[rescue] Bizarre auctions & SparcStation IPXs...

deanders at pcisys.net deanders at pcisys.net
Mon Jan 27 13:45:54 CST 2003

At 05:55 PM 1/26/2003 -0500, you wrote:
><deanders at pcisys.net> says ...
>Is that a Sun 411 case?  Look on the bottom for the model number.  If it is,
>the catches are inside, near the top-rear corder, on the sides.  Push
>something through the second or third hole from the back, in the next-to-top
>row on each side.  Press in about 3/32nds of an inch, maybe less, to
>disengage the plastic clip, then lift the top rear of the lid.  It has
>little hooks at the lower front.  Be careful, it's a clever design, but the
>plastic isn't strong enough for it.

It's some sort of R Squared enclosure; unfortunately, there are no other
identifying marks that I can see. It looks pretty conventional--i.e., more
or less like the other generic 5.25" SCSI enclosures I've seen (which is
all of maybe four, so that might not mean anything)--but there doesn't seem
to be any way to get the top of the case off. It *seems* like it should
slide backwards (or forwards, I guess, but it'd have to take the front
bezel (?) with it), but...it doesn't.

All of the screws on the back seem to belong to the various connectors &
such, so that's no help. There *were* four screws on the bottom (which also
kept the (now quite hard) rubber feet attached); after removing those, the
sides of the cover can be pulled away from the case, but that doesn't seem
to do anything. Since the cover actually wraps around the bottom of the
case, it doesn't look like it should hinge upward or anything, either
(since it couldn't, really, unless you bent the sides about an inch away
from their normal positions...). 

I wouldn't be worrying about this at all except that it *is* a 5.25" SCSI
enclosure...and I'm rather curious to see what sort of full-height drive is
lurking inside. This thing feels nearly as heavy as an IPX (probably more
like half the weight, but...). 

>> None of these machines came with power cables, keyboards, or mice, but
>> neither were they stripped (all drives & SIMMs intact (not yet sure how
>> much memory, but all slots are filled...we'll see) ...
>An IPX maxes at 64 MB unless you have one of the extra cards.  In my
>experience, University computers are usually pretty low-ball in the memory
>department, so it might have all slots filled ... with 4 MB SIMMS, for a
>total of 16 MB.  This will suck.

Yeah, that's more or less what I figured. Ah, well. I can't exactly
complain for $2.50. :)

>Yeppers.  Get a "Mac Plus modem cable" and a null modem, plus a converter if
>you have a 9-pin serial port on whatever you're going to use as a terminal.
>You'll never miss the Sun keyboard/mouse/monitor.

I just picked up the Mac serial cable; now I just need to find a null modem
(I actually had a few of these from years ago (multiplayer Doom before I
had a network...), but they're all on the east coast). 

>Heh.  Every piece of used gear I've gotten, if it had a hard drive at all,
>had an OS, data files, everything.  This was whether I bought it from some
>university or picked it out of a dumpster.  Some folks are pretty casual
>about that sort of thing.
>I never do anything with the stuff on the disks, of course; I _always_
>reformat and re-install before I hook 'em up to any network, because, well,
>like your Mom told you, "you never know where they've been."

Sounds like a good policy. :)

>> ... At some point, I suppose I'll need to find an adapter
>> (transceiver?) for the AUI port.
>Mr. Bill was supposed to find us some, and is maintaining a trust fund for
>their acquisition.  There will be some around, in time.

Ah! Well, that's good to know.

>> Once I get them running, well...I don't know. Up to this point, I've
>> been a Linux user, but it seems that some form of BSD would be better on a
>> Sparc than Linux; won't kill me to try, anyway--assuming even two of the
>> systems work, I can always do both. :)
>There's Solaris, too ....

Yes, but I need a Sun-bootable CD-ROM before I can really consider
that...and media, of course. 

I *do* plan on running Solaris (is 7 the highest that'll run on an IPX?)
eventually, though I'll probably try to snag a somewhat more recent machine
(either something like an Ultra 1 or an SS20) as well (when I have money &
space for them, anyway...). 

Derek Andersen

(...and now I need to buy a new *switch*, too...oi)

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