From: Michael Sokolov <msokolov_at_ivan.Harhan.ORG>
Date: Thu Dec 2 23:45:05 2004

Nathan Schepers <nschepers_at_govital.net> wrote:

> Firstly, I'm brand new to the list and haven't spent much time lurking,=20
> so I hope my post is welcome for what it is. :)

Welcome to the club!

> I have in my posession three VAXStation 2000's and a VT220/LK201 (?)=20
> combination.


> I used to have some big DEC monitors and the monstrous cables that come=20
> with them (mouse, keyboard, display all in one cable), but they've=20
> disappeared in the course of several years (and moves!).

Damn, that's too bad, they are great monitors. But you can use a serial
terminal like your VT220 as well. You can either connect a terminal as
the "alternative diagnostic console" to serial port 3 (traditionally called
the printer port) with a BCC08 cable (trivial to make yourself), or if
you want to be more fancy, you can permanently convert a VAXstation 2000
into a MicroVAX 2000 by changing a jumper inside (and removing the color
video option if there is one), in which case it will have a serial console
on port 0. Ports 0 and 1 are more difficult to connect to when you don't
have the official DEC423 converter box that went with MV2000 systems, but
not impossible if you are willing to make the (very hacky and non-standard)
cable yourself. If you use the alternative diagnostic console, you can't
unplug the console cable or it will halt (breaks cause halt with the alt
diag console), but if you get the console on port 0, breaks and unplugged
cables are no problem and you can run headless.

The connector pinouts and lots of other juicy technical info (enough to
write your own OS should you so desire) are in the MV/VS2000 Technical
Manual, EK-VTTAA-TM, available on Manx (giant scanned PDF unfortunately).

> I'm planning on reviving my retrocomputing hobby, and want to start by=20
> setting up the VAXen (is VAXen the proper plural?)

Yup, it is.

> Does the list have any suggestions for
> 1 ) The setup of these machines

See above about the console. Your OS choices are quite diverse. There
are VMS and Ultrix, and if you are willing to make some DEC-disapproved
hardware modifications (specifically, hook up a SCSI disk, then buy 4
27512 EPROMs at your local Fry's and program them with a modified version
of KA410 firmware that has SCSI tape boot code replaced with SCSI disk
boot code), you'll be able to run 4.3BSD-Quasijarus as well pretty soon
(as soon as I write the machine-independent SCSI code). If you want to
run NetBSD, OpenBSD or Linux, someone else would have to tell you about
those since I do not and will not touch those OSes. Or write your own
OS! This is one of the few machines of that era for which DEC published
a real technical manual.

I hope this helps,

Received on Thu Dec 02 2004 - 23:45:05 GMT

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