Sun Ultra 60 serial console login with a VT132

I recently assembled a VT132 and have been connecting it to various things to enjoy some serial terminal goodness.

I’ve tried a number of serial cables and serial terminal programs on my Atari ST to get a serial connection to my Sun Ultra 60 but never managed to get it to work. I didn’t know if this was due to my serial cable or something else. I bought and assembled the VT121 as a VT100 compatible serial terminal to have a better attempt at connecting to some of the devices I have around that support serial connections.

On the VT132 there are jumper pins to switch between a straight though connection or a crossover connection. Through trial and error I found I needed to put the jumpers on 1-3 and 2-4 for the cross over connection and this worked with the Sun Ultra.

I don’t have a pic of the pins in this configuration, this is the section in the docs, and here’s the pin layout next to the voltage regulator for reference (center of the photo):

Pins 1 2 3 4 are on the right. Here’s the pins in the straight through config 1-2 and 3-4, the two jumpers on the right need to be switched to the other 1-3 and 2-4 configuration to work with the Sun Ultra:

There’s two serial connectors on the Sun Ultra 60, note that the DB25 at the top is a parallel connector. Serial A and B are beneath the keyboard connector:

Here’s some useful info on configuring Serial console connections to Sun hardware here. Typically on Sun Sparc systems, if you disconnect the keyboard and have a terminal connected to Serial A when you boot, the boot messages are redirected to the serial terminal instead of the video output. This is useful if you need to run diags on a machine, but it’s also fun to boot the machine up and logon from a serial console. Here’s what the console boot messages look like on my Ultra 60:

At this point I could successfully logon via the console. As I was looking into getting this working I took some notes as I was working on this. I’ll include them here for future reference in case they’re useful.

Other useful notes:

/etc/remote has section for enabling hardwire tip via /dev/term/a|b

See also here https://docs.oracle.com/cd/E19455-01/806-1377-10/tipapp.html talks about /etc/ttytab to enable logins

To enable a logon prompt via Serial A or B after booting, and with keyboard connected:

From here: https://docs.oracle.com/cd/E19253-01/817-0403/modsafapp-84569/index.html

sacadm -a -p mbmon -t ttymon -c /usr/lib/saf/ttymon -v `ttyadm -V` -y "TTY Ports a & b"

cat /dev/term/a shows keyboard entry from my VT132 terminal when I press enter, so I know input is reaching the port.

With my serial cable, I needed to set the straight through vs crossover jumpers on the VT132 to the crossover position get any output to appear on the terminal.

Set terminal to 9600 8N1.l

Telnet BBSes and other online things

I’ve been playing with the wifi AT modem on my VT132 and have been dialing up a few BBSes to test it out. Interesting ones I’ve looked at so far:

I’ll share others that are worth a look as I come across them.

New BBS documentary: Back to the BBS part 1

There is a new documentary about BBSes posted to YouTube this week, ‘Back to the BBS’. Rather than focusing on the history of the BBS such as Jason Scott’s awesome ‘BBS The Documentary’, this one looks at using BBSes in the current time, and why there is an increasing interest in using BBSes today.

Part 1 is 43 minutes and walks through using telnet based BBSes today, and includes a number of interviews with people looking back at when BBSes were in their height of popularity, and also interviews a number of Sysops of current day active BBSes and their users.