The resurrection of a VAX-8250
The VAX-8250 here was once located at a large chemical
company and was used in a CAD/CAM-application. When I
worked as a consultant for this company I asked the people
at the computer center to inform me as soon as the machine
would be finally powered down.
Two years later they called and I rescued the machine
from scrap. Unfortunately I had no room for the machine in
my flat so it was stored in a garage. About one year later
I moved to a different location and had the necessary room
to put the machine in the house.
Some pictures of the event
The dismantled VAX-8250
(on the right) and some other equipment (half of a
PYRAMID MIServer, a Siemens RM600, a PYRAMID disk
array, etc.). The most difficult task was to bring the
CPU, a TU81+ tape drive and a dual RA82 up nine steps
to the house.
Everything has arrived in
the house eventually.
The first step: The machine is in
Removing the transport locks from
the RA82 drives.
The controller section of the upper
Here you can see me replacing the
faulty power controller of the CPU cabinet.
The state of the machine at the first power on was as
The CPU passed its selftests except the RX50 console
floppy test - replacing the RX50 with a spare drive
The TU81+ tape drive did nothing at all which was due
to a faulty power supply. To be honest, I did not trace
the error down to repair the switching power supply
since I had a spare one in my garage, too, so it was
The tape drive did not pass its selftest with error 66.
Fortunately several years ago I stumbled over a
severely damaged TU81+ on a scrap yard and ripped off
all boards. After replacing the sandwich controller
board, the tape was up and running fine.
The two RA82 disk drives had problems too: The lower
one ended with the ERROR light lit, when powered on,
while the upper one did not spin up when depressing the
RUN switch. With the drive cover open and careful
listening one could hear that the motor tried to spin
up the disk pack but could not turn and was shut off by
the overload protection logic in the drive logic. After
removal of the motor it showed that the drive belt was
stuck to the motor shaft. Fortunately I have some spare
(originally packaged) drive belts for RA drives. :-)
After replacing the drive belt the drive came up fine.
Since the motor made horrible noise, I swapped it with
the motor from the lower RA82 drive, which still is not
in operational status.
In the following week the machine was slightly enhanced by
adding another 16MB BI-bus memory board and two
additional 4MB BI-bus memory boards giving a total of
40MB (one 16MB board was already installed in the
adding a spare KA825 CPU card and configuring it as
attached CPU, so the VAX-8250 was turned successfully
into a VAX-8350. (Does anyone have a spare nameplate
for the machine? :-) )