VAXStation 4000/60 - some questions

HP/DEC/Compaq workstations/servers and operating systems (HP-UX, Tru64, OpenVMS, NonStop, etc.)
Forum rules
Any posts concerning pirated software or offering to buy/sell/trade commercial software are subject to removal.
User avatar
commodorejohn
Posts: 652
Joined: Tue Oct 02, 2012 1:22 pm
Contact:

VAXStation 4000/60 - some questions

Unread postby commodorejohn » Sat Dec 01, 2012 11:20 pm

I recently bought a VAXStation on eBay, and it arrived today; it's in good shape, powers on and appears to get through the self-test. However, I'm having some problems, and I'm wondering if anybody can help me with them:

  • I don't seem to be getting a picture out of the video card (PV21X-GD high-resolution color board.) I'm using an LCD monitor (Samsung Syncmaster 193p Plus) that is supposed to support sync-on-green (and that definitely supports the resolution and refresh rate used) with a makeshift cable setup (RS/6000 3W3-to-BNC cable plus 3xBNC-to-VGA cable - I gather that the RS/6000 has red and blue switched around, but I accounted for that and anyway it should only affect the colors, not the ability to form a picture.) But I'm not getting anything - the monitor OSD is claiming "no signal," not even that it's out-of-range. Is there some trick to this that I'm missing?
  • More problematically, I can't get to the console over the serial port, either. I have the baud rate set correctly on my terminal, but I'm not seeing any output at all. Do the console functions only work over the MMJ RS-423 serial port and not the DB-25 RS-232 one?
Computers: Amiga 1200, DEC VAXStation 4000/60, DEC MicroPDP-11/73
Synthesizers: Roland JX-10/SH-09/HS-80/MT-32/D-50, Yamaha DX7-II/V50/TX7/TG33/FB-01, Korg MS-20 Mini/ARP Odyssey/DW-8000/M1, Ensoniq SQ-80, E-mu Emax HD/Proteus-2, Casio CZ-5000, Moog Satellite, Sequential Circuits Prophet-600

User avatar
kjaer
Posts: 424
Joined: Wed May 07, 2008 7:47 pm
Location: Seattle, WA
Contact:

Re: VAXStation 4000/60 - some questions

Unread postby kjaer » Sun Dec 02, 2012 1:08 am

commodorejohn wrote:
  • I don't seem to be getting a picture out of the video card (PV21X-GD high-resolution color board.) I'm using an LCD monitor (Samsung Syncmaster 193p Plus) that is supposed to support sync-on-green (and that definitely supports the resolution and refresh rate used) with a makeshift cable setup (RS/6000 3W3-to-BNC cable plus 3xBNC-to-VGA cable - I gather that the RS/6000 has red and blue switched around, but I accounted for that and anyway it should only affect the colors, not the ability to form a picture.) But I'm not getting anything - the monitor OSD is claiming "no signal," not even that it's out-of-range. Is there some trick to this that I'm missing?


Don't assume that green is in the same place. You need green to get to green, before figuring out if red and blue are the wrong way around. Try each of the three BNCs out of the 3W3 to green on the VGA cable. If it's going to work, it'll work with just the green hooked up correctly. Then you can work on straightening out red and blue.
:OnyxR: :IRIS3130: :IRIS2400: :Onyx: :ChallengeL: :4D220VGX: :Indigo: :Octane: :Cube: :Indigo2IMP: :Indigo2: :Indy:

User avatar
miod
Posts: 507
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2009 2:44 am
Location: Clermont-Ferrand (France)
Contact:

Re: VAXStation 4000/60 - some questions

Unread postby miod » Sun Dec 02, 2012 10:13 am

commodorejohn wrote:
  • I don't seem to be getting a picture out of the video card (PV21X-GD high-resolution color board.) I'm using an LCD monitor (Samsung Syncmaster 193p Plus) that is supposed to support sync-on-green (and that definitely supports the resolution and refresh rate used) with a makeshift cable setup (RS/6000 3W3-to-BNC cable plus 3xBNC-to-VGA cable - I gather that the RS/6000 has red and blue switched around, but I accounted for that and anyway it should only affect the colors, not the ability to form a picture.) But I'm not getting anything - the monitor OSD is claiming "no signal," not even that it's out-of-range. Is there some trick to this that I'm missing?

You should at least see something during the self-tests. You might want to check that the graphics board is correctly fitted in its connector - it's not uncommon for VAXstation 4000 graphics board to move during transportation.

commodorejohn wrote:
  • More problematically, I can't get to the console over the serial port, either. I have the baud rate set correctly on my terminal, but I'm not seeing any output at all. Do the console functions only work over the MMJ RS-423 serial port and not the DB-25 RS-232 one?

The only suitable serial console port is the MMJ port - the DB-25 is a different port (there are four serial ports on the machine, two for keyboard and mouse, two for regular operation). While the keyboard and mouse can be either connected directly to the system or to an extender cable which itself connects to the 15-pin multiplexed connector, the console and so-called printer port connect to distinct ports.
You might also want to check the status of the S3 switch on the front panel, which selects between glass and serial console.
:Indigo:R3000 (alas, dead) :Indigo:R4000 x4 :Indigo2:R4400 :Indigo2IMP:R4400 x2 :Indigo2:R8000 :Indigo2IMP:R10000 :Indy:R4000PC :Indy:R4000SC :Indy:R4400SC :Indy:R4600 :Indy:R5000SC :O2:R5000 x3 :O2:RM7000 :Octane:2xR10000 :Octane:R12000 :O200:2xR12000 :O200: - :O200:2x2xR10000 :Fuel:R16000 :O3x0:4xR16000 :A350:
among more than 150 machines : Apollo, Data General, Digital, HP, IBM, MIPS before SGI, Motorola, NeXT, SGI, Solbourne, Sun...

User avatar
commodorejohn
Posts: 652
Joined: Tue Oct 02, 2012 1:22 pm
Contact:

Re: VAXStation 4000/60 - some questions

Unread postby commodorejohn » Sun Dec 02, 2012 12:07 pm

kjaer wrote:Don't assume that green is in the same place. You need green to get to green, before figuring out if red and blue are the wrong way around. Try each of the three BNCs out of the 3W3 to green on the VGA cable. If it's going to work, it'll work with just the green hooked up correctly. Then you can work on straightening out red and blue.

Yeah, I got out the multimeter and verified continuity on the cabling; everything is going where it should, so the problem's either at the monitor end or the VAX end. Wish I had an oscilliscope...

miod wrote:You might want to check that the graphics board is correctly fitted in its connector - it's not uncommon for VAXstation 4000 graphics board to move during transportation.

I reseated it myself, it's in there as firmly as I could get it without undue strain...

The only suitable serial console port is the MMJ port - the DB-25 is a different port (there are four serial ports on the machine, two for keyboard and mouse, two for regular operation).

Thanks for clearing that up. Is converting RS-423 (as I read the MMJ uses this) to RS-232 simply a matter of wiring?

You might also want to check the status of the S3 switch on the front panel, which selects between glass and serial console.

I've had it in both positions, corresponding to my attempts to use the serial port or monitor as the console...
Computers: Amiga 1200, DEC VAXStation 4000/60, DEC MicroPDP-11/73
Synthesizers: Roland JX-10/SH-09/HS-80/MT-32/D-50, Yamaha DX7-II/V50/TX7/TG33/FB-01, Korg MS-20 Mini/ARP Odyssey/DW-8000/M1, Ensoniq SQ-80, E-mu Emax HD/Proteus-2, Casio CZ-5000, Moog Satellite, Sequential Circuits Prophet-600

SAQ
Posts: 5871
Joined: Wed Jul 19, 2006 8:37 am
Location: Renton, WA

Re: VAXStation 4000/60 - some questions

Unread postby SAQ » Sun Dec 02, 2012 1:01 pm

commodorejohn wrote:
kjaer wrote:
The only suitable serial console port is the MMJ port - the DB-25 is a different port (there are four serial ports on the machine, two for keyboard and mouse, two for regular operation).

Thanks for clearing that up. Is converting RS-423 (as I read the MMJ uses this) to RS-232 simply a matter of wiring?

You might also want to check the status of the S3 switch on the front panel, which selects between glass and serial console.

I've had it in both positions, corresponding to my attempts to use the serial port or monitor as the console...


You can get DEC adapters or make your own (use a 6-position modular jack, cut the tab off, epoxy on the side). You can also get a MMJ cable and wire a DE9 or DB25 on the other end. The connections are available online - you just need to connect the "-" sides together and to ground and then use the "+" on the 232 signal lines.

The "S3" position is documented in the VAXstation guides. Use Manx and you can download them.
"Brakes??? What Brakes???"

"I am O SH-- the Great and Powerful"

:Indigo: :Octane: :Indigo2: :Indigo2IMP: :Indy: :PI: :O3x0: :ChallengeL: :O2000R: (single-CM)

User avatar
commodorejohn
Posts: 652
Joined: Tue Oct 02, 2012 1:22 pm
Contact:

Re: VAXStation 4000/60 - some questions

Unread postby commodorejohn » Sun Dec 02, 2012 1:31 pm

Yep, I already got the service manuals off Manx. I'll see about getting an MMJ cable made...
Computers: Amiga 1200, DEC VAXStation 4000/60, DEC MicroPDP-11/73
Synthesizers: Roland JX-10/SH-09/HS-80/MT-32/D-50, Yamaha DX7-II/V50/TX7/TG33/FB-01, Korg MS-20 Mini/ARP Odyssey/DW-8000/M1, Ensoniq SQ-80, E-mu Emax HD/Proteus-2, Casio CZ-5000, Moog Satellite, Sequential Circuits Prophet-600

robespierre
Posts: 1551
Joined: Mon Sep 12, 2011 2:28 pm
Location: Boston

Re: VAXStation 4000/60 - some questions

Unread postby robespierre » Sun Dec 02, 2012 2:45 pm

EIA423 is not exactly the same as EIA232... specifically it has a lower voltage swing, ±6 V instead of ±12 V. So it's safest to use level converters for this application, although you might be able to connect to rs232 without burning anything out.
:PI: :O2: :Indigo2IMP: :Indigo2IMP:

SAQ
Posts: 5871
Joined: Wed Jul 19, 2006 8:37 am
Location: Renton, WA

Re: VAXStation 4000/60 - some questions

Unread postby SAQ » Mon Dec 03, 2012 9:55 pm

I can take another look, but I'm pretty sure that the official DEC adapters are just passive.
"Brakes??? What Brakes???"

"I am O SH-- the Great and Powerful"

:Indigo: :Octane: :Indigo2: :Indigo2IMP: :Indy: :PI: :O3x0: :ChallengeL: :O2000R: (single-CM)

User avatar
ClassicHasClass
Donor
Donor
Posts: 2071
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2012 7:12 pm
Location: Sunny So Cal
Contact:

Re: VAXStation 4000/60 - some questions

Unread postby ClassicHasClass » Mon Dec 03, 2012 10:04 pm

The MMJ adaptor on my VS3100 is just passive. I use a Solbourne S3000 as the console, just for yuks.
smit happens.

:Fuel: bigred, 900MHz R16K, 4GB RAM, V12 DCD, 6.5.30
:Indy: indy, 150MHz R4400SC, 256MB RAM, XL24, 6.5.10
:Indigo2IMP: purplehaze, 175MHz R10000, Solid IMPACT
probably posted from Image bruce, Quad 2.5GHz PowerPC 970MP, 16GB RAM, Mac OS X 10.4.11
plus IBM POWER6 p520 * Apple Network Server 500 * RDI PrecisionBook * BeBox * Solbourne S3000 * Commodore 128 * many more...

User avatar
commodorejohn
Posts: 652
Joined: Tue Oct 02, 2012 1:22 pm
Contact:

Re: VAXStation 4000/60 - some questions

Unread postby commodorejohn » Tue Dec 04, 2012 12:00 am

Well, a guy on the Vintage Computer Forums made me an adapter, so as soon as that gets here I'll at least be able to get it up and running. Graphics will have to wait until I can get a known-compatible monitor, but luckily there are a few the folks on comp.os.vms recommended that can be had quite cheaply.
Computers: Amiga 1200, DEC VAXStation 4000/60, DEC MicroPDP-11/73
Synthesizers: Roland JX-10/SH-09/HS-80/MT-32/D-50, Yamaha DX7-II/V50/TX7/TG33/FB-01, Korg MS-20 Mini/ARP Odyssey/DW-8000/M1, Ensoniq SQ-80, E-mu Emax HD/Proteus-2, Casio CZ-5000, Moog Satellite, Sequential Circuits Prophet-600

User avatar
commodorejohn
Posts: 652
Joined: Tue Oct 02, 2012 1:22 pm
Contact:

Re: VAXStation 4000/60 - some questions

Unread postby commodorejohn » Thu Dec 06, 2012 2:44 pm

Okay, my serial adapter got here this morning, and she's booting to the console over the serial port :) It's actually got the full 104MB of RAM; this was more of a score than I'd realized! Still having some trouble, though. For starters, SHOW DEVICE doesn't seem to list the hard drive, so I'm assuming some SCSI voodoo is in order. Joy. :/ (That, or my 68-to-50-pin adapter doesn't work - entirely possible, as I've never actually used it before. I need to get my PC SCSI controller installed so I can verify some of this stuff...)

Furthermore, while it recognizes the CD drive just fine, when I try to boot from it (b/r5:10000000 dka400:, according to the OpenVMS VAX install guide,) it loads from disk and then just sits there. It might simply be taking a while, but there's no further disk activity, and the two times I've halted it in the middle, it's shown the exact same PC value, which kinda suggests that it's just sitting idle at that address...is there something I'm missing, here?
Computers: Amiga 1200, DEC VAXStation 4000/60, DEC MicroPDP-11/73
Synthesizers: Roland JX-10/SH-09/HS-80/MT-32/D-50, Yamaha DX7-II/V50/TX7/TG33/FB-01, Korg MS-20 Mini/ARP Odyssey/DW-8000/M1, Ensoniq SQ-80, E-mu Emax HD/Proteus-2, Casio CZ-5000, Moog Satellite, Sequential Circuits Prophet-600

User avatar
ClassicHasClass
Donor
Donor
Posts: 2071
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2012 7:12 pm
Location: Sunny So Cal
Contact:

Re: VAXStation 4000/60 - some questions

Unread postby ClassicHasClass » Sat Dec 08, 2012 6:47 pm

Internal or external SCSI? Is it one of the drives that "just works" with DECs?
smit happens.

:Fuel: bigred, 900MHz R16K, 4GB RAM, V12 DCD, 6.5.30
:Indy: indy, 150MHz R4400SC, 256MB RAM, XL24, 6.5.10
:Indigo2IMP: purplehaze, 175MHz R10000, Solid IMPACT
probably posted from Image bruce, Quad 2.5GHz PowerPC 970MP, 16GB RAM, Mac OS X 10.4.11
plus IBM POWER6 p520 * Apple Network Server 500 * RDI PrecisionBook * BeBox * Solbourne S3000 * Commodore 128 * many more...

User avatar
commodorejohn
Posts: 652
Joined: Tue Oct 02, 2012 1:22 pm
Contact:

Re: VAXStation 4000/60 - some questions

Unread postby commodorejohn » Sat Dec 08, 2012 8:37 pm

Internal. It's a newer drive (Ultra2 LVD SCSI,) and I'm getting conflicting reports from the folks on comp.os.vms on how friendly later VAXStations are with newer SCSI equipment. However, I did verify that A. the drive works (in my PC, on the controller's 68-pin connector,) and B. the 68-to-50-pin adapter doesn't (on the controller's 50-pin connector.) This is not a terrible surprise, as I grabbed the cheapest Chinese bare-board adapter off eBay (I've since learned my lesson about doing that,) and then never used it for anything, so I had no idea if it worked to begin with.

Now I just need to get a halfway decent one...
Computers: Amiga 1200, DEC VAXStation 4000/60, DEC MicroPDP-11/73
Synthesizers: Roland JX-10/SH-09/HS-80/MT-32/D-50, Yamaha DX7-II/V50/TX7/TG33/FB-01, Korg MS-20 Mini/ARP Odyssey/DW-8000/M1, Ensoniq SQ-80, E-mu Emax HD/Proteus-2, Casio CZ-5000, Moog Satellite, Sequential Circuits Prophet-600

SAQ
Posts: 5871
Joined: Wed Jul 19, 2006 8:37 am
Location: Renton, WA

Re: VAXStation 4000/60 - some questions

Unread postby SAQ » Sun Dec 09, 2012 11:09 am

commodorejohn wrote:Internal. It's a newer drive (Ultra2 LVD SCSI,) and I'm getting conflicting reports from the folks on comp.os.vms on how friendly later VAXStations are with newer SCSI equipment. However, I did verify that A. the drive works (in my PC, on the controller's 68-pin connector,) and B. the 68-to-50-pin adapter doesn't (on the controller's 50-pin connector.) This is not a terrible surprise, as I grabbed the cheapest Chinese bare-board adapter off eBay (I've since learned my lesson about doing that,) and then never used it for anything, so I had no idea if it worked to begin with.

Now I just need to get a halfway decent one...


The issue is likely related to the fact that newer SCSI drives (U320 definitely, can't recall about U160) don't have to support narrow operation - many do, but some don't. Check your documentation and make sure that your drive supports single-ended narrow ops (and jumper it that way just to be safe).

Also check out your CD-ROM drive. Recognizing it from the console firmware is not sufficient to indicate that it works. I use a Toshiba XM-4101 (AKA Sun SL-CD in a common disguise) often, can't recall if my Plextor worked on the VAXes or not right now (but that's another safeish risk).
"Brakes??? What Brakes???"

"I am O SH-- the Great and Powerful"

:Indigo: :Octane: :Indigo2: :Indigo2IMP: :Indy: :PI: :O3x0: :ChallengeL: :O2000R: (single-CM)

User avatar
commodorejohn
Posts: 652
Joined: Tue Oct 02, 2012 1:22 pm
Contact:

Re: VAXStation 4000/60 - some questions

Unread postby commodorejohn » Sun Dec 09, 2012 8:13 pm

The CD-ROM drive is a DEC RRD-42 - it's compatible with the VAX, but according to the folks on comp.os.vms it can't handle CD-R media, which would be the source of the problem for me. I have a Plextor drive on the way that supports 512-byte sectors and that some promo material claims is Alpha/VAX-compatible.
Computers: Amiga 1200, DEC VAXStation 4000/60, DEC MicroPDP-11/73
Synthesizers: Roland JX-10/SH-09/HS-80/MT-32/D-50, Yamaha DX7-II/V50/TX7/TG33/FB-01, Korg MS-20 Mini/ARP Odyssey/DW-8000/M1, Ensoniq SQ-80, E-mu Emax HD/Proteus-2, Casio CZ-5000, Moog Satellite, Sequential Circuits Prophet-600


Return to “HP/DEC/Compaq”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests