Introducing myself and VAXstation 3100 help needed

Bryan C. Everly bryan at
Fri Jan 22 07:10:10 CST 2016

Hi Everyone,

Jay West was kind enough to point me to this list and I just wanted to
introduce myself before I start begging for help.  :-)

I started out life coding on a CDC Cyber-170 and from there moved up
through the TRS-80 model I before finally taking the plunge and purchasing
a very early Apple ][+.  After that, I moved up through the Apple //e and
finally landed in the 32-bit world with my Amiga 1000.  I had an Amiga 2000
and then finally sold out and lived in the WinTel world until being
"rescued" by a PPC32 Mac Mini.  From there it's been Mac mostly but I've
always loved older, less mainstream gear.

When I rediscovered OpenBSD and the fact that it has some of these
"distaff" architectures as full tier-1 citizens, I started playing around.
At this point I have that same MacMini (macppc), a Sun Blade 100 (sparc64),
an Alphastation 500/400 (alpha), an SGI O2 (mips64), an HP C3700 (hppa) and
a VAXstation 3100 (VAX).  Everything except the VAX is running 5.9-current
on OpenBSD and doing surprisingly well.

I'm trying to bring the VAXstation back to life (picked it up on eBay for
less than $30 US) and I'm having a problem (here's where I start begging
for help).

The diagnostic LEDs on the back (thanks to for helping me
decode them) finally settle at:

1000 1010

Which I'm reading as a failed self-test in the "MM" subsystem.  I'm
assuming MM=Memory Management Unit.  I have also noticed it never spins up
the hard drive (that's a working drive I personally installed so I know
it's good) or tries to access the floppy.

On the advice of some of the folks on the list, I stripped the machine down
to the bare board (man there was a lot of dust in there).  I found (as I
expected to) that the CMOS battery had leaked but there wasn't a lot of
corrosion on the board near the connector and the solder pads in that area
looked particularly beefy so I don't think I have any board or trace damage
from that.

When I powered the box up with everything removed, I got the same MM
subsystem failure error so I don't think it's the memory board.  I'm still
waiting on my final cable to be able to get on the serial console so I
can't run TEST 50 yet but I'm hoping someone on here can point me in
another diagnostic direction.

Or, does a failed "MM" test mean the CPU or main board are done with and I
need to replace it?

Many thanks in advance for any help you can give me.


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