Discussion:
testing VAXstations
(too old to reply)
Phillip Helbig (undress to reply)
2021-07-06 11:33:50 UTC
Permalink
Finally I have time to do some inventory, so I am testing old hardware
(with the aim of knowing what works and what doesn't and deciding what I
might pass on to a good home). It's been a while since I've done
anything with a VAX (about 10 years). On a VAXstation 4000, I have the
S3 switch set to UP. I am using a terminal and cable which I normally
use for an Alpha console (9600 baud, 8 bits, no parity,
receive=transmit, 1 stop bit) so I am assuming that that is not the
problem (IIRC VAXes, in contrast to Alphas, won't boot if they don't
sense the console). The cable is MMJ on both VAX (printer port) and VT.

When I power the box on, all the LEDs light up, but stay lit. From the
old days, I remember flashing (and maybe some sounds) then some output
on the console terminal. Now, nothing.

Any ideas?
abrsvc
2021-07-06 11:50:53 UTC
Permalink
Post by Phillip Helbig (undress to reply)
Finally I have time to do some inventory, so I am testing old hardware
(with the aim of knowing what works and what doesn't and deciding what I
might pass on to a good home). It's been a while since I've done
anything with a VAX (about 10 years). On a VAXstation 4000, I have the
S3 switch set to UP. I am using a terminal and cable which I normally
use for an Alpha console (9600 baud, 8 bits, no parity,
receive=transmit, 1 stop bit) so I am assuming that that is not the
problem (IIRC VAXes, in contrast to Alphas, won't boot if they don't
sense the console). The cable is MMJ on both VAX (printer port) and VT.
When I power the box on, all the LEDs light up, but stay lit. From the
old days, I remember flashing (and maybe some sounds) then some output
on the console terminal. Now, nothing.
Any ideas?
What model is the 4000? The model 60 has a "special" console cable that goes to an RGB monitor.

I know that the uVax II uses either 9 pin connection directly or an adapter for MMJ that is different than the 9-pin to MMJ adapter for Alpha.
I don't believe that the printer connection can be used for the console either. (A bit rusty on the VAX stuff too as it has been a while...)

Dan
Phillip Helbig (undress to reply)
2021-07-06 11:53:32 UTC
Permalink
Post by abrsvc
Post by Phillip Helbig (undress to reply)
Finally I have time to do some inventory, so I am testing old hardware
(with the aim of knowing what works and what doesn't and deciding what I
might pass on to a good home). It's been a while since I've done
anything with a VAX (about 10 years). On a VAXstation 4000, I have the
S3 switch set to UP. I am using a terminal and cable which I normally
use for an Alpha console (9600 baud, 8 bits, no parity,
receive=transmit, 1 stop bit) so I am assuming that that is not the
problem (IIRC VAXes, in contrast to Alphas, won't boot if they don't
sense the console). The cable is MMJ on both VAX (printer port) and VT.
When I power the box on, all the LEDs light up, but stay lit. From the
old days, I remember flashing (and maybe some sounds) then some output
on the console terminal. Now, nothing.
Any ideas?
What model is the 4000? The model 60 has a "special" console cable
that goes to an RGB monitor.
90 and 90A for now, but later 60. But in all cases serial consoles, not
the graphics monitor.

