I had a Roland G-800 for a long time years ago. They are really cool keyboards. So when I came across this G-1000 which was very cheap I bought it.
This model came out in 1998 and it was the top of the line arranger keyboard of that time. I think this thing cost around 2000 – 2500 euro’s back then. An absolute beast of a keyboard for professional use. Loaded with professional styles and around 600 instruments to choose from today it still sounds very good. It has 76 semi weighted keys and it plays absolutely brilliant. The G-1000 has a built in IOMega Zip100 drive and a 1,44Mb floppydrive. The Zipdrives always seem to be broken in these (and this G-1000 is no exception, the Zipdrive is dead as a doornail) but I still had a half finished Gotek floppy emulator lying around from a previous failed attempt to install that in a Roland E-86.
So, this G-1000 powers on, plays but it’s freaking dirty and the Zip drive doesn’t work. Bought it, took it home and disassembled it.
For some reason a familiar sight in my kitchen 🙂
I first removed the keybed and threw all keys in warm soapy water to remove 20+ years of dirt. I vacuumed the insides of the G-1000 and removed both the Zip drive and the floppy drive.
Although the Zip drive was connected to power (and still had a Zip disk in it) it wasn’t working and it didn’t show up in the menu of the G-1000. When you want to load a Midi file or Style you can normally choose between Internal, Zip and FDD. Zip didn’t even show as an option. I don’t intent to use the Zip drive any more so I removed the Zip disk (super handy that they put the hole you poke with a bent paperclip on the back of the drive…) and reinstalled the Zip drive.
Cleaned the frontpanel of the keyboard numerous times (it was dirrrrrrrrrty) and assembled the keybed. It’s so nice and clean again 🙂
Right. The Gotek. Years ago someone came up with a replacement thing for machines that still use 3,5″ floppy disks like industrial CNC machines, sewing machines and what not. This 300 dollar device was swiftly copied by the Chinese and is now available for 15 euro’s on sites like AliExpress.
This works in pretty much everything with a floppydrive including keyboards / synthesizers and Amiga’s. The Amiga seems to be a field where the Gotek is used alot and therefore there a many online forums / sites that will tell you how this works. They have even written new firmware for the Gotek which allows for hardware mods and even more compatibility (like HxC and Flashfloppy).
This is what a standard Gotek looks like:
You have to format a USB stick with a special piece of software so that it contains 1000 partitions. You can then store (also via this program) files in each partition. When you insert the USB stick in the Gotek it will display 000 in the 3 digit display. You can now access the contents of that virtual floppy on your keyboard. There are 2 buttons: one button increments the partition by one and the other one by 10. So when you are are floppy 056 and you want to go back to 011 well.. not great.
Enter Flashfloppy! This will make your life easier. Flashfloppy is new firmware for the Gotek which allows hardware modifications among other things. You can get rid of the 3 digit display and install a nice Oled display. You can also add a rotary encoder (that’s just a knob you can turn) to scroll through the contents of the USB stick. Once done it looks like this:
In the display you can see filenames and directory structures and the big knob on the right (which also has a push function) allows you to easily navigate the contents of your USB stick. Much better. To get to this point all you have to do is follow these easy steps:
- Buy any Gotek from AliExpress that has a 3 digit display (so skip the 2 digit ones)
- Wait 2 months for it to arrive
- Once arrived dismantle (only 3 or 4 screws)
- Solder the missing header pins to the IO ports on the back of the drive
- Use Dupont wires to connect a TTL USB adapter to the new header pins
- Flash a new bootloader to the Gotek drive
- Disconnect the TTL USB adapter
- Get Flashfloppy
- Install Flashfloppy via a USB stick onto the Gotek
- Order a 0,91inch Oled display from AliExpress
- Wait 2 months 🙂
- Use a Dremel to modify the enclosure of the Gotek so the Oled fits
- Print the following part on a 3D printer
- Install the Oled with the 3D printed part using hot glue
- Drill a hole below the word Gotek in the enclosure
- Install a rotary encoder
- Use HxCFE_DosDiskBrowser to create .IMG files containing Midi and Style files
Don’t worry, if you have basic soldering skills and order all the parts at once you can build this for under 20 euro’s and the whole process will only take an hour (or 2, or 4)
Just follow Keirs excellent instructions on his Flashfloppy page.
