Options for resurrecting VAX 4000/400 and Vaxstation 3200

Dr. Roland Schregle roland.schregle at gmail.com
Wed Mar 9 12:26:51 CST 2016

Dear all,

I have two VAXen that I'd like to resurrect simply for the sake of playing  
around with The Real Thing[tm] running VMS. Note that I'm completely new  
to VMS and DEC hardware -- hence the interest!

Box #1 is a VAX4000 model 400 with no working CPU (KA-675) and 2x 32Mb  
RAM, an RF72 (wiped), plus a KZQSA QBUS controller. PSU is good, fans  
squeal on startup but run silently once spun up. Have VMS installation  
media in CD.

I have two KA-675s for this beast: Board #1 (originally installed) has a  
failed B-cache (console reports SUBTEST_35_12, DE_B_Cache_diag_mode.LIS)  
and crashes with an asynchronous write memory failure when booting VMS  
 from CD. Board #2 (DOA from eBay but fully refunded) has a dead DSSI bus 0  
controller and crashes on SHOW DEV; I assume that's a write-off. Any  
chance of identifying the flaky B-cache SRAM on board #1 and replacing it?  
Alternatively, anyone out there have a KA-675 for sale?

Box #2 is a VAXstation 3200 with TK50, and an RD54. PSU and fans ok (and  
very quiet), ditto CPU. The RD54 is unformatted; I understand this can  
only be formatted in the field with a VS2000 or with some obscure field  
diagnostics. There's no SCSI controller, so I can't install from CD. I  
haven't been able to track down VMS installation media on TK50, and I  
doubt they'd still be readable anyway. On top of that I have no idea what  
condition the drive is in, as I have no blank tapes to test with. I've  
found tape images online but see no way to dump these to TK50 (assuming  
the drive is ok), unless I get a TZ30.

What are my options and chances of success for getting either of these  
boxes up and running with VMS? A KA-675 and TZ30 can be obtained from  
resellers, but I hesitate to invest several hundred in something this old  
purely for the occasional mucking about. I have also considered selling  
the units (or parts thereof) if nothing gives.

Any ideas much appreciated,


"END OF LINE" [MCP, 1982]
"... nowhere in the standards is it specified that 'programs that use a  
lot of memory may randomly crash at any time for no apparent reason'"  
[Stackoverflow forum, 2012]

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