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I have acquired myself two Sun Ultra5 workstations. But it is only the base units, no keyboard or mice. Does anybody know is i can make or buy some type of adaptor to plug a ps/2 style keyboard into these machines. Or maybe i can install a USB card and plug a keyboard in there. Will it work?
Or failing that, i read in there manual something about it redirecting the console to serial if no keyboard is plugged in. If i done that would it allow me to see everything from start up. ie POST / BIOS (do suns have a POST /BIOS like x86?)
They're fun beasts - they were my first ever computer (SPARC Station 5's were, actually).
Plugging in a USB card probably won't work, as Sun was proprietary-as-hell with its hardware back then. Any adapters are viciously expensive (the video adapter cable runs about $200CAD for 4'). My only suggestion to you, is to try and find some old keyboards on eBay or something (maybe some monitors, too). The Sun keyboards don't use the same number of pins (they have more), in a much different configuration (due to the extended keys). At the very least, try and find a Sun keyboard and mouse, as the extended keys are required for day-to-day operation.
i had a feeling there wasn't really a way to convert the keyboard to ps/2 or use a USB card.
As for the video though, i have found the manual for these on Sun's site. And according to that, and the connector on the back of theses boxes a standard monitor should work. It has a ATI Rage II+dvd chip with an amazming 2Mbyte of memory. According to the manual it can do 8bit color, but i'm wondering if this is mainly to do with the OS. My plan is to first try one of the BSD family s on it.
What do you know about the serial console part, could i use that to install an OS?
Last edited by snowtigger; 05-09-2008 at 02:52 PM.
Assuming you have a cd-rom drive, you should be able to install it through the serial port (ttya/b).
All you need is a db25 adaptor + a null modem adapter (You can get these as one connector, as well) and an adapter to plug into the serial port on your PC (probably a db9).
As for the mouse connector and keyboard, do you just need the correct hardware or is it actually missing? I have about 9 ultra 5's (all bought for approx 40 bux a piece off of ebay a few years ago) and they all have the connectors built into the motherboard.
If you just need a keyboard or mouse, you can get one off of ebay for 4.95
I can't help but think that if you try to install an OS through the serial ports, you'll be spending a bit of time in the "terminal" mode of the SPARC station.
My suggestion, supplying your SPARC stations have CD-ROM drives (which, I can't think of one that doesn't), download the latest version of NetBSD - it's the only OS I was able to find that had a build for the SPARC32 architecture. Everywhere else I looked, all I found was mentions of SPARC32 support being ended.
EDIT: I actually have three Sun Ultra 1 stations in my possession, which I have to get up and running for my family - I'll let you know how the NetBSD installs go.
Install through the COM port is an option. I have an Ultra 2 that I have been playing with that way, and have not had any major problems. About the only thing I would warn is that you get ONLY a command prompt, and no way to boot into GUI. As long as that doesn't bother you then there is no reason not to go that route.
Well then, after some reading and tinkering all is going well.
I put together a null modem cable for it, plugged it all in and fired one of them up. (he's got a name now, which is otto)
On the first attempt i just let the system do its own thing....which tried booting an OS (i'm assuming Solaris of some version, but i'm not bothered which cause it will be wiped shortly)
So the hardware works, time to find out about this openboot stuff. I found the manual on sun docs, had a read and found out how to get in to the openboot prompt ('ok'). Once there i stuck a copy of SystemRescueCD for Sparc in the drive and told it to boot.
This booted, i think, cause i kept getting a garbled screen
So back to openboot.......looking about i found that the serial port settings where a bit off, so i set them to standard and away we went.......SystemRescueCD finally boot properly.
So next thing was to try and install an OS, my choice for this would be FreeBSD, unfortunately there does not seem to be a good up to date port of Slackware for this.......But FreeBSD failed me, it would boot to the first stage of the installer, but at the point it starts asking about what sort of terminal your on, no matter which one i choose it would end up garbled. So this idea got scraped........
I'm now in the precess of following CLFS to built a pure 64bit OS. If this works out i'm going to rebuild but using Slackware 12.1 as the base for it. Which if works i'll find a place to put it out onto the web for others to use, but don't hold your breath.
Oh and for those that are interested this is what i have,
Sun Ultra 5 UPA/PCI (UltraSPARC-IIi 270Mhz)
256MB of RAM (4x 64MB) (somebody removed the RAM before i got hold of these, but i had some from an old Compaq server lying about so i used them)
PCI scsi/network card (not sure which one)
I also have 2x StorEdge MultiPacks, with a few disk to go in them. One of these i used and another machine, the other will likely get used on one of these sun's again.
Well thanks for everybody's input so far. I'll be back to ask other questions about this hardware, and to let people know whats going on.
O, and don't worry about you people warning me about ONLY having a cli, thats perfectly alright with me, eventually i'll get hold of a keyboard or 2, but for now i might just see about doing remote X in to the just for a giggle. Other than than one might end up as a webserver, who knows what they'll end up doing.
Pardon my quick typing (gotta love those typo's I meant 333, not 133. I think I was already typing 128 in my head when I wrote that
In any event, I'm still happy with my old Sun machine at home, since I get to work on the newer stuff at the office. If I ever do want to upgrade, I'll probably have to pay more than the 40 bucks most of tose ultra5's cost me on ebay Who knows, someday I might actually "need" it. One day, I would love to have a network at home and work a business from there.
Good catch and sorry for the mistype!
Originally Posted by jlliagre
133 MHz ? As far as I remember, U5 CPU speed started from 270 MHz.
Anyway, you won't be able to install Solaris 10 or newer with only 128 MB of RAM ...