[Slightly off-topic] Using a MacBook pro as a console for an Alphaserver 800 - VMS

This is a discussion on [Slightly off-topic] Using a MacBook pro as a console for an Alphaserver 800 - VMS ; I've recently acquired an old Alphaserver 800 that I intend to run VMS on. My only other machines in the house are Apple Macs, none with built in serial ports. I do however own a few null modem cables and ...

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Thread: [Slightly off-topic] Using a MacBook pro as a console for an Alphaserver 800

  1. [Slightly off-topic] Using a MacBook pro as a console for an Alphaserver 800

    I've recently acquired an old Alphaserver 800 that I intend to run VMS
    on. My only other machines in the house are Apple Macs, none with
    built in serial ports. I do however own a few null modem cables and am
    in the process of buying a USB serial adapter, with the view to
    running the Alphaserver headless in a closet (the other half is not as
    big a fan of old VMS boxes as I am, unfortunately) and simply using a
    Macbook Pro, a USB - serial adapter and a null modem cable to do any
    necessary console work.

    So my questions more or less come to this:
    - Which USB serial adapter do you recommend? Not all of them seem Mac
    compatible
    - Which serial port on the Alphaserver do I plug the null modem cable
    into?
    - Anything special that needs to be done in the SRM to make all this
    work?

    Finally, can anyone recommend a terminal program for OS X that does
    serial and works decently with VMS (esp. EVE).

    Thanks in advance,

    Sampsa Laine


  2. Re: [Slightly off-topic] Using a MacBook pro as a console for an Alphaserver 800

    In article <1187871599.745428.93710@l22g2000prc.googlegroups.c om>, sampsal@gmail.com writes:
    >
    >
    >I've recently acquired an old Alphaserver 800 that I intend to run VMS
    >on. My only other machines in the house are Apple Macs, none with
    >built in serial ports. I do however own a few null modem cables and am
    >in the process of buying a USB serial adapter, with the view to
    >running the Alphaserver headless in a closet (the other half is not as
    >big a fan of old VMS boxes as I am, unfortunately) and simply using a
    >Macbook Pro, a USB - serial adapter and a null modem cable to do any
    >necessary console work.
    >
    >So my questions more or less come to this:
    >- Which USB serial adapter do you recommend? Not all of them seem Mac
    >compatible


    I have a USB serial adapter I use with Mac. It's a Keyspan USB serial
    adapter.

    http://www.amazon.com/Keyspan-Speed-.../dp/B0000VYJRY



    >- Which serial port on the Alphaserver do I plug the null modem cable
    >into?


    Depends. If you want to use it as the console, then plug it into the
    console port. If you can't figure out which, connect it at 9600 baud
    with the Alpha powered up. If you see the >>>, you're found its con-
    sole. I believe that the port marked 1 and two arrows on the AS 800
    is the console port when the console environment variable is not set
    to graphics.


    >- Anything special that needs to be done in the SRM to make all this
    >work?


    Probably not.



    >Finally, can anyone recommend a terminal program for OS X that does
    >serial and works decently with VMS (esp. EVE).


    I have been using Kermit.

    I have a command aliased to use the Keyspan serial:

    serial kermit -y $HOME/.KeySerial

    The .KeySerial contains: (with debug logging)


    def YorNdebug
    def YorNlogit
    def LogFileName
    set quiet on
    set line /dev/tty.KeySerial1
    set port /dev/tty.KeySerial1
    set modem none
    set speed 9600
    set parity none
    set stop-bits 1
    set carrier-watch off
    set terminal cr-display normal
    ask YorNdebug {Debug Mode [Y/N]? }
    if equal "\m(YorNdebug)" "Y" {
    set terminal debug on
    echo Terminal set to Debug Mode
    echo
    ask YorNlogit {Log Session to File [Y/N]? }
    if equal "\m(YorNlogit)" "Y" {
    ask LogFileName {Log Session to: }
    log session \m(LogFileName)
    }
    }
    echo
    echo Connected to /dev/tty.KeySerial1 at 9600 baud
    echo Press Ctrl-\92 and then C to quit
    connect
    exit


    The .KeySerial contains: (without the debug logging)

    set quiet on
    set line /dev/tty.KeySerial1
    set port /dev/tty.KeySerial1
    set modem none
    set speed 9600
    set parity none
    set stop-bits 1
    set carrier-watch off
    set terminal cr-display normal
    echo
    echo Connected to /dev/tty.KeySerial1 at 9600 baud
    echo Press Ctrl-\92 and then C to quit
    connect
    exit

    Both scripts above Copyright 2005 by Brian Schenkenberger

    I used this as a sort of serial monitor for a problem I had to debug at
    one of the pharmaceuticals about a year ago, hence the "debug" features
    in the script. In fact, in doing this, I discovered a bug within Kermit
    which Frank da Cruz quickly corrected for me.


