SPARCstation rescue giveaway (Was: Kei cars and motorcycles (Was: Rick Dickinson, ZX Spectrum designer, RIP))

Eric Christopherson echristopherson at
Mon Apr 30 12:20:43 CDT 2018

On Fri, Apr 27, 2018 at 5:40 PM, Alan Perry via cctalk <
cctalk at> wrote:

> I keep them all. Not counting the bad ones in the SS1 and 2, I have 7.
> I can send them to you. I don't mind pick up the shipping costs for
> something small like that. But the $70 that is it going to cost to ship the
> SS20 to its new home is another matter.
> alan
> On 4/27/18 3:33 PM, systems_glitch wrote:
>> You can always send me the dead modules and I'll rebuild them
>> (GlitchWorks == me, my wife sometimes helps with assembly). Whatever you
>> do, don't throw out the dead NVRAMs -- I'll buy them or pay for you to ship
>> them or whatever, they're not making more and they're the only solution
>> that's 100% compatible.
>> Yeah, the "still works but pukes errors" is the typical symptom of the
>> newer, slightly incompatible 48T02s in Sun machines. I don't recall if mine
>> kept accurate time with the newer modules.
>> Thanks,
>> Jonathan
>> On Fri, Apr 27, 2018 at 6:28 PM, Alan Perry via cctalk <
>> cctalk at <mailto:cctalk at>> wrote:
>>     The ones from Mouser work well enough in every system that I have
>>     used them in. I still get the IDPROM corrupt message on boot on
>>     some systems, but it holds the MAC and the systems boot without
>>     intervention.
>>     I tried to repair a few and botched most of them. I know that I
>>     should be using the GlitchWorks stuff, but it has been easier to
>>     just buy something that I can plug in.
>>     alan
>>     On 4/27/18 3:15 PM, systems_glitch via cctalk wrote:
>>         Don't get the new MK48T02/MK48T08s from Mouser et al, they're
>>         not fully
>>         compatible. They will retain NVRAM but the clock part is
>>         different and
>>         you'll get an error on that (system won't autoboot). Rebuild
>>         your old
>>         NVRAM! I made up some little boards to make the repair cleaner
>>         and faster
>>         to do (I had about 50 NVRAMs to repair):
>>         <>
>>         There are other guides for tacking on a coin cell holder
>>         without cutting
>>         off the entire top encapsulation, but if you do that, it may
>>         not fit under
>>         SBus cards if you're doing it on a system that puts SBus slots
>>         over the
>>         NVRAM.
>>         Thanks,
>>         Jonathan
>>         On Fri, Apr 27, 2018 at 6:03 PM, Glen Slick via cctalk <
>>         cctalk at <mailto:cctalk at>> wrote:
>>             On Fri, Apr 27, 2018 at 1:55 PM, Alan Perry via cctalk
>>             <cctalk at <mailto:cctalk at>> wrote:
>>                 - SPARCstation 1. Chassis is intact. It has a bad
>>                 IDPROM; aside from that
>>                   it passes onboard diagnostics. It has 12M memory, no
>>                 HDD now, and a 3.5"
>>                   floppy drive. It has no SBus cards. Aside from the
>>                 IDPROM, it doesn't
>>                   have any issues (but I haven't run an OS on it yet).
>>                 Like the SS2, it
>>                   needs a bath. A small portion of the plastic cover
>>                 over the rear of the
>>                   case is broken off.
>>                 What are these "actual parts expenses"? IDPROMs are
>>                 around $25 on Mouser.
>>                 SCSI HDDs start around $70 shipped on eBay and SCSI2SD
>>                 are $60 plus
>>                 shipping to me plus the SD price. Given the price of
>>                 25 year old HDDs
>>             with
>>                 a stated service life of 5 years (according to one
>>                 spec sheet that I
>>             read),
>>                 SCSI2SD looks pretty attractive.
>>             When you say IDPROM, is that a Dallas built-in battery
>>             NVRAM type of
>>             thing? I have an SS1 with a dead NVRAM thing. Are the
>>             currently
>>             available versions of those new at Mouser fully
>>             compatible? Those are
>>             one of those things that the new versions aren't always fully
>>             compatible with the old versions for some systems, even
>>             though they
>>             are supposed to be.
>>             My SS1 is also in the Seattle area. If there is much
>>             demand for those
>>             it's probably one of those systems I'll never get around
>>             to doing
>>             anything with it myself. I also have a 4/110. Those seem
>>             to be a lot
>>             less common, and maybe more collectible.
Last year some time I replaced the timekeeper in my first SPARC with one I
ordered off eBay. It's been a while since I tried it in that machine* but,
last I knew, it was slow at keeping time but time was still moving forward,
and it hadn't lost its MAC or hostid. Would that be caused by it being one
of the newer not-100%-compatible ones? Alternately, I read somewhere that
timekeeper/NVRAM/IDPROM chips need to either have power available to them
most of the time or need to have the computer powered up regularly (not
sure which it was) -- is there any truth to either of those?

* I did try the "new" timekeeper in a newer SPARC acquisition of mine a
week or so ago, because I knew the new workstation's battery was bad.
Unfortunately the computer failed to give any monitor signal when I did
that, and I haven't had a chance to hook it up via serial to see what's
working and what isn't. I wonder if that could be another failure mode of
those chips, or if it just means the workstation's not quite working (I was
told that it had just been booted recently using its original IDPROM, but
defaults had to be set at boot; I also haven't gotten a chance to try the
original IDPROM in it to see what would happen.)

        Eric Christopherson

More information about the cctalk mailing list