Monday 31st January 2011, 20:30 Posted by urbancamo

Things I've done since the last entry:

  • Installed a new realtime clock chip in the DEC 3000/600. I'd ordered two new realtime clock chips from MDS Batteries. The original DS1287 is generally no longer available, but the DS12887 Dallas RTC module is available as a drop-in replacement new part. My understanding of what was in the package was a bit misplaced, the module contains a realtime clock function, non-volative RAM and a battery to keep it. The battery is sealed within the module with epoxy, so to replace the battery involves cutting into the package and exposing the battery connectors. Various people provide videos and tutorials on how, but for £ 12 I didn't think it was worth the effort. One of the two I ordered turned up so I swapped the chip in the DEC. Clearly all the NVRAM settings were lost, so I had to reset the default boot device, boot flags, time, SCSI bus settings and network connector selection. After all that everything was fine, and it will be nice to not get the 'your date is clearly wrong' message everytime it boots. The other one will go in the DECstation, and I may then see if I can recondition the two that I'll have spare, as I think the VAXstation 4000/VLC also has one in, and the AlphaServer 1000A definitely does.
  • Installed a load of freeware on the DECstation 5000/240. I didn't think there would be much out there, but thanks to the excellent site by Joachim Buss which contains two ISO archives of freeware I was able to get bash and a load of other utilities including gcc running. Joachim also provides an invaluable tutorial on porting software to Ultrix. The DECstation 5000/240 had to be deinstalled off the dining room table on Sunday.
  • Moved the DECstation 3000/600 up into the attic. I tried to compile up vnc for Digital Unix 4.0F, but was getting linking errors - gethostbyname() method missing (which should be in libc). I have a load of patches to install, and it could be that this was missing in the original release (the command 'ar tv /lib/libc.a | grep gethostbyname' showed it to be missing. Anyway, a brief google search threw up some binaries for a previous version of Digital Unix that work just fine. Weird seeing a desktop on a machine you only ever telnet into.

I also took a trip up to Keswick on the motorbike on Sunday - it was bloody freezing and I'm surprised my fingers still function!

Back from Keswick (me on the right)


We're at the end of the competition! Well done everyone, hope you've enjoyed what time you've had to play with old gear. I'll do a summary for the main website and with the help of luddite and wgoodf we'll be picking some winners over the next week.

See you all again in July for the Summer Challenge!

Footnote. This website was mostly creating using the following shell script: