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OpenVMS Hobbyist Program | Alpha Systems Forums | Alpha Hardware Forum
Author alphaserver firmware update video problem

Posts: 3
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Joined: 01.06.13
Posted on March 14 2016 05:40
I have several Alphaserver 1000 computers with the Y2K bug where you have to enter the date/time every time you boot. I downloaded the firmware to fix this problem and it worked great - until I loaded it on a computer that had a custom made monochrome flat screen monitor. Apparently, some video parameter was changed by the upgrade. The color monitors are fine with it. The only noticeable difference is the background color of boot-up messages changed from black to blue. However, the monochrome monitor has the image compressed to half height and the image appears on the screen twice vertically with distortion in the bottom image.

Comparing before and after SHOW CONFIG, the changes are:
ARC console changed from v4.26 to v4.58
SRM Console changed from v1.0-50 to V5.4-102
PALCode changed from VMS PALCode V5.48-114 OSF PALCode V1.35-85 to
VMS PALcode V5.56-7, OSF PALcode V1.45-12

The video card is ZLXp 21030. tga_sync_green it set to 7 both before and after the upgrade.

I would prefer to not replace the custom monochrome monitor with a color monitor. So, I am trying to either find some way to either correct the video problem or locate a copy of the previous firmware and reload it and live with the Y2K problem. Does anybody know if a download of an older firmware exists?
Edited by daytona_knight on March 14 2016 07:50
Author RE: alphaserver firmware update video problem
Bruce Claremont

Posts: 506
Joined: 07.01.10
Posted on March 15 2016 05:53
Try this link. If memory serves me, past firmware is included with the current releases.

Author RE: alphaserver firmware update video problem

Posts: 3
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Joined: 01.06.13
Posted on March 22 2016 04:46
Thanks for trying but according to files on the CD, the last AS1000 firmware update was over 3 years old when the disk was generated so AS1000 firmware is not on the CD.

I swapped computers between two stations so the station with the custom monitor now has a computer with the original firmware so I am at least I have everything running. I'd still love to get a hint on getting the updated firmware to work with the custom monitor so I don't have to enter date/time on that box every time I boot. Oh well, small inconvenience and as I understand it, the firmware fix is just a temporary workaround and it will happen again in 2050 anyway *LOL*.
Author RE: alphaserver firmware update video problem
Bruce Claremont

Posts: 506
Joined: 07.01.10
Posted on March 23 2016 02:34
Having to enter the date and time on each boot would indicate a dead clock battery.
Author RE: alphaserver firmware update video problem

Posts: 3
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Joined: 01.06.13
Posted on March 28 2016 05:30
Normally, yes. Having to enter date/time is an indication of a battery problem.

However, there was a bug in the early version of some ALPHA computer firmware such that when the internal clock hits the year 2013, the firmware thinks the contents of the clock is corrupt and you have to enter the date/time at every boot. Entering a date prior to 2013 will stop the date/time prompt at every boot if you can put up with a screwy system date.

The bug was fixed (temporarily?) in later versions of the firmware. From what I have heard, it will come back in 2050. However, since I'll be 96 years old, I don't expect it to be a problem I will encounter.
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