Flea Market finds...: VAX 5000/200 point me to a faq please...

From: Mark Green <mark_at_cs.ualberta.ca>
Date: Mon Mar 19 05:12:43 2001

> Can someone tell me more about the VAX? I know nothing about these things.
> Either point me to a good faq or a manual or just tell me how to check this
> thing out...I searched the net and after 20 minutes found close to nothing
> about this thing...the compaq site is a maze....

As other people on the list have mentioned this really isn't a
VAX, even though it is labeled that way. Its a MIPS R3000
based workstation. At the time these workstations came out
a number of the Dec naming schemes were a bit confusing, and
quite often the same hardware was labeled differently depending
upon the software it ran.

What you have sounds like a Decstation 5000/200. This is a
nice R3000 based workstation, though it sounds like the configuration
of your system is somewhat minimal.

> Unit powers on PS fans (3!) spin. Small leds in back (6?) near ports seem to
> cycle through in a "logical and non erratic way" at start up...
> There are 4 large memory boards. Counting the chips I suspect these boards
> hold 8 Megs each...4 boards...32Megs...built in ethernet from what I can
> see...
> Slot -0- in back does not have a cover anymore. There is nothing there...I
> suspect this held a video card (?) can I still hook this up headless to a
> terminal?
> I connected my trusty Wyse60 to this and after a short "POST" I get...:
> ?IO 5/rzl/vmunix (bb rd)
> >>

Your system is trying to boot Ultrix (the dec version of Unix) and
it can't find the kernel. There are two common reasons for this.
First, there isn't a disk on your system, or the disk with Ultrix
is missing. It wasn't uncommon for the 5000/200 workstations to
not have an internal disk, they quite often had a second chassis
with disk and/or TK50 tape. The other possibility is the version
of Ultrix on your disk is corrupt.

First check to see if there is a disk (open up the box, take
a look). Also check what your system thinks is attached to it.
There is a command for this that you can enter at the >> prompt.
I don't remember the name now, but type help at the >> prompt
at it should tell you. This will tell you the devices attached
to the SCSI interface so you can determine whether it is looking
at the right drive.

> Returns bring more >> prompts so I am talking to the box...So I guess it
> works...
> The thing has no floppy or keyboard connector...Just a SCSI port....how does
> it boot? -- from scsi cdrom? (linux something to try on this I suspect...?)
> Sorry about the questions but I know nothing about these VAX boxes...

It will have a keyboard connector, it will probably look like a RJ11
phone jack if I remember correctly. There should also be a video
connector on the back. The video connector has 3 pins, its doesn't
look like a VGA connector, or any other standard video connector.
The three pins are R,G,B with I believe sync on G. You should be
able to connect these to a VGA monitor.

You can also interface the SCSI version of the TK50 and the RRD40
CDROM to these boxes. You can occassionally find parts for these
workstations on eBay, and there's a surplus place near Montreal
that sometimes has parts as well.

They make a decent Unix workstation. I used a 5000/20 at work
for many years, and I have two 5000/20 and a 5000/200 at home.

Dr. Mark Green                                 mark_at_cs.ualberta.ca
McCalla Professor                              (780) 492-4584
Department of Computing Science                (780) 492-1071 (FAX)
University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, T6G 2H1, Canada
Received on Mon Mar 19 2001 - 05:12:43 GMT

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