Subject: Re: can I use DSSI drives on my 4000?
To: port-vax <>
From: BrownM03 <>
List: port-vax
Date: 03/20/2001 14:45:04
Thanks Geoff,
HEAPS of info!
(will probably take a while to "digest":))

From: "Geoff Roberts"
> From: "BrownM03" <>
> Subject: can I use DSSI drives on my 4000?
> > and a DSSI RF35. I actually have 2 of these 825M drives (along with
> > another 4 RF73 2G drives from an array) however one is marked
> > RF35/RZ35 which I BELIEVE(d) means dual-mode (doesn't work
> > on SCSI so I guess not).
> Not dual mode as such, but the mechs are the same for the DSSI and SCSI
> versions, just
> different electronics.  How many pins on the power connector.  4 is
> SCSI, 5 is DSSI usually.

5 pins

I'm not sure if this helps, but there are 3 scsi connectors with 4pin power
(like PC) and a couple of "floppy" power plugs (mini-4pin) on the bottom bay
(which currently has a caddy cd-rom drive and room for another). The top bay
has power & plugs for 3 x DSSI drives (half-height). Two of the SIX drives
the array are "half-height" (about twice the size of a modern 3.5" hdd).
They both
show under "SHOW DEV". When ALL/ANY of these drives are in the array, with
the array connected to the external port of the vax (centronics 50-50), the
unplugged, and the array is terminated NOTHING shows from "SHOW DEV".
The drives all have ID plugs 0-5. Host adapter is ID 6.
Is my thinking "upside down & back to front"?
I'd have thought that I'd have seen it ... but I live for disappointment it
seems! :)
ps. SHOW DEV indicates "SCSI Adapter A"; do I have a "B" as well?
pps. How many DSSI busses do I have?

> >  This drive is VMS 5.5-2H4 bootable and
> > eventually gets to a login prompt (how do I get around passwords?)
> you are plugging it in to the SCSI or the DSSI controller on the vax?

I can only get the VAX to recognise the device when plugged into the DSSI.
Strange ... dual mode isn't what I thought it was perhaps?

> The SCSI is probably an
> add on card, ISTR that the DSSI is part of the mainboard in these, but
> the internal drive cables *look*
> like SCSI, but are NOT.
> The VMS FAQ at has the answer to
> this and many
> other things pertaining to VMS.
> This is the excerpt dealing specifically with your problem.
> The VMS equivalent to UNIX ROOT user is SYSTEM

Thankyou, I'll start reading now :).   (again/still:)))

> Halt the system. Exactly how this is done depends on the specific system
> model: Depending on the model, this can involve pressing the HALT
> button, entering CTRL/P on the console, or pressing the BREAK key on the
> console.

I assume what you call the HALT button is the small square button on the
panel. Either way .. it's gives me the chevron prompt
(ctrl-p never works and there is no break key that I can find)
ps. I've done OK without an ESC key ... but what can I use instead?

