So, when a VAX 11/780 donated to the HACKS computer club was on the loading dock headed for the dump after its CPU and memory boards were stripped for parts to get two other broken 780s working, I persuaded fellow HACKS members to let me have it and find another use for it. My ideas were either a bookcase for the ``Grey Wall'' of VMS books or a wetbar. Since I didn't have my own copy of the VMS documentation at that time, the wetbar idea was the obvious choice!
I spent quite a bit of time removing scores of left over wires and plastic wire tie wraps attached to the system cabinet with double backed tape. I also had to remove the three large CPU cooling fans.
With all the boards out of the card cage, the area seemed the perfect place for a countertop. I used the card cage support beams to hold it and the front rail to hold the lip of the countertop. I chose an almond-colored countertop as a reasonable match to the doors and side panels instead of the top, because I couldn't find one in Digital Blue! Since there was some spare countertop, I cut one side of it to use as a back splash guard. A hot and cold bar faucet was easy enough to find, but the choice of a sink was very limited due to the small 8 7/8 inch clearance between the two beams. After looking through many catalogs and visiting a few plumbing fixture places, I luckily found a small 8 7/8 x 11 1/2 inch oval bar sink that just barely fit. The bottom right 19 x 23 inch compartment for the DX01 console floppy drive also turned out to be perfect for a 1.7 cubic foot refrigerator.
I wanted to tap into the front system control panel to operate various things I would put into the cabinet. It had two cables coming from it: a two wire cable which appeared to be for power and a 10-pin flat cable that carried the status of the switches and key setting. Due to the kindness of the local Digital service guy, I received a photocopy of the electronic schematic for the front panel circuit, and most importantly the pin assignments for the cable and panel power requirements.
The original power distribution box was perfect for the VAXbar power supply since it already had nine dual electrical sockets. The control panel needed 5V DC, so I got an AC/DC converter and installed it in the box. I also installed a 10-pin din jack into the top of the box so I could plug in the cable from the front panel. After some unsuccessful experiments with mechanical relay switches, I ended up using more expensive solid-state relays to be switched by the signals from the front panel. The front panel allowed me to have four separately switched dual outlets. The first set controlled by the Auto-Reboot switch, turns two clip-on lights on and off. A second set, controlled by holding down the Boot switch, operates a blender left in the ON position. The other two banks of power sockets are controlled by the front panel key switch. One is operated by the Remote (ON) or Local (OFF) position and is hooked up to the fridge. The other is controlled by the Disable (ON) or Not Disable (OFF) position and is not currently used.
The finishing touches included the slide-out plastic tub for ice and drinks in the compartment for the LSI-11 and battery backup, various bar accessories and the magnetic VAXbar sign.
The odd thing is.... I don't even drink. Well... maybe sometimes.
I would like to thank the University of Arizona Hardware And Computer Knowledge Society for letting me rescue the gutted shell from oblivion. I'd also like to thank my father for making the VAXbar magnetic sign and Tamara Fischell for taking some of the photos.
$ show system BAR/VMS V1.0 on node VAXBAR 28-JUN-1997 18:11:08.82 Uptime 2190 17:43:42 Pid Process Name State Pri I/O CPU Page flts Pages 00001010 REFRIGERATOR HIB 4 1212 0 00:10:12.23 4125 150 00000800 LIGHTS COM 6 9121 0 00:34:23.11 1231 343 00000412 BLENDER HIB 4 3412 0 00:23:49.32 1341 111 00000169 SINK LEF 3 211 0 00:01:12.66 231 222 $ logout BARTENDER logged out at 28-JUN-1997 18:11:23.75
For more pictures and info, see the
VAXbar at DECUS page.
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