DEC top-mount corporate cabinet

Chris Elmquist chrise at
Tue Mar 1 16:20:51 CST 2022

Thanks very much Paul and others.  The overview you linked is very
helpful as I now have the actual model number for the rack that I have.

It is indeed the H9642-AD 40" "Top Loader" but it is missing whatever
cross piece goes behind the H9544 DA Bezel (#4) shown in the component
parts diagram.

My mystery is what that cross piece behind the bezel looks like, how
it attaches to the vertical rails of the rack on each side and then how
the bezel attaches to the cross piece.

The back of the bezel has a ribbed channel that looks like some kind of
bolts or other threaded or inserted fasteners were screwed or snapped
into this channel and those were attached to the cross piece somehow.
That's my missing link ...

I fabricated an aluminum bar cross piece and then used heavy duty
hook and loop-like fasteners to attach the bezel to this aluminum bar
but it's cheesy and loose.  I'd like to someday find the proper solution.


On Tuesday (03/01/2022 at 03:23AM -0500), pbirkel at wrote:
> Chris:
> The traditional DEC racks/cabinets are either full-height ("standard" =
> H960) and part-height ("short" = H967) 19" racks.  These are welded steel
> frames built for computer-room type environments.  When DEC started selling
> into office environments (think data processing / business operations) they
> designed a new line of cabinetry that was intended to fit into an office
> where sight-lines are important and the desire was to look/work more like
> other types of office equipment.  The PDP-11/60 was I think an early example
> of the redesigned cabinets -- really a double-wide plus a bit, but of more
> modest height (roughly that of the H967).  After that you see single-width
> cabinets holding just 18U like the one that you have -- capable of holding a
> complete, but modest, system.  These newer-style cabinets/racks are riveted,
> rather than welded.  Emphasis was on style, cost-effectiveness, and RF
> shielding given the need to operate near other types of office equipment.
> Here's a good overview:
> pliesCatalog1981.pdf 
> On the left side of page 8-of-16 you'll see a description of the 40" Medium
> Systems Series, including diagrams and pictures of the "top-loader"
> (H9642-AD) and "front-loader" (H9642-CA) designs.  There isn't any "mod-kit"
> to go from one to the other.  It would be possible to get a functional
> top-loader out of a front-loader with some metal reworking.  Basically,
> remove the lid and then (in effect) move the cross-pieces down 6U and add
> what amount to four gusset plates for lateral bracing.  In the H9642-AD
> photo you can see the plates on the rear cross-piece.  The front is similar,
> but sensitive to ensuring that the center 6U isn't significantly occluded;
> the front cross-piece may require some modification.  There are a few other
> changes but moving the cross-pieces down are the key.  Notice the H9544 CA
> Trim Kit, RL01/RL02 -- these are plastic pieces that bridge the gap between
> the HDD cover and the cabinet side-panels; nice to have but they're mostly
> there for style.
> If you decide to attempt (or simply want to gauge the complexity of) a
> conversion I can see about getting some close-up photos of the various
> components and connections.  A conversion would not be a simple task.
> While the brochure speaks of "purchase as component kits" and the table
> simply states "Basic Frame Kit", it's not the *same* frame kit for -AD and
> -CA, and I suspect that "kit" in this case was not an IKEA flat-box of parts
> but rather a factory-assembled frame to which one added other components as
> appropriate for the intended use.  These frames are _seriously_ riveted.
> Notice that H9542-AD is distinct from the H9542-CA "component kit".
> (Note that the TU80 -- -- is
> basically a H9642-AD "top-loader" with a hinged lid and special-purpose 13U
> front.)

Chris Elmquist

More information about the cctech mailing list