The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 All  This Thread  Reviews  Gear Database  Synths for sale     Latest  Trending
Troubleshooting an Alesis A6 Andromeda - No Boot
Old 8th December 2018
  #361
Here for the gear
 

Pulled the sticker off the FLASH and found it was this one:

AM29LV160DB-90EC 16 Megabit

Please disregards my question!
Old 8th December 2018
  #362
Gear Nut
 

Dealinginparts(476) on ebay is the seller.
I can’t figure out how to get the offer ID number using an ipad...
Old 19th December 2018
  #363
Here for the gear
 

This was a very fun thread to read! Especially since I was a lead designer and programmer for the Andromeda. I'm troubleshooting a problem with my unit and I found this thread. Mine is a pre-production Andromeda with the Debug interface hardware and a programmer cable. I hauled it out of storage when I got my ProphetX and surprisingly, after 20 years it came back to life. But only for a little while! I'm chasing down a situation where the pots work in the self test mode but don't really change the display or path parameters.

I don't know if I will continue on to the end of this repair because these are so old and they're really not that dependable in the long run. As well, even though I created it, I am not a fan of the UI! Ironic. I will probably sell this puppy at some point.
Old 19th December 2018
  #364
Lives for gear
 
Mr Knoch's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by jonavarque View Post
This was a very fun thread to read! Especially since I was a lead designer and programmer for the Andromeda. I'm troubleshooting a problem with my unit and I found this thread. Mine is a pre-production Andromeda with the Debug interface hardware and a programmer cable. I hauled it out of storage when I got my ProphetX and surprisingly, after 20 years it came back to life. But only for a little while! I'm chasing down a situation where the pots work in the self test mode but don't really change the display or path parameters.

I don't know if I will continue on to the end of this repair because these are so old and they're really not that dependable in the long run. As well, even though I created it, I am not a fan of the UI! Ironic. I will probably sell this puppy at some point.
First post! Welcome! Do you do anything in the synth design field anymore? The Andromeda really needs a replacement (I guess the One could be considered a replacement). Anyway, glad you're here, feel free to throw in some stories and such from the original process you went through to create this beauty.

Old 19th December 2018
  #365
Here for the gear
 

Yes, I still do work with music projects. None as massive as the Andromeda though.
I don't have a ton of stories but I can say that Alesis was a great client and guys like Keith Barr, Rob Rampley, Mike Peake, Taiho Yamada and a few very relevant other folks were responsible for the concept and sound design aspects. I had a lot of latitude with the UI as well as popping in a lot features when convenient . I remember my team always talking about squeezing one more thing in there and having it all grind to a stop! Never happened though!

Never really got along with that crappy display though.
http://www.cinemafuture.com/special/AndyPix/ASICS.jpg
Note the pre-production ASICS!
http://www.cinemafuture.com/special/.../INTERNALS.jpg
(not allowed to embed images yet)
Old 20th December 2018
  #366
Here for the gear
 

Nice Work!

I listened to the track you did with your Andy. Very nice. Makes me want to power through this repair.
Old 20th December 2018
  #367
Lives for gear
 
Mr Knoch's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by jonavarque View Post
Yes, I still do work with music projects. None as massive as the Andromeda though.
I don't have a ton of stories but I can say that Alesis was a great client and guys like Keith Barr, Rob Rampley, Mike Peake, Taiho Yamada and a few very relevant other folks were responsible for the concept and sound design aspects. I had a lot of latitude with the UI as well as popping in a lot features when convenient . I remember my team always talking about squeezing one more thing in there and having it all grind to a stop! Never happened though!

Never really got along with that crappy display though.
http://www.cinemafuture.com/special/AndyPix/ASICS.jpg
Note the pre-production ASICS!
http://www.cinemafuture.com/special/.../INTERNALS.jpg
(not allowed to embed images yet)

Quote:
Originally Posted by jonavarque View Post
I listened to the track you did with your Andy. Very nice. Makes me want to power through this repair.
Well, let's start with the track; that was Firechild.se, a personal legend to me. He performs that magic with any analog synth he gets his hands on and that track is one of the reasons I purchased mine! Second, I'll put those pics up for you, they're cool. Anything else you want to share?


