Using DECmateI RX02 drives in the pedestal

Ethan Dicks ethan.dicks at
Tue Mar 13 00:29:31 CDT 2007

On 3/13/07, Francesca Smith <fsmith at> wrote:
> The funny thing is that I have RX02's here. But they are part of
> a semi mint Decmate I have. I really did not want to pull them out to do this
> work rather leaving them in the cart as they are.

You don't have to pull the drives - the DB25 connector on the back of
your pedestal is a DEC-standard way of externally cabling RX02s - it
was done the same way with the table-top RX02 shell for the MINC-11.
If you get your 11/73 together, you could aquire or make a cable to go
from the RXV21 to a DB25, then use a DB25-to-DB25 cable from the 11/73
to the back of your DECmate pedestal.  No removal required.

> And RX02's drove me nuts
> when they were new. I always prefered the DSD440's and Shugart drives.

Can't help you there.  I've used DSD drives, Heathkit drives, and, on
a Dataram PDP-11 clone, a Shugart drive with a 3rd-party controller
that emulated the RXV21 at the register level (no bizarre drivers, at
least).  I don't have anything really bad to say about the RX02s
except they are somewhat physically large compared to other offerings.

> Same thing goes for the Rainbows I have. I really am loathe to pull out the RX
> drives in them either.

You don't have to.

> I suppose that I could archive the RX50 stuff using the Rainbows.  ??

You could, but then you need a way to get the files off the Rainbows.
We've been discussing RX50s recently here - with the right
PC-compatible drive, you can just read RX50 media in a modernish box
(one old enough have proper floppy support, so, _in general_,
something with a Pentium-I or older is probably a safe bet, but the
only way to know for certain is to know the capabilities of your
hardware and most likely to run a few quick tests)

Personally, I maintain an older box with a 5.25" floppy that reads and
writes RX50s just fine.  Haven't had occasion to fire it up lately, so
I should probably do that to see if the heads have glued down to the
platters or if the CMOS battery as died.  It's an old 486DX2/66 VLB
box - too old to run a modern OS, but powerful enough to run an OS
capable of capturing diskette images and squirting them over an
Ethernet card to something "modern" for burning and archiving.  You
can use a Rainbow if you want, but that way would seem to me to be
adding difficulty to the task without a corresponding payback,
especially given how sloppy the tolerances are with real RX50 drives.


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