Lifetime of firmware in EPROMs

Covering the SY22 to SY55 and TG Modules.

Moderators: parametric, Derek, Saul, Fozzer

SiriusHardware
Member
Member
Posts: 29
Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2011 6:00 pm

Re: Lifetime of firmware in EPROMs

Unread post by SiriusHardware » Mon Sep 21, 2015 1:40 am

I'm in the UK, in the Arctic North (Tyneside).

I don't know enough about CD/DVD -R, -RW, +R, +RW etc to agree or disagree with your theory that RW discs might endure better because they use a metallic medium rather than light sensitive dyes, although common sense suggests you must be right. The problem is that even RW discs are written using light, so they are in theory still susceptible to degradation by light exposure.

My suggestion that FLASH is subject to data fade comes from reading the data sheets for the various FLASH ROM based microprocessor ICs which I use in personal projects. The specification usually talks about 'Data retention' in terms of a finite quantity of quite a few decades, in other words, they candidly admit that whatever firmware you programme into them is not going to stay put forever. As far as I know, USB Flash memory sticks use essentially the same technology with the same finite data life, but I could be wrong about that (indeed, I would be glad if I was).

There's also another problem with flash memory which is that it only has a limited number of read-write cycles, usually quoted in the hundreds of thousands - which could be a big problem where you are using a FLASH device as an operating system hard drive, constantly accessing it and writing to / reading from it (as happens with the SD card in the Raspberry Pi mini computer for example). Where you back stuff up to a Flash device only once every few weeks, this is unlikely to be a problem.

The DOS/Windows PC I mentioned has proved remarkably reliable considering its age (~ 20 years) - I have to replace the CMOS battery - fortunately not a weird proprietary thing but a standard CR2032 coin cell - every five years or so. The HDD of the machine is 120MB (you read that correctly) and you can use various items of software to read an image of a whole HDD and save it elsewhere as a file - I have various backup copies of the machine's HDD scattered around. The EPROM programmer's support software is DOS software, not Windows 3.1 software.

There is actually a very good DOS emulator around called DOSBOX which even supports most PC hardware (Joysticks, serial ports, parallel ports, and so on). The main problem is finding a modern computer which has a real parallel port on it for DOSBOX to talk to. USB to parallel port converter cables do, for now, still exist. I should probably try one of these with DOSBOX on a more modern machine.

I quite like the punched-tape idea. :-)

You might be interested to know (maybe already do know) that there are people in the field of vintage audio who have been attempting to use lasers to read the undulating surfaces in the grooves in vinyl records, the reason being that a traditional stylus damages any record it plays a little bit every time it plays it. So lasers are being tried as a 'non contact' method of playing back records without causing any additional wear to the grooves on the records. It also, potentially, is a way of recovering 'data' (audio) from records when there are no working record players left in the world.

Given that more or less every current method of storing data is potentially flaky in the long term, it's high time some bright university student solved this problem by inventing a completely permanent, reliable data storage device. The world needs one.



User avatar
SysExJohn
Member
Member
Posts: 498
Joined: Tue Dec 02, 2008 1:00 am
Contact:
Uganda

Re: Lifetime of firmware in EPROMs

Unread post by SysExJohn » Mon Sep 21, 2015 9:37 am

Just to add a little levity to the conversation,

"I have it on good authority that papyrus, written upon using a good quality ink, has properties that, given the right environmental conditions, can have it lasting two thousand years, or more."

Those Egyptians knew a thing or two about data storage.

And, for real: my experiences with re-writeable CDs have not been too positive, ditto DVDs.
Written on one machine and re-readable on that machine, then seen as a blank disc by another.
Any writing done on another machine then rendered the disc unusable by either.
Caused me to ditch them and go back to CD writeable.
Of course, things may have changed since my initial experiences.

What's the difference between the + and - versions of writeable CDs and DVDs?

Regards,
John.


MIDI Tutor forum at http://midi-tutor.proboards.com/index.cgi.
UW500; 2xMU1000 + PLGs AN, DX, VL, VH & PF; SC8850; EWI4000s + VL70m; Samson Graphite 49.
AN1x, Novation X-Station 25. E-MU 02 cardbus + 1616m x 2. Sonar 7 PE. XGworks ST. & SQ01.
Garritan GPO4, COMB2, JABB3, IO, Organs, Steinway, World, Harps + GPO5.

