Options for resurrecting VAX 4000/400 and Vaxstation 3200

Robert Jarratt robert.jarratt at ntlworld.com
Wed Mar 9 14:59:27 CST 2016

> -----Original Message-----
> From: cctech [mailto:cctech-bounces at classiccmp.org] On Behalf Of Dr.
> Roland Schregle
> Sent: 09 March 2016 20:39
> To: General Discussion: On-Topic Posts <cctech at classiccmp.org>
> Subject: Re: Options for resurrecting VAX 4000/400 and Vaxstation 3200
> On Wed, 09 Mar 2016 20:29:56 +0100, Robert Jarratt
> <robert.jarratt at ntlworld.com> wrote:
> > You could run the 3200 by netbooting it from a SIMH instance of VMS.
> > If the RD54 was formatted (and working!) then you could transfer VMS
> > onto the disk from the boot node.
> G'day Rob, thanks for the quick reply.
> I've contemplated the SIMH/netboot option (was made aware of it a while
> ago), but I'm not even sure the 3200 can netboot; at least it does have a
> DELQA, so correct me if I'm wrong. In any case, I'd have to set up DECnet
> under Linux first.

If it has a DELQA then you should be able to netboot it without issue. You don't need to set up DECnet under linux though. All you need is SIMH running DECnet (and possibly a cluster, I do it with a cluster, but I am not 100% sure it *has* to be a cluster). You just need a VMS ISO and you can get up and running.

> > To format the RD54 you would need to find a 2000 though, or at least
> > borrow one. You should tell the list where you live as there might be
> > someone close by who could help out.
> The VS is located in Germany, but I'm currently working in Switzerland and
> won't get at the thing until my next vacation, probably sometime after
> Easter.
> I know that Bernd Ulmann (alias VAXMAN!) has a VS2000 and is --more or
> less-- close by, but I haven't managed to schedule a visit (yet).

That sounds like you best bet to format the disk, if it needs formatting.

> > It might be though that the RD54 is formatted, worth trying once you
> > netboot.
> I checked out the RD54 on an old ST506/412 controller a few years back, and
> it did seek. Of course I couldn't read the format, so I can't tell what's on it. It
> definitely doesn't boot on the VS. Any other way to check for a format from
> the console?

I don't have a 3200, nor can I find a manual, but since it looks to be more modern than a 2000, and apparently supports an RD54, then I would have thought the console firmware could format it. On the 2000 TEST 71 will check the disk and tell you what it is, TEST 70 will format it. Perhaps you could try those commands to see if they also work on the 3200.

> > As for the KA675, I don't know really, I suspect you would be into
> > surface mount work, but with two boards you might be able to swap bits
> > around to get a working board. Perhaps if you got a KFQSA or a KZQSA
> > you could get this to work?
> Yep, it's SMT, but replacing a 22 pin DIP shouldn't be a big deal with the right
> tools and a bit of practice. But the console diags don't indicate the faulty chip!
> :^(

I think one day I will have to equip myself and learn how to desolder and resolder surface mount chips. I don't know how many chips implement the B-CACHE, but perhaps you could replace all of them, assuming you know which ones they are. Perhaps some careful probing of the board with a scope might show if there any chips that are perhaps completely dead. You could do the same for the DSSI controller on the other board of course, if you can identify that.

> The 4000 does have a KZQSA, and it boots from CD -- until it bails out with the
> async write error, which I assume has to do with the failed B-cache.
> Thanks for the hints,
> --GT
> --
> "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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