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MicroVAX II bootstrap failure?

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The Question is:

Hello Mr. Wizard; I have a MicroVax II model 630 QZ-AZ running MicroVMS 4.4.
The  system performs the system test 7-6-5-4-3 then loads the system 2-1-0,
displays micor VMS ver 4.4, then asks for the date and time. Ienter that
data then it diplays, Imprope
rly Handeled Condition, Bad Stack or No Handler Specified with a page of Sig
#3 etc.. and pointers along with a dump of the regisiters. I have tried the
emergency start up procedures with no luck. No matter what I do I can not
get to the DCL prompt. I hav
e called Compaq tech support along with every number they gave me. It seems
no one is left that remembers these old machines. I am just glad I have
found you !. I have looked over the FAQ's and do not see anything that can
help me. The computer has a cass
ette tape and a reel tape drive as well as a hard drive. I have the system
on reel tape but not cassette how do I get passed this problem. The system
was running very well for 2 years untill this happened.
Thank you for your time !.
Greg n4xqu@rscnet.com

The Answer is :

  There are folks that remember the MicroVAX II series machines.
  The emergency startup procedures are only effective if the OpenVMS
  system gets as far as the OpenVMS system startup procedure.  Failures
  that might occur before control is turned over to the system-wide or
  (subsequent) site-specific startups preclude normal system operation.
  Resolution generally involves ensuring the baseline hardware is
  operating, and using bootstraps from alternate media -- this can and
  often does include a bootstrap of standalone BACKUP to off-load the
  contents of the system disk (and/or the other affected storage devices)
  to archival media.
  You appear to have a hardware problem with this system.  This could be
  any number of underlying problems, ranging from a disk corruption or
  disk configuration error, to a hardware error with a Q-bus widget, to
  invalid changes made to the Q-bus configuration (start with topic
  (1149) or search for "serpentine" here in Ask The Wizard for some
  background), to cases of a CPU or memory or Q-bus widget problem.
  With full details of the crash -- exact messages and stack displays --
  it might be possible to discern more information about the particular
  Acquisition of the (old) customer diagnostics or the MDM diagnostics
  used by Customer Service might also help you ensure that the basic
  system hardware is operational.
  The OpenVMS Wizard would encourage you to determine if there have been
  ANY changes made to the system Q-bus hardware since the last successful
  bootstrap.  It is EXTREMELY EASY to render a system entirely unbootable
  by removing or inserting or even relocating Q-bus modules.
  Additional troubleshooting steps -- with or without access to the
  diagnostics -- involve ensuring the Q-bus configuration is valid.
  Additional steps can involve swapping the KA630 CPU and the MS630
  memory modules, as well as "shortening" the Q-bus to contain only
  the CPU, memory, and disk controller.  (This step can require that
  the CSR and interrupt vector(s) be reset on the remaining modules.)
  That the system is prompting for the date and time usually indicates
  that the system has not been used for a while, that a parameter is set
  to prompt for the time, or that the battery pack associated with the
  time of year (TOY) clock has failed.  [A failure of the battery alone
  does not indicate a problem that would cause the bootstrap to fail.]
  Also see topics (407), (1149), and (1866).

answer written or last revised on ( 13-JUL-2001 )

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