Looking for VAXStation 3520 parts

Josh Dersch derschjo at gmail.com
Sat May 16 20:49:18 CDT 2015

On 5/14/15 8:22 AM, Sean Caron wrote:
> I was able to pull it back from 1999 and now I remember one of the things
> that I found so neat about it; the 24 bitplane graphics option ...
> considering the late 80s vintage of the machine ... that would have been
> fairly exotic ... are either of your systems so outfitted? It would be neat
> to see the board set ... does anyone know if it is at all similar to the
> VCB02 or was it a totally clean-sheet design? It would be neat to see the
> quality of the 24-bit video.
> Best,
> Sean

The Graphics option in the 3520/40 is its own beast, as far as I know.  
It's definitely not the same as the VCB02.  I have heard (but have not 
confirmed) that it has its own VAX CPU chip (same as used in the 
MicroVAX II?) driving it, and with the 24-bit option it's three boards 
connected together via a small daughterboard in front. I'll take some 
pictures when I have some time this weekend or next week.

And just a quick update on my "in search of" status; it looks like I've 
found everything.  JT Computers on eBay had a number of 3520/40 boards 
listed for mostly ridiculous prices (a 32mb board for $270, for example) 
but a friend of mine has recently gotten some stuff from them cheap by 
making a lowball offer so I made some offers and got 32mb of RAM, a 
second dual-CPU board and the 24-bit graphics expansion for a reasonable 
price.  (They still have an 8mb board and a dual CPU board left, last I 

The CPU and RAM arrived today and are working fine, the graphics board 
arrives next week.  VMS is up and running, and I'm trying out OpenBSD 
just to see how it runs (NetBSD doesn't support this thing, amazingly 
enough :)).  I was going to try Ultrix but it seems to switch over to 
the graphics console even though I'm using the serial console (see below).

Now I just need to build the keyboard / mouse cable so I can actually 
*use* the graphics; the connector on this, despite being a DB-15 is not 
pin-compatible with any of the other 15-pin keyboard/mouse/graphics 
cables (the BC18 for the VS2000, for example, which I have a couple 
of...) so I need to build an adapter.

- Josh

> On Thu, May 14, 2015 at 10:27 AM, Sean Caron <scaron at umich.edu> wrote:
>> It's still linked off VAXarchive actually but the URL has been dead for
>> many years -
>> http://conan.ids.net/~mikeu/vs35x0.html
>> Haven't checked the Wayback Machine; good idea.
>> And I'm with ya, Rob, I'd still love to have one someday :O
>> Best,
>> Sean
>> On Thu, May 14, 2015 at 8:59 AM, Noel Chiappa <jnc at mercury.lcs.mit.edu>
>> wrote:
>>>      Sean Caron <scaron at umich.edu> wrote:
>>>      > I remember long ago there used to be a really neat site about the
>>>      > VAXstation 3520/3540 machines but it's long gone ...
>>> Any chance you have the URL noted? If so, the WayBackMachine might still
>>> have it.
>>>          Noel

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