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The Setasi company of Florida produced, in the early '90s, a series of
Massbus replacement drives. These were designed to deal with the considerable
maintenance and power costs associated with running large 'washing machine'
drives, such as the RM03 and RP06. They were essentially standard PCs with
SCSI drives and a very special Massbus adapter card.
I was recently lucky enough to find a DEC dealer who had a brand-new one in stock. Sold!
A slightly battered box...
... but inside the drive still sealed in plastic...
... the warranty seals still on the drive!
An odd sight: a bog-standard PC, floppy disk, Quantum Passport removable hard disk... and a Massbus 'online A/B - Protect - Eject' control panel!
And nothing on the rear except Massbus ports!
Inside it really is just a standard PC...
A 486 in fact...
Three cards... floppy inteface in front, then a SCSI card, then at rear the special Massbus interface - big Xilinx chip.
How is it used? You hook it to the Massbus, power it on, insert the removable media - it uses a Quantum Passport XL removable drive - insert the 'personality floppy' which presumably is bootable - it tells the thing whether it's emulating an RP06, RM03, or whatever - and press the reset button. Thirty seconds later it allegedly comes online Ready.
Clearly a lot of potential fun here. Could attach a conventional SCSI hard disk also.
One tiny problem - it's a brand new drive, but it came without ANY media. No removable drive module - well it's a standard Quantum Passport, should not be a problem UNLESS it comes in some wierd factory format you could only get from DEC, in which case I'm screwed. More seriously, no 'personality diskettes'. Without those it's a doorstop :(
Anyone with any experience in operating these, anyone with further Setasi drives to sell, or above all, anyone with the vital personality diskettes (ANY Setasi diskettes!) , please GET IN TOUCH! Thanks.
Especially keen to hear from any former Setasi employees - I'm interested in seeing if the code can be hacked to support 36-bit drives for TOPS-10/20 :)
There's almost nothing on the web about Setasi - they closed doors in 2000? 2001? You can get parts of their website on archive.org however: