From: "Alistair J. Ross"

> >"VAXStation 3100" is less complete than it could be. If it doesn't
> >say "Mxx" on the front, it's probably a 30 or 40 (the oldest).

>
> Nope, it doesn't say anything. Big grey box with Digital VaxStation 3100.
> That's the lot.


Ok. If it's about 10cm (4 inches) high, it's probably a Model 30.
If it looks as if it can hold full-height drives, it's probably a Model
40. There's normally an actual model number on the back.

> Not that interested with this box anyway so no biggie,
> it's just a basic workstation (or so I believe).


It probably has better SCSI capability than the Q-bus system. This
capability may become valuable as you get further along.

> > Eventually, you may wish to get a Hobbyist CD-ROM kit and licenses,
> >and do a fresh installation, instead of using whatever was left by the
> >previous owner. (See the FAQ.)

>
> Alas, that's not going to be a realistic possibility. This beast is of
> the vintage just prior to CD-ROM.


See SCSI note, above. Actually, there was a Q-bus card (KRQ50?) which
connected to a non-SCSI CD-ROM drive, but they're rare, and the
associated CD-ROM drive (RRD50?) was no great prize, either.

> It contains one TK-70 tape drive and
> two noisy sounding hard drives,


See SCSI note, above. Cheap, large, working SCSI disk drives are
also commonly available.

> it also has 2 add on boards with what
> look like Centronics-style ports on them. I'm not sure what these are for
> yet.


Look for "M" numbers on the card handles. Some cards also have info
stamped into their metal frames. Given an "M" number, Google can
usually find useful info. It was a popular connector, used for SCSI and
serial port cards, among other things.

> I would also imagine that installation of an operating system the
> size of VMS (even an old one) would still be impossible via Serial Link
> at 19200bps.


You may be able to find someone local (more than I, anyway) who could
supply TK50 (or TK70) tapes for a classical (that is, slow) VMS
installation from tape. Or you can make a cluster with the
SCSI-equipped VAXstation. (OS installation over a serial line may not
be practical, but you can make a DECnet link over one. Ethernet'd be
faster, though.)

> Once I've managed to break into this thing, the next thing I will want to
> do is see if I can get it to play on my Ethernet based network. I'm
> guessing at the moment it'll only speak DecNET. I don't even know whether
> VMS was designed to speak anything else than DecNET, or how compatible
> other OS's are with DECNet (I believe there is some OSS implementation
> now available for Linux on Freshmeat), however I guess I'll find as much
> information in the FAQ.


That's only software. TCP/IP kits (free-to-hobbyist, even) are
available from multiple sources.

Do a hardware inventory, and find out with what you're working.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Steven M. Schweda sms@antinode-org
382 South Warwick Street (+1) 651-699-9818
Saint Paul MN 55105-2547