I have run video monitors on VAXstations, but don't recall any special
cable (other than that it had to plug in properly).
Post by abrsvc
I know that the uVax II uses either 9 pin connection directly or an
adapter for MMJ that is different than the 9-pin to MMJ adapter for
Alpha.
But won't MMJ on both ends of the cable, using the MMJ ports on the
terminal and the VAXstation, work?
Post by abrsvc
I don't believe that the printer connection can be used for the
console either. (A bit rusty on the VAX stuff too as it has been a
while...)
I think that that is the purpose of the S3 switch.
abrsvc
2021-07-06 12:15:28 UTC
Permalink
Post by Phillip Helbig (undress to reply)
Finally I have time to do some inventory, so I am testing old hardware
(with the aim of knowing what works and what doesn't and deciding what I
might pass on to a good home). It's been a while since I've done
anything with a VAX (about 10 years). On a VAXstation 4000, I have the
S3 switch set to UP. I am using a terminal and cable which I normally
use for an Alpha console (9600 baud, 8 bits, no parity,
receive=transmit, 1 stop bit) so I am assuming that that is not the
problem (IIRC VAXes, in contrast to Alphas, won't boot if they don't
sense the console). The cable is MMJ on both VAX (printer port) and VT.
When I power the box on, all the LEDs light up, but stay lit. From the
old days, I remember flashing (and maybe some sounds) then some output
on the console terminal. Now, nothing.
Any ideas?
What model is the 4000? The model 60 has a "special" console cable
that goes to an RGB monitor.
90 and 90A for now, but later 60. But in all cases serial consoles, not
the graphics monitor.
I have run video monitors on VAXstations, but don't recall any special
cable (other than that it had to plug in properly).
I know that the uVax II uses either 9 pin connection directly or an
adapter for MMJ that is different than the 9-pin to MMJ adapter for
Alpha.
But won't MMJ on both ends of the cable, using the MMJ ports on the
terminal and the VAXstation, work?
I don't believe that the printer connection can be used for the
console either. (A bit rusty on the VAX stuff too as it has been a
while...)
I think that that is the purpose of the S3 switch.
The model 60 that I have at the moment does not have a switch for the console, but the MMJ connector (marked as a printer port) should be the console port.
In my system, the RGB monitor port over-rides that and is the console.

See this link for a picture and description of the connections: http://eintr.net/systems/vaxstation4000-60/

Dan
Phillip Helbig (undress to reply)
2021-07-06 13:07:07 UTC
Permalink
Post by abrsvc
The model 60 that I have at the moment does not have a switch for the
console,
Is there not one, marked S3, behind the front panel at the lower right
(behind the little door)?
Post by abrsvc
but the MMJ connector (marked as a printer port) should be the
console port.
Right.
Post by abrsvc
In my system, the RGB monitor port over-rides that and is the console.
I always had serial consoles, determined by the S3 switch, even if there
was a graphics monitor connected.
Dave Froble
2021-07-06 16:26:44 UTC
Permalink
Post by Phillip Helbig (undress to reply)
But won't MMJ on both ends of the cable, using the MMJ ports on the
terminal and the VAXstation, work?
The MMJ cable has to be a "null modem" configuration, ie; everything
crossed.
--
David Froble Tel: 724-529-0450
Dave Froble Enterprises, Inc. E-Mail: ***@tsoft-inc.com
DFE Ultralights, Inc.
170 Grimplin Road
Vanderbilt, PA 15486
Phillip Helbig (undress to reply)
2021-07-06 16:40:19 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dave Froble
Post by Phillip Helbig (undress to reply)
But won't MMJ on both ends of the cable, using the MMJ ports on the
terminal and the VAXstation, work?
The MMJ cable has to be a "null modem" configuration, ie; everything
crossed.
Right, but if it works as a console cable for one machine, then it
should work for all, so I'm pretty sure that neither the cable nor the
terminal is the problem.

Looking through my cables, I have found some with the offset pin on one
end and the non-offset pin on the other, and also some which have what
appears to be an extra ground wire.
Martin Vorländer
2021-07-06 19:49:27 UTC
Permalink
Post by Phillip Helbig (undress to reply)
Finally I have time to do some inventory, so I am testing old hardware
(with the aim of knowing what works and what doesn't and deciding what I
might pass on to a good home). It's been a while since I've done
anything with a VAX (about 10 years). On a VAXstation 4000, I have the
S3 switch set to UP. I am using a terminal and cable which I normally
use for an Alpha console (9600 baud, 8 bits, no parity,
receive=transmit, 1 stop bit) so I am assuming that that is not the
problem (IIRC VAXes, in contrast to Alphas, won't boot if they don't
sense the console). The cable is MMJ on both VAX (printer port) and VT.
When I power the box on, all the LEDs light up, but stay lit. From the
old days, I remember flashing (and maybe some sounds) then some output
on the console terminal. Now, nothing.
The LEDs indicate the self-test stage the machine is in. Starting at
all LEDs lit, they count down in hexadecimal. So, if they stay all lit,
the self-test doesn't start. COuld be the power supply not providing
enough Amps.

