I just ordered a Motorola MC68000P10 from a Chinese seller on eBay for $8. It’ll probably arrive sometime this year.
Lately my Roland S-330 sometimes hasn’t started when I’ve pushed the power button on the front. I’ve noticed that if I moved the power cable downwards it powered on, although a bit glitchy if I didn’t pull it hard enough. So when I had the S-330 out of rack I opened it up to see if everything looked alright near the power supply. And everything did, the soldering looked perfect. Moving the power cable made it turn on and off. I reckoned there must be some kind of breakage in the power cable, probably where the cable goes of the case.
As you can see the cable is run through a bit of plastic that is mounted on a separate metal plate. Removing the plastic was a major PITA, the trick is to rotate it a bit and using a pliers and push it from inside out. After the plastic bit is loose, it’s possible to open it with a flat screwdriver. As you can see in the photo below, the plastic piece has deformed the cable so it looks like a U.
I bought a new power cable with a Euro plug, the original cable is an old style ungrounded plug.
To start with, I cut away the bad part from the plastic piece.
The I tried to unsolder the old power cable. That was unsuccessful and the tubing on the brown hot cable was damaged, so I fixed it with some yellow heat shrink tubing. I then cut the old power cable and solder it to the new one. Before I soldered I did remember to run the new power cable through all the bits and pieces that the original cable went through.
I powered it up and it worked perfectly. By the way, putting the plastic piece back was an even harder task than to remove it, but with a lot of patience I succeeded. The S-330 is now back in the rack, but before I reassembled it I took some bonus photos of it’s inside. Notice all the custom Roland chips and the HxC SD Floppy Emulator as well as all the different outputs.
I’ve just ordered some stuff from Paul at Electrongate. He’s been very friendly and helpful during our e-mail correspondence.
Here’s a list of stuff that I ordered;
In early March this year I bought an Oberheim DPX-1 on eBay. This example had the latest OS and the rare 8 output expander plus a brand new PSU! Unfortunately it was probably dropped on the ground on the journey from the US to Sweden. I was refunded but got to keep it since the buyer wasn’t interested in paying the shipping back to the US.
This night I opened the DPX up to try and find any clue of what was wrong. Not being an electronics expert, I tried usual of way of troubleshooting, namely removing part by part and see if anything made a difference.
The error could simply be described as the DPX not booting. When it’s powered on it immediately shows a strange character in the LCD display and then lits the MIDI CHANNEL, DATA DUMP and ERROR leds. See the video below day I shot when it arrived.
What I did tonight was:
- I started to remove the floppy cables and power cables. No difference, Same error.
- I removed the cable to the expansion board. No difference, same error.
- I removed the OS chips and doing that on a working unit would most probably generate an error. But no difference, same error.
- I removed the CPU, and without the CPU it’s certainly guaranteed that nothing should work, but no difference, same error.
However, removing the CPU, the most important part in a digital instrument, and not getting any other error points to the fact that the CPU might be the problem. I also remember that when I looked at DPX the last time when it arrived broken, the CPU had popped out. What I also noticed now was that one pin of the 64 pins were missing.
The CPU is a Motorola MC68000P10, a version of the in the 80’s widely used 68k family. I looked it up in the data sheet, and the pin is number pin number 1, named ‘D4’. I asked in the 99musik forum, and someone replied that the CPU most definitely can’t start without D4.
I took a look at some photos taken when the DPX arrived, and in those photos the pin is actually there. However, it could have been very loose then, just waiting to fall off. I’ve looked for the pin in the DPX, but I guess it’s like looking for a pin in a haystack.
I found a Chinese seller on eBay that sells Motorola MC68000P10s for $8 including shipping to Sweden, I’ll order one of these within the next days and hope that it’ll bring the DPX-1 back to life again. To be continued…
Since I bought the DMX I’ve felt a lack of analog inputs. My current setup has a total of 18 analog ins, 8 on the Behringer ADA-8000 (all with preamps) and 10 on the Fireface (of which 6 have preamps). The Alesis AI3 will add another 8 ones without preamps to a total of 26. The only way to further expand is to buy an analog to SPDIF converter that will add 2 more inputs, a total of 28.
