OK I got this here VAXen thingie.... what is it?

Johnny Billquist bqt at Update.UU.SE
Wed Jan 6 06:07:11 AEST 1999

On Tue, 5 Jan 1999, User Rdkeys Robert D. Keys wrote:

> OK, Dummy here stuck his foot in his choppers an' won the bid on that
> VAXen for the grand total of eleven buckeroos de realme.  What can I
> run with it?  It was just too much fun to pass up, and it drew too many
> chuckles from the PC crowd in the surplus warehouse....(:+}}....

Smile. It's a decent machine.

> Machine:  VAXstation 3500, no consoles or external boxes, only the tower.
> Tape Drive:  TK70
> Hard Drive:  RA70
> Boards:
> ----     ------------   ----------------------------------------------
> 1        KA650 -BA


> 2        MS650 -AA
> 3        MS650 -AA

Both are memory boards. Don't know for sure how much. 8 or 16 megs apiece,
I'd guess.

> 4        DELQA -SA


> 5        VCB02
> 6        VCB02
> 7        VCB02

Sounds like a graphic subsystem.

> 8        CXY08

Plotter interface?

> 9        TQK70

Controller for the TK70 tape drive.

> 10       KDA50
> 11       KDA50

Controller for the RA70 disk. (The controller can have up to four disks

> What boards are needed to bring up the machine minimally and test it out?

CPU and memory minimum.
I'd recommend to remove the VCB02 and CXY08, since you don't have the
peripherials. Move all other cards up to delete the empty space in the

> How should one fire it up the first time, without blowing it up?

Turn on the power.

> I am working with the original owner of the beast to see if he may have
> a box of odd manuals and hopefully tapes still in storage somewhere.
> If not, I am at ground zero with it.

It's a pretty easy machine to play around with.

> I am assuming it will have to be run headless, via an old VT-52ish
> Zenith terminal I have, or a Kermit with VT-100 emulation.  I don't
> have the main color monitor for it, or the mouse and keyboard.
> What is the pinout of the silly MMJ connector on the CPU?
> Will a plain terminal work OK?

Plain terminal will do. In fact, it *expexts* to get a plain terminal.
The MMJ is a DEC thingie. The electrical levels are compatible with
RS-232. You can get a cable from DEC, or perhaps some other place. I also
know that the pinouts have been published on the net from tim to time.

> What kinds of printer can be hooked up to it, via what protocols?

Protocols? That's software!
As for electrically connecting it, that depends on what card you put in
the machine! Paralell or serial, you choose!

> What is the best way to network it into my local home ethernet coax?

I assume you have 10Base2, so get an AUI-cable to extend the connection
from the DELQA to outside the box, get a 10Base2-transciever, and you're
set. For other types of carriers, get the proper transciever! :-)

> Any suggestions are appreciated.

Yes. Boot NetBSD on it. Get 1.3.2, which works pretty fine on the machine.
You can netboot it to get started.


Johnny Billquist                  || "I'm on a bus
                                  ||  on a psychedelic trip
email: bqt at update.uu.se           ||  Reading murder books
pdp is alive!                     ||  tryin' to stay hip" - B. Idol

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