Old 20th December 2018
  #368
Here for the gear
 

Oh! ok. cool!

Resetting the globals (soft switch #4 on power up) really solves a lot of issues. Mine is back up and running. I may need to replace the on board battery sometime soon. I think this one is 20 years old.
Yeah.. put the pics up. I took them rather quickly this afternoon so lighting is poor but they're classic!
Old 20th December 2018
  #369
Gear Addict
 
adhmzaiusz's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by jonavarque View Post
This was a very fun thread to read! Especially since I was a lead designer and programmer for the Andromeda. I'm troubleshooting a problem with my unit and I found this thread. Mine is a pre-production Andromeda with the Debug interface hardware and a programmer cable. I hauled it out of storage when I got my ProphetX and surprisingly, after 20 years it came back to life. But only for a little while! I'm chasing down a situation where the pots work in the self test mode but don't really change the display or path parameters.

I don't know if I will continue on to the end of this repair because these are so old and they're really not that dependable in the long run. As well, even though I created it, I am not a fan of the UI! Ironic. I will probably sell this puppy at some point.
Hi Jonavarque, I think there are certain people on this forum that would love to pick your brain... I remember there is a fellow by the handle J#minor who is currently trying to reverse engineer the OS in hopes to create new features. I hope you'd be able to talk with him
Old 21st December 2018
  #370
Gear Nut
 

Thanks for the interesting photos of your Andromeda Jonavarque, and good to hear you were able to get it back up and running. Yes this is an excellent thread for anyone with an A6, and thanks to all who have shared their hard earned knowledge.

The other thread that adhmzaiusz mentioned is as follows, so I am sure it would be greatly appreciated if there is anything you may be able to assist J#minor with if possible.

Andromeda A6 OS Update Project

Cheers, and Merry Christmas all.

Last edited by t_tangent; 21st December 2018 at 05:26 PM..
Old 4th January 2019
  #371
Gear Nut
 

Hi all,

I hope I am not hijacking this thread, since I realise it is more to do with troubleshooting No Boot issues, but after reading the entire thread I see it also deals with other technical issues.

I have seen a number of users who have changed their A6 LCD display to an easier to read White on Blue display, and since I find it hard to read the original display on my A6, I have been looking into doing this mod.

The following displays have been recommended due to their higher quality display and wider vieewing angles.

Newhaven NHD-24064WG-ATMI-VZ#, datasheet https://www.mouser.co.uk/datasheet/2...I-VZ-37312.pdf

or

Midas MC240064GD6W-BNMLW, datasheet http://www.farnell.com/datasheets/2621632.pdf

Both these displays have the same pin outs as each other however from what I can see their voltage requirements differ slightly, but please correct me if I am wrong.

Also, most of their pin outs are pretty much the same as on the A6 LCD connector schematic, apart from pin 4 & 19. Also from what I have seen on a couple of other photos of a modified display, I have seen pin 3 tied to pin 19 which keeps font select high. But again that was for a make of display called BuyDisplay. But it may also apply to these Newhaven and Midas displays, so I would appreciate if someone can confirm this.

Also I believe a new modified LCD cable is required?

The following thread is the most relevant I have found and shows one approach, however the LCD display he uses is different to those I mention above and there are some differences in pin outs to both the A6 original display and to the other displays.

MUFF WIGGLER :: View topic - Display swap for Alesis Andromeda

For convenience I have copied the schematics from that thread here, which are of the Andromeda's LCD Contrast Pot and LCD Connector (J3) on left front panel PCB.

When I spoke to the guy that recommended the NewHaven display he didn't have any photos or other details since he did the mod a few years back. But he said,

"the pin outs look fine, but the trick is finding where to get power for the five volts for the LED backlight. If I remember correctly, I used the 5v data line and ground return for backlight. But I had to fiddle with contrast control. Best see if you can get the 5v from where the old inverter was supplied. I think I added a resistor in somewhere too."

So I was just hoping that someone here may have done this mod, or somebody with more experience than myself can help me compare the pin outs from the Newhaven or Midas displays against the A6 original display via the schematics. Also if anyone happens to have some other photos to show this, I would really appreciate any assistance. Thanks very much.
Attached Thumbnails
Troubleshooting an Alesis A6 Andromeda - No Boot-andromeda-contrast-pot-schematic.png   Troubleshooting an Alesis A6 Andromeda - No Boot-andromeda-j3-lcd-header-schematic.png  

Last edited by t_tangent; 4th January 2019 at 02:26 PM.. Reason: forgot to insert images
Old 11th January 2019
  #372
Gear Addict
 
M.Retra's Avatar
I'll try to do a little comparison. No time right now, but in all honesty, I would just leave it alone. IMO, these things are too fragile for mods.
Old 12th January 2019
  #373
Gear Nut
 

Hi M.Retra,

Thank you, a comparison would be very much appreciated, though only if or when you have time, and I won't attempt anything unless or until I am fully confident what needs to be done.

I have seen a number of Andromeda's successfully modded with these clearer white on blue displays, and as I find it so hard to see my A6 original display I think it may be worth at least considering once I have all the necessary details.

If I do decide to go this route I feel confident enough to carry out the actual installation itself, having performed a number of mods and repairs on other gear. But right now I am just a bit unsure about the wiring side of things such as the changes in pinouts between the original and newer displays, so I won't risk attempting this before understanding all it requires

Thanks again
Old 19th January 2019
  #374
Here for the gear
 

"Hi Jonavarque, I think there are certain people on this forum that would love to pick your brain... I remember there is a fellow by the handle J#minor who is currently trying to reverse engineer the OS in hopes to create new features. I hope you'd be able to talk with him "

sure. no problem.
Old 19th January 2019
  #375
Here for the gear
 

RE: LCD Mods.

Yes. That display is so weak.
I believe I made my own font for that entire system so I think just tie the font size high and see how it goes. I think the display is only used in graphics mode. It's been 20 years so it may be a little foggy!

Do it and let me know. I want to do the same mod but haven't found a display yet. Kinda need to get one before that display type is no longer available. In fact, the ones that are for sale might even be old by now.
Old 20th January 2019
  #376
Gear Nut
 

The LCD display links a few posts above were recommended by a couple of guys on the Andromeda facebook page. Both of those displays seem to be of similar quality and price, and were suggested rather than the cheaper BuyDisplay brand which apparently has a narrower viewing angle and is of lower build quality. Also apparently there are some slight differences in the height of those replacement LCD displays that means they sit slightly lower behind the screen than the original, although it seems to be only a slight issue for most. Sorry I can't add more, but hope that helps a little.
Old 18th February 2019
  #377
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jonavarque View Post
I don't know if I will continue on to the end of this repair because these are so old and they're really not that dependable in the long run.
The Moog One thread made me start considering the cheaper but still very expensive analog polys, the Modal 008 or Andromeda.

From what I keep reading online, the Andromeda had a bad batch or two but reliable ones have remained very reliable apart from unfinished OS?
Old 18th February 2019
  #378
Lives for gear
 
Mr Knoch's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryDelmarva View Post
The Moog One thread made me start considering the cheaper but still very expensive analog polys, the Modal 008 or Andromeda.

From what I keep reading online, the Andromeda had a bad batch or two but reliable ones have remained very reliable apart from unfinished OS?
Absolutely right. I have owned 3. Sold the first one when I needed money. Bought the second and picked it up 800 miles away. Sold that one to my friend when I found a third in better physical condition. All three are still working perfectly. I thought I had a problem with the third one (a voice wasn't registering) but my tech reloaded the firmware and it works perfectly again. They are phenomenal synths. I have a Baloran River and a Jupiter 8 (among other great synths) and the Andromeda is one of my absolute favorites. I will keep it as long as I continue to make music.
Old 20th February 2019
  #379
Gear Addict
 
M.Retra's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by t_tangent View Post
The LCD display links a few posts above were recommended by a couple of guys on the Andromeda facebook page. Both of those displays seem to be of similar quality and price, and were suggested rather than the cheaper BuyDisplay brand which apparently has a narrower viewing angle and is of lower build quality. Also apparently there are some slight differences in the height of those replacement LCD displays that means they sit slightly lower behind the screen than the original, although it seems to be only a slight issue for most. Sorry I can't add more, but hope that helps a little.
OK, I finally remembered to circle back to your post, as promised, and provide a little insight to your proposed LCD mod. Sorry for the delay.

