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OpenVMS Hobbyist Program | VAX Systems Forums | VAX Hardware Forum
Author Gone -- my "spare" VAXstation 4000 model 60 system -- loaded(!)

Posts: 21
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Joined: 08.01.08
Posted on April 23 2008 23:17
I'm the original owner of a VAXstation 4000/60 that I purchased new -- for nearly US$20,000 -- in 1992 (when career-wise I stepped up from "post-doc" to "assistant professor"), which I now have at home. For the past month (and from now on) I'm booting it only rarely -- before that, it was almost "always on" (15 years) and for last 6+ years had been my HTTPD server (now I'm using an Alpha VMS system for that). Bottom line: these are well-made + highly-reliable machines, and in spite of their age can be expected to continue running (at CPU clock speed of 55 MHz, "slowly" by today's standards) for a long time....

Anyway, since I had been relying on my home VAXstation 4000/60, in about 2002 I purchased from eBay a similar unit to be my "spare" backup machine, just in case (I'm sure you know how little these sell for on eBay). I setup this backup unit at school and created a GUEST account for student logins. However, it never attracted much use, except for two weeks a year when I required a small handful to students use it to analyze data from a particular lab experiment. Although seldom used, the "spare" machine never gave me any problem either. But given that my primary unit at home is now entering "semi-retirement", I think it's time to find a new home for the "spare" backup machine.

So with that intro, here's a detailed description:

* DEC VAXstation 4000 / model 60 / OpenVMS workstation (VS46K-AD)

* 80Mb RAM (8Mb on motherboard, 4+4Mb in slots 0+1, 16+16Mb in slots 2+3, and 16+16Mb in slots 4+5 ... if you replace the 4+4 with 16+16, you can increase from current 80Mb to maximum of 104Mb).

* RZ35-C system disk (DKA300), 852Mb total, 58% used (42% free)

* 2nd internal ST15150 data disk (DKA100), 4.3Gb, 0% used (100% free)

* Boots OpenVMS VAX v7.2 from DKA300

* Includes VSxxx-GA mouse and LK401-AA rev. C01 US/UK keyboard

* For graphics, the internal video board supports TWO MONITORS (dual head), up to (I think) 1280x1024 x 256-colors. Original video cables included (custom connections at VAXstation end that fan-out to five BNC jacks at monitor end -- R,G,B,H,V ... sync on green).

* I have one 17-inch and one 19-inch Digital Equipment CRT monitor also (made by Sony Corp for DEC), for anyone interested in a true original "vintage" configuration. Local pickup in Los Angeles, CA, USA would be best as the monitors are both >heavy<. Note these old monitors are "fixed frequency" and won't work with just any PC video board, but when I last used them in 2004, both still worked okay with the VAXstatoin.

* Alternatively, I will provide instead two BNC-to-VGA (HD15) adaptors that attach to the five coax connectors at the monitor ends of the cables, and allow connecting to your standard PC video monitors. Standard PC monitors (or LCD screens) are generally "multi-sync" and have no problem adjusting to the VAXstation's fixed frequency video output ... just as long as your monitor(s) support "sync on green" ... most multisync should, but I suggest you check first if in doubt.

* I could also be persuaded to part with two external SCSI devices that are currently connected as part of this setup: one externally mounted RRD42 CD-ROM drive (SCSI, 512 byte sectors -- DKA400: under VMS), and one 2Gb (or 4Gb compressed) Exabyte 8mm tape drive (SCSI -- MKA0: under VMS) for backup purposes. Not having used either one in over 4 years, I can't guarantee they still work ... my guess is the CD-ROM still works, but if I had to guess I'd say the tape drive is iffy without a cleaning or possibly even a tune-up ... I just don't know.

* Hobbyist licenses for the available "spare" machine were last issued in 2004, so have been expired since 2005 ... (I did try to convince the school to sign-up with HP for free educational licenses, but to my knowledge this never happened, and being busy at the time, I didn't push it).

* Besides OpenVMS, most programming languages are pre-installed on the system disk (VAX Fortran, C, Pascal, and MACRO to name several I'm sure about). Install was from a Hobbyist media kit for OpenVMS 7.2, as I recall. For networking, TGV (now Process Software) MultiNet is installed, but its Hobbyist License will also need to be renewed.

*** Contact me if you are interested in this system. I would prefer receiving e-mail directly (see bottom of this post), rather than reply postings here (don't assume I'll check back here often). Preference will be given to (a) folks able to arrange for local pickup, but I am prepared to ship the VAXstation, CD-ROM, and 8mm tape drive at the recipient's expense; (b) hobbyists with sincere interest in computer programming under OpenVMS; (c) students or educators; and finally (d) any hobbyist programmer who currently have access to Alpha and/or Itanium VMS systems and might be willing, in return, to coach me once in awhile as I dabble over the next 3-4 months to migrate some data analysis software (Fortran and C) from the 32-bit VAX platform to one or the other 64-bit VMS platforms.

I'll post a follow-up reply here myself to announce the machine is no longer available.

If I don't hear from any interested hobbyists within a few weeks, I'll be listing it for sale on eBay. Until then, it's available to anyone here who is interested, for the price of shipping only (and hence "free" for local pickup in the LA area -- to be more specific, I'm near LAX).

Thanks everyone for being part of the OpenVMS hobbyist community, and for reading this post -- tell your friends !

Jim McCarthy
jkmccarthy at pacbell dot net
Edited by jkmccarthy on June 22 2008 15:33
Author RE: Available -- my "spare" VAXstation 4000 model 60 system -- loaded(!)

Posts: 21
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Joined: 08.01.08
Posted on June 22 2008 15:32
Scott now has the VAXstation 4000/60, keyboard, mouse, and video cables described above, and reports it booted up fine for him.

Best wishes,

-- Jim
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