    I also have a BlueTooth serial connector. I would use it more often if
    is was capable of being powered off of the serial connector. I built a
    small circuit in a 9 pin connector which can, if the serial port it is
    connected to provides, supply power to the BlueTooth serial. If not, I
    need to use a wall-wart to power the BlueTooth serial... not a wireless
    solution form my P.O.V. Email me privately if you want to play with the
    BlueTooth serial and I'll fill you in more and give you a source. The
    Keyspan USB serial is far less problematic and I'd suggest you go with
    that as the BlueTooth is much pricier.


    --
    VAXman- A Bored Certified VMS Kernel Mode Hacker VAXman(at)TMESIS(dot)COM

    "Well my son, life is like a beanstalk, isn't it?"

    http://tmesis.com/drat.jpg

  3. Re: [Slightly off-topic] Using a MacBook pro as a console for an Alphaserver 800

    In article
    <1187871599.745428.93710@l22g2000prc.googlegroups.c om>,
    sampsal@gmail.com wrote:

    > I've recently acquired an old Alphaserver 800 that I intend to run VMS
    > on. My only other machines in the house are Apple Macs, none with
    > built in serial ports. I do however own a few null modem cables and am
    > in the process of buying a USB serial adapter, with the view to
    > running the Alphaserver headless in a closet (the other half is not as
    > big a fan of old VMS boxes as I am, unfortunately) and simply using a
    > Macbook Pro, a USB - serial adapter and a null modem cable to do any
    > necessary console work.
    >
    > So my questions more or less come to this:
    > - Which USB serial adapter do you recommend? Not all of them seem Mac
    > compatible
    > - Which serial port on the Alphaserver do I plug the null modem cable
    > into?
    > - Anything special that needs to be done in the SRM to make all this
    > work?
    >
    > Finally, can anyone recommend a terminal program for OS X that does
    > serial and works decently with VMS (esp. EVE).


    Try zterm


    But I would only suggest using the serial port to do console
    stuff, like that >>> prompt stuff.

    For using EVE, I would suggest firing up Mac OS X X11 (optional
    install from the Mac OS X 10.4 installation DVD). Then using the
    xterm that is started when you launch X11 run the command:

    ssh -X Alphas.address.mumble

    Now you start a DECwindows DECterm session with its display sent
    back to your Mac.

    I haven't started a DECwindows sessions since '95, so I can no
    longer remember the command for doing this, but I'm sure someone
    else here will know.

    But using Mac OS X and X11 is do every day, I just happen to be
    talking to Linux systems these days :-D

    Bob Harris

    > Thanks in advance,
    >
    > Sampsa Laine


  4. Re: [Slightly off-topic] Using a MacBook pro as a console for an Alphaserver 800

    In article , VAXman- @SendSpamHere.ORG
    says...
    > In article <1187871599.745428.93710@l22g2000prc.googlegroups.c om>, sampsal@gmail.com writes:
    > >
    > >
    > >I've recently acquired an old Alphaserver 800 that I intend to run VMS
    > >on. My only other machines in the house are Apple Macs, none with
    > >built in serial ports. I do however own a few null modem cables and am
    > >in the process of buying a USB serial adapter, with the view to
    > >running the Alphaserver headless in a closet (the other half is not as
    > >big a fan of old VMS boxes as I am, unfortunately) and simply using a
    > >Macbook Pro, a USB - serial adapter and a null modem cable to do any
    > >necessary console work.
    > >
    > >So my questions more or less come to this:


    [snip]

    >
    > >- Which serial port on the Alphaserver do I plug the null modem cable
    > >into?

    >
    > Depends. If you want to use it as the console, then plug it into the
    > console port. If you can't figure out which, connect it at 9600 baud
    > with the Alpha powered up. If you see the >>>, you're found its con-
    > sole. I believe that the port marked 1 and two arrows on the AS 800
    > is the console port when the console environment variable is not set
    > to graphics.
    >


    This depends on the particular AlphaServer model. I've not had an
    AS800, so Brian is surely correct about it, but in general this isn't
    a surefire technique to identify the console. I had a recent annoying
    experience with an ES40 system at a customer site 3000 miles away...
    (No wonder they put dozens of video cameras on the space station...)
    It has, IIRC, two DB9 ports and one MMJ port. At least one of the
    DB9's is a functioning console when you're talking to SRM (the console
    firmware), but once VMS starts booting, it uses only the "real" console,
    which was the MMJ. This particular Alpha had been powered off long
    enough that it couldn't remember what time it was and was prompting for
    the date and time, but the customer couldn't see it. All they knew was
    it wasn't booting.

