SUMMARY: 2nd Ethernet card in 3/80

From: Hans Baumeister (
Date: Wed Jul 29 1992 - 09:38:17 CDT

                 **** SUMMARY ****

Original Question:
>We have a Sun 3 that we aren't able to connect our network anymore because the
>on-board ethernet sends out spurious packets, logging down our net.
>Right now, all it's being used for is a PC file server. We would like to get
>the unit back onto the net, so that email will transfer correctly, and so that
>we can dump it through our Sparc2.
>Due to budget constraints, we're unable to swap the main board at the moment,
>but I thought it might be possible to purchase an S-bus Ethernet board, disable
>the on-board ethernet and thus be able to re-connect the unit for relatively
>low cost.
>Does anyone out there have experience with this sort of situation?

I received a slurry of answers, and I'd like to thank everyone for their

There seem to be many different configurations that sun3's were shipped
in - some apparently have VME buses, some P4 (precursor to S-Bus?!),
some no extension bus whatsoever.

Well, I finally found a timeslot where no one was using the sun3 as a PC
server, and popped the case open. Unfortunately, I found that the mother-
board has only one connector (P4?) which is currently filled by the video

Ergo: I guess a motherboard swap is the only solution...

There is no extension Bus on a 3/80 so no possibility of adding an
ethernet card.
What kind of Sun-3? I am not aware that any Sun-3's (except maybe the 3/80)
have SBUS slots.
Sun-3s don't have SBus slots.
How do you propose to plug an SBUS ethernet card into a Sun 3? The Sun 3 uses
a P4 bus, SBUS is only on SparcStations and the 4/630. What about replacing the
Lance ethernet chip on the SUn3?
A CPU swap might be cheaper from a third-party supplier (e.g. Apex) than
from Sun.

As far as I know, Sun-3's don't have Sbus. Depending on the model, it
might have VMEbus, and if so it should be possible to install a VMEbus
Ethernet board. Again, a third-party supplier would probably have
these cheaper than Sun itself. Having done that, you could use the
machine as a router once you get the main interface fixed.

If it does not have VMEbus, or if a VMEbus Ethernet board is too costly,
another possibility would be to connect it via a filtering bridge, such
as OSU KarlBridge. If you already have a spare Ethernet-equipped PC, a
second Ethernet board for it might be cheaper than a VME Ethernet board.

A third possibility, requiring NO additional hardware, would be to connect
the Sun-3 to the Sparc2 via the serial ports and use SLIP. This should be
adequate for mail, but the limited bandwidth might be a problem if you
need to dump a large disk.
Sbus boards only fit into desktop sparcstations and mp600 machines, not
sun3s! If you have a 3/50, 3/60 or 3/80 you're out of luck - no way to
add a second ethernet board. If, however, you have a vme based system
then there is a vme ethernet board that you can get from Sun that will
work. Sorry I don't have a part number handy.

It is configured as ie1 and while the performance is somewhat slower
than the onboard ethernet it should get you out of trouble.
I did this 6-12 months ago, it was $2000 to get the cpu board fixed, $500 to get
an ethernet board. So I went for the second ethernet board. Worked fine except for
a little fiddling in rc.local and changing /etc/hostname.le0 to hostname.le1. I've
attached the rc.local file.
[Unfortunately, this solution was for a sparc (misunderstanding)]
The ethernet was built-in to the CPU, as it is on all the desktop
products. You can't pull it out and replace it with another.

As for bus, I know the 3/60 had the P4 bus (precursor to the SBus) and
I think the 3/80 was too early for the SBus as well.
No VME, but no S-Bus either! A 3/80 is just like a 3/60, but
with a sligthly smaller case and a 68030.
sun3 doesn't come wth Sbus.
VME ethernet cards for sun3 is about as expensive as a repair.
and most sun3's can't have a second port.
You'll have to get it fixed..
We had a Sun-3/50 whose internal thinwire (BNC) port seemed flakey,
but it worked okay after connecting a thinwire transceiver to the
AUI port...
An SBus borad will not run in a Sun_3, but you should be able to get a
second ethernet card real cheap through one of the repair places. Are you
sure that it's the ethernet controller and not the transceiver? Also if
this is a 3/50 or 3/60 you should be able to switch to an extrenal
transceiver and get around the problem as well. I had a similar problem
with a 3/50 here and used that as a temporary work around.
if you are using thin ethernet then
you could add a transciever and use the thickwire ethernet port or vica versa (I
once had a user who kept on blowing his ethernet device (on a 3/50 as well as the
SS2 - I still don't know how he did it) and this fixed it a couple of times, it's
cheaper to blow up a transciever than the cpu card. Alternatively if it's not the
transciever, and your'e not faint hearted and have a very steady hand you could
cut off the lance ethernet chip at the pins and solder a new one to the stubs
(I've come close to doing this but never actually have). But if it's a case of
returning the 3/80 cpu board for repair, it might be worthwhile to either buy
a 2nd hand one or upgrade it to a sparc board, the cost probably wouldn't be
much different.


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