VAX 8600

Johnny Billquist bqt at
Mon Oct 23 02:49:17 CDT 2006

Adrian Graham <witchy at> wrote:

 > Aaaand done!
 > :)

Hey, nice machine!
As a person who actually still keep one of these beasts alive, I have a 
few comments that might, or might not help you.

First of all, it's a fairly loaded machine. You have atleast three 
unibuses, and since you have a TU79, I would think you also have 
massbus. Really nice. (First time I've actually seen a TU79, btw. Only 
seen TA79 before.)

However, the buts... There is no memory in the machine. Do you keep 
those cards in a box somewhere, or are you missing them? Also, if you 
look at the bottom of the large cabinet, there is a box there, with a 
TOY in it. That TOY contains four lead batteries, that should not be 
left unattended for more than six months, or they will probably go bad. 
Without batteries, the machine will not boot. I think I have some 
document somewhere on how to bypass this if you don't have the 
batteries. Let me know if you ever get as far as trying to fire the 
machine up.
Also, the smaller cabinet for the machine, that holds the first unibus 
box, the console Q-bus, and the RL02 drive is a very important item. The 
RL02 drive holds the console medium. This pack is extremely valuable for 
you. Without it, you'll have a inoperative machine, since the frontend 
boots from the RL02, and the frontend then loads the machine with all 
the microcode also read from the RL02. Almost all diagnostics are also 
on the RL02. Store it in a good place, and try to make copies of it.

Oh, and is it an ASR-35 I see in the background? :-)

The 86x0 machines are wonderful, and loads of fun to play with. As long 
as you have the power and cooling for them.
Oh, and make sure you hook the power up right to it, since the fans for 
the machine are real 3-phase motors, and will run backwards if you get 
the phases wrong. And that will soon damage the machine as well.


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