive be used to replace the RZ26L-E or did DEC use specific ID's for supported drives ?

    I believe its a SCSI-I 8 bit parallel interface ?

  7. #7

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    Not sure on that, but it may not matter, so long as you use a period correct hard drive (50 pin, 512-byte blocks). I'm sure you've heard of a SCSI2SD and I can recommend those as replacements for generic SCSI drives.

    To reference a joke I heard to illustrate the headaches of SCSI with VAXes: none of the 4 letters in SCSI represent the word standard.
    Collector of all things Digital, but mostly VAXes and corporate knick-knacks (books, mugs, etc).
    VAXes: VAX 4000-100A, VAXstation 3100-30, VAXserver 3100, VAXstation 4000 VLC
    Randoms: DECpc LPv+, Rainbow 100B, DECbridge 90, DECserver 300

  8. #8
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    Yes. It usually works just fine with any drive.

  9. #9
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    I've used a V5 SCSI2SD attached to my 4000/60 without problem, as well as various other SCSI-2 HD.

  10. #10
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    SCSI2SD does sound good. Like a Gotek on steroids (and priced to match), though looking at 50 pin drives, the choice is very low and generally even more expensive.

    Then again, I do have one remaining working drive in the machine, just no operating system.

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