TinyVAX -- VAX 4000/VLC

DEC Model Name VAX 4000/VLC
DEC Part Number VS48K-xx
CPU Type
    Performance
"SOC"
      5 VUPS
Peripherals Internal SCSI Drive
External SCSI Storage
Frame buffer
Keyboard
Mouse
Speaker
Memory 24MB
    Six 1MBx36 SIMMS
Disk Capacity 2GB

"The smallest VAX you can buy. (In terms of cubic inches at least)"


This is TinyVAX the smallest member of the VAX family but by no means a slouch in terms of performance. Unlike its earlier sibling the VAXStation 2000, the VLC is faster, shorter, and more "standard" than probably any VAX made. Truly, if you want to have just one VAX to play with in your spare time, get a VLC.

Connections

Unlike many of DEC's VAXen the VLC has only two "DEC standard" connectors, the 6 pin MMJ connector for the console and the 3 pin 3W3 video connector. The SCSI connector is a standard 50 pin Centronics type and this makes getting cables for it quite easy. When running NetBSD (or VMS as a server) the second serial port (standard RS-232) will support a second interactive login session. The power connection is also standard and the video is traditional "sync on green" type that you see on most DEC machines.

The network connector is the familiar 10 Mbit AUI connector. This was a standard at the time and the biggest issue with it on the VLC that I have found is that a transceiver can (AUI->10BaseT) can interfere with plugging a SCSI terminator on to the Centronics connector.

Internals

Internally this VAX supports up to 24MB of RAM (a goodly amount for a VAX) and a low profile 3.5" SCSI drive and of course the main board and video board. When used as a workstation you connect the keyboard (standard LK201 or LK401) to the right hand side of the box with a mouse and an speaker (there is an audio chip on board). Unlike the 4000/60 though there is no internal speaker so the VLC does not "chirp" when it is done doing its power-on self-test.

History

The first VLC came to me as part of an auction lot with other things I didn't understand at the time. Since the VMS hobbiest program was not yet established and NetBSD did not yet support it, it lay dormant for a time in my collection. Since that time I've managed to get my hands on eight of these machines (one sold to a friend) and gave one to my 10yr old daughter to learn C on, one to run NetBSD on and four to participate in the TinyCluster project.

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Copyright (c) 2000,2001, Chuck McManis, All Rights Reserved

NOTE: All images on this site are COPYRIGHT 2000, 2001 by Charles McManis, you may not use them without written permission from me! (Especially EBAY Auctions!) You may put a link to this site with a note that your system is "like" one of mine but you cannot use the images. Thank you.