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

User Rdkeys Robert D. Keys rdkeys at seedlab1.cropsci.ncsu.edu
Wed Jan 6 07:47:55 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.

I am beginning to think my eleven buckeroos de realme were well spent!

> > Hard Drive:  RA70

What different SDI(?) drives will fit and work in the VAXstation, for our
play purposes.  Someone mentioned a 1 gig and a 2 gig size that I might
want to use instead of the RA70, although beggars like me can't be too
choosy.  A pair of RA70's would make a fair minimal box.  A pair of
2 gig drives would make a very comfy box to use as the main home server.

> > 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
> middle.

OK.  What should cover the blank space in the rack, or just leave it open?
Any funky jumpers to set like on Sun VME backplanes?

> > How should one fire it up the first time, without blowing it up?
> Turn on the power.

I was thinking about boot sequences for roms or whatever, or anything
strange in the callup from a dumb terminal.  Someone mentioned setting
a break switch and a baud rate dial on the CPU?

> > 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 did get a box from the previous owner a few minutes ago, and there
were a dozen or so TK50 tapes that I need to sort out what is on them.
He though they were Ultrix and VMS tapes.  If they turn out to be
unknowns, I can probably use them to get someone to write a good
boot tape for a BSD flavor, perhaps.  If they are, indeed Ultrix,
would that be better or worse than a 4.3BSD or NetBSD or such?
I have never run Ultrix, but I am comfy with 4.3BSD or NetBSD kinds
of things, as long as they don't get too strange.  I don't think I
would like a VMS.

> 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.

Also, the guy gave me a cable with a DEC female DB25 adapter, a MMJ end,
an RJ11 end, and a plain RS232 DB25 male adapter.  Would that be usable
for a console or is that some kind of printer cable?  He thought it was
plain serial, but was not sure.

> > 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!

Well, I prefer serial, no-handshake printer lines on my old junkque.
That is a carryover from my early CP/M days where one never knew 
which RS232 cable to use, and I got quickly in the habit of 3-wiring
everything, instead.  Software or non-shake protocol always worked,
if 4/5, 4/8/20 were jumpered on each end.  One of my friends said that
DEC did some strange protocols on serial lines, and I was just checking
for sure.

> > 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! :-)

I must rub the right rabbit's food today.  Another friend gave me a DEC dongle
box and cable that is an AUI to BNC transceiver (DECSTA?).  That is a good
find, or the right find, perhaps?
> > 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.

My problem is getting it up to a network.  My home net is mostly down
or only running between whichever two boxes I can get up at the same time.
Most are AIX/4.3BSD IBM RT-PC boxes or FreeBSD/AIX x86 boxes.  Proper
netbooting on them is a bit wierd.

I might could drag it into the office and netboot off the archives somewhere.
That may be the easiest thing to do, practically.

Most of the boxes I prefer to load via tape, if possible for a lowest common
denominator boot when all else may fail.  That way, everything is covered.

What needs to be cleaned out around the cabinetry or power supplies or
backplane?  I don't want to get dustbunny fireballs rolling out of it,
if possible.  Is there anything I should look out for in preflighting
the beast, over the usual blow it out with a vacuum cleaner or air hose?

> 	Johnny

Anyway, toy VAXuser getting there little by little.....(:+}}....
Maybe I will get the itch to fire it up tonight.  Now to feed the
Reddy Kilowatt meter man.  I hear these VAXen things make him very

Bob Keys

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