Subject: Re: random hardware questions
To: None <,>
From: Chuck McManis <>
List: port-vax
Date: 05/04/2003 13:08:48

Random answers :

At 06:33 PM 5/4/2003 -0700, Blaz Antonic wrote:
>This is BA42A enclosure (formerly occupied by a VS3100/m76, as label

Why "formerly"? Isn't it still in there?

>It doesn't have a hole for CD-ROM drive in front plastic panel and i'm
>apparently too dumb to figure out how on earth a CD-ROM could fit there
>- unllike PC enclosure it doesn't seem to have that plastic thingy that
>can be removed or replaced at will. So .. do i need special plastic
>thingy to replace this one if i want to add a CD-ROM ? WHile i'm at it,
>how do i detach the existing plastic thingy ? I'm afraid to use force as
>i don't want to damage the enclosure :)

There is a different top piece where that section is replaced by a bezel 
for one of a tape, CD, or Floppy.

>The only PCB that i can access inside the box is obviously SCSI
>controlelr (it has NCR chip). It also has two geatures i'm not sure what
>function they serve: first is a square chip, about the size of a CPU
>with number starting with 21... on it; i believe DEC labells their (CPU)
>chips this way; so what is this chip ? Second thing is a two-row, 108 or
>so pin male connector (pins are close together like those of 68-pin SCSI
>connector); what is this connector used for ?

The connector out the back is a SCSI connector with a special DEC only 
connector on it. You can find cables that will connect this to a standard 
50 pin header. On the base board there is a wide .1" spaced connector where 
the color video option sits.

>Below that PCB and HD is a steel plate which i'm apparently unable to
>remove - i unscrewed the all three screws on the right side (opposite of
>the PSU)

These are supposed to be just loosened so that the plate can slide back and 
then up.

>  and both screw-like thingies in the front so they popped out
>from bottom plate.

Then the only one you are missing is the thumb screw that goes into the PSU 
on the left side about midway.

>  I don't see any other screws there yet i cannot
>(re)move the upper steel plate. Are there any screws on the back
>(perhaps near that propertiary 68-pin connector) still holding it ?

Nope, just the thumbscrew on the left side.

>My HD is RZ26L-W, made by Quantum. I can't find any info about this
>drive via Google (tried "rz26l w quantum"), just a bunch of resellers.
>Does anybody have any docs for this drive ?

Your basic 1GB SCSI drive. Actually quite a nice drive for NetBSD or VMS. 
Further, it is the largest drive the ROM will safely dump core too.

>i don't understand why it is so slow and what that 8-bit blurb
>is all about ?

Its actually quite fast for a drive of its day.

>Is there some way to speed up that drive (apart from throwing it out the
>window) ?

Why are you so obsessed with speed? :-) This is a good drive for the VAX, 
remember that this machine is roughly 1 THOUSAND times slower than a modern 
PC so you may be misplacing the blame.

>Is there any way to add a floppy drive to this box of mine ? It has 2
>SCSI controllers (that means no MFM controller i guess .. but that would
>in term mean no MFM floppy -> RX23).

You need the daughter board that has the MFM floppy controller on it. it 
has a 34 pin floppy connector.

>Last question: what's your experience with use of CD-ROM drives in
>VS3100 ? Mine is KA42B, m38. Will its firmware be able to deal with
>not-so-obsolete drive like Pioneer DR-U12X for example ? The drive
>supports 512 byte blocks. If firmware won't be able to cope with it will
>NetBSD be able to use it regardless ?

If it does 512 byte sectors then the firmware can probably use it. VMS may 
complain if it isn't one of the types it recognizes but NetBSD should be 
fine. I have a Toshiba that standalone backup can boot from but not restore 
from (very weird that)