Custom Roland RAM Cards

20160412_181444 (Medium)

Today I got this in the mail πŸ™‚ It’s a custom built RAM card for old Roland Synthesizers.

You probably know these M-128E / M-256E / M-512E cards:

u-20DataCards

These give you 16KB, 32KB or a whopping 64KB worth of storage for you old Roland synthesizer πŸ˜€ A 256 cards sells for around 30 or 40 euro’s in the Netherlands and a 512 card for 50-60 euro’s. For a 32KB 256 card thats 960 euro’s per megabyte o_O Rather expensive. But when you need storage for your patches and you don’t want to use a computer to transfer sysex data all the time there is no other option.

A Roland D-50 for example has 64 slots to store your own patches. If you slide in a M-256E card that gives you another 64 slots for storage.

This new card has the storage capacity of 16 (!!!) M-256E or 8 M-512E cards. So for my D-50 I can store 1024 additional patches on this new card πŸ™‚ Yeah baby!

The old cards need a CR-2016 battery to preserve the memory contents where as the new card doesn’t require a battery. This is nice but the battery in the old cards last for about 10-20 years so it was never really a problem πŸ™‚

Here are some photo’s of the development & debugging proces:

At the moment I have a Roland U-20 / Roland D-50 / Roland JD-800 and a Roland JV-1000 that will work with this card. It has 3 select switches on top as you can see in these pictures:

One is to write protect the card and the other ones say ABCD and 1234. So you can select memory slot A1, A2 etc. You can use this card in multiply synthesizers. So you could store patches for a D-50 in A1, A2 and A3 and patches for a JD-800 in A4, B1 etc. Brilliant!

I off storing a sh#tload of cool patches for my D-50 on this card πŸ™‚ Bye!

For more information check this thread on VintageSynth.com:Β Custom-built memory cards

Many thanks toΒ Joachim Fenkes!

Update April 28th 2016:

I’ve successfully tested the card in my D-50, JD-800 and U-20. I however does not work in my JV-1000. Joachim told me that another person tested it in his JV-1080 and JV-2080 and he had the same problem. The synthesizer keeps displaying the message “The datacard is not formatted properly”. This will be fixed with an update somehow though πŸ™‚

 

 

 

 

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