• Please review our updated Terms and Rules here

Erasing disks on a MicroVAX 3300 and 3400.

DDS

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 5, 2013
Messages
617
Some of it is lack of understanding by people in charge. That will always be with us. Some is an overabundance of caution. "Better safe than sorry" stuff.

Then there's the ongoing debate about what a "secure wipe" even means with respect to SSDs where you can't really be sure if you've wiped the entire "surface" given their internal load balancing algorithms.

Oh, well.
 

daver2

Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 19, 2012
Messages
8,728
Location
UK - Worcester
OK,

So I have now erased the RF30 DSSI disks. Many thanks for the pointers.

That leaves me with the other MicroVAX that reports the disk drive as an RA82 - but it clearly isn't!

The machine is a MicroVAX 3300 in a BA215 cabinet with a KA640 CPU.

A "SHOW DEVICES" command from the ">>>" prompt identifies a UQSSP Disk controller at 772150 and a DUA0 disk which reports as an RA82. But this physically looks like a conventional disk drive - and not something the size of a small car!

I have tried various commands such as:

>>> SET HOST/DUP/UQSSP /DISK 0

In the hope of invoking some on-board utilities - but to no avail.

Anyone any more ideas?

It would be nice to get this disk erased so the machine can go to a good and caring home as a complete unit!

Dave
 
Last edited:

Gary C

Veteran Member
Joined
May 26, 2018
Messages
1,719
Location
Lancashire, UK
Just been restoring an 8256 and the floppies are full of solicitors letters with all sorts of cases.

Not found anything worth a bribe yet ;)
It is my opinion that there are very few cases where someone would actually bother to perform a forensic analysis of a magnetic medium to recover overwritten material. In a majority of cases it probably suffices to format the disk or write a data pattern over it without fussing overly about it. If one is concerned about a recovery attempt anyway, then shredding or destruction by dissolving in acid is probably the way to go.

But for some, they are targets for domestic and foreign terrorism and its best to be certain.
 

daver2

Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 19, 2012
Messages
8,728
Location
UK - Worcester
Gary,

I'll tell you what was on some Honeywell DPS6 WPS6 8" floppy disks sometime that I DIDN'T bring back with me...

Dave
 

gslick

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 30, 2010
Messages
2,112
Location
Seattle, WA
That leaves me with the other MicroVAX that reports the disk drive as an RA82 - but it clearly isn't!

The machine is a MicroVAX 3300 in a BA215 cabinet with a KA640 CPU.

A "SHOW DEVICES" command from the ">>>" prompt identifies a UQSSP Disk controller at 772150 and a DUA0 disk which reports as an RA82. But this physically looks like a conventional disk drive - and not something the size of a small car!

Is the disk drive in question mounted internal to the BA215 cabinet? What type of cables are attached to the drive?

The M7624 KA640 CPU has an on-board DSSI controller, however if the drive was attached to that controller it would show up as a DIAx drive, note a DUAx drive.

If the controller shows up at 772150 with a DUA0 disk then it is an MSCP controller of some sort. If you pull the front covers off of the BA215 card slots, what boards are installed in addition to the M7624 KA640 CPU and M7621 / M7622 MS650 memory boards?

It is possible there might be an M7769 KFQSA DSSI controller installed, although that wouldn't make much sense as the M7624 KA640 CPU has the on-board DSSI controller.

Or maybe an M7164 / M7165 KDA50 SDI controller board pair.

Or maybe an M7555 RQDX3 MFM controller.

If it isn't one of those, it is most likely a 3rd party MSCP SCSI controller.

From a quick look at the installed boards and cables attached to the internal drive should be pretty easy to determine what the situation is.
 

daver2

Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 19, 2012
Messages
8,728
Location
UK - Worcester
Unfortunately, the machine is at work and I am not at the moment.

The disk drive is mounted in one of the drive bays within the machine.

The other machine definitely had DSSI disks that appeared as RF30s (DIA0 and 1). The drive ready and write protect switches appeared to also do something on this machine.

With this beast, the ‘drive 0’ peg is installed, but the drive ready and write protect buttons do not appear to have any effect on the operation of the drive (from memory that is).

Dave
 

gslick

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 30, 2010
Messages
2,112
Location
Seattle, WA
If the internal drive is attached to a 3rd party MSCP SCSI controller (CMD, Dilog, Emulex, etc.), there would be a lot more value in the SCSI controller compared to the SCSI drive. If you had to, you could just remove the SCSI drive while leaving all of the internal drive mounting hardware and cables in place and not much value would be lost.

A 3rd party MSCP SCSI controller might have on-board utilities for formatting a SCSI drive. Or the drive could be removed and connected to a PC with a SCSI controller and use utilities on the PC to wipe the SCSI drive.
 

daver2

Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 19, 2012
Messages
8,728
Location
UK - Worcester
It is unlikely to be a third-part controller. All of this equipment was purchased directly from DEC and was on a maintenance contract.

Value is not an issue - I am giving away these machines for a donation to the charity that our company is supporting.

My boss will not want me messing about with this stuff. My time costs him money!

I would rather remove the drive and then see if I can erase it on my PDP-11 at home. I have both an RQDX3 and a third-party SCSI controller on that.

I will take a ‘peek’ at the insides when I am next in work.

If anyone can give me any commands to try and erase the disks, I will give them a go!

Dave
 

Gary C

Veteran Member
Joined
May 26, 2018
Messages
1,719
Location
Lancashire, UK
Gary,

I'll tell you what was on some Honeywell DPS6 WPS6 8" floppy disks sometime that I DIDN'T bring back with me...

Dave
Do you have the Invaders and Pacman games ?

They were very impressive to say they ran over a serial line to a VIP
 

daver2

Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 19, 2012
Messages
8,728
Location
UK - Worcester
It was more impressive the voice controlled space invaders I wrote in CUTLASS for the Sigma!

No, I never saw the games for the DPS6. Perhaps I could run them on my SIMH DPS6?!

Dave
 

Gary C

Veteran Member
Joined
May 26, 2018
Messages
1,719
Location
Lancashire, UK
Ah, I wonder if someone still has them.

The Pacman game was quite playable.

A SIMH DPS6 would be fun, but I am trying to prise that under the desk machine from the 26m level, but they wont let me have it :(

Also, I wonder if anyone has the cartoon characters for the Sigma's

Must have been quite an amazing project at its height.
 

daver2

Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 19, 2012
Messages
8,728
Location
UK - Worcester
I’ll send you a works email. I know where there is a machine - and it is less demanding on the electricity supply...

Dave
 
Top