Custom-built multi-bank Roland M-256/M-512 memory cards

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KBKeys
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Re: Custom-built multi-bank Roland M-256/M-512 memory cards

Post by KBKeys » Fri Dec 02, 2016 1:02 pm

Great idea and great work! I´m very looking forward your result. Our synths are old enought, it doesnt mean a thing for us to wait a month or two, isn´t it.

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Re: Custom-built multi-bank Roland M-256/M-512 memory cards

Post by jxalex » Fri Dec 09, 2016 5:04 am

Greetings,

It is my first post.
I am still at 17th page reading this thead and... admiring You 2 of these. I feel like being in a right place of others who develop inside the synthesizer. I will and would contribute myself with other hacks related to Roland synths and whatever if possible I can also in interest provide schematics, drawings to these.
I am dealing with electronics myself too however I need to catch up with the latest things however I have several other my projects right now running about synths and mixers (analog mixers with noise gate add-on every channel strip). So far if I have done something then I get functionality as the first and make it as simple as possible. ;-)

I know that here are not too many of us who build, reverse-engineer or so, but I encourage
to some newbie electronicians some who can, well, go ahead, I make a clear description and instructions so you wont fry up your synth.

dojoe wrote:
gj67 wrote:Any release date of the final product yet?
I had to take a pretty long hiatus due to the day job being super demanding lately, but that's just in the process of petering down again and I started getting the layout ready for the production run. Unfortunately, that means I'm certainly going to miss my own goal of being ready this Christmas, and I'm sorry for that :(

That said, early next year could work.
You can count me in as manpower for this electronics project. I have already couple years done reserarch and development about these clone cards until I found this thread.

There are still several things to work out before it gets started as the M1024 cards set really to test my PCB development homelab process. (so far I was happy with etching developed PCBs, which were coated with Positiv20).
Last edited by jxalex on Fri Dec 09, 2016 7:56 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Custom-built multi-bank Roland M-256/M-512 memory cards

Post by jxalex » Fri Dec 09, 2016 5:27 am

To these who can little bit soldering iron and to read a bit schematics.

I noticed that on e-bay and some places are M512E cards for sale.
Yes expensive, BUT these can be used as 2x256E cards with a simple hack! (yes, like You bought 2x256E cards).

(in this snippet there is no difference if the card is with E or without E letter at the end. Both will work)

The synthesizers like JD990 does not use the highest adressing line A15 on a card, so they recognize only M256 cards, while if you use M512, only half of it is recognized/used. The situation with M512
card can be improved if that A15 line is switched through a resistor to +5V and ground through the switch. This way you can swap if the synth uses the lower or upper part of the M512E card!
Only one difficult is that -- how to switch that A15 line and still to keep the esthetic value,
to keep the switch easy accessible AND also usable via Sysex.

a) switch.
the pros: the simplest solution,
the cons: it needs one whole to be drilled somewhere where you install that switch (I added at the back panel). The operator can switch it, but the function is not accessible via Sysex, also the original
back panel is changed and/or it is not easy to find a place to switch.
Does have a good use if just wanting to utilize M512E card, and the approach is the same with different racks.

b) relay. which is controlled over Sysex messages extra control unit which is installed as extra CPU which listens incoming MIDI messages.
the pros: no need to drill holes
the cons: more complex, as there are 2 different units on the one racksynth and so the operator has to keep a watch that the card changer CPU does still have the same MIDI channel as the synth.
cant be changed by operator directly on panel, however it can be added to function when
capturing the key presses on a front panel in a combination which does have no function to the rack synth itself, AND to indicate the alternative card memory part usage, the led function is used.


Also this hack does not influence operation with M256E card.

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Re: Custom-built memory cards for Roland D-10/D-20/D-50

Post by jxalex » Fri Dec 09, 2016 5:43 am

dojoe wrote:
Very nice! If you do a M16C (not sure how easy that would be?) I'd totally buy one.
Those are a lot different, so that is very unlikely to happen. Sorry to disappoint =/
well, coming soon. Do not lose hope. however, you will get instead of M16C a 4x16C card :)


To me these M16C and M64C and Yamaha RAM4 bulky cards are easier to build than M256 alike cards for JD series (just now).

Hint: man can use a PCB board as a construction material for the bulky cards. No need for 3D printer all the time for all items.

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Re: Custom-built memory cards for Roland D-10/D-20/D-50

Post by jxalex » Fri Dec 09, 2016 5:46 am

dojoe wrote:An anonymous poster on HarmonyCentral seems to confirm this:
The D-550, JD-800 and JD-990 only need a 256k card. It is a waste to use a 512k card since they won't see the remaining storage space. I have used different letter cards with no problems. The letters seem to be revisions of the cards with no changes to storage or pinouts. Just format to a particular synth and store away.
My JD990 synths can make a use of M512 card. (the hack included here, couple messages before).
:)

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Re: Custom-built multi-bank Roland M-256/M-512 memory cards

Post by jxalex » Fri Dec 09, 2016 7:25 am

Also another idea:

just to get over the 64 patch limit what about the internal multi bank memory?

compared to the card research it will be simpler, however with this side effect that it still needs soldering for this upgrade. After that the memory banks are changed with keycombinations with 2..3 keys holding at the same time. AND it does not require firmware modification, as the memory bank
switch is "dealt" with additional add-on card.

It would be also much simpler.

Also it is beneficial on synths which does not have a memory card slot (MKS50 for example, Juno-106, Sequential Circuits P600).
Last edited by jxalex on Fri Dec 09, 2016 8:12 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Custom-built multi-bank Roland M-256/M-512 memory cards

Post by jxalex » Fri Dec 09, 2016 7:36 am

NicholasFaith1200 wrote: Not sure if you'd ever consider it but, the korg mcr cards could really use this treatment too (korg M1, wavestation)
Yes, can be. the process is similar, but the contact pin layout is different.

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Re: Custom-built multi-bank Roland M-256/M-512 memory cards

Post by Anarkand » Thu Dec 15, 2016 7:16 pm

jxalex wrote:Also another idea:

just to get over the 64 patch limit what about the internal multi bank memory?

compared to the card research it will be simpler, however with this side effect that it still needs soldering for this upgrade. After that the memory banks are changed with keycombinations with 2..3 keys holding at the same time. AND it does not require firmware modification, as the memory bank
switch is "dealt" with additional add-on card.

It would be also much simpler.

Also it is beneficial on synths which does not have a memory card slot (MKS50 for example, Juno-106, Sequential Circuits P600).
what an amazing idea! would be really nice with my alpha juno as well. If people are not up for soldering they could get a tech to do it. Tubbutec is also doing these small extensions to several synths.

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Re: Custom-built multi-bank Roland M-256/M-512 memory cards

Post by jxalex » Fri Dec 16, 2016 2:17 pm

Anarkand wrote: what an amazing idea! would be really nice with my alpha juno as well. If people are not up for soldering they could get a tech to do it. Tubbutec is also doing these small extensions to several synths.

Yes, it can be adapted almost to any synthesizers where for user memory patches is separate chip.

in order to not derail-hijack the thread original topic I will make a new thread about it and post schematics, all consultation info here once the practical solution is done. It wont be so complicated, I promise. :) But just now I have several other things going on -- building my custom rack furniture.

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Re: Custom-built multi-bank Roland M-256/M-512 memory cards

Post by dojoe » Fri Dec 16, 2016 3:43 pm

Hey Alex, thanks for all the feedback! =)
jxalex wrote: I noticed that on e-bay and some places are M512E cards for sale.
Yes expensive, BUT these can be used as 2x256E cards with a simple hack! (yes, like You bought 2x256E cards).
Yeah, that will work but it ain't for the faint of heart ;) I'm not sure how many synth aficionados are comfortable with stabbing about their beloved vintage hardware. That said, it is a valid hack =)
jxalex wrote: well, coming soon. Do not lose hope. however, you will get instead of M16C a 4x16C card :)
Yeah, cool! I was a little wary of the custom connector those cards have, but that can probably be emulated via a simple card edge connector. Keep us in the loop if you embark on this journey! =)
jxalex wrote:just to get over the 64 patch limit what about the internal multi bank memory?
Also a cool idea!

