Hobbyist program and using a vaxstation 4000 VLC with OpenVMS for vintage computing purposes


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Hobbyist program and using a vaxstation 4000 VLC with OpenVMS for vintage computing purposes

Post by floogy » Sat Dec 30, 2023 9:07 am

Hi, I yesterday bought a vaxstation 4000 with a running OpenVMS 6.1.

It's headless, and I eventually buy a Terminal like Televideo tvi 912b, to connect it via serial line and rs232 to the vaxstation.

I tried to register to the OpenVMS hobbyist forum, but that registration seems to go nowhere, and I get a blank page after sending the form and no email was sent I think.

I read, that there are no longer vax licenses for the hobbyist program.

So can I upgrade with the license that will be shipped with that purchased vaxstation for free to newer OpenVMS versions?

As far as I understand, only alpha, itanium, x86_64 and NOT vax is supported by the successor of the hobbyist program.

So what can I do?


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Re: Hobbyist program and using a vaxstation 4000 VLC with OpenVMS for vintage computing purposes

Post by floogy » Mon Jan 01, 2024 11:40 am

I currently try to find a console cable with RJ12 6p6c MMJ plug and either rs232 serial dsub 9 or 25 or USB plug on the other side, to connect it to a PC.

I think for a vintage hardware terminal a rs232 dsub 25 plug will be necessary, right?

But that seems to be somewhat hard to find. The rj12 6p6c plugs seem always be with the clip in the middle instead to the left side as with the special DEC type rj12. Am I right?

But I found some plugs to crimp on a flat cable that are like the DEC.

I may find me a serial or USB cable and crimp that myself. I then need some pin outs.
Last edited by floogy on Mon Jan 01, 2024 11:44 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Hobbyist program and using a vaxstation 4000 VLC with OpenVMS for vintage computing purposes

Post by martin » Mon Jan 01, 2024 11:59 am

sms wrote:
Mon Jan 01, 2024 10:38 am

Code: Select all

> [...]  I've a feeling that SMG$ doesn't support VT52, but I could be
> wrong there.

   You could be.  I've a document:

      https://docs.vmssoftware.com/vsi-openvms-rtl-screen-management-smg-manual/#non_dec_terminals

ITS $ search SYS$SYSTEM:SMGTERMS.TXT vt5
!07-Mar-1995    LAL     Update VT500 to include ANSI_COLOR and DEC_CRT_5.
!05-Oct-1993    JSY     Add VT500_SERIES terminal
!                       Added VT55, VT101, VT105, and VT131.
!                       Fixed misteaaks in VT100 and VT52 definitions.
<snip>
Thanks for the update. We'd got rid of the blessed thing by then and had substituted an old VT1XX which didn't meet some regulation or other for desktop use. It was about then that the plotter was changed and didn't need the control terminal, I honestly can't remember exact dates from 30 years ago!
Martin
  • Retired System Manager: VMS/UNIX/UNICOS/Linux.
  • Started on a VAX 11/782 in 1984 with VMS 3.6.


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Re: Hobbyist program and using a vaxstation 4000 VLC with OpenVMS for vintage computing purposes

Post by sms » Mon Jan 01, 2024 2:43 pm

Code: Select all

> I think for a vintage hardware terminal a rs232 dsub 25 plug will be
> necessary, right?

   I can't speak for all old terminals, but I'd expect that.  My
(seldom/never-used) VT220 has a 25-pin male for RS-232.

>  But I found some plugs to crimp on a flat cable that are like the
> DEC.

   Did you also find a crimping tool to match?

   On a few occasions, I've carved the clip on a normal RJ12 plug so
that it could be used as an MMJ plug.  With about half the plastic gone,
the result was not mechanically strong, but it worked better than an
RJ12 with its whole clip cut off.

> [...] I then need some pin outs.

   Web search?  I'd be amazed if the info isn't out there.  As for DTE
v. DCE, a voltmeter can usually tell the difference between the strong
(12V?) signal on an output from the weak (near-zero-V?) on an input. 
I'd measure before soldering.  For many purposes, I'd expect a
data-lines-only connection to work, so I might not worry much about the
control lines.

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Re: Hobbyist program and using a vaxstation 4000 VLC with OpenVMS for vintage computing purposes

Post by martin » Mon Jan 01, 2024 4:00 pm

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serial_port#Pinouts for pinouts. Most of the VTs we had only used pins 1,2,3 and 7 (and not always 1) and were set up for XON/XOFF for the handshake. Do watch out for DTE/DCE issues, you might need to swap 2 & 3, but shouldn't if connecting a VT directly to a computer.

Edit: I've also just found this website: https://www.lammertbies.nl/comm/cable/dec-mmj then may be of use.
Last edited by martin on Mon Jan 01, 2024 4:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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  • Started on a VAX 11/782 in 1984 with VMS 3.6.


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Re: Hobbyist program and using a vaxstation 4000 VLC with OpenVMS for vintage computing purposes

Post by floogy » Mon Jan 01, 2024 5:22 pm

Thank you for your help. Here is a crimping tool which also supports rj12 6p6c with a left bolt (mmj). Sorry I 'm not at all familiar with the naming scheme or terminology. https://www.reichelt.de/de/de/crimpzang ... nbc=1&&r=1

I found that information in a German forum for saving old computers (VzEkC e.V.). I also began a thread over there.
https://forum.classic-computing.de/foru ... post451956

There are Dec mmj plugs for crimping, also DB9 female to rj12 6p6c.

I may also buy a DB9 male to USB with a FTDI Chip ft232rl with windows and Linux drivers to connect to a laptop and use either putty, cygwin or Linux terminal emulation.
Last edited by floogy on Mon Jan 01, 2024 5:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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