cu,
Martin
Phillip Helbig (undress to reply)
2021-07-06 19:57:06 UTC
Permalink
Post by Martin Vorländer
The LEDs indicate the self-test stage the machine is in. Starting at
all LEDs lit, they count down in hexadecimal. So, if they stay all lit,
the self-test doesn't start. Could be the power supply not providing
enough Amps.
Presumably a defective power supply (as opposed to not being able to
draw enough current, which I think is rather unlikely)?
Zane H. Healy
2021-07-06 22:01:31 UTC
Permalink
Post by Phillip Helbig (undress to reply)
Finally I have time to do some inventory, so I am testing old hardware
(with the aim of knowing what works and what doesn't and deciding what I
might pass on to a good home). It's been a while since I've done
anything with a VAX (about 10 years). On a VAXstation 4000, I have the
S3 switch set to UP. I am using a terminal and cable which I normally
use for an Alpha console (9600 baud, 8 bits, no parity,
receive=transmit, 1 stop bit) so I am assuming that that is not the
problem (IIRC VAXes, in contrast to Alphas, won't boot if they don't
sense the console). The cable is MMJ on both VAX (printer port) and VT.
When I power the box on, all the LEDs light up, but stay lit. From the
old days, I remember flashing (and maybe some sounds) then some output
on the console terminal. Now, nothing.
Any ideas?
One of the things I've done the last couple months, is to test my VAXstation
4000's. The VLC and 60 will boot with a dead Dallas RTC chip (the battery
is built in). The 90 won't, and if I remember correctly this was the
failure I saw. I simply bought some DS12887A+ RTC's, and swapped them out
in my 90, VLC, and one 60. I still need to swap the chip on the 60 that
runs 24x7 (DECnet area router).

Something I did notice with the spare 60 and the VLC is that they needed to
be sitting plugged in a bit before they come up, before I swapped the RTC
chip. IIRC, I saw this on my AlphaStation 200's, and the 500 as well.

Once I had the 90 running, I put a SCSI2SD board in it, and got it working
with an LCD monitor, and I'm now using it again.

Zane
John H. Reinhardt
2021-07-07 03:09:21 UTC
Permalink
Post by Zane H. Healy
Post by Phillip Helbig (undress to reply)
Finally I have time to do some inventory, so I am testing old hardware
(with the aim of knowing what works and what doesn't and deciding what I
might pass on to a good home). It's been a while since I've done
anything with a VAX (about 10 years). On a VAXstation 4000, I have the
S3 switch set to UP. I am using a terminal and cable which I normally
use for an Alpha console (9600 baud, 8 bits, no parity,
receive=transmit, 1 stop bit) so I am assuming that that is not the
problem (IIRC VAXes, in contrast to Alphas, won't boot if they don't
sense the console). The cable is MMJ on both VAX (printer port) and VT.
When I power the box on, all the LEDs light up, but stay lit. From the
old days, I remember flashing (and maybe some sounds) then some output
on the console terminal. Now, nothing.
Any ideas?
One of the things I've done the last couple months, is to test my VAXstation
4000's. The VLC and 60 will boot with a dead Dallas RTC chip (the battery
is built in). The 90 won't, and if I remember correctly this was the
failure I saw. I simply bought some DS12887A+ RTC's, and swapped them out
in my 90, VLC, and one 60. I still need to swap the chip on the 60 that
runs 24x7 (DECnet area router).
Zane
If you want to future proof your RTC even more, look into the DS12887 RTC replacements from Glitch Works. You can buy built up replacements from his Tindie Shop <https://www.tindie.com/products/glitchwrks/gw-12887-1-ds12887-rtc-replacement-module/#shipping> for $20 US plus shipping

Or kits where you supply your own Dallas chip for $10 US plus shipping. <https://www.ebay.com/itm/274450106673>
Built up version same as Tindie shop <https://www.ebay.com/itm/274503108836>

I put one in each of my DS10's when I was refurbishing them last year and they have worked great. I wish my MV3100 could use one. The nice thing is that they use a CR1225 coin battery which you can easily replace when needed and those batteries are highly leak resistant.
--
John H. Reinhardt
Loading...