AKAI S950 and HxC floppy emulator problems.

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AKAI S950 and HxC floppy emulator problems.

Postby pinky_blue » Mon Aug 04, 2014 2:59 pm

Hi guys,

I recently bought an AKAI S950 with max RAM from ebay. I was told that it had a broken disk drive which was fine as I planned to replace it with the hxc floppy emulator.

I managed to install the floppy emulator and had it working briefly (sampling and saving to the SD card). I then took the hxc out again so I could secure it within the S950. But now after reconnecting, I keep getting the error message "oops disk not mounted" and it won't save to the SD card.

I've been through all the troubleshooting steps on the HxC forum. I'm convinced that the ribbon cable for the disk drive to my S950 is dodgy. Does anyone know where I might source a replacement (I think its 28 way?)

Cheers.
Last edited by pinky_blue on Tue Sep 02, 2014 8:08 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: AKAI S950 disk drive ribbon cable

Postby synthroom » Mon Aug 04, 2014 3:58 pm

You're sure you have the red stripe on the cable lined up with pin 1 on the jumper? Also check for bent pins on the HxC or the S-950 jumpers. It's easy to do and easy to not notice.

The HxC takes a 34 pin floppy cable. That's a pretty common cable, or at least it used to be. Check your local computer shop as they probably have a box full of those cables in the back.
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Re: AKAI S950 disk drive ribbon cable

Postby pinky_blue » Mon Aug 04, 2014 4:22 pm

Thanks for the advice.

I was certain that I had everything in the right place but I'll check for sure when I open her up again.

I'll order a 34 way ribbon cable and let you know how I get on when it arrives.

Cheers.
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Re: AKAI S950 disk drive ribbon cable

Postby pinky_blue » Thu Aug 07, 2014 10:19 pm

OK I've had some success tonight. The new ribbon cable arrived and I've installed it. It is a 34 pin cable as synthroom said.

I can now access the disk menu without getting the "oops disk not mounted" message.

So I've been sampling again but when I try to save my sample I'm getting a new error message

"OOPS! Disk is unprepared. you must FORMAT it……"

The thing is, it is formatted correctly (or at least I think it is, I'm on a mac so its MSDOS FAT and has the S950 Quickinstall floppy images on it)

Any ideas?

Thanks
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Re: AKAI S950 disk drive ribbon cable

Postby synthroom » Mon Aug 11, 2014 7:42 pm

Are you running with the floppy drive in it or the HxC?

I'm guessing you're using the floppy drive - Are you using DS/DD disks or DS/HD? You will probably want DS/DD disks. It's seems like it's best to format disks on the machine that is using them - that would be your S950.
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Re: AKAI S950 disk drive ribbon cable

Postby pinky_blue » Mon Aug 11, 2014 8:07 pm

Thanks for the response. I'm using the HxC as the floppy drive was DOA.

I think I've had some progress with my S950 over the weekend. I was convinced that the ribbon cable was broken so I replaced it. It seems to have done the trick to some extent as I'm now able to access the disk menu and can format the SD card from the S950, but when I try and load or save samples or programs it starts to load or save and cycles through the names of the samples and then gives me the error message "Oops Bad Data from Disk....".

I'm really not sure what to do now? I've been reading that the ribbon cable should be as short as possible but I've got the shortest I could find online (55cm). Does this really cause much of an issue?

Also I was going to try formatting the SD card on a PC rather than a Mac. Is this likely to have much of an effect? I might also try a different SD card.

(I've updated the name of the topic, maybe the mods could move it to the HELP! section)

Thanks
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Re: AKAI S950 and HxC floppy emulator problems.

Postby synthroom » Sun Aug 17, 2014 5:06 pm

I don't think you need to worry about cable length that much - I've an HxC in my EII and it's a long cable there and it has no issues.

What kind of SD card do you have? I'm using a 8 GB SanDisk Ultra 15 MB/s class 4 on the Fairlight and a 8 GB SanDisk Extreme 30MB/s class 10 with the EII.

Don't format the SD card in the S950 - format it on a PC or a Mac should be fine. (I'm not a Mac user but it should be fine.) I'm not sure how large a disk the HxC can see, but you can see 8GB is working well and you can put thousands of floppy images on an 8GB SD card.

To save data on the SD card, you want to have some extra disk images on the SD card to save to.

Important - You can't make a new disk image on the HxC. You want to put some blank disk images (images of S-950 disks) or just copies of S950 disk images on the SD card so that you can write over them.
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Re: AKAI S950 and HxC floppy emulator problems.