> At the >>> console prompt, use a console command to boot into the
> SYSBOOT> utility. (SYSBOOT allows conversational changes to system
> parameters.) The syntax for the conversational bootstrap varies by
> system model - this typically involves specifying a flag of 1, for
> example:
> VAX:
>           B/1                (*I think this is the one you need for
> yours)
>           B/R5:1
>           @GENBOO
> Alpha:
>           b -flags 0,1
> If your system has a non-zero system root (such as root SYSE, shown
> here), you will have to use a console command such as the following:
> VAX:
>           B/E0000001
>           B/R5:E0000001
>           @<console media procedure name varies widely>
> If your system has a hardware password (various systems support a
> password that prevents unauthorized access to the console), you will
> need to know theis password and will need to enter it using the LOGIN
> command at the console. If you get an Inv Cmd error trying to perform a
> conversational bootstrap, and you do not have the hardware console
> password for the console LOGIN command, you are stuck - you will need to
> call for hardware service in order to reset the hardware console
> password. The syntax used for the console password mechanism varies.
> Once at the SYSBOOT> prompt, request that OpenVMS read the system
> startup commands directly from the system console, that the window
> system (if any) not be started, and that OpenVMS not record these
> parameter changes for subsequent system reboots:
>         SET/STARTUP OPA0:
>         CONTINUE
> At the $ prompt, the system will now be accepting startup commands
> directly from the console. Type the following two DCL commands:
>         SPAWN
> The result of these two commands will be the normal system startup, but
> you will be left logged in on the console, running under a privileged
> username. Without the use of the SPAWN command, you would be logged out
> when the startup completes.
> If necessary, you can skip the invocation of the system startup
> temporarily, and perform tasks such as registering license PAKs or
> various other "single-user" maintenance operations.
> Use the following commands to reset the SYSTEM password:
>         SET DEFAULT SYS$SYSTEM:  ! or wherever SYSUAF.DAT resides
>         MODIFY SYSTEM /PASSWORD=newpassword
>         EXIT
> These steps will change the SYSTEM password to the specified new
> newpassword password value.
> Reboot the system normally - the SYSTEM password should now be set to
> the value you specified in Step 5.
> Some people will suggest a method using the UAFALTERNATE SYSGEN
> parameter. This approach is not always reliable and is not recommended,
> as there can easily be an alternate user authorization file configured
> on the system.
> For further information on emergency startup and shutdown, as well as
> for the official OpenVMS documentation on how to change the SYSTEM
> password from the console in an emergency, please see the OpenVMS System
> Manager's Manual in the OpenVMS documentation set.
> You can also use the conversational bootstrap technique shown above (the
> steps through Step 3) to alter various system parameters. At the
> SYSBOOT> prompt, you can enter new parameters values:
>      SET . 64
> The "." is a shorthand notation used for the last parameter examined.
>      [Steve Hoffman]
> > Is this OS past it / recoverable / of "historic" significance?
> In order:-  No. Yes.  Uh, not really, still plenty of that version in
> commercial service I think. (though thinning out now)
> > Should I keep it so that I might eventually have dual boot VMS/NetBSD?
> I would.  VMS was the favoured system for these boxes.  Be interesting
> to see what else is in there.
> > As the DSSI drives don't seem to be detected during a normal netboot,
> > I assume that there is no support for them (this doesn't sound right).
> > Is there something special that I need to do to get NetBSD to talk
> >
> > Just to really show my ignorance, I don't really understand this
> raid-array.
> I don't think it was a RAID in the sense you mean.  Possibly it used
> Volume Shadowing under VMS,
> (O/S supported drive 'mirroring' somewhat like RAID 2.)
> > Initially I had assumed that all 6 drives in it were RF/RZ ("dual
> mode"),
> > as I only saw 1 sample drive before I got the whole thing.
> > However, I'm now certain that they are ALL DSSI.
> Almost certainly.
> How does this work
> > when the array uses SCSI to plug into the VAX?
> Is there a DSSI/SCSI converter here somewhere?   There is no way to
> connect a DSSI drive to a SCSI interface without
> a converter of some kind (not just cabling, they are radically different
> and completely incompatible).  That said, it's not that easy to tell the
> difference between some DSSI cabling and SCSI cabling.  Some are almost
> identical, but the controllers and drives are not mutually compatible at
> all.

The array (call it that for argument's sake:) has two centronics 50pin
I've put a terminator on the lower one (it's partly obscured by the power
and a cent50/50 lead from the top one to the VAX external SCSI port.
I think I may have hit a dead end by the sounds of it. The only thing it
seems that
I will be able to do is put the 2 x 825M (half-height) drives into the VAX,
and give the rest of the array back to it's (current) owner.
I've previously offered him AU$20 per drive or $100 for the whole thing,
Shame, coz I actually bought a HUGE drive array the same day as the VAX
(about twice the size/weight as the current one) for AU$11 at auction.
But as I had already filled the car with junk, it wasn't worth the
to do a 2nd trip (or so I thought) so I resold it for same. (oops)
Looks like I'm not going to be able to take advantage of the big DSSI drives
simply from having a lack of external DSSI interfaces.
Does that sound right?

> Hope this helps somewhat.

More than you know :)

> Email me some pics off list if you like.  I have a Microvax 3400 here.
> (Similar)

I won't have pic's available until some time after I get an ADB mouse :))
(I found a quadra 660av in a job-lot and I'll use Dad's old TV camera)
(have it going... pant.pant ... but ADB mice seem to have internal clock)
(so I can't adapt a PC mouse too easily)

> Cheers
> Geoff Roberts
> Computer Systems Manager
> Saint Mark's College
> Port Pirie,
> South Australia
> ICQ: 1970476

Thanks again Geoff, you're a legend. ;)