This post is part of an on-going, multi-decade series on my half-hearted attempts to get all my VAX hardware up and running.
- Resurrecting the VAXen, part 1
- Resurrecting the VAXen, part 2: SCSI2SD
- Resurrecting the VAXen, part 3: Hardware Repairs
Almost all my SCSI drives have died. This is the way of things, I suppose. Replacements are difficult and expensive to find, and will probably not last much longer anyhow.
Looking for alternatives, I found SCSI2SD, that emulates a hard disk using MicroSD cards as the backing store. Someone’s already got it working with a MicroVAX 3100 and VMS (at least, so says the page). I’ve got a pile of extra MicroSD cards (I seem to get one with every new phone!), so it seems like a good thing.
The operation of the card is fairly self explanatory. There’s a slot for a MicroSD card and a port for a Micro USB connector. The card is configured by a custom application running on Linux, Windows, or Mac OS X. A bank of resistors provides termination (I promptly removed them since I have external drives I’d like to attach).
The pre-compiled version from the website would not run on Fedora 22. Luckily, the complete source (as well as schematics) are provided. The GUI is fairly intuitive with a few exceptions:
- If your resolution is not high enough, the “Save to Device” button can be hidden. This took me an embarrassingly long time to figure out.
- The input on the Device Size auto updates. You can edit the field, but it’s acts weird. Entering in a sector count works much better.
It’s possible (although I have not tested it) to carve up a big MicroSD card into multiple SCSI targets, providing the illusion of multiple drives. This should be useful on the VAXStation 3100, which cannot boot from drives larger that 1 GB.
After configuring the card, I cabled it up to my VAXstation 4000/60:
>>> show dev VMS/VMB ADDR DEVTYPE NUMBYTES RM/FX WP DEVNAM REV ------- ---- ------- -------- ----- -- ------ --- ESA0 08-00-2B-1D-84-06 DKA0 A/0/0 DISK 1.97GB FX 4.2 ..HostID.. A/6 INITR