Now, the Gotek has about 2 billion (mostly software) configuration options. I couldn’t figure it out on the E-86 but on the G-1000 it was very simple: Put a jumper on S1 and there is no need for any software settings in the FF.CFG file. (so don’t put a FF.CFG file on the USB stick) That’s it! It works like a charm on my G-1000.
No more noise from the drive and selecting stuff goes faster. The G-1000 thinks there is still a floppy drive connected to it so the transfer speed isn’t really faster but there is no wait time for the drive to spin up so when you go to load a style you would normally see the list of available styles on the disk ‘grow’ with each ‘read’ noise the original drive makes (if you know what I mean..). Now: instant file list. Only when you select a style it still takes a second or 2 to load it.
Very big improvement compared to the original floppy drive. The Gotek also makes the Zip drive obsolete so I don’t care it doesn’t work.
A few photo’s of the Gotek modifications:
Any questions? Feel free to ask or visits Keir Fraser’s Facebook group ‘Flashfloppy’. He is very helpful 🙂
10 thoughts on “Roland G-1000 with a Gotek”
Hi. A bit-of-a-long-shot Q – I stumbled her by way of http://llamamusic.com/
I’m looking for online resources/stockists for Roland Vintage MV-30 sequencer/studio.
Want to replace the FFD with a Gotek.
Now I have NO idea 1. how to do this (no DIY solder skills, just F##kUp skills)
2. If this Gotek or ANY Gotek fits
I want a ‘plug and go’ option no DIY this and that as I really have no skillset there.
Cheers for any tips, links etc
Good afternoon, I also have a Roland G1000 which I love I have looked after it kept it in repair and serviced I have had it since 1998 I have just had it in repair which they could fix but sadly tell me it is nearing its last days only on account of shortage of parts if any are needed in the near future, as you take things apart and I saw the G1000 I am wondering if you have any parts at all that I could purchase to keep for tuture, especially a LCD display which is showing a purple haze and a few lines but is still very readable hoping you can help kindest regards Noeline
Hi there Noeline,
I wonder what breaks on your G-1000 when you need to bring it in for repair? They are very durable normally 🙂 The tactile switches underneath the buttons will wear out after a lot of use but these are so common that you will never run out of spares. The keys might need attention from time to time. If a key doesn’t make any sound or it sounds at full velocity my experience is that cleaning the contacts underneath the keys will fix this problem for the next 10 years. A technician will probably just replace the contacts and tell you those parts are becoming scarce. The need for a working zip drive and floppy drive is also no longer a problem if you install a $15 Gotek drive.
But.. the display. As I am typing this I am actually finishing up replacing the display in my Roland D-70. This is a standard 240 by 64 pixel display with a T6963 controller. This display is used by a loooooooooooot of keyboards and synthesizers. I even think this display is used in a G-1000 but I cannot find out for sure because a quick Google didn’t give me confirmation.
You can find these displays for around $25 in all colors of the rainbow on this website:
Right, after some more googling I found out that the display in the G-1000 is a ROHM 6018 LCD with no built in controller chip. This unfortunately makes it very difficult to find a replacement…
Here is some more information:
The best option is finding a (broken) G-1000 and swap the LCD. I have no parts for a G-1000.
Thank you so much for your indepth reply I have just found it, for your interest I have just found a sight on Ebay selling a second hand Roland G1000 Display for $135.00 Au pls $50 postage, I am thinking of taking the risk and buying it, I had a couple of minor repairs other than the LED done on the Roland G1000 and when it came back I noticed that the purplish haze is clearer maybe it was dust, I am not sure, I am not sure what to do about gettng this second hand one maybe it would be a good idea
Kind regards Noeline
I found the display you are referring to on eBay. It is sold by KeyboardKountry. You can also buy it directly from their website and save $50 🙂
But still it’s $150 for a display. I think I can buy a complete G-1000 in working order for that money here..