User avatar
parametric
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 2481
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 1:00 am
Contact:
Great Britain

Re: Lifetime of firmware in EPROMs

Unread post by parametric » Mon Sep 21, 2015 4:43 pm

Ha Ha - Nice one - John . . . . . .

Papyrus IS indeed largely time-insensitive as regards legibility, however, machine-readability (AFAIK) is limited to the human eye - which only gets updated on an evolutionary basis . . . . .

Plus, you need a Rosetta-stone in your pocket :lol:

As regards the RWs, MOST of my experiences have been with the DVD+ version.

My Philips DVD Recorder seemed to like them. I could edit out the ads (make them invisible) in quite a tidy way right down to "frames", Split the program into chapters that appeared on the menu, and title the disk and the chapters.

I do remember that there was a <Make Compatible> option that was offered IF you had edited the content in any way.

Also there was an (undo-able) <Lock the disk> option to prevent further editing . . . . .

I then used to copy them to DVD-R disks, to hand out . . . . (archiving the DVD+RWs, just in case),

sadly, the optical drive in it started to fail and shortly after, DVD-Recorders largely disappeared from that market - as did Philips, here in the UK at any rate . . . .

Their TVs seem to still be available in Europe though.

As to the difference between +/- I think its mostly to do with FINALISING. I think the minus Disks DON'T need it.

Has anyone (but me) noticed that our CD/DVDRW drives are not lasting very long these days?

The one exception is a Standalone SCSI NEC external Unit I have that is caddy-loading. Its over 20 years old now and still works . . . its Data and CDROM only, but has S/PDif coax out on it 8O
I use it for playing CDs in my Workshop . . . .

parametric


Alesis Fusion 8SSD AND 6SSD - BOTH are 384Mb/120Gb SSD/Akai ADVANCE61/Yamaha MOXF6/1024Mb Flash Ram/Yamaha SY85/8.5mb vol/1024k non-vol/DX21/Roland MT32/Bachmann double overstrung Baby Grand Piano/Win10 Pro/Ubuntu MATE 15.0.4/iBook G4/Mac OS 10.4.6/ProTools 7.4/MBox2/M-Audio 24/96 Sector101 2x SYEMB06 / 4 x EXM-E3 128MB DRAM Module
BRAND NEW DSDD (720k) FLOPPY DISKS FOR SALE - viewtopic.php?f=22&t=9217

Watch out now! take care, BEWARE of the greedy leaders! They'll take you where you should not go - (George Harrison)

IT'S TRUE - "MONEY TALKS" - TO ME, IT MOSTLY SAYS "GOODBYE" ;-)
http://www.chrisnmiller.co.uk/Chris

User avatar
Derek
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 3629
Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2007 1:00 am
Contact:
Wales

Re: Lifetime of firmware in EPROMs

Unread post by Derek » Mon Sep 21, 2015 8:20 pm

Haven't had much time to follow this.

I'd be sceptical unless you have firm evidence that things will stop working.

Just after buying my first CD in 1987 there was a story going round that they had a ten year lifespan, which really worried me (and in those days you had no option to back them up). 2015 and they are all still fine.

If you have the means to make a backup, then it is of course a prudent step that does no harm. But where do you stop? You may be able to preserve your firmware, but what about the rest of the keyboard and custom VLSIs that might fail (for any reason).


Regards
Derek Cook

http://www.carregddu.co.uk
http://www.echoes-music.co.uk
http://www.xfactory-librarians.co.uk
http://www.ex5tech.com

User avatar
zpink
Senior Member
Senior Member
Posts: 768
Joined: Wed Aug 13, 2014 9:51 am
Contact:

Re: Lifetime of firmware in EPROMs

Unread post by zpink » Mon Sep 21, 2015 10:07 pm

Papyrus sounds ace, bring back the punch-cards! (Y)
Need to build a reader of course.....

