Roland MC-909 boot issue

I have an MC-909 which often requires multiple restarts to get it to boot all the way. The progress bar on the screen will appear to go though the boot process a little faster than normal and none of the buttons or sliders will work. It essentially appears to freeze. After a couple of attempts it finally boots all the way and works perfectly, and has never crashed. I updated the firmware but the problem persists. Is anyone else experiencing this or have any idea what could be causing it? Thanks.

Do you have a DIMM or other removable media installed? If so, remove it and try to boot. Often times corrupt data can cause this behavior in a 909.

If youve filled up the RAM (internal or external DIMM) it will cause boot problems as well. Some versions worse than others.

Another thing to try is to make sure all of the sliders are down (or up) and not jittering on boot. broken/dirty sliders or panel damage can cause the booting process to hang. Cracks in the panel or dirty/loose connections can cause this, too.

Something to try- when it does actually boot, hook it up to a MIDI monitor and see if its spraying out MIDI besides active sensing. Sometimes a faulty component will cause MIDI to go bananas and swamp out the CPU.

If that doesn’t fix it, there was an issue with the system NAND in the 909 that caused some headaches, but USUALLY that showed up as “cannot find OS” or some warning like that at boot. If that’s the case, you’ll need to find someone very well versed in fine-pitch reflow work to reflow your system NAND. Don’t use shortcuts, don’t use low-temp solder, hire someone skilled in this type of soldering to do it right. Dont let you smart friend try who thinks he can pull it off. The copper pads on that PCB will let go easily, so the person doing the work has to be able to repair lifted pads if that is an outcome.
You’ll also want to make sure you have a smartmedia copy of the OS flash , sometimes this rework can screw up the existing install, and you will need to reflash. It cant be done with the MIDI method if it crashes in this manner.
The worst part is (although unlikely) you can go through all of this to find out the system NAND is bad. if that’s the case, you’re kinda screwed. Roland Japan never made programmed flash available for sale, only blank. And they never offered any of the other Rolands internationally the ability to reflash in-situ. I dont think anyone has reversed the OS in the 909 yet.

Roland US doesn’t do this kind of work anymore since the new management came in and gutted service. Maybe find someone that does computer mainboard repair (not too many of those) or maybe if there is a college nearby that teaches advanced electronics, they will have an idea of someone with those skills. Most musical instrument techs dont work in SMD, or do so infrequently that something this risky is probably not best left in their hands.

Of course, it could be none of these things, but these were issues I saw a lot of during my time at Roland.

Best of luck.


Hi:I had a similar problem with a Roland fantom s, it did not boot, the screen was always blue. Following your recommendation I checked all the swiches and controls and changed what I found in bad conditions. I put everything in its place and the keyboard worked perfect. Many thanks for the help.