Retrochallenge - 2019/03 - Day 30

Partial Success

Well I knew that this time around I'd probably not get much done due to various things getting in the way. I at least managed to actually set everything up and run the machine but hardware failure on the tape side prevented me from getting much further. I really want to backup both boxes before I reinstall anything.

I wanted to strip the tape drive down and have a look to see if I can see the issue, unfortuantly due to my office being turned into a nursery for our soon to be born son I've had to pack most of my stuff into boxes and dump it in the garage for now. 

My next Retrochallenge may be to actually turn the garage into a decent space for my office / retro computing.

Look forward to reading though everyone's blogs when I get the chance. Hopefully see you all towards the end of the year for the next instalment.

Retrochallenge - 2019/03 - Day 13

Backing Up System

After I failed with the CompacTape cartridges I ordered some new DDS-90 tapes for use in the TLZ06.

These arrived and are brand new.

After unwrapping a new one and putting it in the tape drive it spooled it up then started flashing error lights.

Not sure what the problem is but will strip down the drive and have a look, probably give the heads a good clean while I'm at it.

Similar drives to this have had melted capstan wheels where the rubber that grips the tape has turned to a gooey liquid I'm hoping that this isn't the case although replacements aren't too hard to obtain.

Retrochallenge - 2019/03 - Day 7

Booting System

Setup the new system and terminal (I've already go a VT420 but a VT520 came with it) and booted the new system and checked that I could get into the OS.

The guy I bought it from had kindly provided the login details so I had a poke around to see that everything was ok. Apart from the network not being connected everything seems to boot and start up fine.

Next stop is to install a clean OS.

Backing Up System

Started off looking to backup both the new and other VAX box using one of the tape drives that are installed on my other VAX.

Below TZ30...

And the newer TLZ06...

Ordered some CompacTape cartridges but have managed to get the CompacTape III ones instead of the earlier version, these don't fit into the TZ30 drive so I instead ordered some new DDS-90 tapes for use in the TLZ06. 

Now waiting for them from eBay.

Retrochallenge - 2019/03

2019/03 RetroChallenge...

Well due to my abysmal entry last time and the fact that I've got another mini retro enthusiast due to be born in April I'm going to keep this time around pretty simple.

MicroVAX 3100

Ok so on a random whim I bought a MicroVAX 3100 with a VT520.

I used to use a large VAX mainframe at the first company I worked for. We developed a retail management product for multiple platforms but the original version ran on VMS.

I remember writing lots of C code to convert saved data from the Cobol system on the VAX to a newer 4GL version in Informix.

The mainframe always used to fascinate me, over the time that I worked there we would often configure various machines for our customers. One of the coolest was an 8 million pound machine that had 8 processors, I remember setting up software on it and testing the speed on it, it was amazingly fast at the time.

I was lucky enough to get to login to lots of different machines via modem all of which caused us headaches as the OS was different on them along with the endianness so we had to program structures to handle the data conversions to raw values.

They eventually did away with the VAX mainframe (I did consider at the time offering them some money for it but it took up the whole room and I didn't have anywhere to store it) and emulated the whole machine on a standard PC which I think it actually ran faster than the original hardware. 

So I'd like to have a play with the VAX and possibly try to install the latest OpenVMS version onto it.