Sun external SMD cables

Alan Perry aperry at
Fri Feb 14 16:42:46 CST 2020

> On Feb 14, 2020, at 14:19, Patrick Finnegan via cctalk <cctalk at> wrote:
> On Fri, Feb 14, 2020 at 4:36 PM jim stephens via cctalk
> <cctalk at> wrote:
>> SMD external cables probably weren't that common.  The systems I saw
>> which were of such as 4/280 etc, rack mounted had the cabling internal
>> to the bays and were of the ribbon variety.  They used VME bus cards in
>> a large size carrier for the controllers in the system frame.  The
>> system frame had cards that were about 18" high with an extra bus
>> connector.  But if you aligned the VME cars to fit two of them, there
>> was apparently a vme bus.
>> Those systems that i saw had either 68k processors, or early Sparc
>> processors.  The sun boards used all three bus connectors and the other
>> vendor boards as I sad were usually mounted in a sun dimensioned carrier
>> frame.
>> And reason for all this explanation was that they used a third part
>> vendor's SMD interface.
>> As to the connections to go outside the rack, all the systems I saw had
>> 2 or so smd drives and were racked in a 6' bay with room for a tape
>> drive at the top, system in the center, and drives @ the bottom, and so
>> no need for external.
> For what it's worth, my Sun 3/140 has a Fujitsu 9-track at the top of
> the rack, and two Eagles at the bottom of the rack (VME chassis in the
> middle), wired to the SMD disk controller with the "external" D-sub
> cables, and it's all contained within one rack.

I have a 3/260 with the “storage pedestal”, a pair of 8” SMD drives in a deskside chassis the same size as the system chassis.

It was originally purchased and used by Mentor Graphics. A now-former employee bought it and used it for a while, then put it in his open barn, where it sat for a dozen years. He gave it to me last year and I am trying to get it running for VCF-PNW in a bit over a month. The big problem is a particular bit is always staying on during the memory path data test, so it won’t even come up to the boot prom. If I can’t get past that, the lack of SMD cables are not a problem :)


PS I forgot to thank Liam for offering assistance, so thanks, Liam.

More information about the cctalk mailing list