HP "Gecko" 712/60 memory problem

Started by cuby, May 27, 2022, 12:48:05 PM

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cuby

I'm trying to get two HP9000 712/60 "Gecko" PA-RISC systems to work.

Both show the same symptom - the self test shows "no memory found" on the screen (quite an achievement itself if the system thinks that only VRAM and cache are present...).

However, both machines have two 72-pin ECC FPM SIMMs (2 x 16, 2 x 32 MB, used in pairs starting from the first SIMM socket closest to the drives). Replugging the modules, using SIMMs from an SGI Indy and cleaning the SIMM socket contacts didn't solve the problem.

Has one of you seen this effect before?

- Michael

barcher174

Is this the memory that came with the machine? It's been a while but I seem to remember these machines being picky about the RAM.

paolo.bertolo

I confirm, those machines are really picky and they only work with specific HP ram modules (to be upgrades in pairs). My 712/60 had bare 16+16 Mb and worked just fine with NeXTSTEP 3.3. Recently, though, I have been lucky enough to source a 64+64 Mb upgrade, but they are extremely hard to find.
Similarly, the HP bios is super picky when it comes to recognizing a SCSI CD ROM drive. I have a contemporary unit from HP which works, but none of the other SCSI CD ROM drives that I have is recognized.
If this can help, inside the nice HP casing, there's a relatively common Toshiba XM 5701B.

Other than these typical niceties from the times of über proprietary hardware, the HP 712 even in the base 60 MHz version works so much faster than any black hardware, that you understand why the "next NeXT thing" before they pulled plug on the hardware was supposed to be based on RISC architecture (not PA-RISC, though).

cuby

Quote from: paolo.bertolo on October 01, 2022, 01:10:57 AMI confirm, those machines are really picky and they only work with specific HP ram modules (to be upgrades in pairs). My 712/60 had bare 16+16 Mb and worked just fine with NeXTSTEP 3.3. Recently, though, I have been lucky enough to source a 64+64 Mb upgrade, but they are extremely hard to find.

I got lucky and, thanks to the hint of someone on Usenet (!), found some inexpensive original HP memory modules on ebay, so my Geckos are happy now.

QuoteSimilarly, the HP bios is super picky when it comes to recognizing a SCSI CD ROM drive. I have a contemporary unit from HP which works, but none of the other SCSI CD ROM drives that I have is recognized.
If this can help, inside the nice HP casing, there's a relatively common Toshiba XM 5701B.

Yes, the Toshibas were quite common and I think I have one here. I recently obtained a BlueSCSI (SD-card based SCSI device emulator) and will try to see if this works with the HPs. It's confirmed to work with NeXT 040 Cubes and a number of 68k Macs.

QuoteOther than these typical niceties from the times of über proprietary hardware, the HP 712 even in the base 60 MHz version works so much faster than any black hardware, that you understand why the "next NeXT thing" before they pulled plug on the hardware was supposed to be based on RISC architecture (not PA-RISC, though).

The 68060 would have been a nice upgrade, too, but it was far too late (it only arrived in 1994) and we know the 88k was not really successful.

It would be interesting to compare a Motorola 88110-based system, which would have been the basis of the NeXT RISC workstation, to a PA-RISC 7100LC-based Gecko. I have a number of Motorola MVME197LE-boards here, but comparing Motorola System V or OpenBSD on the 88k to NeXTstep on the PA-RISC won't make too much sense, I'm afraid...

The Geckos also have a really tiny PCB, they would probably have been quite inexpensive to manufacture and would have made a really nice alternative NeXT RISC machine. Alas, they were also introduced only in 1994, after NeXT discontinued black hardware.

paolo.bertolo

I'm using a SCSI2SD unit and it works fine.

As I mentioned the Toshiba CD ROM drive, I don't know if you have experience with it, but mind it's a strange beast, too. It must be connected to a live SCSI controller even for opening / closing the tray. If you just power it up, it won't respond and you may take the conclusion that the unit is defective.

And make sure you use the pre-defined SCSI id 3.


Rob Blessin Black Hole

Hello NeXT Community: I struck HP Pa-risc gold with this link https://parisc.wiki.kernel.org/index.php/Technical_Documentation   all the factory docs!
Rob Blessin President computerpowwow ebay  [email protected] http://www.blackholeinc.com
303-741-9998 Serving the NeXT Community  since 2/9/93

t-rexky


paolo.bertolo

I got a BlueSCSI v2, can't have it working with the 712. Did you have any success?

paolo.bertolo

Finally managed to get the BlueSCSI v2 working with the 712/60.
Default settings do not work, you need to drop a "bluescsi.ini" file in the root directory and override SectorsPerTrack=139 and HeadsPerCylinder=4.

I could install NEXTSTEP 3.3 RISC and HP/UX 10.20.

Very sensitive to SD card quality and - unfortunately - not compatible with SD extensions cables (same as with SCSI2SD).