Subject: Some NeXT hardware information (was Re: Configuring a Color Turbo for
To: Ken Wellsch <email@example.com>
From: Timothy J Luoma <luomat+NetBSD@luomat.peak.org>
Date: 06/30/1998 11:50:06
Author: Ken Wellsch <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 19 Jun 1998 10:14:19 -0400 (EDT)
> Likely my (I hope) totally wrong "guess" will now get a response from those
> wise NeXT hardware folks in the audience 8-)
Sorry I'm just catching up here.
A few notes:
The NeXT keyboard plugs into the back of the NeXT monitor. (at least the
You CAN get the NeXT to boot without a monitor, using what is referred to as
a "dongle". Full information can be found in Dejanews.... oh what the heck,
I'll post it... sorry if this gets a little long.
Anyway, I'm not particularly adept at this sort of thing, so I've never done
it myself.... If someone makes 2 and wants to give one away I'll gladly take
You can setup Serial Port A as an alternate console... but you need a
monitor/keyboard to do the initial setup.
Deepspace Tech and Spherical Solutions have been selling NeXT Hardware for
ages and ages.... www.orb.com and www.deepspacetech.com
For hardware info you might want to search dejanews for comp.sys.next.*
(especially comp.sys.next.hardware) for any posts from "Mike Paquette" who
worked for NeXT and now Apple and is generally considered "NeXT Hardware God"
Here's the dongle post.
Subject: Re: How to set up a headless NeXT as server?
From: Terry Gliedt <email@example.com>
[Subscribe to comp.sys.next.software]
> What needs to be done software-wise to set up a headless NeXT Turbo
> color as a server?
This is a post I made quite some time ago. Perhaps this will be useful
Subject: Powering-up Black Hardware Without a Monitor
Yes, it *is* possible to run your Black hardware without a monitor. The
trick is just to get the NeXT to power on, and boot correctly. This is a
rewrite of an older FAQ item attributed to "The Onyx Kitten"
<firstname.lastname@example.org> who no longer is at this mail address. The only
reason for redoing this is to make clearer what exactly needs doing and
report my personal experiences in this process. My thanks to Justin
Sowers <email@example.com> for his insight and assistance.
The task is to build a DB-19 male plug to replace the DB-19 cable coming
from your Black monitor. You can also use the more common DB-25 male
plug as a replacement, but you will need to crimp (or remove) the pins
on the right-hand side of the DB-25 so they are not in the way.
An easily obtainable parts list is as follows:
SKU# Qty. Description Price (as of 03/96)
275-1556 1 2 pack Push-button switches $1.99
271-1317 1 5 pack 470 Ohm, .25 Watt resistors 0.49
276-1549 1 Grey housing for DB-25 connector 1.19
276-1429 1 25 pin male D-sub connector 1.99
Total: $5.66 + tax
If you are a stickler for exact parts then you can order DB-19
Gateway Electronics of St. Louis, San Diego, and Denver
for $1.50/ea. (as of 3/96). Minimum order for mailing: $10. Many thanks
to Carl Lowenstein <firstname.lastname@example.org> for the pointer to this one.
NeXT MegaPixel DB-19 female inside DB-25 male
(Connector screwmounts shown for positioning)
\ _ ................................. / _
\(_) : 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 :/ (_)
\ : 19 18 17 16 15 14 13 12 11 :/
1= +12 V 7= NC
2= -12 V 8= VSYNC
3= MON CLK 9= HSYNC
4= MON DATA OUT 10= VIDEO
5= MON DATA IN 11= +12V
6= MON PWR SWITCH 12= -12V
Build the following simple circuit with a momentary push button soldered
to the 470 ohm resistor. This assembly should then be wired across pins
6 and 19 of the DB-25 shell.
If you have an older cube (030 motherboard) then you will need to
be sure that the box draws more power than just for the motherboard
in order for the machine to stay on. This can happen in ONE of two
ways- 1) You have a disk drive, or other power-drawing internal
peripheral connected and in use (not that uncommon), -or- 2) You
connect a POWER resistor (20 Ohm, at least 20 Watt) across pins 12
and 13 (as labeled for the DB-19 diagram). I do not recommend
the power resitor approach, as the resistor gets _very_ hot and
remains an active circuit for the time the machine is on.
Note: Older NeXT cubes will most likely add the power
resistor to get the machine to power up without a monitor.
NeXTStation and 040 cube owners do not have to worry about the
idiosyncrasies of the older NeXT power supplies.
Here's the circuit:
\ Momentary push
470 Ohm $ |
To DB-25 pins: 6 19
The soldering involved (resistor to switch terminal & connector pin, and
wire to switch terminal & connector pin) takes maybe 10 minutes and is
not very technical as the pins are individual so you can attach them to
your assembly before you put them into the plastic framework the holds
them together as a DB-25 (if you are using the RadioShack parts list
The power resistor mentioned in the FAQ turns out to be unnecessary if
you have anything else in the cube that draws power (a disk, etc.).
All of this fits nicely into a plastic DB-25 housing with the pushbutton
sticking out where the cable would normally exit. NeXT Cube owners will
need to shave down the left (as drawn in illustration) side of the
housing inorder to get the "dongle" to fit (the monitor port is at the
very bottom of the motherboard and doesn't afford much clearance past
the securing screwmount).
You'll need to be sure your NeXT ROM Monitor settings are correct and
that your O/S is ready to run without a monitor. To start, go into the
NeXT ROM Monitor (press Command-Command-~) and set the current
configuration settings (from "p" in the boot monitor) like this:
boot command: whatever
DRAM tests: yes
perform power-on system test: yes
sound out tests: no
SCSI tests: no
loop until keypress: no
verbose test mode: no
boot extended diagnostics: no
serial port A is alternate console: yes <- recommentation
allow any ROM command even if password protected: whatever
allow boot from any device even if password protected: whatever
allow optical drive #0 eject even if password protected: whatever
A few people report they needed to do nothing more on a Cube (level of
OS unknown). In my experience on a NeXTstation (NS 3.2), it was
necessary to make these changes in /etc/ttys:
console "/usr/etc/getty std.9600" NeXT on secure
#console /usr/lib/NextStep/loginwindow NeXT on secure
ttya "/usr/etc/getty std.9600" unknown on secure
ttyb "/usr/etc/getty std.9600" unknown on secure
A WORD TO THE WISE
I would recommend that before you do anything, you make sure you get
serial port A working as an alternate console. You can do this with a
simple null-modem serial cable connection to a DOS machine running
kermit (or other simple-minded terminal emulator). If your black box
gets a kernel panic (like mine) and you have disabled the console in
/etc/ttys, you might be left in a state where you must re-install to get
your machine back up. It seems prudent to always have a serial console
solution in case something serious happens and you need to be able to
see what is going on.
Don't forget that you should remove any printer that is configured for
serial port A if you are also using serial port A as an alternate
console or serial tty.
BOOTING WITHOUT A MONITOR
Once the DB plug is built, the ROM Monitor settings are correct, your
serial A port console works, and /etc/ttys is correct, then simply power
down the NeXT, remove the DB-19 monitor cable, attach your new DB plug
and press the momentary switch/button. The box should power on and go
through its normal boot sequence. You'll see ROM Monitor messages on the
console on serial port A (you are using one, aren't you?).
I've tried to be very careful about these instructions, but maybe I
missed something, or maybe your situation is somehow different from
mine. I might be able to say something that will be helpful, but maybe
not. All in all, you are on your own, so be careful. In any case I am
not responsible for what you do to your own hardware.
Terry Gliedt email@example.com http://www.hps.com/~tpg/
Software Toolsmiths For all your Internet programming needs