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  • Christian R. Fandt
    Hello folks, It s been quite awhile since I last posted anything (30 Jan, 2008 from what I have in my outbox message archives :-/ ). My work life has settled
    Message 1 of 3 , Jan 31, 2011
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      Hello folks,

      It's been quite awhile since I last posted anything (30 Jan, 2008 from what
      I have in my outbox message archives :-/ ). My work life has settled down
      somewhat now that I'm back into an engineering office setting. So, I feel
      it may be interesting to some on the list to report new finds that I
      recently acquired. Always interesting to some of us to see what others can
      turn up. Recall I'm way out in far western NY, where deep snow is a
      _normal_ thing, so have no chance to be too involved with anything out East
      @ InfoAge.

      Last Fall the plant I work at was on a big kick to sort out excess, old
      unused/obsolete "stuff" just laying around - primarily to divest ourselves
      of crap that has piled up in cabinets, on shelves, in nooks, crannies, etc.
      over the past decade or so. Big company with a one million square-foot
      building, therefore less attention to clearing out stuff like one would see
      done in small-to-medium size companies. Basically as a safety measure to
      spread out work areas and gain efficient storage areas.

      Anyway, I had made good acquaintances in our Gaging Lab over the past year
      and told them what some of my strong interests are - including history of
      technology and of communications which is my main focus. I told them about
      my radio and test equipment collection (some of the folks in NJARC are
      fellow collectors in the AWA (see URL in sig below)) plus my keen interest
      in industrial computing and suchlike.

      One day we were talking about some unrelated old equipment and I asked if
      they knew of any old electronic test equipment being sorted out. "Ahhh,
      come with me Chris..." was the response. With that I was taken up to the
      "attic" of the plant where different departments and teams store "stuff"
      (basically, it's the morgue). "Here's our Gage Lab storage area, take what
      you want, it'll help us clean out."

      Ohh, goodness. I had sudden dreams of scoring DEC hardware (we were once a
      completely DEC-run plant back in the VAX heydays), some Data General stuff
      (I found tantalizing traces of DG presence in some other areas of this huge
      building), earliest Allen-Bradley PLCs, VMEbus-based industrial
      controllers, paper, software, etc., etc.

      However, the outcome was not quite to my dreams but nevertheless to my
      liking. Most of the stuff found up there was tired, old worn out electronic
      and mechanical gaging systems (we make heavy duty diesel engines for the
      biggest trucks on the highway) but a few gems were floating upon the surface.

      Well, I scored an HP 9000-310 workstation (no keyboard found) with the 9121
      dual floppy and monochrome monitor plus the associated A/D signal
      conditioning electronics from a Sheffield Measurements Surface Analyzer
      system (1987-88 vintage), two Epson HX-20 machines (one still in its
      original carrying case) that had Taylor-Hobson labels affixed (big gaging
      company), one Toshiba T3200 (an early portable) and, the best of the pile,
      a DEC AlphaStation 255/233 with a DEC StorageWorks enclosure with tape and
      hard disk, DEC color monitor and some other bits. The next day, he took me
      up to a smaller storage area above the Gage Lab and found a pile of HP 85
      manuals and a DEC VT420 monochrome terminal. More toys!

      I collected the gear up on a cart, got a material pass for scrapped
      material signed off and loaded it into my car one day after work. Took
      another several days to get the items into our house though. You see, Bev
      would often give me the old fisheye and ask "Just what are you going to do
      with that?" whenever I dragged home some sizeable non-radio goodie. Antique
      radios are just fine with her. She would help me haul THEM in and find a
      spot in my shop or collection, but most other stuff? Inquisition time...

      Should have seen her reaction back in July 1998 when I drove into the
      driveway in a 22' truck stuffed absolutely _full_ of rescued DEC PDP-11s, a
      couple of early VAXen, disk drives in the short cabinets, a "Grey Wall" of
      VMS 5.5 manuals, "Orange Walls" of RT-11 and RSX-11 manuals, some software,
      much other bits, etc., etc. Filled the garage full plus part of the
      basement and my office. Still have about 1/4 of it all.

      The HP/Sheffield gear had spent its life out on the shop floor on the
      crankshaft machining line. About ten years I estimate. The environment on a
      shop floor in a factory like this is, to say the very least, not good for
      fan-cooled electronic equipment. Some of you who worked in metal machining
      factories either as an employee or tech support visitor certainly know
      this. There was a gooey brown coating of, basically, condensed machine tool
      coolant vapor covering everything, especially on the insides in the path of
      fan-forced airflow. There usually is a very low concentration aerosol of
      said stuff in the plant atmosphere all the time when production is running.
      Before I even laid a power cord on anything I carefully disassembled each
      unit, cleaned with a strong non-ionic spray cleaner and small natural
      bristle brush, and rinsed very well in very warm water. Dried for several
      days in front of a fan. A paper label was carefully protected from the H2O.
      Even after careful checkout and cleaning, the PSU would not startup.

      Most likely died from overheating. Both fans in the 9000-310 chassis were
      gunked up so much from that aerosol vapor collected over the years they
      quit working. Most equipment runs 24/7 in the whole plant because of two-
      or three-shift operations. Had to scrape the goo away with a knife just to
      turn the fans by hand. Between two and three millimeters of that gunk
      coated the ID of the boxer fans and eventually interfered with the tips of
      the fan blades. Same thickness was on the CPU board at the outlet of the
      fans. Corrosion from that water-soluble gunk on connectors may (hopefully)
      be the actual problem, though. Need time to look closer. Took six to seven
      hours to cleanup that stuff just in that 310 chassis. I've got a pristine,
      probably unused, mil surplus 9000-375 in the collection which has the same
      chassis and PSU and can act as a substitution parts source.

      The AlphaStation and StorageWorks boxen were checked over well, including
      the PSU, and cleaned up before applying power. Years of dust from the
      metallurgical lab's x-ray backscatter analysis machine laboratory. The dust
      almost completely clogged the CPU cooling fan and looked very uniform and
      white. Almost like cotton lint from white lab coats. No keyboard was found.
      Luckily, I found online that a PC keyboard and mouse will work. The system
      came up just fine after setting for what they figure was about five years.
      Found it runs OpenVMS Alpha version 6.2-1H3. I've long hoped to get into
      using VMS/OpenVMS on some older VAXen I have. I have a MicroVAX II which
      needs a hard disk and a VAX 11/730 which needs any mass storage, both from
      The Great Rescue of '98. But now I have actual gear running to invest in
      the OpenVMS Hobby License. (I think Alpha falls under the hobby licensing
      program. Gotta check for sure though.)

      I never used DECWindows before and I find that some flavors of Linux I
      tinkered with from mid-2000s has a GUI that's similar (KDE, I think?)
      Certainly a different look than windoze.

      Anybody in the group willing to answer a few questions and guide me on
      OpenVMS occasionally? For example, will DECNet play with peer-to-peer
      windoze networks? Is there an online source of version 6.2 manuals? I don't
      see (so far) any interesting applications such as prog. languages, etc on
      the machine. It was probably just locked down with the apps it was
      dedicated in managing (x-ray backscatter system). Boring. If I'm able to
      get the Hobby License for the Alpha, then mans and languages will come with
      it. But what can I do with this thing to have fun otherwise :-/ ?

      This is too long. But in closing, I do have my eye on a distro of OpenVMS
      7.2 in its box found in another group's area of that attic plus a DEC
      4000-400 VAXServer setting in an area that looks like it might be our
      engineering group's pile.

      Have fun with your stuff everybody. I will. It's great learning about older
      technology and I'm confident virtually all of you feel the same.

      -Chris F.


      =======================================================
      Christian R. and Beverly J. Fandt
      31 Houston Avenue Electronic/Electrical Historian
      Jamestown, New York Phone: +716-488-1722
      14701-2627 USA email: cfandt@...
      Members of Antique Wireless Association
      URL: http://www.antiquewireless.org/
    • B Degnan
      Chris, I don t remember if I have met you personally, but thanks for checking in, sounds like interesting projects are ahead. I have not used any VAX stuff
      Message 2 of 3 , Jan 31, 2011
      • 0 Attachment
        Chris,
        I don't remember if I have met you personally, but thanks for
        checking in, sounds like interesting projects are ahead. I have not
        used any VAX stuff since 1994, it's been a while. I only have a few
        bits and pieces, nothing new. Are you planning to come to VCF East this May?
        Bill