A couple of days ago I found an Alesis AI3 for a good price. I was first looking for another ADA-8000, but they seem to be keepers. I’ve read in several forums that the ADA-8000 actually uses Alesis manufactured AD converters, the same as in the AI3 and I haven’t found anything wrong with them. What differs from the ADA-8000 is that the AI3 has no preamps, even though it’s price is twice the ADA-8000’s. This means that there are no volume knobs and inputs on the front. That also means that I have to patch the inputs on the rear of the AI3 to a patch bay. Anyway, the package arrived today and here’s a view of it before it was unboxed.
The install was easy, two toslink cables were included so all I did was to connect the in and out of the AI3 to the RME’s ADAT2 in and out. The ADAT1 is used by the ADA-8000. I opened RME’s excellent Totalmix application and named the inputs accordingly.
Except for the stereo SPDIF input, my RME Fireface 800 is now maxed. The only way to add more inputs is to add one or two more Fireface 800s and chain them together. When it comes to configuring the AI3, there’s not very much to configure. Two buttons on the front are all there is. One is to select whether the AI3 should output the analog ins or the ADAT in to the ADAT out. The other one selects operating level. I actually use -10dBv although it’s the consumer level (+4dBu is quieter). The reason why is that most of my gear has quite low output signals.
One interesting thing is that the AI3 needs to have both the in and out ADAT connected for it to sync. Without the in toslink I got a very interesting “bit-crush” sound when the ADA-8000 was turned on. I don’t know why the ADA-8000 doesn’t need an in toslink, but I’ll buy one anyway just to make sure everything is in sync.
I had to reorganize the rack to make space for the AI3 and one more Neutrik patchbay (which I haven’t purchased yet. The Roland S-330 and U-220 was moved below the Microwave. I had noticed that the S-330 power cable was a bit glitchy, so I decided to open it up and search for the problem. Read more about the power cable replacement here.
I just received the Boss DR-110, a.k.a electronic toy. Very good packaging, condition looked as on the eBay pictures. Serial number 400300. However, when I started playing with it I noticed that only the HAND CLAP had any volume. The other sounds were there, but very quiet.
I posted on the 99musik forum. I shortly got an answer from a guy that never had used a DR-110, but had taken a look at the schematics. He suspected the balance knob, according to the schematics all voices are wired through the balance knob except for the hand clap that goes directly to the amplifier.
ALL OTHER VOICES -> BALANCE KNOB -> AMPLIFIER
HAND CLAP -> AMPLIFIER
I opened the DR, and guess what, the soldering on the balance knob didn’t look at all like the other ones. Note that the schematics are seen from the top, my photo is from the bottom, that’s why the knobs don’t make sense at the first look.
I’ll have to fix this, to be continued…
Just bought an Oberheim DMX. It was a real bargain, listed at 2000 Danish crowns ($350). I called him and offered him 2500 ($440) if he’d reserve it for me. He had one person that had contacted him before that wanted to buy it, and said he would call me if that person didn’t buy the DMX. At that point I told myself that it most certainly would be sold.
Later that day he called me and said that the buyer didn’t have the cash. So now I was first in line. I jumped in my car and drove to Denmark. Even if the condition wouldn’t be great, or if a voice card would be bad, it would still be a bargain. When I arrived and saw it in real life I couldn’t believe my eyes – it looked mint and worked flawlessly. I bought it for 2500. He told me that people after me in line had offered him 3000 ($530) and more. Very nice seller by the way! He told me that it’s this DMX that is used on this recording. I think the seller is the guy playing the bass in the video.
On the way back I turned on the radio and heard Into the Groove by Madonna. That must have been a sign. Just like when I heard Carrie by Europe when I was driving home with my JX-8P.
The sound is fantastic, very punchy. And extremely present! Already love it!
Now I have to stop writing and Google for MIDI-mods and check if the battery could cause problems.
In my studio I have lots of analog synths, but no analog drum machine. That changed tonight when I scored a Boss Dr-110 on eBay! I wouldn’t say no to a Roland TR-x0x, but since the prices have skyrocketed lately, the Dr-110 is a steal for $100. Have a look at the clip that persuaded me to buy it.
Must say that both machines sound fantastic, and very similar! One thing that scares me is the lack of MIDI, but the positive thing is that I really will have to learn how to program it!
I hope this one survives the trip from Canada over the Atlantic. Otherwise I can always call Dr Beat.
(Hey wait! That’s not a Dr, that’s Linn!)