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microvax network board M7516-PA - "modified" to run on qbus/BSD2.11

iainmaoileoin

Experienced Member
Joined
Dec 24, 2014
Messages
216
Location
inverness
Mechanical hackwork.
This might help others in the same position as me.
I needed some more network cards for my farm of qbus PDP11s.
Nothing native was appearing on e-pay.
But there were/are a number of microvax DELQA-SA M7516-PA boards.

I bought one, drilled out the rivets holding the card to the vax "card holder",
moved the fuse/transciever connection to the baulkhead(sp) and hey-presto
I have a working card that operates well on 2.11 BSD.

So now my farm is talking.

qe0: DEC DELQA addr 00:00:f8:50:90:15

The fuse on the units I got were spade connectors, so I did not even have to get
sore fingers working my blunder-bus of a soldering iron.

Brutal hackwork I know but how else do I get rlogin, rsh, ftp and rmt working?
If only the unibus stuff was so easy.
 

iainmaoileoin

Experienced Member
Joined
Dec 24, 2014
Messages
216
Location
inverness
At the other end of the scale I have an old 11/05 - I got cheap - with "something" wrong apparently with all the cards in the backplane.
Even using a logic analyser I am struggling to see why I cant get instructions from memory to execute.
"Hours of fun for all the family"
 

Qbus

Veteran Member
Joined
Feb 23, 2011
Messages
913
Location
Salisbury Maryland
Looks like when it comes to BSD 2.11 you the man. Wondering where you got the image from and how hard it is to build a system disk? Have a VAX two that I will be picking up next month and giving serious thought to that as an operating system. All my elevens now run under RT-11 but once I get into the thirty two bit world maybe UNIX is the answer?
 

iainmaoileoin

Experienced Member
Joined
Dec 24, 2014
Messages
216
Location
inverness
The BSD image for the PDP11 (16 bit) came from http://ak6dn.dyndns.org/PDP-11/2.11BSD/
I used simh running under Fedora Core to read the image,
added a SCSI2SD card (australia) on an old adaptec controller on the
wrote the image to an SD. (I did that as I was having hellish troubles with "real" scsi disks- I managed to knacker one while assembling and testing the h/w).

Then moved the scsi2sd card to an UC07 on my PDP11/73 (yea ok not real old technology!) and the world started working.
(say it quickly and it is fine, but it was a lot of work to get the machines running before I could start on the s/w)

I wrote an RL02 boot image from the PDP11 - messy but doable- so I have minimal boot image of BSD on an RL02 drive.
The floppies are way too small to do that!
-----
The PDPs are running sep I/D space but they are 16 bit PDPs with only a few Meg of ram.
-----
If you have any scsi cards, the SCSI2SD is a real easy way to get to Unix on a PDP. I bought 2 cards, I have one on my fedora core system and one on my pdp. All I have to do is pop the micro-sd from one to the other. SCSI disks are useable - but are not hot swappable.

I have not yet acquired enuf VAXen bits to try a 4.2/4.3 build, in many ways they must be easier as there are many more scsi cards available?

I am an old old unix person, one old for me and one old for unix; so an old, "old unix" person.
I only used really RT-11 in 1974 as a way to get to V6/V7 unix on a PDP using RK05s and eventually SI disks.
So I am not really comfortable/knowledgeable with RT-11. What amazes me with the BSD2.11 is that I can run commands like rdump (a remote dump of a complete disk partition) from PDP11/BSD2.11 to a fedora-core system (2013 vintage) with absolutely no hassles. The standard rmt s/w on the fedora-core system just worked out the box. No mods, no changes. Similarly for remote-login, remote-shell (login from 1 system to another over the network).
---
If I can help you get near the BSD world I am happy to do so.
 

jackrubin

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Joined
Mar 12, 2004
Messages
832
Location
Chicago, IL and Buchanan, MI
For those of us who believe that Microsoft has a place in the world, you can equally easily transfer a SIMH image to an SD card under Windows using any of several image writing tools and then pop it into a SCSI2SD on your PDP-11. Of course, rdump to Windows is a bit problematic but it would probably work with Cygwin. The really sweet bits that make it all happen are SIMH and the SCSI2SD adapter.
 

Marty

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 26, 2009
Messages
3,141
Location
Boulder , Colorado USA
Hi All;
Iainmaoileoin, I have sent You a Personal Message..
Iainmaoileoin, I can't even pronounce that, its a mouthful..

THANK YOU Marty
 

gslick

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 30, 2010
Messages
2,112
Location
Seattle, WA
I have not yet acquired enuf VAXen bits to try a 4.2/4.3 build, in many ways they must be easier as there are many more scsi cards available?

If you have a Q-Bus VAX (almost) any SCSI cards are the same that you would use on a Q-Bus PDP-11, so that doesn't really change anything. If you have a MicroVAX / VAXserver / VAXstation 3100 / 4000 with integrated SCSI then that does make things easier.
 

iainmaoileoin

Experienced Member
Joined
Dec 24, 2014
Messages
216
Location
inverness
Have you seen the price of scsi cards for PDPs?
Surely vax cards must be easier (AKA cheaper) to find?
I really dont want to strip a PDP out to make a VAX - otherwise all I am doing is swapping 1 m/c for another.
 

AK6DN

Veteran Member
Joined
Aug 23, 2010
Messages
980
Location
Silicon Valley USA
As gslick noted tho the issue is not a PDP-11 SCSI card vs a VAX SCSI card, it is UNIBUS SCSI (PDP-11, $$$) or QBUS SCSI (PDP-11 or VAX, $).

If you have a QBUS PDP-11 (11/23,53,73,83,93) or QBUS VAX the same QBUS SCSI card will work on either. Cost is low to moderate, generally available.

UNIBUS PDP-11 SCSI card cost is high to exorbitant, when you can find them. Much less easy to find, very pricey.

Don

(Technically early VAX systems were UNIBUS (780,750,730) and could use UNIBUS SCSI cards altho performance would likely be abysmal).
 

gslick

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Messages
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Location
Seattle, WA
One exception is the Q-Bus VAX only M5976 KZQSA SCSI adapter, which can sometimes be found around $50 on eBay. But it's not an MSCP controller and for the most part is only useful for installing VMS from a SCSI CD-ROM drive, plus I'm not sure if anything prior to the VAX 4000-500 KA680 CPU supports booting from a KZQSA.
 

iainmaoileoin

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Joined
Dec 24, 2014
Messages
216
Location
inverness
I am not trying to be rude, but ebay prices for PDP-11 qbus scsi is more than I paid for my complete machines!
Some VAX card disk s seem much cheaper.
I am Scottish so I may just be miserly with my dosh. QBUS SCSI disk cards appear to be in the £300-400 range. Carriage to Scotland (plus import duty and our VAT adds up to £100 to my price)
 

DDS

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Joined
Sep 5, 2013
Messages
548
I am not trying to be rude, but ebay prices for PDP-11 qbus scsi is more than I paid for my complete machines!
Some VAX card disk s seem much cheaper.
I am Scottish so I may just be miserly with my dosh. QBUS SCSI disk cards appear to be in the £300-400 range. Carriage to Scotland (plus import duty and our VAT adds up to £100 to my price)

According to my aunt's research, some time in the mid 1600's a man named Shaw was "invited" to the Georgia colony by a gentleman named Oglethorpe. By way of explanation and relevance, Shaw is the name of one of Scotland's highland clans. Shaw is also the S in DDS. Can't forget my login unless I forget my initials LOL. Things happen to your rememberer when you're north of 60.

Dosh!

Nacker!

Now I'm able to catch up on vintage computers and see my ancestor's language in use on the same web site. This place is truly awesome! ;-)
 

gslick

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 30, 2010
Messages
2,112
Location
Seattle, WA
I am not trying to be rude, but ebay prices for PDP-11 qbus scsi is more than I paid for my complete machines!
Some VAX card disk s seem much cheaper.
I am Scottish so I may just be miserly with my dosh. QBUS SCSI disk cards appear to be in the £300-400 range. Carriage to Scotland (plus import duty and our VAT adds up to £100 to my price)

The best price I currently see on eBay (at least in the US) is $239 for an Emulex UC07:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/141122593003
I haven't bought one of those myself but there are some here who have and have had good results with them.

Or a CMD CQD-200 for $230:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/151246454462

That is about the highest I would pay for a Q-Bus SCSI card if I really needed one (which I don't, I already have more SCSI cards than machines to put them in now). Sometimes you can get lucky and find them closer to $100, but you might be waiting a while for that to happen.

If you see some VAX SCSI cards that are cheaper, which ones are you looking at?
 

iainmaoileoin

Experienced Member
Joined
Dec 24, 2014
Messages
216
Location
inverness
These guys seem to have cards in now-and-again that are under e-bay prices. I have had a few bits and pieces from them that work.
http://www.icc4it.co.uk/search/part-search/parts/vax/?def=price&order=desc&page=5
What I was thinking about - for unibus - was a unibus "esdi/winchester" type card with a FPGA or such like giving access to a SD type card - a la "SCSI2SD". I have 4 unibus systems RL02 disks I am needing muckle big disks (100meg!) to make life easy for me.
 
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