Postby pinky_blue » Sun Aug 24, 2014 1:00 pm

Thanks for the advice synthroom. I've been a bit busy recently but its a bank holiday in the UK this weekend so its given me time to have another crack at this. Admittedly I'm a bit of a noob so any help is greatly appreciated.

I've tried the HxC with 3 different class 10 SD cards, all formatted on a PC. (2 x 4gb and 1 x 8gb):

http://tinyurl.com/ovnhxvc

All cards have been formatted on PC in FAT32. I'm using the quick install disk images from the HxC forum. I'm still getting the same error message.

Cheers

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Re: AKAI S950 and HxC floppy emulator problems.

Postby synthroom » Mon Aug 25, 2014 8:42 pm

Your middle San Disk is similar to one of mine.

Not sure what to try now. I see you've posted on the HxC forum. Are you sure your HxC has the resistor mod?

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Re: AKAI S950 and HxC floppy emulator problems.

Postby silikon » Mon Aug 25, 2014 10:46 pm

For the SD cards, I suggest downloading the SD card formatter for this, it makes easy work of proper partitioning and formatting of the cards. I had used it extensively when I had my HxC going in my Emulator 2.

https://www.sdcard.org/downloads/formatter_4/

I see you were active on the HxC forum, how far did you get through the debugging steps therein? Jumper settings, etc?

I'd start with the following. I know this is going to sound wee painful...

Find yourself a proper replacement floppy drive. Install that drive -- ensure that the system itself doesn't have a problem with the I/O bus. If you can actually read a floppy, format one, write to it, you know you're in good shape at least from the system board standpoint. Use both ribbon cables to test.

This guy has information on the actual floppy drive...

http://floppy.shugart.free.fr/page.php? ... /index.htm

The reason I say this is because you bought a system with an unknown -- the bloody floppy I/O. It very well might be the floppy controller. Do you still have the broken floppy drive?

Meanwhile, the floppy cable you installed, if it's a simple 34 pin straight cable (with no intermediary connectors or twists in it) you should be able to connect pin 1 to pin 1 with a little bit of deduction on the system board and the emulator card. Pull it out, make sure pin one goes to pin one on both sides.

Ensure the jumper is set to ID0, drive A.

If you have access to, it would also be wise to test voltage of the connections to the floppy. I know from hard experience that a voltage fluctuation (or abnormally low voltage) to the emulator will cause chaos - but given the symptoms you have described, I'm less inclined to believe this would be an issue... but not bad to double check for any fluctuations or consistent voltage discrepancies.

I'd also download that SD formatter, format those cards using that tool. I suppose it's possible the formatting of those cards is dodgy as well, but I'm of the mindset you have something else underlying causing you grief.
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Re: AKAI S950 and HxC floppy emulator problems.

Postby pinky_blue » Tue Sep 02, 2014 8:04 pm

Hi guys,

Thanks for all of your input, I think the problem is solved now!

I'd plugged the disk drive ribbon cable into the AKAI port the wrong way! So when I was unplugging and plugging it in the other way at the port at the HxC port it still wasn't working correctly!

In my defence, I did a straight swap with the old ribbon cable making sure the red line on the cable was in the same position as on the old one. So I guess the previous owner had it plugged in the wrong way to begin with? Like I said, I'm a bit of a noob with this so I just switched it like for like.

All now appears to be working correctly (its loading and saving OK anyway!)

Hopefully I won't have any more issues - and if someone is having the same issues they might read this post and solve their problems!

Cheers everyone for your help. :D
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Re: AKAI S950 and HxC floppy emulator problems.

Postby synthroom » Tue Sep 02, 2014 11:37 pm

I love it when it's a simple fix!!! (Even if I feel a bit embarrassed about it...)

So does that mean your original floppy that came with it is actually fine??
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Re: AKAI S950 and HxC floppy emulator problems.

Postby pinky_blue » Wed Sep 03, 2014 10:25 am

Haha! I bet you're not as embarrassed as I am. :oops: :?

Yeah, an easy fix for sure. Though I've been troubleshooting it for weeks now! In one way its quite positive as I've had to familiarise myself with the ways of the S950 in order to get it working properly. Also I've become quite adept at taking her apart!

Its entirely possible that the original floppy is OK, the old ribbon cable was the source of the original issues. I don't have any disks for it but I have a friend with an S950 so I will borrow some and test the old drive at some point.
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