first step getting VAX 6000-400 booted ...

From: Geoff Roberts <>
Date: Tue Oct 23 20:49:48 2001

----- Original Message -----
From: "Gunther Schadow" <>
To: <>; <>
Sent: Wednesday, October 24, 2001 3:31 AM
Subject: first step getting VAX 6000-400 booted ...

Hi Gunther,

> after my pretty good VAX treck last weekend (more details coming
> up on my project web site at a later time) I finally have SDI disks.


> I hooked one up last night and did all the checking as per the
> RA9x manual (yes I have one plus many more, will scan those at
> some time...)

Ooh. Yes please. I have RA90/91 drives and no manual.

> and it seems to be O.K. (even though it was pretty
> messed up stored in a barn among lots of birds for many years).

This is going to be an interesting story I'm sure.

> Here is one para about where I am at and then I have some
> specific questions for Geoff Roberts or Ragge or anyone who
> has had experienced any luck with getting a 6000 up to operation.
> I have bootable tape for Ultrix 4.1 and VMS 5.3 both TK50. None
> of them work. I seem to have no luck with the TK70 and I have
> no way finding out what's wrong. I tried to boot from that RA90
> disk, even though I don't know what's on it. It has unit #0, so
> I thought it might be a system disk. But that too failed with
> some I/O error very early in the process.

Hmm, Unit 0 has an excellent chance of being a system disk, but possible it
initialised prior to being retired. What's the exact error msg (console dump
is good)
Tapes are probably sus. TK70's are the least reliable component of a 6000,
but are still pretty reliable compared to the TK50.

> I also have a TU81+ and VMS bootable tape on 9-track, maybe that's more

Very likely, do you have the companion card for the TU81+ (KLESI-B) to go in
the Vax?
They TU81+ is not SDI, so it won't even plug in to the KDB50. If all else
fails I can probably whip
up a tape for you on ours.

> Tonight's project is to move the TU81+ into the basement and hook it up.
> I'm afraid I'll get stuck there too and what then? Network
> booting?

If you had a VMS box (almost anything will do) with ethernet you can MOP
boot from that, but you would
need to know exactly how to configure the host as a boot host. It's not real
hard, but it's not trivial either, you would
need the owners manual for the 6000 which ISTR you have, and know how to
configure the boot process to boot from
ethernet, and VMS books or a walkthru on setting up remote booting. Short
answer it's possible but painful.
Not very familiar with Ultrix though I gather it's also possible to mop boot
an ultrix box from a vms one, though I don't think it will do vice versa.

> Here's some more detail and questions:

> The TK50 boot proceeds for quite a while, although it never shows
> any message on the console about where it is at before it halts
> due to some unspecified error. However, about one or two minutes
> into the tape running the system-panel's FAULT light comes on and
> at the same time both yellow and green LEDs on the TKB70 board
> extinguish. That's for about a second or two. Then the lights
> go back to normal and the fault light turned off. Another 30
> seconds to a minute tape streaming and the same light-spiel happens
> again: fault on, TKB70 LEDs off, and back to normal. Now a shorter
> time (like 10 seconds) of tape streaming and again. From now on that
> repeats for about 4 or 5 more cycles and finally the system is
> halted and console says: system halted due to previous error.
> However, no error message is being printed. I have no idea where
> I am in the process.

sounds like media read failing.

> I have tried cleaning the TK70 read/write head of course. I have
> tried a different copy of that Ultrix tape. It's always the same.

Only sure way to prove it is to get it to boot a different system, you would
a microvax or something with a TK50, if it boots that the TK70 is probably
but it sounds more like crook media.
I'm assuming you have the boot configured correctly of course.

> Is this bliking of fault and shutting off of both TBK70 LEDs
> normal for media read errors or does it indicate something more
> serious? How can I tell where in the process I am? Is there an
> error flag somewhere in memory that I could EXAMINE to find out
> what is wrong?

I think the 6000 owners manual gives you some detail, otherwise you need a
TK70 manual or possibly even a TK50 one to tell you in more detail.
I'll dig out my manual on the 6000 and see what it says.

> BTW: at first I had my CIBCA cards in and the boot process would
> halt earlier: system would say "insufficient memory for CI" and
> "10% or more of the memory is bad". Who is checking memory there?

Different. Depends where in the boot process you are.
Sounds a bit like you may have faulty, or more likely, incompatible memory.
Do you have a HSC? If not the CIBCA's are a waste of address space.

> I could not find anything in Ultrix 4.2 sources that would generate
> such a message. And why would it anyway, because my system check
> tells me that I have 512 MB of memory OK. Or does it speak of
> 10% of the CIBCA's internal memory?

Does the POST correctly count and interleave the whole 512K?
No errors on the console? Complaints about interleaving etc?
Different versions of firmware, cpu serial no's etc etc?
A capture of the console output would be useful, from powerup to the failure
As a suggestion, perhaps pull out additional cpus and ram and just leave
say, 64mb in there and see if that changes anything.
It would also be worth pulling and reseating all the cards a couple of
I have seen the odd hard error from mis-seated cards.

> Is there a boot flag that I could turn on that would cause the
> loader etc. to be more verbose?

I'll check the manual, I don't think so, perhaps a conversational boot would
be a help.

> Has anyone tried booting Ultrix over the network? I am going to
> try that but all I have is Ultrix on TK50 (that doesn't work)
> and sources without any VAX running to compile them on. Is there
> a cross compiler suite? I'd like to compile with the DEBUG
> flag set.

It can be done from a VMS box, I have something on that somewhere.
I believe I have an Ultrix grey wall somewhere, I'll dig it out.


Geoff Roberts
Computer Systems Manager
Saint Mark's College
Port Pirie, South Australia
ICQ 1970476
Received on Tue Oct 23 2001 - 20:49:48 BST

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