I’ve had a few readers asking about the TOP853 eprom programmer and how I got it working. The truth is, I never did. Of all eproms I’ve tried, only a few 21V Mitsubishi 2764s have been successfully burnt. My conclusion and advice to everyone – don’t buy the TOP853 – it doesn’t work!
Here’s a quick list of what I tried before giving up:
tried several computers
different versions of Windows
different USB ports (1, 2 & 3)
different USB cables
a powered hub
various older versions of the software
modified an USB cable to draw extra current from the computer’s PSU
Unfortunately, nothing helped. I felt liberated the day I put the TOP853 in the trash and ordered a GQ-4X instead. It costs more than he TOP853, but on the other hand it works. I haven’t had one unsuccessful write yet. Other good GQ-4X features is that it supports modern 64-bit OS:es too, the software is in English instead of Chinglish and is frequently updated. I think the manufacturer is Canadian.
The GQ-4X can be found on eBay. Since I’m in the EU (Sweden), the best thing is to order it from another EU country. I bought mine on eBay UK from the seller cus_co_uk
I just upgraded the firmware in my newly bought MKS-70 from 1.03 to 1.08. I’m not actually sure what the differences are, but since I have the possibility to program EPROMs there was no reason not to.
However, the engineers at Roland decided to put the EPROM in a position that makes it impossible to pull it straight out. The EPROM is located at the mainboard in the bottom of the MKS-70 and marked with an A. The two voice cards (same as used for the JX-10) are stacked upon that. It is possible to fold away those cards, but a lot of cables has to be detached. I should mention that there each voice card also has an EPROM, these are didn’t have to be upgraded.
The TOP853 couldn’t burn the TC57256D-20 EPROM that are used in the MKS-70 and JX-10. My advice is not to buy the TOP853 if your’re going to use it for programming. The GQ-4X did it after I added a custom line to a new text file called customdevices.txt
Today my TOP853-programmer arrived from China. It’s a cheap EEPROM-programmer that I intend to use for programming EPROMs for my Drumtraks. At $40 it’s worth taking a chance, but I’ve heard others that have had great success with them. I bought it from “BuyInCoins” and the delivery time was less than three weeks to Sweden. The thing to be aware of is that the TOP853 doesn’t work with 64-bit operating systems. That’s actually not a problem since I have a virtual Windows XP-machine that I use for a lot of old skool stuff.
In the slight dented box was the TOP853, a USB cable, a small cd with drivers + software and lot of documentation in Chinese. I ignored the cd and manuals and went directly to the TopWin download page (also in Chinese). The download of a few megabytes took about 10 minutes! I started the installation and chose English (should be Chinglish) and the installation started. After the installation I started the software which couldn’t find the TOP-programmer. I looked in the Device Manager and there was an exclamation mark on it, so I restarted XP. After the reboot the TopWin software found the TOP853 without any hassle. Having never done things like this before, I found the software very easy to understand. You start by selecting the correct chip by manufacturer, and if it’s not there, choose a generic profile with the same properties.
Since I don’t have any empty EPROMs and my UV-eraser-box haven’t arrived yet, I could only test the reading capabilities. My Drumtraks was supplied with some extra chips with unknown origin. After tweaking the reading settings (since the particular chips weren’t in the manifacturer list) I managed to read all chips. The Drumtraks use 2764 EPROMS for all voices except the kick which is a 2732. I compared the contents with the all the EPROMs available on Electrongate, they will probably be added here. Paul who own Electrongate is a very nice guy by the way!
Next step is to burn some Linn LM-1 EPROMs for the Drumtraks!