Power Series

From: Netdiablo <root_at_diablonet.net>
Date: Fri Dec 21 12:11:02 2001

Please see embedded comments.

> Well, speak of the devil... and all that. After mentioning yesterday
that a
> Power Series machine would be nice to have, I found that somebody
> one home for me. (seriously...)

Thats pretty cool.. I've got a bunch of smaller SGI machines including
Indigo2, and Indy, but nothing larger. I have an entire Crimson
boardset, but
no chassis for it, alas.

> So before I get started here, let me also mention that it would be
nice to
> have:
> A Symbolics Lisp Machine
> A Next Dimension Cube
> A PDP-11 in a small rack with blinkenlights and core

I'd love to get my hands on a LISP machine someday, too - if anyone ever

comes across one thats up for grabs, let me know! I'll "move heaven and
earth" to try and pick that up!

I've got a PDP 11/34a with core, but its not really a complete system. I

really need some sort of disk controller and subsystem for it, and I
also need
to figure out the pinout for the console terminal connector.

I've got a NeXT Cube and a Slab, but the Cube is the original 68030
and doesn't have the NeXTDimension board. If you're ever interested in a

road trip, though, noticing that you're in Illinois, the University of
Property Disposition warehouse had a NeXTDimension Cube laying around
about a month ago; $50, I think. I would've picked it up myself, but I
totally out of money at the time. I'd imagine it's stilll there, though.

> ... enough of that, though. :)
> So, I now am the proud owner of a Power Series VGX machine. It seems
> have 4 40Mhz CPUs in it, a full compliment of graphics boards, FDDI,
> some extra video I/O boards.

That's a relatively higher-end one, then... 4D/340, perhaps? There's a
site called This Old SGI that talks a lot about getting these old Power
machines running. You can find it pretty quickly with Google.

> It's a deskside type machine, the whole thing fitting in one very
> tower --err... coffee-table :)
> Firstly, this machine is in need of:
> The plastic "skirt" piece for the right side of the chassis.
> The plastic back plate.
> The power-cable.
> Keyboard, monitor, mouse (all of which I can probably get locally...

I checked a couple of days ago and there is an original SGI 4D keyboard
and mouse set on eBay for not too much... less than $10, I think. I'm
sure how much longer it'll be there, though.

I'd probably give up on finding the skins for the machine - I've never
really seen them turn up by themselves, and usually, MACHINES that
turn up are missing pieces of them. The power cable's probably going
to have to be a homemade job, too, as I don't see them turn up very
often, but from what I gather, they shouldn't be too hard to assemble.

> (that's it.. I think I have the entire machine otherwise)
> Does anyone know where I can get these, or (in the case of the
> for instance) parts to make them?

I've heard that you can find the connectors for the power cord at
stores, but I can't confirm that myself.

> Any warnings/information/antic dotes for these machines?

> I do intend to use the thing. I also intend to use it at home. It
> to require 20 Amp service, though, and I have no good 20 Amp outlet
> reach. I do have some 20 Amp and a couple 30 Amp fuses (Yes, fuses.
> intend to replace the one I hook this to with a mini-breaker) in the
> which I intend to trace before I decide where to plug it in. It may
be that
> I'll contract somebody to run a 20 Amp outlet for this machine. (Never

> having done AC wiring work on my own, I feel that I don't want to
start by
> wiring an outlet for this beast) Otherwise, the plan will be to plug
> into a circuit with a highly rated fuse on it, and unplug everything
> Any holes in this plan? The breaker on the power-supply is rated 16
> btw. I have no idea how much pull to expect from a monitor -- anyone
> whether I can safely use both on the same circuit? That would
> things.
> I believe a best option is to have somebody run a line up from the
> washer/dryer hookups in the basement. Those are hooked to 30-amp
> already and have cutoff switches. As long as nobody does laundry
while the
> machine's running, then, it would be fine. :)
> Lastly, even before I get this thing plugged in, I'd like to inventory
> and check it for health. What should I look for?

I'd DEFINITELY suggest taking a look at the power supply (and fuse)
you begin. Make sure the power transistors and caps are in good order. I
this because the power supplies on these machines are getting a little
old and
they are known for being somewhat iffy. I've had a similar supply (on a
Crimson machine) flame out on me before - it makes a very spectacular

That, incidentally, is where the Crimson boardset came from... I wish I
have saved the chassis from the Dumpster, too (this was at work when we
picked up an old Crimson from a customer as scrap once and were messing
around with it). Ah, well. I'm still trying to find another SGI VME
machine to
this day. Maybe an Onyx or something :)

> Regards,
> Chris
> Christopher Smith, Perl Developer
> Amdocs - Champaign, IL
> /usr/bin/perl -e '
> print((~"\x95\xc4\xe3"^"Just Another Perl Hacker.")."\x08!\n");

Kind regards,

Sean Caron
Received on Fri Dec 21 2001 - 12:11:02 GMT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Oct 10 2014 - 23:33:40 BST