Subject: When it rains VAXen it pours VAXen....(:+}}...
To: None <>
From: NetBSD Bob <>
List: port-vax
Date: 10/12/2000 13:03:48
Well, I be a lucky olde pfarte, today..... a fellow in town dropped
into me lap a fine MVII in the 630QB-A2 configuration.  It has a TK70
and one scsi drive (about like an RZ55 but Imprimis built), but only
5 megs of ram (1 meg on board plus a 4 meg board ... one ram board got
yanked by someone previously).  Sadly, no ethernet card.  The scsi
is a big advantage, though.  And, the end-table like cabinet is cute.
Sadly it only has scsi, so it won't run the early 4.3BSD I had intended.
But, it will be a fine play machine for NetBSD hacking and bashing.
Ultrix 4.0 ran up on it for a quick test of the hardware, so it seems
to be functioning.  I tried a test load of NetBSD-1.4.1, but forgot
the tricks necessary to get a VAX to load from tape, since it has
to be done manually rather than through the install scripts.

Questions about setting the thing up, and maximizing its capability:

1.  Since it has scsi on it, is it logical to merely format/load
    a scsi drive from one of my VS3100 crates?  That would seem
    the easiest way to get it up, reasonably, since no ethernet
    capability is present on it, just tape.

2.  What is the largest drive size the hardware will handle?
    I have several RZ55/56/57 drives plus some 2 gig Fuji's,
    all from DEC expansion boxes that I would like to load up
    into the thing, if possible.  Are there any hardware limits
    on primary or secondary drives on the MVII?  Most of my other
    DEC things seem to not like bigger than a 1 gig drive on the
    primary boot ID of 0.

3.  How many scsi drives will the thing actually handle?  It has
    1 spare bay where the old crazy DEC dual floppy went, and
    it has three spare bays under the TK70 tape bay.  Logic would
    say 4 drives would work, but what will that power supply really
    handle (horror stories of burning MVI crates kind of thing)?
    How many drives can NetBSD handle off of one controller, if I
    put in modern half-heights with power Y connectors (6 maybe)?

4.  The original 12 foot twisted pair scsi cable only had one connector
    on it, and when I took it by the local cable monger's shoppe to get
    extra connectors added, they could not get the wires to line up 
    into the modern 50 pin connectors.  I picked up a modern 4 header
    scsi cable, and I am assuming that would work correctly at the slow
    speeds on the MVII bus?

5.  What is needed to hook up a second tape drive into the thing?  I have
    a spare TK50 that I would like to try adding into the machine where
    the old floppy went, as a secondary tape drive for writing boot tapes.
    Anything strange in adding a TK50 where the old floppy went?
    (Dip switch addressing and that kind of thing?)

6.  On a lark, what would be needed to hook up a floppy of some sort
    into the old dual floppy bay?  Would something like that boot the
    old Ultix-32M boot floppies?  Can an ordinary AT drive be used or
    does it need the original DEC dual floppy thing?

7.  Anyone got any spare plastic drive trays to fit a MicroVAX II?
    I could use probably 3 of them.

8.  Anyone got any spare DELQA ethernet cards with the cable and back
    interconnect panel?

9.  What is needed to hook up external 9 track reel-reel drives on this
    critter?  One of my goals is to write some ancient UNIX 9 track boot
    tapes, if possible.

10. I need to make up a regular MMJ to DB9 console cable.  Can someone
    point me to the pinouts for that?  I thought it went by on the list
    a few weeks back, but am unable to backtrack to it.  A url is fine,
    or if it is handy just tack it onto a reply to me.

11. Since I am short on ram, will a DEC 8 meg ram board from my MV3300
    work in the MVII?  The memory bus cable is there, so if it will work
    it is just a plug and connect kind of thing.  If not, anyone got a
    spare 4 or 8 meg ram board for an MVII?  I am assuming I can add
    an 8 meg board for 12 or 13 megs total?  Does it shadow the onboard
    1 meg of ram?

12. What were the prom commands for the KA630?  The only thing I could
    get it to do was boot.  Veddy dumb, even compared to the KA640 cpu.
    No show dev and no test 75 even.  How does one low-level format on
    the MVII (from the diags tape?)?

The machine came with a boatload of VMS manuals (3 big boxes full).
If anyone in the nearby area (central NC) needs those, they are most
welcome to come by and pick them up.  To much to ship.

Thanks for any insights, pointers, etc.....(:+}}...