Project VAX

or - Who the hell is blowing the fuses all the time?!



This project has a target, as any project. The target of this project is to get the VAX 8530 to function. We haven't suceeded in that yet, but it'll come, it'll come...

One of the problems is - as the title implies - the machine's immense hunger for power. It consumes about 5 kW, which at 380 V makes little less than 14 A.

Another problem is that a PSU (H7189-A) refuses to function as it's supposed to. A small lamp indicates OVERCURRENT. Very concerning indeed. (We have, after investigation, come to the conclusion that it might be a result of one of the three phases' fuse that blew...oh, well.)

DEC Östersund agreed to loan us some hardware-manuals - on microfiche! Well, mountains are made for moving. We ran to the City Library, scanned the 800 pages of manual, and came up with - nothing. Not that the manual is bad, probably just us being to eager learning all about it. We'll probably come around soon. Many thanks to DEC!

New turns

The adventure has now taken a new turn, as we have transported the VAX a few hundred meters (phew!) into a room where a proper electrical installation will be made! Two outlets for 380V 3-phase, and six outlets for 230V 1-phase. The project has though come to a stand-still until the power has been installed. Meanwhile we are trying to get our hands on some Hardware manuals. The cooling is the winter at least... We just have our windows open...

Even newer turns!

On the 16th of january, 1995, we got the green light! Our request for power had passed! Now we only had to get hold of people that could do it; install the power that is. We look upon the future with light minds, and we shall suceed with what we have planned. We have also picked a name for our VAX:

, and it will be a glorious computer!

The Setback

Well, what project has no setbacks? We learned that the powerlines on our floor were to weak to withstand the consumption of Bronto, so we would have to make installations from the cellar, and that would cost about SKr 20.000, or $2,683, which our School very unlikely will pay for. A solution is to move the VAX downstairs, to the power... We'll see. A progress though is that we have sniffed up one MicroVAX and one VAX 8350 with possibly 3 RA-90 (1 GB each). We'll see about that too...

Positive effects

We now have yet another machine here at MEDIO. It's a VAXstation II/RC, complete with a monitor, TK-50 tape, RD-54 HD, and a mouse (the toughest mouse I've ever seen! The ball isn't rubber, it's solid steel!).
We've come to antoher conclusion about BRONTO aswell. The system won't consume all the power we first calculated, but merely a quarter of it! Now this settles for some reconsideration about the power installations that has to be made... The cost to keep the thing working will fall dramatically!


Suddenly thing began to look better! Some electricians even began to install the power! Since we didn't need that much power, we didn't have to get it from the cellar, but from a locker near by. So, with all the power installed, the fuses installed (this time too big to blow =) ) Even the radio was here! (Sveriges Radio Jämtland) to interview us about this 'monster, 5 meters long, about a meter high, sounding like a three-stage rocket' =) The almost in the headline implies something didn't work out that well. That thing is the EMM, the thingy that keeps the contact with the Console, before the VAX's power can be switched on. It's a really cool thing... When you power up the VAX, you hear nothing. No fan, nothing. Then you boot the Console (Yep, it's got a HD...) Then from the Console, type 'power on'. Pow! The whole thing takes off! You can blow-dry a horse in the draft from the cooling-fans... =) More to come in a while.

Responsible for the Project

If you have any tips at all what to do, please mail the two responsible for this Project:
Mikael Öhrberg ( or
David Israelsson (

Equipment used for this Project:

Mikael Öhrberg (

Do you have any pictures of the VAX 8530 in various situations?
Send them to us or tell us where we can find them! Thanks!
Last updated: 1995-03-03