DEDICATED HOBBYIST ALERT: IBM AS/400 9406-F2 for cheap sale in Germany

Tomasz Rola rtomek at
Tue Jan 5 20:35:24 CST 2021

On Wed, Jan 06, 2021 at 12:57:42AM +0100, Patrik Schindler via cctalk wrote:
> Hello Tomasz,


> Am 05.01.2021 um 22:45 schrieb Tomasz Rola via cctalk <cctalk at>:
> > I guess it is more complicated to check mainframe's correct operation.
> If you’re new to the platform, I agree. :-)

To be frank, I am "new" to many things out there. Learning requires
time and I have to spend time on few other subjects, so not so much is
left for hobbies. I would describe myself as "on-off newbie", a much
worse kind than regular newbie :-) , because at times I want to learn
everything and then I do not want to learn anything. The only real
result from this, I am subscribed to quite a few mailing lists where I
keep stepping on other people's nerves. Also, from time to time,
trying to help. Always trying to learn. Perhaps this is my real

I was also "on-off game player". There are games I started in 1995 or
1994 and did not finish yet (ok, but I am not a total looser, I
finished "Centurion", it was strategy game for DOS and Amiga... and
perhaps I also finished "Panzer General", another strategy but I am
really not sure, if it happened it was so many years ago). I think I
might link two hobbies, if I can find some old archives.

Even worse, there are games I bought pre-2000 and had not even
unpacked from their boxes. Shit, there are movies I bought on dvd and
did not watch yet. I think I am truly lousy hobbist.

At least when I start reading a book, I finish it. Always.

> Hint: If you say mainframe to an AS/400 and a mainframe guy is
> nearby, duck and cover. ;-) AS/400s were part of the IBM midrange
> platforms.

All right, I will watch my mouth... I do not want to find myself under
the raised floor.

> Having played with the Hercules Mainframe Emulator, and the last OS
> that can legally being run (MVS 3.8j), I’d say, the AS/4000 platform
> borrowed a good deal of good concepts from the mainframe
> platform. Compatibility with established mainframe personnel, and
> already running mainframe software wasn’t necessary. This makes the
> platform a really nice entry into the big iron world.
> Btw., you can download a Turnkey-System with MVS for your own
> learning experience here:

Bookmarked, thanks. Your wiki about as/400, bookmarked too.

> Add a 3270 emulator and you’re ready to go. The biggest pain is to
> decide where to begin, because everything seems to be different and
> need to be learned. This is true for OS/400, also. ;-)

Yes indeed, if I had to describe IBM's world in one word, the word
would be "different".

I, once in the past, dabbled a bit with Hercules. Even tried to
heroically (i.e. without reading manuals) install one of the turnkeys
(possibly TK3 by Volker Bandke). I came upon some problems with
keyboard mapping and then decided to have a look into the DEC world. I
have some intro book about mainframes stuffed on my e-book reader,
maybe I will try again. Some day.

There is, or was, a very interesting effort to create a modern upgrade
to S360, called S380 (and there are, or were, upgraded versions of OS
and MVS). There was also a dedicated group on yahoo, which sunk with
yahoo, I believe. It was great idea, because S360 and related software
all have fallen into public domain, free to tinker with.

> > I would also make sure it could be powered on without blowing the
> > fuses out of the wall...
> On the label of the second last photo, there’s the machine type
> written (9406-F2), and the maximum power rating: 2400W. Far from
> blowing a fuse. But hurtful to pay when running 24/7. At least here
> in Germany.

Ok, so it is not a fridge. It is a kitchen. Burning it 24/7, well,
maybe not. Energy costs are going up everywhere. Actually, it is also
too heavy for me...

> Searching, and having a look into the most likely fitting System
> Builder Manual
> (, I can’t
> find a model F2, though. Hmm.

It so happens that I am subscribed (surprise surprise) to mailing
group for mainfraimers and they regularly hang dogs on IBM for wiping
whole sections of old documentation off the redbooks site. Whatever
one finds there, be thankful and download.

> > Last but not least, my limited understanding is, the owner would need either control panel or operation console (looks like a laptop... perhaps?)
> You’re possibly talking about a true mainframe's so called „service
> element“, which equals to a ThinkPad running OS/2 and a proprietary
> setup software for a long time. I don’t know if current SE’s run
> Linux meanwhile.

I guess I am talking about this one :-).

> After the demise of Twinax Terminals, IBM introduced other ways of
> console handling. For AS/400’s (their successors, to be precise)
> this equals a built-service processor with a LAN port. IBM offers a
> so called Hardware Management Console (today even compatible with
> Vmware ESXi) to manage many of these machines. And have console
> access, of course.
> > I suppose it will not boot (ipl) without panel/console.
> You suppose wrong. The machines are usually set up to IPL in „normal
> mode“. You plug them into the power outlet(s), press the square,
> white power button on the front and just wait between nearly 10
> Minutes or much more, depending on a lot of factors. For a normal
> mode IBM, Console is not needed, and the panel itself is built-in
> anyway. It’s mainly used to set the IPL mode, force console to be of
> a certain type and surely a lot of undocumented things. The panel
> displays hex numbers to show the IPL progress. If finished, most
> likely „01 B N“ is displayed. (Function 01 = Display IPL mode, B =
> IPL secondary, patched/updated „kernel“, N = Boot normal,
> unattended).

That was interesting thing to learn. Thanks again.

Tomasz Rola

** A C programmer asked whether computer had Buddha's nature.      **
** As the answer, master did "rm -rif" on the programmer's home    **
** directory. And then the C programmer became enlightened...      **
**                                                                 **
** Tomasz Rola          mailto:tomasz_rola at             **

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