Is the only problem you are having a purple haze over the screen? Have you tried fiddling with the contrast settings to see if it gets better?
Thank you for getting back to me, it is very nice of you to take the time out to help, I missed out on the one on KeyboardKountry someone beat me to it a bit unlucky there, as a matter of fact I had the keyboard serviced for other things like switches etc., they said they couldn’t get an LCD part, anyway when I got it back I have noticed that the LCD display looks better, they made no comment on this, maybe a lot of it might have been dust or maybe they did as you suggested I dont know, I was going to buy the LCD display and keep it in case it did go, I would rather keep the keyboard and not replace it as it takes the midi files via the floppy disc instead of attaching to computers like they have to do now and I like the fact that it is so user friendly with editing etc. I would hate to see the light go out, do you have one? maybe I should consider it
Thank you again kindest regards Noeline
The displays on these keyboards going bad is not a common issue I know of. So I wouldn’t worry about it too much. Just keep enjoying the keyboard and maybe buy a spare G-1000 if you stumble across one 🙂 You could also consider upgrading to a G-70. This keyboard is the same size and has a color touchscreen display. It also takes CF memory cards through a PCMCIA adapter. It allows you to store many styles and midi files in the keyboard itself without having to load them via floppy’s every time. The G-70 is the successor of the G-1000 and came out in 2005 I think. They shouldn’t be very expensive anymore.. I had one but I sold it years ago. The G-1000 from this blog article is still in my possession and I enjoy it very much!
Thank you so much for your very kind and giving advice it is very much appreciated, I will take on board your recommentation of the G-70 and think about it, all the best for the new year and beyond
Kindest regards Noeline
Hi JoRick Came across this blog and thought I would put some comments and info for the G1000. I tried a USB Stick floppy emulator with the led screen and rotary knob off Ebay. Installation and fitting was good but it was inconsistent at reading and writing style files and midi files. It would work for a random number of files and then the next produce a disk error. This could happen after say 5 files or 30 files. The other point was that USB stick files were stored as BIN files and to see the Style file or midi file on PC a utility to convert them was needed. Then floppy emulator was returned with the evidence and money refunded.
I have information .
You may find this information about the scsi drive useful. I am an electronics engineer well retired but have used a G1000 to compose music and make styles on. I have converted two G1000’s to SD card using the info below with great success about 3 years ago.
Adaptor board comes from Itead newer versions available also on Ebay but expensive. Atari people in UK also sell them if in stock.
Mounting adaptor comes from Shapeways
Power cable adaptor (Old Scsi connector socket to SD card Molex connector on ebay.
There are lots of other links and info to set up, very easy and no soldering required . If you want more info and pictures of installation please contact me.
Thanks for your comment. I looked at the SCSI2SD converter and that is a nice solution as well. I reckon you install the device where the floppy drive normally goes? It’s a bit expensive though.. 70 euro’s (even on AliExpress 🙂 ) and you have to print (or buy) an enclosure. I built the USB floppy converter for around 15 euro’s total. I don’t use my G-1000 on a daily basis but I must say every time I do the emulator works great. I use it mainly for loading styles and midi files but I must say that I have not tried to save anything to it.. The problem you had with it not working anymore after several read / writes might have something to do with the USB stick you used.. Or did you try several sticks? I use the FlashFloppy firmware on my emulator and they have a very active community. Keir (the developer of Flashfloppy) is very helpful if you run into any problems.
For the styles and midi files I use a program to create .IMG files. This works fine and even on a 1GB USB stick you’ll have more than enough room to store anything you want. The speed of the USB emulator is also very acceptable. Much faster than the original floppy drive because there are no spinning parts etc.
If only the SCSI2SD was cheaper I might give that a try..