E-MU EMAX 1 SE - IC 1772 floppy drive controller

Greetings from Athens, Greece,

I just bought an EMAX 1 SE (keyboard) with a dead drive, but it seems that an HxC emulator will not solve it that simple…

I installed an HxC, plus I tried swapping the floppy drive from my SP1200 but I keep on getting the same diagnostics cycle when trying to load software: all diagnostics lights are flashing on each read cycle. Bear in mind that if I don’t try to load the OS, no light is up (diagnostics come clean).

My next search was inside the keyboard to check on the IC 1772 (disk drive controller) and this specific chip seems in a dodgy state, like someone already tried to remover & resit it. Additionally, my search showed that quite a lot of different actions (like the use of a wrong floppy ribbon) could also cause damage to this chip.

So, my obvious question is: where can I source one such chip to replace mine? I’ve seen that the EMAX shares a lot of components with the Ensoniq MIRAGE. Could a swap from a Mirage do the work?

Has anyone seen this problem before?

Thanks in advance for any help!

Some Mirages did indeed use a 1772 - but some used a 1770 controller (I don’t know if these can be swapped). But if you find a 1772, you should be able to drop it in yours and hopefully that will solve the trouble.

Before soldering another one on your Emax board, you may want to install an IC socket first.

Rather than sacrifice a Mirage for that chip, maybe you can find an old Alesis Datadisk - it uses a 1772 also. A bunch of other keyboards used it too - but nothing as inexpensive as the Datadisk.

Hey Sam,

thanks for the Datadisk tip, I really appreciate it as I would also hate to have to sacrifice a Mirage just for a 1772.

I was also thinking about a new socket too, this one looks already damaged enough.

Again, thanks for the help!

Hi, Sam,

I was about to start a new thread on this topic then found that this one was related. I have both a TS-12 and a K-2000R v3 with working floppy drives. But I have seen these drive emulator ads on line such as the HxC and the Nalbantov and wonder if just replacing my existing drives with these is worth it, given that my drives DO work. If so, do you happen to recommend one brand over another? The Nalbantov is very professional looking–I would like the installation to look like it belongs there and not create a Frankensynth…

Hey Sam,

coming back to this topic, and after I literally replaced half the EMAX, I’m still stuck in the same position.

It looks like the whole problem was created by wrong voltage on the boards. I already replaced the PSU with an Artysan (incl. the power switch & power socket) but still no luck.

My question is this: given than probably this poor machine got fried by wrong voltages, is it possible for you to source anywhere the E-CHIP on my behalf, as this is probably dead already?

It’s not likely that we’ll have that chip available.

Those K2000/2500’s keep popping up on my radar. How are you liking yours?
As for the floppy emulator the world is your oyster. I’ve had great success with this company https://store.inertialcomputing.com/category-s/100.htm

But first I would ask myself what it is I’m after. For me I wanted expanded memory and to keep my unit as original as possible. So I decided on the SCSI2SD V5.5 Its a super simple solution and less invasive. (but you would have to have a rear mounted scsi port)

Now if want to sell my unit, The SCSI reader stays with me.
Also having multiple devices I can share the same reader between all of them.

I would recommend using a company that offers support and most likely a forum
unlike some of the cheaper ebay options
These SCSI SD card readers have a broad range of applications so there’s a ton of info out there
Check with the company first for known compatibility issues
and remember bigger is not always better
even though SD cards come in a wide array of storage capabilities
generally the smaller the better as you will have to format the drive using your device
for me my ASRX caps out at 8 gigs, partitioned into 4 scsi terminals of 2gb a piece
even so I don’t push it that far and like to stay in the ball park of 4 gigs.

And make sure you order the right terminals!
My first go around I ordered a unit designed for DB25 applications,
this was easily solved with an adapter,
but there’s nothing like getting a brand new toy in the mail
and realizing you ordered the wrong part

Hope this helps!

Thanks for the reply. I guess I was wondering more from a standpoint of if it is even worth replacing the existing floppy drives since both seem to be working fine. Both of these items were purchased used and I am only just getting to learn my way around on them. I have dozens of floppies that came with them and haven’t even had a chance to listen to them all yet. I think for now I will probably leave them as is.

The K2000R seems to me to be a very powerful instrument and the sounds are terrific. I also have a PC2R which is a single space rack mount that came along about a decade later. I suspect that the PC2R uses many of the same samples that are in the K-series, but again, I bought it because it was so incredibly cheap and I remember back when these things were new they were way beyond my budget so I thought it would be cool to own some Kurzweil gear and see what all the fuss was about. But I am starting to understand why they were so expensive–the sound quality is quite amazing considering the vintage and the amount of memory these instruments had available. My K2000R has the 3.54J operating system. (Also something strange that perhaps you can educate me on. Why the "so-called “Calvin” or “C” operating system versus the “Janus” or “J”? What does all of that mean? Is one better than the other or does it avoid limitations of the other in some way?) I understand that the latest version is 3.87 and that whatever type one has, one can only upgrade to a later version of the same type. I have considered upgrading because I have a tendency to want the best and latest possible version of the instrument but I also realize that we are talking about legacy hardware here. I wonder if the difference is significant enough to justify making the change because it would be something like turning a 27-year old instrument into a 26-year old one, right? Neither of these are my “bread and butter” instruments; I have much more modern gear as well including a Montage 7 and a Motif ES Rack.

One more comment on the PC2R: this thing has the biggest wall wart external power supply I have ever seen and a weird proprietary plug for connecting it to the body of the unit. Why on earth did Kurzweil do such a thing? As far as I am concerned an external power supply of this sort is like a flashing billboard screaming “I am not a professional piece of gear!” (not talking here about very large mixers and such that have external power supplies that are so big and heavy that they are themselves rack-mountable like power amplifiers–like the Mackie 8-bus series) and yet in every other way the PC2R sounds and performs like a very professional instrument. The only reason I can think of is so that they could squeeze it down to a single rack space, but I would MUCH rather have it be a two-space unit and have that stupid power supply inside, like the 1000-series rack mounts. Can you enlighten me on the thinking here?

I believe the power adapter puts out multiple voltages, so it is an unusual thing. And an expensive thing to replace if you ever lose it!

The reasoning behind building a piece of gear with an external power supply like this is that the gear itself doesn’t have to be UL approved, which is a very expensive process. Only the wall wart needs that approval, so that can be left to the company that makes millions and millions of power adapters, instead of the much smaller company that makes thousands of keyboards.

as i understand it the calvin and janis versions are functionally identical but different hardware, it’s only really important when getting new OS EEPROMS (C for calvin J for Janis)