First and foremost, the LCD screen in the Muff Wiggler thread looks terrible, IMO. The recommended choices you provided should look much better. However, at $53 for the Newhaven display, that's pretty salty for something already in the A6. While it may not be the best, most-contrasty display, it does indeed work. But I understand the need for something better. I believe the blue/white display would look great. I replaced a failing LCD on my yellow Waldorf Q with the negative blue/white display, and it looks fantastic. Waldorf did include these types of displays, I believe, in the Phoenix editions.

Anyway, both LCD's you listed have the same voltage requirements except for the actual LCD portion and contrast adjustment. Both have +5V for logic and +3.5V for the backlight. The Newhaven display uses a negative value for contrast/operation, at -7.5V'ish, and the MIDAS display uses a positive at 12V'ish. I believe the Newhaven with the negative value should be compatible with the A6's design.

My recommendation, if you go forward with the mod, is to get the Newhaven display not only for better compatibility, but it has a better datasheet overall. The MIDAS datasheet seems a little phoned-in.

EDIT: In regards to your question about 6/8 or 8/8 character size, I would just turn up the contrast to full and count the number of horizontal dots each alphanumeric character uses. Use a magnifying glass or loupe. I want to say it's 6/8 off the top of my head as the characters seem a little narrow rather than wide.
Old 20th February 2019
  #380
Gear Nut
 

Hi M.Retra,

Thanks for the follow up and for looking into those LCD display modules.

I agree, the display on that Muff Wiggler thread looked awful, but I mentioned it as it's the only link I have found which shows how he did the mod, and figured it would be useful as a rough idea what I would need to do.

But yes the NewHaven display looks nice, so I will look at that some more and thanks for comparing it against the Midas LCD.

There is a guy on Ebay selling LCD modules for the Andromeda with instructions on how to do this mod, but I have heard bad reports about this seller, and from what I have read the LCD modules are the cheaper BuyDisplay brand.

I still need to figure some things out before I attempt this, such as where exactly to connect to inside the A6 for the backlight, contrast etc, so it might take some time before I actually get this done, plus I am trying to finish off a couple of other projects first. Hopefully by then someone else with a bit more know how than myself will have posted a nice set of "How To" instructions.

But thanks again for your help and hopefully your comparison will also be of use to others who would like to change the LCD display on their A6.
Old 24th March 2019
  #381
Lives for gear
 

Put another revived Andy on the board!

After spending the better part of 5 years as a doorstop, I finally found someone in my city willing and actually able to do the CPU replacement. I had them replace both the CPU and OS bootloader chips at the same time and put in a battery holder while they were in there anyways.

Get home, reattach the main board and everything works perfectly. PERFECTLY.

Many thanks to this thread and especially bklein. It's alive again.
Old 24th March 2019
  #382
Gear Nut
 

Great to hear your happy news. Yes this thread is priceless
Old 25th March 2019
  #383
Gear Addict
 
adhmzaiusz's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by plikestechno View Post
Put another revived Andy on the board!

After spending the better part of 5 years as a doorstop, I finally found someone in my city willing and actually able to do the CPU replacement. I had them replace both the CPU and OS bootloader chips at the same time and put in a battery holder while they were in there anyways.

Get home, reattach the main board and everything works perfectly. PERFECTLY.

Many thanks to this thread and especially bklein. It's alive again.
Congrats, that was a long wait for sure... must feel like a huge relief. Hope you get some quality time to appreciate it now!

Mine’s been running strong since the cpu and flash replacement ... I think it’s been about 2 years now. Hopefully we all get some good mileage out of these new parts.
Old 25th March 2019
  #384
Gear Head
 
Genesis92's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by t_tangent View Post
Hi M.Retra,

Thanks for the follow up and for looking into those LCD display modules.

I agree, the display on that Muff Wiggler thread looked awful, but I mentioned it as it's the only link I have found which shows how he did the mod, and figured it would be useful as a rough idea what I would need to do.

But yes the NewHaven display looks nice, so I will look at that some more and thanks for comparing it against the Midas LCD.

There is a guy on Ebay selling LCD modules for the Andromeda with instructions on how to do this mod, but I have heard bad reports about this seller, and from what I have read the LCD modules are the cheaper BuyDisplay brand.

I still need to figure some things out before I attempt this, such as where exactly to connect to inside the A6 for the backlight, contrast etc, so it might take some time before I actually get this done, plus I am trying to finish off a couple of other projects first. Hopefully by then someone else with a bit more know how than myself will have posted a nice set of "How To" instructions.

But thanks again for your help and hopefully your comparison will also be of use to others who would like to change the LCD display on their A6.
Be aware of the working voltage of the LCD some are for 5V and other for 3.3V.
beware the midas one from Farnel is 3.3v. (MC240064GD6W-BNMLW)
the A6 work on 5V.

for the backlight don't worry the supply voltage comes from the +5V of the LCD connector.
the "3.5v" for backlight is the drop voltage from the white led assembly.
most of the LCD have the right series current limitation resistor on board and even the jumpers to directly take the 5v from the data connector.
if not, you must add an external resistor to limit the current. the backlight will be killed without it.
for example on the midas one the drop voltage is 3.5v and backlight current is 80mA (I think it's hight and the backlight will be very bright :D)
so the resistor is done by this formula (Vdd-Vbacklight)/Ibacklight.
so (5-3.5)/0.080 = 18.75 ohms
you can take 22 ohms from E12 serie but do not take lower value than 18 ohm because the current will be higher and it can shorten the backligh life. 20 ohms from E48 serie can also be ok.
with 22 ohms the current will be (5-3.5)/22= 68mA

the power rating of the resistor is done by P=R*I²
R=22 ohms
I= 68mA
-> P= 22*0.068² = 0.101W
so a 1/4W resistor can be ok but 0.5W is better and will stay cooler than 1/4W.
you must check if this resistor is allready placed on the LCD PCB. it's a big one in 2512 size most of the time.

for the contrast voltage old LCD (or wide temperature fluids) were working with negative voltage but now are working well with a voltage between the ground and +5V so it's not an issue and depends on wich LCD you have chosen. Some have even the negative bias voltage generator onboard (LMC7660)
From the A6 schematic found some posts before the contrast voltage can vary from 0V to -15V (it's a voltage divider)

about the font select pin, you must make a test because it does not depend only of the dispaly size but the initialization code too. On the A6 LCD wiring it seems the FS pin (19) is connected to ground.
so you must make a test with font size at 0V and if the font is not the good one you must try with font size at 5v but after disctonecting the ground connection!

I've done LCD replacement on my wavestation and even make some home made laser LGP to replace EL backlight by a led one (like on S3200, MPC4000 CFL replaced by led backligh, JV2080 and wave). but's it's not easy depending on the original LCD.
Attached Thumbnails
Troubleshooting an Alesis A6 Andromeda - No Boot-1.jpg   Troubleshooting an Alesis A6 Andromeda - No Boot-19.jpg   Troubleshooting an Alesis A6 Andromeda - No Boot-18.jpg   Troubleshooting an Alesis A6 Andromeda - No Boot-50.jpg   Troubleshooting an Alesis A6 Andromeda - No Boot-20190324_160844.jpg  

Troubleshooting an Alesis A6 Andromeda - No Boot-dsc_2349.jpg   Troubleshooting an Alesis A6 Andromeda - No Boot-lcdbkl_12.jpg  
Old 25th March 2019
  #385
Gear Head
 
