DEC VAX machines are probably my favorite to collect and use. I love the VAX instruction set, OpenVMS is my favorite enterprise-grade OS, and I love Berkeley UNIX on VAX.
This particular VAX is a VAXstation 4000 VLC (Very Low Cost), introduced in 1991 with a 25MHz KA48 system-on-chip CPU module and 24MB RAM, as well as an NCR SCSI HBA and an RZ26-E hard drive. It was donated to me by a generous member of the retrocomputing community. I paid for naught but shipping charges. This is a really tiny VAX! When it got to me, it worked perfectly running OpenVMS, but had no TCP/IP stack installed. I was determined to upgrade it to OpenVMS 7.3, and sadly, in the process of trying to connect a CD-ROM drive to it, I shorted out the original hard drive’s circuit board against the case metal. Stupid, stupid, stupid.
The machine still worked fine otherwise, and I was even able to make it a satellite node in my VMScluster setup.
I finally decided it was time to get to a serious restoration, as this machine is obviously filthy and extremely yellowed.
Here is a photo after initial scrubbing:
Clean, but still yellowed. Here it is prepped with salon creme for de-yellowing:
While waiting for the casework to de-yellow outside, I worked on the inside of the computer’s case:
Here it is after the initial round of de-yellowing:
And here it is after the second round, the next day:
It needs one short round to clear up some of the streaking on the bottom left corner of the top of the case. This tends to happen with all retr0bright-like processes, but is fortunately quite easily correctable in most cases.
I have a number of DEC SCSI hard drives and an RRD42 CD-ROM drive to connect to this machine, and will post an update once this is complete and functional as the fifth member of my OpenVMS cluster.