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DEC 3000 AXP SRM: Keys typed into LK401 not recognized correctly

 
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Occasional Advisor

DEC 3000 AXP SRM: Keys typed into LK401 not recognized correctly

Hello!

Last weekend I tried booting my old DEC 3000 AXP Model 600. Unfortunately it did not boot anymore. After conducting the power-on self tests recognizing SCSI, memory, keyboard and mouse it tried loading something from the boot drive and failed with some "no such device" error. So I suspected a dead hard drive. I then wanted to enter a "show device" command at the >>> prompt via the LK401 keyboard connected to the box but the keys that I typed were not recognized correctly! When I entered an 'a' the character ',' got echoed on the monitor. The key 'd' acted like a backspace and the key '0' acted like the enter key. What's going on there? Is the SRM corrupted? How can I reload it from CD when I can't issue the "boot dka400" from the >>> prompt? Is it correct that there is no way to replace the NVRAM battery which is supposed to be dead after 23 years?

Regards,

Jörg

 

6 REPLIES 6
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Honored Contributor

Re: DEC 3000 AXP SRM: Keys typed into LK401 not recognized correctly

   I've never touched one of these, so I know nothing, but I'll grasp at
a straw...

> [...] the LK401 keyboard connected to the box [...]

   Is the keyboard connected to the (VAXstation-like) "Keyboard/Mouse
Cable" (a thick cable with a small, two-hole box at one end), which goes
to a D-15 connector on the system box, or is it plugged directly into
some (ill-fitting?) [M]MJ connector on the system box?

> [...] Is the SRM corrupted? [...]

   I doubt it, but what do I know?

   I'd investigate using a terminal/emulator connected to the (MMJ)
Alternate Console/Printer/Communications Port.  Play with "S3", the
Alternate Console Switch, as needed.

> [...] Is it correct that there is no way to replace the NVRAM battery
> which is supposed to be dead after 23 years?

   The critical clock/NVRAM chip may still be available.  I have dim
recollections of surgical interventions to replace the Li cell in some
such devices.

   I found a "DEC 3000 Model 600/600S/700 AXP Owner's Guide" at:

http://manx-docs.org/collections/antonio/dec/MDS-2000-01/cd1/ALPHA/SNDPLOGB.PDF

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Respected Contributor

Re: DEC 3000 AXP SRM: Keys typed into LK401 not recognized correctly

IF you've got a "workstation" with a monitor, keyboard and mouse then the problem could be the keyboard itself, its cable, the keyboard/mouse cable or something inside the unit.  I'd start by replacing the keyboard to see if that helps or changes nothing.  If nothing changes then move closer to the system, the keyboard/mouse cable.  Try to reseat it first and retry your boot.  IF you've got a "server" system then your console is probably a VT terminal and you could try the same sequence there.  Start with the keyboard, then the cable from the terminal to the host, then the VT or emulator...depending on what you're using.

When was the last time you booted the system?  Has anything been resting on the LK401?  Maybe some keys are stuck inside because of that?  You could, possibly (if workstation) bypass the monitor and connect a VT to the alternate console port as a test to see if that's any better.  I doubt it's the SRM too, I don't think you'd get as far as you did in the self test if that were the problem.  For the really old h/w it's always best to have plenty of spares.

bob

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Occasional Advisor

Re: DEC 3000 AXP SRM: Keys typed into LK401 not recognized correctly

Hi Steven,

thanks for your reply. The LK401 is connected to a Keyboard/Mouse-Cable with a D-15 connector. Since I also have a VAXstation 3100 with also comes with a LK401 I already tried the other keyboard, but using the same cable with the D-15 plugged into the 3000. Results were the same.. So it seems like the problem is with the adapter cable?

I also thought of using a pc as a terminal emulator with a null modem cable connected to the secondary console port. The problem here is that I don't have a suitable adapter cable.

Thanks for the link to the DEC3000M600 owner's manual, I already found that :-)

Highlighted
Occasional Advisor

Re: DEC 3000 AXP SRM: Keys typed into LK401 not recognized correctly

Hi Bob,

the system is a workstation with a framebuffer. It has been sleeping for about 5 years now. When I last booted it everything was fine. On this machine I have never ever used the SRM though, it always booted right into the operating system. A load of other keyboards was sittin on the LK401 while the system was sleeping, but since I tested it with another LK401 I guess that the problem is either in the cable or somewhere inside the I/O module...

I got it off of ebay some 15 years ago. Back then it was relatively easy to get the DEC3000 and AlphaStation 255 and such. Right now there's only one (!) box for sale and it's offered for ~ $1.500 which is freaking unbelievable. Needless to say that I didn't buy enough spares back then, I only got a DEC3000, an AlphaStation255, a Personal DECstation 5000 and a VAXstation 3100... classical equipment from the golden age of workstations. The 255 has an easily replaceable CR2032 battery and it's feeling fine. Much to my surprise the DECstation 5000 is also feeling perfectly well. Only the DEC3000, the first incarnation of the first 64bit alpha processor workstation, is giving me trouble. Haven't started the vax yet.

 

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HPE Pro

Re: DEC 3000 AXP SRM: Keys typed into LK401 not recognized correctly

Hi,

Please Connect a terminal to the console port of the DECserver then power up the terminal.

You need to configure the terminal to operate with  Baud rate = 9600, Parity= None, Stop bit = 1 and Bits per character = 8.  Please refer to the terminal user's guide if you need help setting up the terminal parameters.

Re-Initialize the DECserver console terminal, If needed.

If nothing works, you can try changing the keyboard and try to reintialise teh server.

It happened to me many times with my UNIX Terminal , when i was SysAdmin.

Hope this helps.

 

I work for HPE

Accept or Kudo


[Any personal opinions expressed are mine, and not official statements on behalf of Hewlett Packard Enterprise]
Highlighted
Honored Contributor

Re: DEC 3000 AXP SRM: Keys typed into LK401 not recognized correctly

> Please Connect a terminal to the console port of the DECserver [...]

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DECserver