Subject: Re: When it rains VAXen it pours VAXen....(:+}}...
To: VAX porting list <>
From: Johnny Billquist <bqt@Update.UU.SE>
List: port-vax
Date: 10/16/2000 17:54:34
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From: Johnny Billquist <bqt@Zeke.Update.UU.SE>
To: NetBSD Bob <>
cc: port-vax@netbsd.orgg
Subject: Re: When it rains VAXen it pours VAXen....(:+}}...
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On Mon, 16 Oct 2000, NetBSD Bob wrote:

> > What I'm surprised at here is the fact that noone seems to have mentioned
> > that the VAX really don't see this as a SCSI controller.
> > Anything you might have read about SCSI controllers just don't apply to
> > what you have.
> But, in the end it seems to work fine as scsi on the hardware via mscp.

Oh. The SCSI-controllers for Qbus (or Unibus) are usually pretty good. But
from a software point of view they are not SCSI controllers.
An easy comparision is the RQDX controllers, which actually use MFM
drives, but they too are MSCP. MSCP controllers can use different
technology in and to the drives.
MSCP gives you another command set, more functionality, and a specific way
of interacting with the controller.
Thus, if you have an MSCP controller, you can exchange it for any other
MSCP controller, and the software should stay the same.
No matter if you are using MFM, SCSI, or SDI.

> The joke is that none (read zilch) of my DEC drives will work correctly
> on the silly thing.  But, by the graces, NON-DEC drives work fine after
> I fiddled with the controller nvram settings.  What is it with these
> silly DEC RZ56/57ish things?  Motor spinup is what it seems to be.

DEC is (was?) of the opinions that drives shouldn't spin up on power on.
There is a specific SCSI command to spin up the drives.
Some other vendors prefer to spin the drive up directly on power on.
Most drives usually have a jumper to select how the drive should behave.
Check your drives!

> > This is a MSCP controller, using the SCSI interface to hook up the
> > drives. So the limits are defined by the MSCP protocol, as far as the OS
> > is concerned, and by the mapping between MSCP and SCSI for the controller.
> > 
> > If this controller handles both tape a disks, it will actually look like
> > two controllers to the VAX, since tapes are handled by TMSCP controllers,
> > which are slightly different from MSCP.
> OK, for the sake of discussion, I am having fits of problems with my scsi
> TK50's trying to write tars for the MV2 TK70.  The Ultrix VS3100M38 box is
> just not liking my available TK50 drives very well.

A 3100 have a real SCSI controller, so this is another ballpark.
An easy way to check what you have is by looking at the system at bootup.
Are your drives called "raX" and tapes "mtX", then you have something
talking (T)MSCP. If they are called "sdX" and "stX" then you have pure

"scsibus" or "mscpbus" is another good clue.

Speaking of TK50s...
Yes, they are strange, picky and tricky beasts.
However, the absolutetly most common failure is that the pickup hook jumps
off the lever inside. Open one up, and it should be pretty obvious. Very
easy to repair. Just place the pickup back on the lever.

There is no special trickery to SCSI termination in DEC equipment compared
to any other equipment, that I know of. SCSI have termination rules.
Follow them no matter what manufacturer you are dealing with.

> Continuing the sakes of discussion...., can an RRD42A cdrom drive be used
> in a MV2 off the scsi bus?

Are we speaking of a MV2 or some uVAX3100 here?

I think I read in atleast the CMD docs for a Qbus SCSI controller I have
that it worked with the RRD40 atleast (about the newest thing existing
when the manual was written).

The 3100 is a different ballpark, and I have no idea. But I would *expect*
it to work...


Johnny Billquist                  || "I'm on a bus
                                  ||  on a psychedelic trip
email:           ||  Reading murder books
pdp is alive!                     ||  tryin' to stay hip" - B. Idol