TU58 problems

tony duell ard at p850ug1.demon.co.uk
Sat Jan 16 14:51:04 CST 2016

> > I had considered that, or one of the TU58 emulators that use SD cards or
> > similar but (a) I am trying to restore this VAX, not make a machine that runs
> > VAX software and is not original and (b) I do have this moral objection to
> > using more components to load the microcode than in the rest of the machine.
> I am in that same camp. I am presently using TU58 emulation to make progress on the
>  rest of the system, but I do plan to try to get my original drive and tapes working in the
>  future. Even if I immediately unplug it and plug an emulator back in, because I thoroughly
> distrust the tape cartridge design and I am not confident that any of my tapes are any
>  good. I would like to make an SD card based emulator that clicks into place in one of

That is one of my problems. I do not know the tapes are still readable. They may well not
be. I might be tracing a fault that actually does not exist...

>  the tape slots and the plugs into the console I place if the original drive, so it can be as
>  unobtrusive and standalone as possible.

Even so it's not how the machine was designed to boot.... I really do want to get it back
as DEC intended if at all possible. Even if I have to make a formatter for blank tape
cartridges or something. 


> I put together hardware to use a RasPi instead so the 730 doesn't need to be tethered
>  to a laptop, but I haven't gotten that working yet.

'Haven't gotten that working yet' :-). That's how I feel about doing something like this
(quite apart from the 'moral' aspects) I am having to do battle with things that may or
may not work, may or may not be well documented (at least the TU58 is well documented)
and am likely to spend a lot of time getting nowhere.

> I have Ethernet in my 730, though I don't have it working yet. My experience is that trying to
>  route the round AUI cable through the bottom tray with the ribbon cables is doomed to failure,
> but the cable can instead be routed over the top of the cards, through openings in the power
> supply area, then along the folding gantry along with the power cables. I haven't gotten
> networking up and running on my VAX yet, and I don't yet know what combination of hardware,
>  software and operator ignorance is causing it to not work.  I'm still pretty happy that I can
>  boot VMS from either the R80 or RL02.

That's not a bad idea.... I do have a DELUA somewhere I think. Might be worth trying it in place
of 1M of RAM. But let's get the CPU working first....

I have the RL brought out to the connector panel, but no drives hooked up to that. I have a
TS05 magtape to go on top of the rack. It needs a rebuild too. The door is smashed and
mostly missing, the rubber (?) pads that lock the supply spool are dead, etc. Spent the morning
making a reasonable substitute for the Cipher reel hight setting tool. 


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