Ensoniq vfxsd issues

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Ensoniq vfxsd issues

Postby terryg » Mon May 07, 2018 10:37 am

I have an ensoniq vxf sd when powered on work without issue. After sitting for a period of time the display will randomly show characters such as ee or cc where should i start troubleshooting. If i power off and back on it will be ok for a little while then will do it again.

Thanks in advance for any advice
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Re: Ensoniq vfxsd issues

Postby Rasputin » Mon May 07, 2018 11:43 am

terryg wrote:where should i start troubleshooting.


In the "Help" section of the forum. :lol:

But in all seriousness, there are two separate connectors from the mainboard to the display board. One carries power, one carries data. If there's a bad connection with the one that carries data (either the mainboard jack, display jack, cable ends, or cable itself) then it could manifest like that.

Search the help section. There's a long thread devoted to fixing the Ensoniq VFX already.
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Re: Ensoniq vfxsd issues

Postby Hyde » Tue May 08, 2018 1:24 am

See if you can find a copy of the service manual. The ensoniq samplers often have problems that source back to the keyboard assembly. In any case, the service manual is a good place to start.
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Re: Ensoniq vfxsd issues

Postby Rasputin » Tue May 08, 2018 1:51 pm

Hyde wrote:See if you can find a copy of the service manual. The ensoniq samplers often have problems that source back to the keyboard assembly. In any case, the service manual is a good place to start.


While you're correct that the keyboard is a source of numerous problems, it's doubtful in this case based on the description of the problem.

Why?

Because the display receives text data directly from the UART on the mainboard. If the VFX was losing keypresses on the panel then you might have been on to something because the display board panel buttons do actually loop through the keyboard assembly before returning to the UART, but a corrupt display points to something like bad serial data Tx.

The service manual isn't all that it could be, but yeah, it's worth exploration regardless, and a solid suggestion. I have submitted the service manual and schematics here somewhere. I also up'd the firmware, OS disk, and patch disks. A forum search should be illuminating.

:thumbsup:
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Re: Ensoniq vfxsd issues

Postby Ashe37 » Thu May 10, 2018 5:00 pm

Hyde wrote:See if you can find a copy of the service manual. The ensoniq samplers often have problems that source back to the keyboard assembly. In any case, the service manual is a good place to start.


(the VFX isn't a sampler)

Anyway, keyboard related problems with ensoniq synths have a very specific set of symptoms, namely that the keyboard will not calibrate on bootup, which it does *every* boot.

I have heard of this problem before, mostly from being on the VFXSD yahoo group for... uhm... 20 years or so... but don'tremember the cause/solution. As usual, I'd ask Rhino about it he seems to be the Ensoniq tech ish person we have here.
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Re: Ensoniq vfxsd issues

Postby Rasputin » Thu May 10, 2018 6:14 pm

Ashe37 wrote:(the VFX isn't a sampler)

Anyway, keyboard related problems with ensoniq synths have a very specific set of symptoms, namely that the keyboard will not calibrate on bootup, which it does *every* boot.


That's quite pedantic especially since you just used the word "synths" to be all-inclusive when that sort of problem also applies to the EPS/ASR series which I'm sure all would agree are classified as samplers before synthesizers.

And for point two: There's more than one way the keyboard in the VFX SD can lead to problems. There's a known interference issue with the gate array. But as I touched on previously, the chances are higher that it's something else.
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Re: Ensoniq vfxsd issues

Postby Ashe37 » Thu May 10, 2018 7:22 pm

but the now practically legendary keyboard problem, is the calibration error one. And many people don't realize that the problem disappeared during or before SD-1 production...
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Re: Ensoniq vfxsd issues

Postby Rasputin » Thu May 10, 2018 9:19 pm

Ashe37 wrote:the problem disappeared during or before SD-1 production...


I guess we disagree about the accuracy and significance of that. That one specific problem that led to widespread failure of keyboards may have been remedied toward the end run of Ensoniq, but even the TS-10 can get and is known to get calibration errors. It's not as if they could retroactively apply some perfect fix to all their older models because even the newer models aren't bulletproof.

Also, we're dealing with a VFX SD in this thread, which is a model known to specifically suffer from the exact keyboard error you're minimizing.

Plus, not all keyboard induced problems with Ensoniq stuff is related to the bad solder points in mid-keyboard, bad induction coils, etc. etc. The way Ensoniq designed the serial communications on almost all their popular models has the keyboard thrown right in the middle. So if the keyboard goes wonky in any way (keyboard ribbon, keyboard processor, header pins, voltage regulator, etc.) then numerous things can manifest that one wouldn't typically think are keyboard related.

While I personally suspect the issue in this thread doesn't happen to be related to a keyboard issue (we have yet to find out though) I think it's inaccurate to say, "Ensoniq keybeds are a non-issue. It's nothing more than hyper-inflated mythology."

I may agree with you that people probably have heard this problem exists and so they over-generalize it (just like they think recaps are the solution to every problem), but that doesn't mean it can't ring true quite often.
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Re: Ensoniq vfxsd issues

Postby Ashe37 » Thu May 10, 2018 10:13 pm

The specific known calibration issue was caused by Fatar making a two-section keybed and the connections in between breaking. Their later keybeds don't have that two-section PCB, as far as i know.

I have been hammering my brain all day trying to remember the source of the problem, and if i am remembering properly, it was a UART problem? maybe??
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Re: Ensoniq vfxsd issues

Postby Rasputin » Thu May 10, 2018 10:46 pm

Ashe37 wrote:I have been hammering my brain all day trying to remember the source of the problem, and if i am remembering properly, it was a UART problem? maybe??


My first couple posts in this thread suggest this. The display text is carried over serial comms which are tx'd by the UART on the mainboard to the processor on the display board over pin 2 of the four wire connector which goes to the display board.

So it's quite likely a serial comm problem which could be either the 4-pin header on the mainboard, the 4-wire cable itself, the 4-pin header on the display board, the rx of the display processor, the UART Tx, or some generalized interference.

Again, a forum search will reveal all that and more. All the brain hammering might not matter anyway though, if the OP never comes back :lol:

Helloooooooo??!! :) terryg? Where you at?
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Re: Ensoniq vfxsd issues

Postby Ashe37 » Thu May 10, 2018 11:23 pm

ok i searched and searched and found related discussions. The closest thing i could find said to basically reseat all the socketed chips, and if that doesnt work it might be the CPU scanner chip? sound right?
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Re: Ensoniq vfxsd issues

Postby Rasputin » Thu May 10, 2018 11:41 pm

viewtopic.php?f=5&t=96381

:read: :read: :read: :lazy:

If there's anything missing from that thread then I'll try to make it a point to add it.
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Re: Ensoniq vfxsd issues

Postby Ashe37 » Thu May 10, 2018 11:52 pm

sorry, i meant i searched the VFXSD mailing list.
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