Ultrix install on VAXstation 3100

I recently acquired a VAXstation 3100 minus keyboard, mouse, video and any cables or HD's. I'll attempt to document the process I used to install Ultrix 4.5.

Getting a console

The first step is getting a console and interacting with the machine. The 3100 defaults to having the console on the keyboard/mouse/monitor. There is a single DIP switch next to the status LEDs on the back of the machine. The switch is inaccessible from the back of the case, you have to open the case to get to it. It defaults to down, flip it up in order to set the console to the printer port.

The printer port is a 6 pin MMJ jack, to interface to an RS232 DB9 port I used the following pinouts to make a cable. MMJ jacks aren't easy to find, but I had some 6 conductor RJ11s (RJ25s), and cut off the locking tab. The cable doesn't lock in place, but it fits and works. MMJ pinout starts on the left, looking at the female jack on the machine (opposite the offset connector key).
22TX (+)
35TX (-)/Ground
45RX (-)/Ground
53RX (+)
This cable worked with a USA-19HS RS232 USB adapter on Mac OS X 10.4 using ZTerm. The 3100's printer port defaults to 9600 8N1, use XON/XOFF.

After powering on the machine, you'll see something along the lines of:

KA42-A V1.2

F...E...D...C...B...A...9...8...7...6...5...4_..3_ ..2_..1...

This can take a while to complete, so be patient. Ultimately, you'll end up at a >>> sign. From here you can type help and get some help. show dev is useful to show attached devices.

SCSI Disks

I typically try to use SCSI->IDE->CF adapters in older machines to avoid the problems associated with moving parts. In the 3100, it would see and do an initial installation on my typical R-IDSC-E with no-name CF/IDE adapter and a SanDisk Ultra 4GB CF card. However, once installed, the firmware of the 3100 would not boot it. I'm currently using an IBM 1GB SCSI disk.

For installation media, I'm using an internal Sun CDROM drive out of an Ultra1 (Toshiba) connected to the second (B) internal SCSI controller, and CDROM media.


Once you've got a console, disk, and media, boot to the console and find the device with the install media using show dev. Then do a boot dk{a,b}# as appropriate (this will be the VMS device name listed in show dev.) This should boot the Ultrix installer. The installer initially prompts for a basic install, advanced install, or system management. I went with the basic install, and it went through the process of prompting for the device to install on, and went fine from there. Follow the onscreen instructions, and there shouldn't be a problem.


After installation, to configure networking use /etc/netsetup then reboot. The basic installation won't install most of the useful software, for example inetd is installed but all the daemons it's configured to launch aren't installed by default. There's no development environment, and there's no man pages. Mount the installation media with mount -r and find the packages. Once in the directory with all the packages, use setld -l . to select the packages to install.

When connecting remotely and you get this message:

Too many users logged on already.
Try again later.
That likely means you don't have a license pak installed. Only one connection is allowed without a license.