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The GREAT adventure: Upgrading to version 1.5 SY99 OS

Posted: Mon Apr 19, 2004 2:23 am
by SY_etc
Hello fellow SY99 users.

This is the story of the SY99 version 1.5 upgrade that took place recently. It contains some information that you may find useful (in my opinion).

It all started a couple of months ago when I called Yamaha (1-888-892-6242, 8:30am to 5:00pm (PST), Monday to Friday) to check the availability and the price of the latest upgrade that came out in 1992. I had version 1.24 in my SY99. The customer service of Yamaha e-mailed me the following:

>>> Sir,
>>> The part #'s and pricing for the latest SY99 update are as follows:
>>> IC111 Version 1.5 part# XJ613H00 $196.22
>>> IC128 Version 1.5 part# XJ722G00 $116.25
>>> IC112 Version 1.2 part# XK165A00 $33.90
>>> IC113 Version 1.2 part# XK166A00 $54.91
>>> IC101 Version 1.3 part# XJ616D00 $73.24
>>> The 5 chips are currently on backorder and will take 4 - 6 weeks once the order
>>> is placed. You can place an order by calling Yamaha toll free at 1-888-892-6242
>>> and charging it to a Visa, American Express or MasterCard.
>>> YCA Parts Dept.

The first chip is the Main ROM, the second is the CPU, the third is the Voice ROM, the fourth is the Lib ROM and the fifth is the Sequencer ROM. The first one is an EPROM and this is why the price is too high.

The total for the upgrade was $474.52 plus 7.5% tax plus shipping (about $30 for UPS ground !!!). For an almost 13-year old synth this was by far too high. I decided that I needed only the first two ICs and I called their technical support (same toll-free number, just ask for a technician) to verify the part numbers. And here is where the story became interesting.

The technician suggested part# XK164B00 V1.5 4MB in place of the XJ613H00 and he said that it sold for only $79.48 because it was a mask ROM and thus cheaper than the EPROM. However he could locate part# XJ722G00 and he suggested part# XK163B00 V1.5 CPU that sold for $79.48. Notice that the two numbers that he suggested according to his database seem to be in unison. I was thankful that he saved me a lot of money and thus I ordered the two parts. Yamaha charged 7.5% tax and almost $13 for ground shipping based on sale price, not actual weight that it was less than half a pound!!! They did have all the parts in stock.

A week later I receive the goodies and I also receive a bad surprise. The CPU chip was 4 times smaller that my original and it required soldering. The original (XI722D0) sat on a socket and could be removed with a cheap PLCC pull-out tool. In addition the original was an 84-pin chip and the one I received was an 80-pin chip. The mask ROM was the same size like the original (XJ613E0).

A new call to the technician did not help at all. He told me to desolder (!!!) the 84-pin socket and if I did so I would see that the original motherboard already had an 80-pin trace for the surface mount 80-pin XK163B00 V1.5 CPU. He had the design of the motherboard on his screen during the call. Then he suggested that it was very simple to solder the surface mount CPU with a heat gun.

At that point I was really pissed off with them. I checked the motherboard and sure enough below the 84-pin CPU socket I saw an 80-pin trace for the new CPU. However, my long experience with electronics and soldering told me that a $500 tool was required for the proper and safe soldering and not a heat gun.

One more call to Yamaha's customer service reveals that the original e-mail contained a very small but very important error: part# XJ722G00 did not exist, part# XI722G00 was the correct one. The original V1.24 CPU was XI722D0. The new one (XI722G00, V1.5) sold for $116.25 and they had two in stock. They agreed to accept the wrong CPU back and ship the correct part to me.

At the time of this writting the two new ICs (XK164B00 V1.5 Main Mask ROM and XI722G00 V1.5 CPU) are inside my SY99 and they work just fine. They also fit fine and no soldering was required. The purchase of the proper pull-out tool was necessary to avoid damaging the CPU socket. They replaced XJ613E0 V1.24 Main EPROM and XI722D0 V1.24 CPU. However there is a small detail left. Yamaha refused to credit back to me the part of the shipping charge that was due to the CPU that was shipped by mistake and the shipping cost to send it back to them. A letter to the attorney general of the state of California appears to have forced them to change their mind.

In conclusion, if you have an SY99 and you want to upgrade it to the latest (and final) version 1.5 you must check the CPU, IC128. If it sits on a socket, has a side length of about one inch and you can count 84 pins (do not touch them and make sure that you discharge yourself from static electricity before you approach the motherboard) then you can order the upgrade easily. If it is soldered on the motherboard and each side is about a quarter of an inch in length you will have a hard time upgrading. The final cost of the upgrade for the two ICs was around $230 including tax and shipping. Not bad for an old synth but it could be better if the original e-mail had been correct.

I hope that you found this information useful.

Posted: Tue Apr 27, 2004 10:22 am
by Angelic_Layer
Do you think the upgrade worth it?
How much does it offer as compare to the older version?

Posted: Tue Apr 27, 2004 11:05 am
by Saul
Thats typical of many Electronics companies, not just Yamaha. It seems you can always talk to a different tek on a different day and nearly always get a different answer to your question!

Problem with most of these big companies is their advertising and slick sales talk often bear no relation to the staff on the ground who's only concern is their pay check at the end of the month and not the companies image. Look at McDonalds. Go into any McDonalds store, order something from the menu and tell me...does it look anything like the picture ???? Do the staff in any way reflect the staff you see in the adverts ???

Anyway...glad you got it sorted and thanks for the info. As A.L asked...did it make any difference? Was it worth the expense?

Posted: Thu Apr 29, 2004 4:15 am
by SY_etc
Not sure if it worths the expense but it fixed some bugs as outlined in and maybe other sites. One thing that I noticed is that the factory test mode is more responsive than before and the tests seem to go faster. One test still fails though: that of the internal SYEMB05 sample RAM board. No idea as to why this happens. It failed with the previous OS version too. The battery of that expansion board is OK.

This update allows for the installation of the musitronics expansion board, because the new CPU is able to access more RAM than the old one did. And more RAM is always a good thing. I plan to work on RAM expansion during the summer and if I succeed I will post the results here.

Re: The GREAT adventure: Upgrading to version 1.5 SY99 OS

Posted: Fri Apr 24, 2015 6:34 pm
by rtype909
Has anyone got "bin" files for the updated ROMS? the CPU seems off the shelf and whilst i know the v1.0 CPU is a Hitachi H8/532 could someone say, what the later 1.5 CPU is? Also the CHIP at IC108.

Re: The GREAT adventure: Upgrading to version 1.5 SY99 OS

Posted: Fri Apr 24, 2015 8:03 pm
by Miks
You may take a look to the Downloads at the main page of the forum - the requested files can be found there easily... :wink:

Re: The GREAT adventure: Upgrading to version 1.5 SY99 OS

Posted: Fri Apr 24, 2015 8:53 pm
by rtype909
hi miks,
i have just finished reading the various threads on this and learning of your contribution too. Thanks for sending me to the downloads section.

Have you any experience lifting the 84pin cpu and inserting the 80pin cpu? i presume this has to be programmed too or can you live with the 84pin cpu and the rom updates. I have just had my SY99 open today recapping the audio section and i want to complete an overhaul so i can close this thing up for a good while.