Microvax II 'primer'?

Douglas Taylor dj.taylor4 at comcast.net
Mon Jan 22 13:18:29 CST 2018

I can't believe you 'just carry it into the house' all by yourself, 
unless you are professional athlete.
I also have a MicroVax II in the BA123 world box and it has wheels for a 
reason!  The damn thing weighs 130 lbs!
I took it to the VCF East last year, never do that again.  Too heavy.

When I got mine, it had only 3MB of memory and I found that I couldn't 
install VMS 5.5-2 or 7.3 with that amount of memory.  I put in an 8 MB 
board and 11 MB total was fine.

You should make your own cable to connect the console to a PC or 
terminal.  Its that odd.  I found the PC connection to be helpful 
because you can log what you are doing.

Yes, remove the NiCad battery.

The box I got had 3 RD53 disks in it and none worked.  I am using a 
Viking SCSI controller and a SCSI2SD drive to boot the system.
I left the RX50 drives in and reconfigured the RQDX2 to address them.  
They come in handy for getting the VMS hobbyist licenses in.
The TK50 never worked.

I put a DELQA in for networking, never tried a DEQNA.

I consider it an important machine in computing history.  It allowed 
scientific researchers, like myself, to get off of remote mainframes 
that billed at fantastic rates and compute in a more relaxed environment.
BTW there is one in the Air & Space Museum in Washington DC.

On 1/21/2018 2:25 PM, Jules Richardson via cctech wrote:
> So, I picked up (and I did just carry it into the house, and now I 
> hurt) a Microvax II from another list member yesterday. Cosmetically 
> it's a disaster (BA123 has a cracked top panel, broken wheels, missing 
> front door, missing right-rear panel) but internally it appears to be 
> complete; board wise we have:
>   M7606 - CPU
>   M7608 - 4MB ram
>   M9047 - grant continuity
>   M7504 - DEQNA ethernet
>   M3104 - DHV11 8-port serial
>   M7555 - RQDX3 disk controller
>   M7546 - TX50 controller
> ... it's got a TK50 and hard drive (no idea of capacity).
> Operational status is a complete unknown, and I have absolutely zero 
> knowledge about these systems - so my question at this stage is what 
> background reading I need to be doing in terms of pre-powerup* checks, 
> actually hooking a console, if there's a suggested minimal config I 
> can use to diag the CPU, and then (assuming it gets to that point) how 
> to actually use the thing (I'm assuming it was running VMS rather than 
> Ultrix, but I don't know for sure). I'm wondering there aren't any 
> handy tutorials out there, alongside whatever DEC docs are recommended.
> * e.g. for most machines I'd be thinking in terms of pulling all 
> boards/drives, hooking up a dummy load to whatever PSU rails required 
> it, and then at least running the PSU up in isolation first, but I 
> don't know to what extent this machine requires some logic in place 
> for the PSU to even run.
> cheers
> Jules

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