VAXBI hardware (was Re: Equipment disposal)

From: Ethan Dicks <>
Date: Thu May 20 16:37:55 2004

On Thu, May 20, 2004 at 10:46:46AM -0700, Michael Sokolov wrote:
> Well, then again I don't have room for or ability to transport a full 19" rack
> either... But if the VAX system per se is not the rack but the rackmount units
> in it, is there perchance a way you could let me have those?? I want a
> VAXBI/XMI machine sooooo bad! Just obtained a copy of the VAXBI spec a couple
> months ago and just dying to work with some real HW. But have no room for a
> rack. The best I can do is run rackmount units on the bedroom floor instead of
> a rack. (What do you do when you just can't afford a real machine room? Use a
> bedroom instead.)

I've never had an XMI machine, but I do have a BI machine in the basement,
an 8200/8300 (depending on if I slot in the second processor or not).

I suppose I'd use it more if I had a disk interface for it other than SDI,
or if I had some SDI disks other than an RA81 and one 3rd-party SDI<->ESDI
box. Because I have lots of 2MB VAXBI memory cards, the bus is full up.

The only thing that makes is really interesting is that I have a) a Unibus
adapter for it, and b) a custom VAXBI card (COMBOARD-BI) for which I have
the entire development environment. I suppose I could hack the card to
support a SCSI port or something, but, as in an earlier discussion, it would
have to be a plug-in-the-CPU-socket hack - but that would make the card
thick enough to require two slots. :-(

I just wish I could get the Unibus adapter working - it used to work before
I moved it into my basement, but something strange happened, and when I plugged
it all in, the DWBUA card fried (voltage where it shouldn't be - burned a trace
on the board and detonated a chip!) I've verified the cables are correct, and
I've replaced the DWBUA, but the best I can get now is failed self-test.

I've seen how well a VAX-6000 fills a basement - there'd be no room down in
mine for one... at least the 8200 is compact - 42" tall DEC cab, with a BA-32
at the top (size of a BA-11) and lots of room below for cables. The real
shortcoming is you are limited to two VAXBI cages or one VAXBI cage and an
internal Unibus (mine is 2x VAXBI + external BA-11)

Does anyone happen to have any "large" VAXBI memory boards? (16MB might be
the largest) I have a stack of 2MB and a couple of 4MB. I got the 4MB boards
from a scrapper for $10 each because he didn't want to bother removing the
DRAM from it. I have the stack of 2MB boards because we used to buy them
for <$50 each (way back) and pull the VAXBIIC off of them for our _own_
VAXBI boards (saving about $300 per board!)


Ethan Dicks, A-130-S      Current South Pole Weather at 20-May-2004 21:20 Z
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Received on Thu May 20 2004 - 16:37:55 BST

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