Where to get a Vax or microvax

Johnny Billquist bqt at update.uu.se
Mon Jun 29 17:04:58 CDT 2015

On 2015-06-29 21:35, tony duell wrote:
>> Well, ok, if your list was intended as a "first VAX" only list, then
> That is what I believe the OP was asking for,

Yes. But I would never dream of suggesting a VAX-11/780 as a "first VAX" 
either... I think most people would not even know what to do if 
presented with 500 Kg of computer... Not to mention all the subsystems 
you need to figure out, learn, connect and get running...

It's not exactly like a workstation or a PC.

>> fair enough. I would not consider most of those machines as good first
>> VAXen either. Although, the 6000 is actually not that hard, nor some of
>> the small 8000-machines, such as the 8200.
> The 6000 series are quite big cabinets and as a first VAX it's hard for me to
> see the great advantage over a microVAX or a VAXstation.

They are small compared to a VAX-11/780.

>> The problem with lots of the more modern machines though, are that they
>> essentially are fine if they work, but if they break, you'll have a hard
>> time to fix them. That goes both for the 6000 series as well as all the
>> pizza boxes.
> My view is that there are only 2 VAXen series that I would want to run at home. For me.
> That is machines where component-level investigation and repair are very possible, Those
> series are the 11/780 (including the 11/782 and 11/785, of course) and the 11/730 (including
> 11/725). As I don't have space for the former, I intend to run the latter. But my requirements and
> interests are likely to be very different from other people's hence my initial comments.

The 11/782 would become very big, and use even more power. Not that an 
11/780 are small to start with, but we're talking about roughly doubling 
the size and power consumption here... Not to mention being a very odd 
machine from a multiprocessor point of view as well. Not something I 
would recommend unless you are seriously interested in that specific 

The 11/730 and 11/725 are probably among the last machines I would ever 
want to have. We all have different dreams... The 8650 is sweet. I could 
possibly like a 9000 even more...

> Thing about the VAXstations is that there are quite a few about that can be raided for spares. There
> is a printset for at least one of them on bitsavers, so I would guess finding a faulty IC is not going to
> be impossible. I refuse to actually suggst b***d-sw*pp**g but you know what I mean....

Yeah. VAXstations makes a lot of sense for someone who just wants to run 
a VAX and play around. The fact that you can get spares pretty easy most 
of the time has its points.

If you like playing around with the hardware as well as the software, 
then maybe there are more interesting machines around than the pizzabox 

> I have never seen a printset for a 6000, 7000, 8650, etc machine. Do they exist? I doubt it for the
> 6000 series.

I don't remember if I have the printsets for the 8650, but we (Update) 
sure have quite a lot of documentation for it.


Johnny Billquist                  || "I'm on a bus
                                   ||  on a psychedelic trip
email: bqt at softjar.se             ||  Reading murder books
pdp is alive!                     ||  tryin' to stay hip" - B. Idol

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