Booting VAXstation 4000 VLC from CD (653 Views)
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Occasional Advisor
ralph_cologne
Posts: 9
Registered: ‎07-06-2012
Message 1 of 7 (653 Views)
Accepted Solution

Booting VAXstation 4000 VLC from CD

[ Edited ]

The POST does not show any errors with the exception of the serial test (i think this is because i have no mouse attached).

 

When trying to "boot dka400" the screen becomes black and the optical drives spins up. After some time i only get the firmware prompt >>> again without any error message being displayed. This happens with both VMS VAX 7.3 hobbyist CD and with OpenBSD 5.1 CD.

 

I have already set the blocksize of the optical drive (Yamaha 6416 CD recorder) to 512 bytes.

 

I have an external terminator on the enclosure of the drive and the termination of the internal HD is not set.

 

Thank you for any hints what im doing wrong.

Respected Contributor
Bob Blunt
Posts: 314
Registered: ‎05-01-2003
Message 2 of 7 (643 Views)

Re: Booting VAXstation 4000 VLC from CD

Ralph, you're probably using a CD writer that the VAXstation doesn't understand.  A RRD42 or something else in that family that DEC built would be your quickest best bet.  There could also be a strange combination of components required that MIGHT get your drive working...and note that I said "might."

 

Things you might try?  Are you using a DEC SCSI cable between the VLC and the drive?  I haven't driven a VLC in years so I don't remember if the system had a REALLY old school 50-pin telco-style connector with bail locks or one of the more dense connectors.  What connector on the CD writer?  I've got a HP CD writer connected to one of my Alpha systems but sometimes I require an intermediate device, a tape unit usually, between the SCSI HBA and the writer to work...depending on the HBA.  You don't really have any choice.  The VLC's SCSI adapter isn't one you can swap for a different flavor of SCSI.  So, if you have options, try different length cables.  If not maybe try something like a tape unit between the system and CD writer.

 

When you power on the VLC and are at the console prompt (>>>) type SHOW DEVICE and see what it thinks the Yamaha is.  If it doesn't come back with a description or some indicator that it recognizes the device it might not work.  From what I found on the internet that CD-RW drive debuted about 10 years AFTER the VLC so it might not work correctly.  I wasn't able to find full setup options for your writer but I imagine that you've got a set of dip switches or jumpers for configuration.

 

From my past experience with the VLC...do you have a monitor connected or are you trying to use a serial console?  The VLC is one of the most...not sure how to say this...demanding?  small VAXStations and it tends to not work as well if you're trying to use it without a real monitor, keyboard and mouse.  It can return some really odd self-test errors and when VMS is booted it tends to continue seeing errors even if just the monitor is missing.  I don't remember any specifically strange problems with the on-board SCSI but I haven't had my hands on a working, fully configured VLC since about the mid-1990s.

 

bob

Occasional Advisor
ralph_cologne
Posts: 9
Registered: ‎07-06-2012
Message 3 of 7 (640 Views)

Re: Booting VAXstation 4000 VLC from CD

[ Edited ]

Thank you for your answer.

 

The CD writer allways shows up as i expect it when i execute show dev. Even the size of the inserted disk seems to be correct.

 

The SCSI port on the VAX is Centronics, the enclosure of the drive has also got Centronics port.

 

Yes, the CD recorder has jumpers inside. You can enable parity and switch block size (2k or 512bytes). At least the recorder is working, i have checked today using PowerMac G5/MacOS X.

 

Is the VMS CD ISO or other file system? I have tried if i can read it using Windows 7 - without success. Same applies to BSD CD. Or does it fail because the block size is 512 instead of 2k?

 

I have attached a monitor (third party flat screen). Not tried using serial console.

 

I have already bought the original mouse in the US. I have to wait for the parcel.

 

Btw. i own a second mainboard and graphics adapter. I have not tried if these boot until now - will check next week. Can not experiment now, im on a journey.

Esteemed Contributor
H.Becker
Posts: 373
Registered: ‎04-09-2009
Message 4 of 7 (606 Views)

Re: Booting VAXstation 4000 VLC from CD

[ Edited ]
>>> Is the VMS CD ISO or other file system? I have tried if i can read it using Windows 7 - without success. Same applies to BSD CD. Or does it fail because the block size is 512 instead of 2k?
 
I don't know nothing about the VLC and I have more experience with Alphas than VAXes, but as far as I know there are no differences in such VMS CDs. They are not in the ISO 9660 format, they are in the VMS ODS format. In other words, for VMS and for the console software, a CD is just a read-only VMS disk. No surprise that Windows (without any ODS specific tool) can't read it. Whether the dirver reads 512 or 2k byte blocks doesn't matter. The layer on top of the driver, which understands the ODS, will/needs to look at 512 byte blocks, which is the block size of disks. If a VMS CD is bootable, it simply is a copy of a system disk.
 
So, if you happen to have a spare SCSI disk you can copy the content of the CD to the disk in block mode and boot from the disk. For copy backup/physical or dd come to mind. Any such simple block-by-block copy program will do.
 
Sorry I don't know anything about BSD CDs. But it seems reasonable that they are presented to the VLC console the same way: as disks.
 
Edit: restored the layout.
Occasional Advisor
ralph_cologne
Posts: 9
Registered: ‎07-06-2012
Message 5 of 7 (593 Views)

Re: Booting VAXstation 4000 VLC from CD

[ Edited ]

I have dumped the ISO to another disk using MacOS X.

 

I can boot fromthat disk now.

 

Nevertheless i think the block size for CD-ROM must be 512 and not 2k (i have already tried both). I will get a new CD-ROM drive the next days, i will try that drive also (mainly because of curiosity).

 

I could run backup for the base install and reboot.

 

Now i have selected everything (in the hope that 4GB target disk is big enough) an install is running. I will hope it will run now without more questions and will be finished tomorrow - must go to bed now.

 

Thank you for your suggestion!

Esteemed Contributor
H.Becker
Posts: 373
Registered: ‎04-09-2009
Message 6 of 7 (568 Views)

Re: Booting VAXstation 4000 VLC from CD

>>> the block size for CD-ROM must be 512 and not 2k

 

Yes, it is a VMS disk and VMS disks have 512 byte blocks. (When I said "driver" I meant the Windows/Linux ... CD driver to read the CD for the ODS tool/kernel module acessesing the drive).

Occasional Advisor
ralph_cologne
Posts: 9
Registered: ‎07-06-2012
Message 7 of 7 (471 Views)

Re: Booting VAXstation 4000 VLC from CD

With BSD 5.1 the behaviour is the same. It does not boot from CD using the Yamaha 6416 recorder set to 512 byte blocks. When i dump the "ISO" image to disk i can boot from that disk and install without any problems. The new CD-ROM has not arrived until now, so i could not test with another drive until now.

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