On a serious note, I don't have any EPROM images that I cherish, but quite a lot of photos, videos and various projects.
We have a simple 2 disk RAID1 NAS here and an external HDD that I back the NAS up to ever so often (even though not exactly weekly).
Yep, 3 mechanical HDDs that will crash one day, but as long as they don't all die on the same day..... it will be fine. :D

It probably would be good if they started to die, since every time you have to rewrite the data, it will reset the countdown... just a thought.


zpink
Swedish chap hailing from Staines-Upon-Thames.
Noise-making gear: Cubase Elements 8, Korg Electribe 2, Yamaha MOXF6, Novation Mininova, two guitars run through a Boss GT10 and couple of jaw-harps.
Oh yeah, and the Novation KS4 is now hooked up again(even though it has to rest vertically when not used)!
https://www.youtube.com/user/zpinkLondonBelow
https://soundcloud.com/london-below

User avatar
Derek
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 3629
Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2007 1:00 am
Contact:
Wales

Re: Lifetime of firmware in EPROMs

Unread post by Derek » Tue Sep 22, 2015 8:10 pm

zpink wrote: On a serious note, I don't have any EPROM images that I cherish, but quite a lot of photos, videos and various projects.
So everything important to me is on my latest computer (and I always keep the drive from the last one), on an NAS device and on encrypted cloud storage..... Unlikely that all three of those would fail at the same time unless it was the end of the world, and at that point....


Regards
Derek Cook

http://www.carregddu.co.uk
http://www.echoes-music.co.uk
http://www.xfactory-librarians.co.uk
http://www.ex5tech.com

User avatar
zpink
Senior Member
Senior Member
Posts: 768
Joined: Wed Aug 13, 2014 9:51 am
Contact:

Re: Lifetime of firmware in EPROMs

Unread post by zpink » Tue Sep 22, 2015 10:18 pm

Derek wrote:
zpink wrote: On a serious note, I don't have any EPROM images that I cherish, but quite a lot of photos, videos and various projects.
So everything important to me is on my latest computer (and I always keep the drive from the last one), on an NAS device and on encrypted cloud storage..... Unlikely that all three of those would fail at the same time unless it was the end of the world, and at that point....

Hmm, end of the world... maybe you should print some of the photos too, just in case.... :wink:


zpink
Swedish chap hailing from Staines-Upon-Thames.
Noise-making gear: Cubase Elements 8, Korg Electribe 2, Yamaha MOXF6, Novation Mininova, two guitars run through a Boss GT10 and couple of jaw-harps.
Oh yeah, and the Novation KS4 is now hooked up again(even though it has to rest vertically when not used)!
https://www.youtube.com/user/zpinkLondonBelow
https://soundcloud.com/london-below

User avatar
Derek
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 3629
Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2007 1:00 am
Contact:
Wales

Re: Lifetime of firmware in EPROMs

Unread post by Derek » Wed Sep 23, 2015 7:59 pm

zpink wrote:
Derek wrote:
zpink wrote: On a serious note, I don't have any EPROM images that I cherish, but quite a lot of photos, videos and various projects.
So everything important to me is on my latest computer (and I always keep the drive from the last one), on an NAS device and on encrypted cloud storage..... Unlikely that all three of those would fail at the same time unless it was the end of the world, and at that point....

Hmm, end of the world... maybe you should print some of the photos too, just in case.... :wink:
Assuming you have enough advance notice, I'll be too busy partying my way to oblivion to care, on the basis that you won't have to worry about the hangover. 8O


Regards
Derek Cook

http://www.carregddu.co.uk
http://www.echoes-music.co.uk
http://www.xfactory-librarians.co.uk
http://www.ex5tech.com

User avatar
parametric
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 2481
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 1:00 am
Contact:
Great Britain

Re: Lifetime of firmware in EPROMs

Unread post by parametric » Wed Sep 23, 2015 11:09 pm

If it gets to THERE,

I'll be the guy scrabbling about for a couple of rocks to bang together ((i)) ((i)) ((i))

para


Alesis Fusion 8SSD AND 6SSD - BOTH are 384Mb/120Gb SSD/Akai ADVANCE61/Yamaha MOXF6/1024Mb Flash Ram/Yamaha SY85/8.5mb vol/1024k non-vol/DX21/Roland MT32/Bachmann double overstrung Baby Grand Piano/Win10 Pro/Ubuntu MATE 15.0.4/iBook G4/Mac OS 10.4.6/ProTools 7.4/MBox2/M-Audio 24/96 Sector101 2x SYEMB06 / 4 x EXM-E3 128MB DRAM Module
BRAND NEW DSDD (720k) FLOPPY DISKS FOR SALE - viewtopic.php?f=22&t=9217

Watch out now! take care, BEWARE of the greedy leaders! They'll take you where you should not go - (George Harrison)

IT'S TRUE - "MONEY TALKS" - TO ME, IT MOSTLY SAYS "GOODBYE" ;-)
http://www.chrisnmiller.co.uk/Chris

Post Reply

Return to “Yamaha SY22, SY35 & SY55”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest