VAXstation 3520

I have just acquired a VAXstation 3520. This is a 2-processor machine, but I got a second processor card with it from another partially complete 3520 to make it a 4-processor machine and really this makes it a VAXstation 3540.

I booted it up to the alternate console and used the console to list the configuration. This is what I got:

KA60 V1.2
F..E..D..C..B..A..9..8..7..6..5..4..3..2..1..0
 5   01010004  L2003    4  ?  V1.3
1 SSC     00000001
2 DZ      00031200   ?
3 NI      58610770   ?
4 SCSI    00000901
5 SYS     00000001



08-E1,P1
0B-E1,P1
08

CPU08 >>>t 50
KA60 V1.2

MID  MODTYPE     ID    SLOT ERR
 0   01010001  L2002    9
 1   01020110  L2007BA  8
 2   01010108  L2001    7
 3   01020110  L2007BA  6
 4   00000000     *     5
 5   01010004  L2003    4  ?
 7   01010002  L2004    3

CPU08 >>>t 50 0
 0   01010001  L2002    9
1 QAM     00000001  V2.0
2 TQK70   00000001  V2.0
          CSR= 00001940
          VEC= 000000B0
CPU08 >>>show scsi

 ADDR   VMB     DEVTYP  DEVNAM   NUMBYTS  REV   CHAR
 -----  ------  ------  -------  -------  ----  ----
 5.0.0  DKA0    DISK    94191-1  663  MB  0136
 5.1.0  DKA100  DISK    94191-1  663  MB  0136
 5.7            HOST    SII-A

This means that the specification is as follows:

  • KA60-AA CPU Module (L2001).
  • 32MB memory (MS60-BA, or L2007-BA x2).
  • I/O Module (L2003).
  • Graphics base module (L2004).
  • Q-bus Adapter Module (L2002) with TQK70 controller attached.
  • 2 RZ56 SCSI disks (663MB each).

It doesn’t list the graphics output module (L2005), but an L2005-AA is installed. I also have an L2005-AA from the partially complete 3520, so I have a spare if needed. After reseating the L2005-AA I get this instead:

KA60 V1.2
F..E..D..C..B..A..9..8..7..6..5..4..3..2..1..0
 5   01010004  L2003    4  ?  V1.3
1 SSC     00000001
2 DZ      00031200   ?
3 NI      19210770   ?
4 SCSI    00000901
5 SYS     00000001

 7   01010002  L2004    3  ??  V1.1-B
1 GFX     20153652   ??



08-E1,P1
0B-E1,P1
08

CPU08 >>>

I added the second CPU board, moving the memory board in slot 6 to slot 5 and putting the second CPU board in slot 6. Having done that I got this:

KA60 V1.2
F..E..D..C..B..A..9..8..7..6..5..4..3..2..1..0
 5   01010004  L2003    4  ?  V1.3
1 SSC     00000001
2 DZ      00031200   ?
3 NI      19210770   ?
4 SCSI    00000901
5 SYS     00000001

 7   01010002  L2004    3  ??  V1.1-B
1 GFX     10021112   ??



08-E1,P1
0B-E1,P1
0C-E1,P1
0F-E1,P1
08

CPU08 >>>t 50
KA60 V1.2

MID  MODTYPE     ID    SLOT ERR
 0   01010001  L2002    9
 1   01020110  L2007BA  8
 2   01010108  L2001    7
 3   01010108  L2001    6
 4   01020110  L2007BA  5
 5   01010004  L2003    4  ?
 7   01010002  L2004    3  ??

CPU08 >>>

So clearly I now have a 4-CPU VAXstation!

Now it was time to install VMS. At first I installed VMS 7.3 from a CD-ROM because I had some networking difficulties to net boot it. The installation procedure recognised the machine as a VAXstation 3540.

However, I then checked what the contemporary version of VMS would have been. The machine was released in January 1989 (wikipedia) and according to this the version of VMS should be 5.1-1. The closest I have is VMS 5.4, so I decided to install that.

This time I decided to try to get the networking to work so I could install VMS 5.4 over the network. I had a problem with thinwire (which is too slow anyway) so I tried thickwire. This is where I had an unusual problem. Normally on an AUI connector on a front panel, the connector is male and has the sliding clip. This one is male but has the protruding lugs instead. This meant I couldn’t connect it to my AUI-RJ45 adapter, nor could I connect it to the thickwire cables I have. I had to take the lugs off the adapter, and then I could use it. This worked for a while but then stopped working while copying some data from the boot node.

In the end I had to use CD-ROM again. I used the alternate console to install VMS 5.4, and I now get this:

$ SHOW CPU/FULL

CPU type: VAXstation 3540
Multiprocessing is ENABLED. Streamlined synchronization image loaded.
Minimum multiprocessing revision levels: CPU = 3 FBIC = 1.
Default CPU capabilities:
        QUORUM RUN
Default process capabilities:
        QUORUM RUN

PRIMARY CPU = 08

CPU 08 is in RUN state
Current Process: *** None ***
Revision levels: CPU = 5 FBIC = 1.
Capabilities of this CPU:
        PRIMARY QUORUM RUN
Processes which can only execute on this CPU:
        *** None ***

CPU 11 is in RUN state
Current Process: *** None ***
Revision levels: CPU = 5 FBIC = 1.
Capabilities of this CPU:
        QUORUM RUN
Processes which can only execute on this CPU:
        *** None ***

CPU 12 is in RUN state
Current Process: *** None ***
Revision levels: CPU = 5 FBIC = 1.
Capabilities of this CPU:
        QUORUM RUN
Processes which can only execute on this CPU:
        *** None ***

CPU 15 is in RUN state
Current Process: SYSTEM          PID = 0000008E
Revision levels: CPU = 5 FBIC = 1.
Capabilities of this CPU:
        QUORUM RUN
Processes which can only execute on this CPU:
        *** None ***
$

So it recognised a VAXstation 3540 with 4 CPUs.

For the network interface problem I swapped the I/O module and the I/O panel to see if I could get the it to work, but it didn’t work at all. I put back the originals and they worked again, but I think they might be a bit suspect.

Next I tried to get the graphics working, instead of using the alternate console. I tried with an old Viewsonic LCD display that supports sync-on-green, but I couldn’t get any output. Then I realised that I didn’t have the graphics cover installed, and the graphics frontplane seems to have earthing contacts all around its edges. With the graphics cover installed I was able to get an image and I booted into DECwindows. However, the image quality was too poor for the text to be readable, although the monitor does match the spec of the VR295 monitor at 1280×1024 pixels. I think it is a sync issue and in text mode there is some coloured ghosting of the characters.

The diagnostic LEDs on the graphics frontplane also show a value of 2, this seems to mean a faulty expansion module, but this may be normal as there is no expansion module.

This entry was posted in Retro-Computing. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s