        At 08:48 PM 1/31/2011, you wrote:
        >Hello folks,
        >
        >It's been quite awhile since I last posted anything (30 Jan, 2008 from what
        >I have in my outbox message archives :-/ ). My work life has settled down
        >somewhat now that I'm back into an engineering office setting. So, I feel
        >it may be interesting to some on the list to report new finds that I
        >recently acquired. Always interesting to some of us to see what others can
        >turn up. Recall I'm way out in far western NY, where deep snow is a
        >_normal_ thing, so have no chance to be too involved with anything out East
        >@ InfoAge.
        >
        >Last Fall the plant I work at was on a big kick to sort out excess, old
        >unused/obsolete "stuff" just laying around - primarily to divest ourselves
        >of crap that has piled up in cabinets, on shelves, in nooks, crannies, etc.
        >over the past decade or so. Big company with a one million square-foot
        >building, therefore less attention to clearing out stuff like one would see
        >done in small-to-medium size companies. Basically as a safety measure to
        >spread out work areas and gain efficient storage areas.
        >
        >Anyway, I had made good acquaintances in our Gaging Lab over the past year
        >and told them what some of my strong interests are - including history of
        >technology and of communications which is my main focus. I told them about
        >my radio and test equipment collection (some of the folks in NJARC are
        >fellow collectors in the AWA (see URL in sig below)) plus my keen interest
        >in industrial computing and suchlike.
        >
        >One day we were talking about some unrelated old equipment and I asked if
        >they knew of any old electronic test equipment being sorted out. "Ahhh,
        >come with me Chris..." was the response. With that I was taken up to the
        >"attic" of the plant where different departments and teams store "stuff"
        >(basically, it's the morgue). "Here's our Gage Lab storage area, take what
        >you want, it'll help us clean out."
        >
        >Ohh, goodness. I had sudden dreams of scoring DEC hardware (we were once a
        >completely DEC-run plant back in the VAX heydays), some Data General stuff
        >(I found tantalizing traces of DG presence in some other areas of this huge
        >building), earliest Allen-Bradley PLCs, VMEbus-based industrial
        >controllers, paper, software, etc., etc.
        >
        >However, the outcome was not quite to my dreams but nevertheless to my
        >liking. Most of the stuff found up there was tired, old worn out electronic
        >and mechanical gaging systems (we make heavy duty diesel engines for the
        >biggest trucks on the highway) but a few gems were floating upon the surface.
        >
        >Well, I scored an HP 9000-310 workstation (no keyboard found) with the 9121
        >dual floppy and monochrome monitor plus the associated A/D signal
        >conditioning electronics from a Sheffield Measurements Surface Analyzer
        >system (1987-88 vintage), two Epson HX-20 machines (one still in its
        >original carrying case) that had Taylor-Hobson labels affixed (big gaging
        >company), one Toshiba T3200 (an early portable) and, the best of the pile,
        >a DEC AlphaStation 255/233 with a DEC StorageWorks enclosure with tape and
        >hard disk, DEC color monitor and some other bits. The next day, he took me
        >up to a smaller storage area above the Gage Lab and found a pile of HP 85
        >manuals and a DEC VT420 monochrome terminal. More toys!
        >
        >I collected the gear up on a cart, got a material pass for scrapped
        >material signed off and loaded it into my car one day after work. Took
        >another several days to get the items into our house though. You see, Bev
        >would often give me the old fisheye and ask "Just what are you going to do
        >with that?" whenever I dragged home some sizeable non-radio goodie. Antique
        >radios are just fine with her. She would help me haul THEM in and find a
        >spot in my shop or collection, but most other stuff? Inquisition time...
        >
        >Should have seen her reaction back in July 1998 when I drove into the
        >driveway in a 22' truck stuffed absolutely _full_ of rescued DEC PDP-11s, a
        >couple of early VAXen, disk drives in the short cabinets, a "Grey Wall" of
        >VMS 5.5 manuals, "Orange Walls" of RT-11 and RSX-11 manuals, some software,
        >much other bits, etc., etc. Filled the garage full plus part of the
        >basement and my office. Still have about 1/4 of it all.
        >
        >The HP/Sheffield gear had spent its life out on the shop floor on the
        >crankshaft machining line. About ten years I estimate. The environment on a
        >shop floor in a factory like this is, to say the very least, not good for
        >fan-cooled electronic equipment. Some of you who worked in metal machining
        >factories either as an employee or tech support visitor certainly know
        >this. There was a gooey brown coating of, basically, condensed machine tool
        >coolant vapor covering everything, especially on the insides in the path of
        >fan-forced airflow. There usually is a very low concentration aerosol of
        >said stuff in the plant atmosphere all the time when production is running.
        >Before I even laid a power cord on anything I carefully disassembled each
        >unit, cleaned with a strong non-ionic spray cleaner and small natural
        >bristle brush, and rinsed very well in very warm water. Dried for several
        >days in front of a fan. A paper label was carefully protected from the H2O.
        >Even after careful checkout and cleaning, the PSU would not startup.
        >
        >Most likely died from overheating. Both fans in the 9000-310 chassis were
        >gunked up so much from that aerosol vapor collected over the years they
        >quit working. Most equipment runs 24/7 in the whole plant because of two-
        >or three-shift operations. Had to scrape the goo away with a knife just to
        >turn the fans by hand. Between two and three millimeters of that gunk
        >coated the ID of the boxer fans and eventually interfered with the tips of
        >the fan blades. Same thickness was on the CPU board at the outlet of the
        >fans. Corrosion from that water-soluble gunk on connectors may (hopefully)
        >be the actual problem, though. Need time to look closer. Took six to seven
        >hours to cleanup that stuff just in that 310 chassis. I've got a pristine,
        >probably unused, mil surplus 9000-375 in the collection which has the same
        >chassis and PSU and can act as a substitution parts source.
        >
        >The AlphaStation and StorageWorks boxen were checked over well, including
        >the PSU, and cleaned up before applying power. Years of dust from the
        >metallurgical lab's x-ray backscatter analysis machine laboratory. The dust
        >almost completely clogged the CPU cooling fan and looked very uniform and
        >white. Almost like cotton lint from white lab coats. No keyboard was found.
        >Luckily, I found online that a PC keyboard and mouse will work. The system
        >came up just fine after setting for what they figure was about five years.
        >Found it runs OpenVMS Alpha version 6.2-1H3. I've long hoped to get into
        >using VMS/OpenVMS on some older VAXen I have. I have a MicroVAX II which
        >needs a hard disk and a VAX 11/730 which needs any mass storage, both from
        >The Great Rescue of '98. But now I have actual gear running to invest in
        >the OpenVMS Hobby License. (I think Alpha falls under the hobby licensing
        >program. Gotta check for sure though.)
        >
        >I never used DECWindows before and I find that some flavors of Linux I
        >tinkered with from mid-2000s has a GUI that's similar (KDE, I think?)
        >Certainly a different look than windoze.
        >
        >Anybody in the group willing to answer a few questions and guide me on
        >OpenVMS occasionally? For example, will DECNet play with peer-to-peer
        >windoze networks? Is there an online source of version 6.2 manuals? I don't
        >see (so far) any interesting applications such as prog. languages, etc on
        >the machine. It was probably just locked down with the apps it was
        >dedicated in managing (x-ray backscatter system). Boring. If I'm able to
        >get the Hobby License for the Alpha, then mans and languages will come with
        >it. But what can I do with this thing to have fun otherwise :-/ ?
        >
        >This is too long. But in closing, I do have my eye on a distro of OpenVMS
        >7.2 in its box found in another group's area of that attic plus a DEC
        >4000-400 VAXServer setting in an area that looks like it might be our
        >engineering group's pile.
        >
        >Have fun with your stuff everybody. I will. It's great learning about older
        >technology and I'm confident virtually all of you feel the same.
        >
        >-Chris F.
        >
        >
        >=======================================================
        >Christian R. and Beverly J. Fandt
        >31 Houston Avenue Electronic/Electrical Historian
        >Jamestown, New York Phone: +716-488-1722
        >14701-2627 USA email: cfandt@...
        > Members of Antique Wireless Association
        > URL: http://www.antiquewireless.org/
        >
        >
        >
        >------------------------------------
        >
        >Yahoo! Groups Links
        >
        >
        >
      • system@great-escape.tmesis.com
        ... I know one or two things about VMS. ;) DECnet will play nicely with other DECnet. WEENDOZE networking? Gack! Manuals are on-line at
        Message 3 of 3 , Jan 31, 2011
        • 0 Attachment
          >Anybody in the group willing to answer a few questions and guide me on
          >OpenVMS occasionally? For example, will DECNet play with peer-to-peer
          >windoze networks? Is there an online source of version 6.2 manuals? I don't
          >see (so far) any interesting applications such as prog. languages, etc on
          >the machine. It was probably just locked down with the apps it was
          >dedicated in managing (x-ray backscatter system). Boring. If I'm able to
          >get the Hobby License for the Alpha, then mans and languages will come with
          >it. But what can I do with this thing to have fun otherwise :-/ ?

          I know one or two things about VMS. ;)

          DECnet will play nicely with other DECnet. WEENDOZE networking? Gack!

          Manuals are on-line at http://h71000.www7.hp.com/doc/os84_index.html

          Hobbyist licensing applies to all three VMS platforms. You can get
          PAKs for your Alpha. See the OpenVMS FAQ.



          >This is too long. But in closing, I do have my eye on a distro of OpenVMS
          >7.2 in its box found in another group's area of that attic plus a DEC
          >4000-400 VAXServer setting in an area that looks like it might be our
          >engineering group's pile.

          Whatever you may need, I've probably got! ;)


          While you're perusing the on-line docs, read through this for reference:

          http://h71000.www7.hp.com/doc/84final/9996/9996pro_233.html#brass_103

          and names! ;)
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