Computer startup aid using a LEGO train January 6, 2012Posted 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…
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.