Power Series

From: Tothwolf <tothwolf_at_concentric.net>
Date: Fri Dec 21 04:52:39 2001

On Wed, 19 Dec 2001, Christopher Smith wrote:

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

Nice...I have a number 4D series machines myself. I haven't yet found a
source for IRIX 4.0.5 and 5.3 for them tho :/

> It's a deskside type machine, the whole thing fitting in one very large
> tower --err... coffee-table :)

You have what they call a "single tower" desk side machine.

> Firstly, this machine is in need of:
> The plastic "skirt" piece for the right side of the chassis.

I haven't yet found a source for these, as I'm in need of one myself. Keep
me in mind if you find a pair of them someplace.

> Keyboard, monitor, mouse (all of which I can probably get locally...

You can boot these machines with a dumb terminal on the first serial port.
The serial ports have a different pinout then just about any other
computer. I have a url with the info somewhere, and will look for it.

> Does anyone know where I can get these, or (in the case of the power-cord,
> for instance) parts to make them?

You'll end up having to make the power cable yourself, unless you want to
spend allot of money to have someone make it for you.

These machines use a 120V 20A twist lock. The plug is a standard NEMA
L5-20P, and the receptacle is a standard NEMA L5-20R.

The connectors you'll want to get are:

Hubbell part numbers:
  single flush receptacle (outlet): HBL2310
  insulgrip plug: HBL2311
  insulgrip receptacle: HBL2313

This info came from http://www.hubbell-wiring.com/new/sectionb.pdf but
this should save you the trouble of downloading a 2.5mb pdf.

The single flush receptacle is the one you'll be installing in a single
gang box in your wall.

I found this company http://www.isdc.ca/twistlock.html awhile back. I
haven't yet ordered any twist lock plugs from them, but they seemed
reasonable at the time.

You'll need to use 12 gauge stranded wire for the power cord. 400 volt
rated cable should be fine. If you have a home depot in your area, have a
look at their rack of cable spools, this stuff is sold by the foot. The
cable is very flexible, and has a black jacket approx 1/2" in diameter.

Make sure you strip the conductors the proper length. There should be a
strip gauge on the connector. The end of the conductor should touch the
bottom of the hole. The conductor's jacket should be against the clear
polycarbonate plastic. Make sure you tighten the screws properly. If they
are too loose, the connection will get hot, and could possibly become a
fire hazard. If you tighten them too tight, it will damage the wire
strands. I'd recommend snugging them, then tighten the screw another 1/4
turn or so.

> Any warnings/information/antic dotes for these machines?
> I do intend to use the thing. I also intend to use it at home. It appears
> to require 20 Amp service, though, and I have no good 20 Amp outlet within
> reach. I do have some 20 Amp and a couple 30 Amp fuses (Yes, fuses. I
> intend to replace the one I hook this to with a mini-breaker) in the box,
> 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 it
> into a circuit with a highly rated fuse on it, and unplug everything else.
> Any holes in this plan? The breaker on the power-supply is rated 16 Amps,
> btw. I have no idea how much pull to expect from a monitor -- anyone know
> whether I can safely use both on the same circuit? That would simplify
> things.

The only *safe* way to power these machines is a dedicated 20 amp circuit.
There are people who have run them on a 15 amp branch circuit, but for a
fully loaded system, that could be dangerous.

> 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 fuses
> already and have cutoff switches. As long as nobody does laundry while the
> machine's running, then, it would be fine. :)

I would recommend you have an electrician install a dedicated 20 amp
circuit. These machines are meant to be breakered at 20 amps. I would not
recommend sharing an existing major appliance circuit, since you might
forget the computer is on and turn on the appliance.

> Lastly, even before I get this thing plugged in, I'd like to inventory it,
> and check it for health. What should I look for?

Well, from the sounds of it, you already figured out how to release the
round push-in latches for the front cover. After you remove a few screws,
the card cage cover will fold down. There should be 2 plastic retainer
bars with sliding clips that run horizontally in front of the cards. I
think the VGX video board set has 2 or 3 cards with a small connecting
board plugged into the front side of them. I don't have my VGX nearby
right now, and I don't remember for sure. The fan tray below the cards
slides out and has 4 large muffin fans. I would not recommend running the
machine for long periods of time with the card cage open. I think there is
a safety interlock for the front cover on the 4D series, but some systems
may have had it bypassed. You'll find diagnostic/status leds and a 7
segment diagnostic display on a pc board located on the metal plate that
holds the power switch. If you unscrew the retaining screw on the metal
plate, it should slide out and have enough cable to set it on top of the

Received on Fri Dec 21 2001 - 04:52:39 GMT

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