    I think it is generally true, at least for the newer systems, if they
    have multiple serial ports, all of them can talk to SRM, but VMS uses
    the "right" one exclusively. (Once they succeeded in booting it, and
    VMS has enabled logins, they could log in from the "wrong" serial
    ports, but you don't see the OPCOM messages there, nor other system
    startup messages. If "$ show terminal" reveals it to be OPA0:, you've
    got the right port, if it's TTA0: or TTA1: or TTB0:, it's the wrong
    port.)

    [snip]

    --
    John

  5. Re: [Slightly off-topic] Using a MacBook pro as a console for anAlphaserver 800

    sampsal@gmail.com wrote:
    > I've recently acquired an old Alphaserver 800 that I intend to run VMS
    > on. My only other machines in the house are Apple Macs, none with
    > built in serial ports. I do however own a few null modem cables and am
    > in the process of buying a USB serial adapter, with the view to
    > running the Alphaserver headless in a closet (the other half is not as
    > big a fan of old VMS boxes as I am, unfortunately) and simply using a
    > Macbook Pro, a USB - serial adapter and a null modem cable to do any
    > necessary console work.
    >
    > So my questions more or less come to this:
    > - Which USB serial adapter do you recommend? Not all of them seem Mac
    > compatible
    > - Which serial port on the Alphaserver do I plug the null modem cable
    > into?
    > - Anything special that needs to be done in the SRM to make all this
    > work?
    >
    > Finally, can anyone recommend a terminal program for OS X that does
    > serial and works decently with VMS (esp. EVE).
    >
    > Thanks in advance,
    >
    > Sampsa Laine
    >


    The console port COM1 is the MMJ connector on the rear I/O panel. The
    SRM commands's:

    >>> set console serial
    >>> init


    will need to be issued to use the serial console.

    I found a copy of the user manual at:



    Google is yout friend. 8-)

    Jeff

    ----== Posted via Newsfeeds.Com - Unlimited-Unrestricted-Secure Usenet News==----
    http://www.newsfeeds.com The #1 Newsgroup Service in the World! 120,000+ Newsgroups
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  6. Re: Using a MacBook pro as a console for an Alphaserver 800

    On Aug 23, 4:19 pm, samp...@gmail.com wrote:
    > Finally, can anyone recommend a terminal program for OS X that does
    > serial and works decently with VMS (esp. EVE).


    For my everyday work on VMS, I use Ericom's PowerTerm - quite good at
    emulating VT400 & VT300 series terminals, EVE keypad works like a
    charm etc. Mine is for Windows but an OS X version is available too:
    http://www.ericom.com/ptimac.asp .


  7. Re: Using a MacBook pro as a console for an Alphaserver 800

    > > >- Which serial port on the Alphaserver do I plug the null modem cable
    > > >into?

    [snip]
    > It has, IIRC, two DB9 ports and one MMJ port. At least one of the
    > DB9's is a functioning console when you're talking to SRM (the console
    > firmware), but once VMS starts booting, it uses only the "real" console,
    > which was the MMJ.

    [snip]
    > I think it is generally true, at least for the newer systems, if they
    > have multiple serial ports, all of them can talk to SRM, but VMS uses
    > the "right" one exclusively. (Once they succeeded in booting it, and
    > VMS has enabled logins, they could log in from the "wrong" serial
    > ports, but you don't see the OPCOM messages there, nor other system
    > startup messages. If "$ show terminal" reveals it to be OPA0:, you've
    > got the right port, if it's TTA0: or TTA1: or TTB0:, it's the wrong
    > port.)


    Yeah, confirmed, the COM1 port is a "semi-console" . I've plugged a
    null modem cable between that and a Keyspan USB serial adapter and it
    works, to a degree (using Kermit and Vaxman's scripts in this thread),
    i.e. you get the SRM ">>>" prompt and can boot the system but then the
    next thing that is shown is the login prompt once the system is up.

    For my needs, this is enough but it would be nice to see the boot up
    and OPCOM messages, I ordered one off Ebay, hopefully it works

    Sampsa


  8. Re: Using a MacBook pro as a console for an Alphaserver 800

    sampsal@gmail.com wrote:

    > Yeah, confirmed, the COM1 port is a "semi-console" . I've plugged a
    > null modem cable between that and a Keyspan USB serial adapter and it
    > works, to a degree (using Kermit and Vaxman's scripts in this thread),
    > i.e. you get the SRM ">>>" prompt and can boot the system but then the
    > next thing that is shown is the login prompt once the system is up.
    >
    > For my needs, this is enough but it would be nice to see the boot up
    > and OPCOM messages, I ordered one off Ebay, hopefully it works


    what does (SRM) >>> "show console" show ? IIRC, something like what you
    saw, happens, if the console is set to graphics - you can get it, if you
    really want ;-) - but the system boot goes to the graphics console.

    >>> set console serial


    (as Steven M. Schweda suggested before) would do the trick, then.

    Albrecht

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