Reviving a MicroVAX II

From: Chuck McManis <>
Date: Sun Jul 2 18:09:01 2000

This is the issue of course, cost. I agree with Allison whole heartedly
that the _easiest_ thing to do is to slap a SCSI controller in there and
then stick a CD-ROM drive and a couple of GB SCSI disk and you're totally
up to speed and off to the races. However,

SCSI controllers are not common. I've lucked into a couple but that took a
couple of _years_ of VAX filtration. (and about 20 vaxes later) The most
common one by far is the Viking QTO/QDO/QDT. This is a dual wide
controller, widely licensed, with three variants, tape only (QTO), disk
only (QTD), and tape and disk (QTD). Most (all?) VAX SCSI controllers come
in these three variants. This is probably because the tapes and disks used
different protocols (TMSCP vs MSCP). A Viking QTD from a DEC Reseller will
set you back anywhere from $250 - $800. A nicer CMD controller like the one
Allison recommended I've seen listed for $2000! Contrast that to an ESDI
controller that you can usually find for $30 - $50.

The cheapest way to get up and running is with an RQDX3 and a couple of MFM
drives. However you will need either a VAX2000 or a Microvax Diagnostic
tape to format them. The issue with them as that the biggest ones (RD54's)
are in such demand that they too command a premium.

So that is why SCSI, while nice, is often difficult on a shoestring. And if
you find an old VAX that has had a SCSI controller added, that is a good deal.


At 05:31 PM 7/2/00 -0500, you wrote:
>It looks to me like the controller is going to be the more difficult to
>locate. I have a box of old unknown boards, some are DEC, I'll
>have to sort through and see if I have anything of use (either in my
>system or for trading) in there. Does anyone have any good
>sources for controllers and/or the drives online? Any suggestions
>on average costs?
>On 2 Jul 2000, at 7:57, allisonp wrote:
> > From: Chuck McManis <>
> > >I'd recommend a nice ESDI controller (Dilog 696-20 or RQ11D/E
> > >(Webster/Sigma/etc) If you can find a RRD-40 interface (CD-ROM) that
> > would
> > >be good to since VMS from CD is easier to load than VMS from TK50
> > (having
> > >done both recently I really recommend CD). If you can find (good
> > >luck!)
> > a
> > >SCSI controller for it then your options are pretty much wide open.
> > >BTW
> > VMS
> > >lives very nicely on a 500 - 600MB disk with lots of layered
> > >products.
> >
> >
> >
> > Chuck, a SCSI board with one good drive and a CDrom would be likely a
> > better choice depeding on what can be found. I used this combo
> > CMD200, RZ56 and toshiba Cdrom.
> >
> > Allison
> >
> >
>David Williams - Computer Packrat
Received on Sun Jul 02 2000 - 18:09:01 BST

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