DEC Pro380 problems

Ethan Dicks ethan.dicks at
Fri Jul 26 08:55:36 CDT 2019

On Thu, Jul 25, 2019 at 10:46 PM Eric Dittman via cctalk
<cctalk at> wrote:> >> I pulled my Pro380 out of
> Okay, I looked at the slot and it looks like one of the first pins is
> missing:

Bummer.  I have a floppy controller that had the wiper in the ZIF
socket fail so it won't unclamp all the pins to slide down the
backplane slot.  I suppose you need what I need - a dead board to
steal the connector from.  There are short and long connectors - so
far, I see the short connectors on I/O cards and long connectors on
memory and video cards.  I haven't dug into the reference manual deep
enough to see the signal differences.

> I removed the HD controller and it fails to boot from floppy as well.
> The error codes change but seem to point to the RX50 drive being bad.

I've had 1 or 2 RX50 drives go out over the years.  They are
essentially unrepairable outside of simple mechanical failures (broken
door latches mostly).

> I had another Pro380 but it's come up missing so I can't swap parts.
> I guess I'll keep an eye out for another one.

I only have one Pro380 (a former console for our VAX8530 from the 90s)
but I've been able to borrow test parts from a Pro350.  Unfortunately,
I have fewer full-sets of cards than I have boxes (classic N-1
problem).  I seem to have a lot of memory cards and only one extra
bitplane (color graphics) card.  I think I have one wonky primary
video card (garbage video) and one RX50 controller with a broken ZIF

20 years ago, it was easy to find cheap/free Pro350 pickups.  I
haven't seen Professional boxes in the wild in quite some time, and I
don't remember anyone selling loose cards.  Perhaps they did but they
weren't visible about it.


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