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 Post subject: MicroVAX 2000
Unread postPosted: Tue Jul 06, 2010 8:56 pm 
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I uncovered a few things while poking around work. Some of it was some DecStations and MicroVAXen. The only box I can really rememebr though is a MicroVAX 2000.
I'm sure if I went in sometime I could build at least one or two decent boxes.
The rest of it might be in close proximity but what kind of use can I get from one? Apparently you could toggle them between a graphical singleuser workstation and a headless mutiuser one.

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 Post subject: Re: MicroVAX 2000
Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 07, 2010 3:41 am 
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pentium wrote:
MicroVAXen.


Glaaaaahh!

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 Post subject: Re: MicroVAX 2000
Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 07, 2010 3:53 am 
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skywriter wrote:
pentium wrote:
MicroVAXen.

Glaaaaahh!

UNIX boxen!



<ducks>

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 Post subject: Re: MicroVAX 2000
Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 07, 2010 10:06 am 
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Uh oh.

Did I say something bad? ._.

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 Post subject: Re: MicroVAX 2000
Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 07, 2010 2:27 pm 
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Absolutely not.

VAXstation is the proper name for a VAX equipped with a graphics console, MicroVAX were the small minicomputers/servers (and VAXserver was a limited-lifetime name for a MicroVAX with limited licenses to only function as a network server rather than allowing terminals. This was before MS had the bright idea to require a license for each network user, otherwise DEC probably would have followed along).

In order to have a VAXstation from the MicroVAX 2000 it is very easy - you flip a switch. MicroVAX 2000 is, however, quite slow (slower than an 11/780), memory-limited, and requires a MFM/RLL type of hard drive (the built in SCSI is really only for the tape. Efforts are underway to hack in disk support, but I don't think they've born fruit yet).

DECstations are interesting - they're MIPS-based little-endian UNIX workstations (the VAXen will run either UNIX or VMS). Get the highest numbered model you can find (the /240 was R4k based, others were R2k/R3k). Make sure you get the mice and keyboards if you want local graphics consoles, although DEC machines don't suffer from remote connections at all (the UI is ... primitive ... and there really isn't anything in the way of whizz-bang graphics h/w).

You'll probably much prefer a newer MicroVAX 3100 series to the 2000. SCSI disk interfaces, much faster processors (CVAX and better rather than MicroVAX-II), and bigger memory capacity. /40 and up are the best - 5VUPS or better and no disk size limit under VMS (UNIX can take bigger drives with proper partitioning). The -2000 is good for formatting VAX MFM/RLL disks (for that it might be worth snagging if they're dumping it), but that's about it.

The "single-user/multiuser" limits was DECs way of creative income adjustment via licensing. Under VMS you had to buy a "bigger" and therefore more expensive box to enable you to add more user licenses. Thus, one user could run on the VAXstation 3100/76 (with Rigel and a bit over 7 VUPS), but to add two terminals you needed a VAX 4000-300 (exact same processor, more expensive) or MicroVAX 3100/40 (slower processor, probably more expensive). With VMS Hobbyist licensing the "type designation" is meaningless now, so you could run many users on any VAX. Note that DEC's idea of a user is different from Microsoft's, so network users don't count against your licenses.
I wish I had known this before you came down - we could have arranged a trade!

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 Post subject: Re: MicroVAX 2000
Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 07, 2010 10:00 pm 
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If need be, I cna drag it all home (It's like four or five boxes in total) and get a better look at everything. I'm going in on the weekend to see what I can do. If you still want a trade, all might not be lost young man. ;)

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 Post subject: Re: MicroVAX 2000
Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2010 3:48 am 
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actually the correct term is:udgy, wudgy, pudgy VAX. Anyway this is what engineering used to say. but marketing had it's way.

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 Post subject: Re: MicroVAX 2000
Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2010 6:15 am 
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SAQ wrote:
DECstations are interesting - they're MIPS-based little-endian UNIX workstations (the VAXen will run either UNIX or VMS). Get the highest numbered model you can find (the /240 was R4k based, others were R2k/R3k).


Sorry to nitpick, but the R4k based DECstation was model 5000/260. Model 240 still uses a R3k.

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 Post subject: Re: MicroVAX 2000
Unread postPosted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 3:26 pm 
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Gentlemen, here be results.

Attachment:
100_0624.JPG
100_0624.JPG [ 1.47 MiB | Viewed 1236 times ]


There,s a VAXstation 2000 with keyboard and mouse, MicroVAX 2000 with some of 3-port MMJ adapter fitted to it, a VAXstation 3100, MicroVAX3100, and lastly a DECstation 5000/25 with just the keyboard and video cable.

I grabbed both the 2000's along with an ST-251 for the station and some monster 120mb Maxtor MFM drive for the micro and also dragged back the VAXstation 3100.
I left the 5000 behind because it really didn't look all that special aside from probably being faster and newer.
From what I can tell they look good. the 3100 has an 8-bitplane framebuffer and 16mb memory and the 2000 station has 4mb memory and a 4-bitplane framebuffer.

The one thing I don't understand on these things is the video output. Supposedly the keyboard, mouse and video share the same connector but all I got was a little box that breaks out into the keyboard and mouse but no video. :/

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 Post subject: Re: MicroVAX 2000
Unread postPosted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 8:07 pm 
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I still got my VT510 for terminal support but I still want to see what all the rage was about for late 80's Unix windowing systems.

