VCB02 4/8-plane Bitmap Graphics System

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Picture 1, 2: The M7169 main and the M7168 bitmap module


There are two versions of the VCB02 bitmap graphics system, which was primeraly used in VAXstation/GPX, VAXstation 3200 and VAXstation 3500 systems: the VCB02-B is the 4-plane (16 colors) variant, which consist of the M7169 base module and one M7168 bitmap module. The 16-plane (256 colors) VCB02-C has two M7168 modules aside the M7169. The cards are connected via ribbon cables. The monitor, the keyboard, mouse/tablet are connected to an external patch panel which can be mounted to the bulkhead panel of the system enclosure. This patch panel insert has one connector, a DB15. This port needs a special cable, which brings the RGB+ground signals to the CRT, and it also has two small connectors: one for the LK201 (or LK401) keyboard, and one for the mouse/tablet. The cable for a color monitor (e.g. a VR290 sync-on-green CRT) is the BC18Z-10 (I haven't seen it officially mentioned, but the cable for the VAXstation 2000 with a color graphics adapter can be used, although it has a different option and part number. This cable was also used on VAXstation 3100s.), the BC18P-10 is for the use with a monochrome tube (e.g. a VR260). The color cable can also be used on a monochrome monitor, with just the "green" BNC connector connected.

The qbus VAXstation CPUs look for the VCB02 upon power-up: if one's find, it becomes the system console instead of the normal SLU port on the CPU board/patch panel. Of course that port can still be used when nothing's connected to the VCB02's patch panel, but you'll get a "Normal operation not possible." message after the initial test countdown.


There are four connectors on the M7169 base module: J1 (20 pins), J2 (20 pins) and J4 (50 pins) are used to connect to one or two M7168 bitmap modules, J3 (20 pins) is the connector for the Patch Panel Insert.

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Created by: Ákos Varga Last modified: