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Computer startup aid using a LEGO train January 6, 2012

Posted by Florian in Devices, kernel concepts.

Some times it happens that I have to dig out some old piece of hardware and try to get it running again… I recently got a very geek present for my birthday – one that requires a working SGI Indigo next to it. Luckily nothing gets lost at kernel concepts and I was able to select from several Indigo gathering dust at the attic of our office. It looks like the machines survived quite some years not being used pretty well – including most of the harddisks. Unluckily all batteries which are supposed to supply the real-time clock chip were flat and these batteries are hard to get and soldered to the board. I did not have a replacement for the 3.6V Lithium battery but it was pretty easy to replace the battery with some cables to supply the board with 3.6V. The first thing to supply 3.6V I found was the electric LEGO locomotive the kids left lying around…

Indigo Lego Train

Indigo Lego Train

This one was powered by three 1.2V AA rechargeable batteries – perfect for some startup aid for this old machine. After applying power I was able to boot into IRIX 6.2 installed on this historic piece of hardware (100MHz MIPS R4000 CPU, 192MB of RAM, 2GB SCSI hard disk, ELAN graphics). I have to admit I somehow enjoyed the “time travel” experience playing around with such an old system for a while. Someone here still remembers the Netscape browser? Or Electropaint? One really scary experience was the network setup: IRIX 6.2 has the ability to configure a static IP through the GUI but obviously you have to edit the network startup script in order to set a default route on boot.

A lot more of information about these machines can be found here.


1. Computer startup aid using a LEGO train « Handhelds, Linux and … | Tech Unleashed - January 7, 2012

[…] See the article here: Computer startup aid using a LEGO train « Handhelds, Linux and … […]

2. Andy B - January 10, 2012

A couple of years ago I managed to play with an old SGI O2 that my university was getting rid of. Playing with IRIX was quite interesting – coming from a Linux background.

I think mine had IRIX 6.5 on it from memory.. and I seem to remember it had the original BZflag on it, and a copy of Doom. Good times.

3. woglinde - January 11, 2012

Yeah, 4dwm was so nice and when I saw the first kde’s I laughed a lot.

4. author - July 31, 2013

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