I like orange. :)


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trippy.jpg
trippy.jpg [ 28.32 KiB | Viewed 1218 times ]

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 Post subject: Re: MicroVAX 2000
Unread postPosted: Sun Jul 11, 2010 3:17 pm 
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The keyboard/mouse breakout might have been for a different machine - the AXP 3000 uses straight KB/M and I think later versions of the VAXstation/DECstation have 3W3 video connectors and the keyboard/mouse combined port (some also offer separate keyboard/mouse ports for some reason, probably you use the separate if you have the box on your desk and the combined if the box is stashed elsewhere).

The 2000s have a 1-bit monochrome framebuffer - think Mac Plus - type video. For general utility you''d probably be better off with the VAXstation 3100, especially as I hear that it has the color framebuffer installed. There's a guide on how to connect a monitor at http://home.iae.nl/users/pb0aia/vax/vs3khw.html, or you can just wait for a cable to show up. The VS3100 has separate KB/M connectors, so keep a mouse and keyboard for that. Your VS3100 will run OpenVMS, Ultrix or NetBSD (probably also some more variants of BSD).

The Personal DECstation is a MIPS-based (little-endian) workstation by DEC. It runs Ultrix by design and xBSD as well. Probably the fastest of the set here, but not a VAX.

The MicroVAX 3100 is probably a model 10, possibly a 10e. I'm not sure when DEC started putting model designations on MicroVAX-3100s.

For what it looks like you're interested in I'd consider keeping the VS3100 if I were you. Keyboard and mouse can be directly connected to the back, a video cable can be borrowed or cobbled together, and it will give you color graphics similar to the VAXstation-II in the picture. Keep at least the nicest of the VAX(something)2000s, they're interesting machines and are smallish, but the small disk, 1-bit framebuffer, and slow processors likely make them undesirable daily drivers (the VS3100 will be at least 3 times as fast as the 2ks) Keep the other one for parts or swap material if you want - they can lay down the DEC format on ST-506-type drives, which can't be done on other machines without the DEC field service hardware (this makes them somewhat desirable in the old DEC community).

I'll check my cable boxes. I know I have a VAXstation external SCSI cable, and I'm not sure if the video cable I have is VAXstation or NCD X-terminal.

How many can you take?

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 Post subject: Re: MicroVAX 2000
Unread postPosted: Sun Jul 11, 2010 3:55 pm 
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I still have a very warm spot in my heart for VS2000. If you decide to get rid of them let me know or someone closer maybe. I am sure you can find a new home easy. VAX stuff has a fanatical following.

I seem to remember you have to run an older stripped down version of vms for the VS2000 that came on TK50s. It may be hard to find an OS for them and I'd wonder if the hobbyist license would work with such an old version of vms. For the VS3100 and newer you can get a free hobbyist license for just about everything. The drives are probably hard to find working anymore since a lot of them were dying or dead ten years ago. Still they are cute little machines. I believe you can get 4 plane color cards for them as add-ons. I think the VS40X board found in some 3100 also fit the 2000. Its about the right size and some descriptions say vs2000/vs3100 for it. Sounds like your has one.

The vs3100 have a switch to change between graphics and serial console. On the first revision its a real pain. You have to remove the motherboard to get at it. In later versions they cut a hole in the back.

To run them graphically you do need the breakout cable. Has RGB bnc and the place to plug in the mouse and keyboard at the end. The are almost impossible to find these days. Hopefully you got some with it.


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 Post subject: Re: MicroVAX 2000
Unread postPosted: Sun Jul 11, 2010 7:37 pm 
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MicroVMS doesn't even have the LMF, so you don't need to worry about PAKs. LMF came about in the 5.5 days. The hobbyist license is legally valid for early versions. I'd say go with 6.2, even though that does require the PAKs- much more useful. ULTRIX is also a viable option.

OpenVMS v6.2 will run just fine on VAX(x)2000s if you have enough RAM.

VAXstation 3100 has keyboard and mouse ports on the back along with (and right beside) the big unified connector, so as long as you can get a DA15F to wire the video out pins you're fine. You do need a DEC mouse and keyboard.

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 Post subject: Re: MicroVAX 2000
Unread postPosted: Sun Jul 11, 2010 11:43 pm 
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SAQ wrote:

VAXstation 3100 has keyboard and mouse ports on the back along with (and right beside) the big unified connector, so as long as you can get a DA15F to wire the video out pins you're fine. You do need a DEC mouse and keyboard.


Right now I'm remembering. Its the 4000 series that has the breakout box off one cable. The AXP 3000 does too I think. The 4000 you can just remove the frame buffer and run serial or stick a resistor between the pins. The AXP 3000 wont even get through post without a keyboard. No way around that as I remember but, i doesnt matter.

I'd go for vms on your boxes. ULTRIX was not really anything very interesting. Just a generic BSD unix. There is no hobbyist license for ULTRIX either. If you want UNIX go for netbsd on those old things. Not that I would. VMS is at least interesting to play with if you haven't before. All the UNIX are pretty similar other then boot up and hardware stuff. I guess that is the point of UNIX really. VMS is way different and fun to mess with for a break from everything else if you haven't before.


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 Post subject: Re: MicroVAX 2000
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 12, 2010 1:03 am 
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leaknoil wrote:
The AXP 3000 wont even get through post without a keyboard. No way around that as I remember but, i doesnt matter.


I beg to differ; models 3000/300 have a jumper (W2) on the motherboard, and all the other models (from 3000/400 to 3000/900) use a ``server'' SRM environment variable to let them POST without a keyboard connected.

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