Genesis92's Avatar
second one in hands saved with CPU swap.
the cpu is no more available so this one comes from "new old stock" but seems to be removed from a PCB...
anyway it works fine now
Attached Thumbnails
Troubleshooting an Alesis A6 Andromeda - No Boot-20181027_100157.jpg   Troubleshooting an Alesis A6 Andromeda - No Boot-20181027_113116.jpg   Troubleshooting an Alesis A6 Andromeda - No Boot-20181027_111748.jpg   Troubleshooting an Alesis A6 Andromeda - No Boot-20181027_122527.jpg  
Old 25th March 2019
  #386
Gear Nut
 

Thank you very much for the ultra detailed information Genesis92. I still havent got around to doing this yet due to family commitments and other things, but I hope I can get back to this sometime soon and when I do I will be sure to re read your post. And hopefully other users who want to do this mod will also find your explanation very useful.

Thanks again.
Old 26th March 2019
  #387
Gear Addict
 
shalimo's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by plaid_emu View Post
Jesus! Reading this thread makes me want to sell all my gear while it's working and go 100% ITB.
my old man said to me once. “Son this is a grown man game ur about to endeavor it’s not for the faintest of hearts”. Nothing is permanent..you too will break down one day..so what do we do meanwhile????? We enjoy the moments and live our best life.
Old 26th March 2019
  #388
Lives for gear
 
Mr Knoch's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by shalimo View Post
my old man said to me once. “Son this is a grown man game ur about to endeavor it’s not for the faintest of hearts”. Nothing is permanent..you too will break down one day..so what do we do meanwhile????? We enjoy the moments and live our best life.
Pure wisdom. And the Andromeda sounds so doggone fantastic. What's not to love?
Old 26th March 2019
  #389
F5D
Lives for gear
 
F5D's Avatar
 

I have been so busy that I have done absolutely nothing to my Andy in the last 2 years, not played nor recapped. Last time I tested, everything still worked. Next weekend I promise to play some! Anyway, I am planning to order some spare parts from Digikey in the weekend, the cpu and a couple of SRAM chips. I found the following ISSI SRAM chips still available:

IS61LV25616AL-10TLI TSOP (Type II), Lead-free –40°C to +85°C (Industrial Range)
IS61LV25616AL-10TL TSOP (Type II), Lead-free 0°C to +70°C (Commercial Range)

Looking at the temp ranges, I am aiming for the industrial version that may provide slightly better lifetime, yet costs only a little bit extra. Digikey also seem to have stock of the Coldfire processor (NXP USA MCF5307AI90B-ND) that has been mentioned in this thread earlier.

Let me know if you have an opinion on the SRAM chips. I would assume it makes sense to buy the same brand that has been used in the Andy anyway?

Still, regarding the issue of the Coldfire processors going bad, could it be related to the PSU, possibly causing voltage spikes during on/off power switching for example? My understanding is that these processors should not go bad easily. If that was the case, one could replace the stock PSU with a newer switching PSU with better voltage regulation and over voltage protection at its outputs. If it is not the PSU's fault, then it could be just some design flaw that draws too much current through some of the CPU pins?
Old 2nd April 2019
  #390
Gear Head
 
Genesis92's Avatar
my opinion is to choose the industrial grade for the RAM.
I'm always using the industrial chips for my design.

about the PSU we cannot be sure but when I'm working on old synth PSU or when I replace the coldfire from the A6, i'm allways adding a transorb diode in the +5V / +3.3V supply rail. (attached picture is an A6)
it's cheap and can save the life of expensive / obsolete components if the PSU fail.

The transorb diode absorb energy (short the supply) when the voltage go over its trip point.
i'm allways using this rule when I'm designing power supply units for our products and it's very rare when components are killed by over voltage.

I remember in production, a guy has made a short between the +12V and 5V on one of my design. the system has blown the input fuse, the 5V transorb where in short circuit (its failure mode) but when the transorb was replaced all was working like a charm the computer board was alive.
Attached Thumbnails
Troubleshooting an Alesis A6 Andromeda - No Boot-15.jpg  
Topic:
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Similar Threads
Forum Jump
Forum Jump