Just one request - if you're planning to pursue any of these ideas, please go ahead and open a separate thread about them. This thread is long enough as it is, and I'd like it to stay on topic of the M-256 clone cards.

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Re: Custom-built multi-bank Roland M-256/M-512 memory cards

Post by jxalex » Fri Dec 16, 2016 4:53 pm

dojoe wrote: This thread is long enough as it is, and I'd like it to stay on topic of the M-256 clone cards.
Yes. :) noted.
I see now .... I have a habit derailing threads, however unintentionally.

I hope here will be even more people with knowledge, time and willing to help and share research, like You. :)

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Re: Custom-built multi-bank Roland M-256/M-512 memory cards

Post by gj67 » Mon Dec 26, 2016 11:26 pm

jxalex wrote:
dojoe wrote: This thread is long enough as it is, and I'd like it to stay on topic of the M-256 clone cards.
Yes. :) noted.
I see now .... I have a habit derailing threads, however unintentionally.

I hope here will be even more people with knowledge, time and willing to help and share research, like You. :)
Hi,

Good to see people exchanging ideas here :) As such, let me add my two cents as well.

1. I (personally) try not to hack into original memory cards as at some point, these will go obsolete. As such, I would prefer to see an adapter card with a switch between the memory card and the card slot reader. But then the combined price of an M512E and adapter would need to be lower than twice the price of an M256E to make sense.

2. (aimed towards DoJoe) As I own equipment which either takes M256E (D70) or M512E (A-90) cards, would it be possible to create the switch mechanism in such a way to either emulate multiple M256E or multiple M512E cards?

Cheers and hope you all enjoy these holidays with your loved ones.
GJ.
Roland D70 - Roland Integra 7

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Re: Custom-built multi-bank Roland M-256/M-512 memory cards

Post by jxalex » Tue Dec 27, 2016 9:50 pm

gj67 wrote: 2. (aimed towards DoJoe) As I own equipment which either takes M256E (D70) or M512E (A-90) cards, would it be possible to create the switch mechanism in such a way to either emulate multiple M256E or multiple M512E cards?

Cheers and hope you all enjoy these holidays with your loved ones.
GJ.
please dude, take a hour and read through the ALL pages in this thread, it will be your favourite thread --
all these your quzziz and hopes are answered already here.

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Re: Custom-built multi-bank Roland M-256/M-512 memory cards

Post by dojoe » Sat Jan 07, 2017 10:48 pm

gj67 wrote: 2. (aimed towards DoJoe) As I own equipment which either takes M256E (D70) or M512E (A-90) cards, would it be possible to create the switch mechanism in such a way to either emulate multiple M256E or multiple M512E cards?
No, mixing sizes is not possible, only 8x512 or 16x256. Any synth that takes M256 will also happily take M512 though, only half of that memory will be wasted.

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Help needed: VG-8 for debugging

Post by dojoe » Sun Jan 08, 2017 1:21 pm

Okay, I need your help.

Turns out the Rev.C cards don't work in VG-8 yet, so I need to get hold of a VG-8 to investigate the problem. If I'm lucky this is only a filter issue, but I need actual hardware in my lab to figure it out.

Anyone in Germany, possibly close to Stuttgart, who would be willing to lend me their VG-8 for a weekend? I hear the device is pretty heavy so shipping might be pretty expensive, but we could meet somewhere in the middle if there's a maker space there, or I have a friend who regularly travels to/from Berlin and could courier the device.

Anyone?

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