How to revive an A5000 in a coma (and be happy again)

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How to revive an A5000 in a coma (and be happy again)

Unread post by EX5_etc » Mon Nov 05, 2012 3:37 am

In my opinion this long post could be a sticky for A4000/A5000 owners. The reasons will become obvious as I go through the narrative. But first let me say that this is one of those times that I must praise Yamaha and in particular the design group of the A5000. They were definitely smart and sneaky at the same time. The A5000 is the only Yamaha midi device I know of that features a back-up process to revive itself from a coma. With some help by a capable owner of course. :wink:

As it happens with many electronic musical instruments, the A5000 allows for an upgrade of its firmware. Thirteen years ago when it came to the market the floppy disk was still in use and hence Yamaha chose that medium as a means to upgrade the unit. In contrast, the AW16G requires the OS upgrade to be on a CD since it came with a CD drive installed. The interesting thing is that Yamaha updated the link to the A4000/A5000 OS upgrade information on March 10th, 2012, but they have included only a link for the A4000 OS files; I found the other by simply altering the URL:

http://faq.yamaha.com/us/en/article/music-production/tone-generators/2157/1610/Downloading_and_Installing_the_Latest_OS_Update_for_the_A4000/?current_page_id=1

http://www.yamaha.com/yamahavgn/ProductMedia/Firmware/A4000_OS.exe

http://www.yamaha.com/yamahavgn/ProductMedia/Firmware/A5000_OS.exe

However, the OS files that you must copy on 1.44MB floppies and use for the upgrade are useless when you get the blank screen with two horizontal lines at power on. What happens in such a case? You send the unit in for service. Or you start searching the internet and you discover that somehow somewhere there is an “upgrade” via midi. Now why would there be one? Because someone among the A5000 design group knew something, a disturbing secret. The A5000 can go into a coma sometimes. The Yahoo group reports that the unit may freak out one day without reason. In my case it did when I attached a female IDE-to-dual-CF adapter to it, populated with two 8GB Lexar Platinum II UDMA 200X CF cards.

I was working on a 64GB SSD upgrade to turn the A5000 into a real beast, but that’s another story. My explanation is this: for whatever reason the main or secondary CPU sends an erase command to the flash ROM (each CPU has its own flash ROM chips) or alters perhaps a byte or two. This happens normally when you perform the upgrade but it also happens at random. What triggers that command/alteration is a mystery but because it happened at start-up for me as well as that user on Yahoo, I believe that it has to be related to the power supply. Maybe a spike, a voltage drop, a short… Whatever the case might be the CPU interprets it wrongly and the result is disastrous. That is why the designers allow for a back-up way to upgrade the OS. If all the disk controllers are dead what do you do? You desolder or remove the EEPROMs? Nope. You use midi. There is a drawback of course: it is very time-consuming to transmit the 3.1MB upgrade via midi.

Some people on Yahoo seem to think that the midi upgrade is not a legal one. I’ll put it this way. The A5000 has a bios portion that cannot be erased. That bios portion contains a routine that allows firmware upgrade via midi. Yamaha put it there. So the midi upgrade is legal. And a bit tricky. How that upgrade ended up on Yahoo is something I do not care about.

After I downloaded the OS midi files from Yahoo I used my regular setup to transmit them to the A5000 exactly in the way I transmit sysex and midi files to the SY99, TG55, TG500, etc: an older portable PC running Win2k Professional, a USB M-Audio Midisport 2x4 interface, and a free program called SendSysex. The setup has always worked with the SY99 and the software allows for control of the midi transmission speed, but this time it caused the A5000 to display errors and freeze at various speeds. Hence I posted the original message here asking if anyone had “working” copies of the midi files. Then I went searching for hours. Eventually I came upon this message posted on Yahoo (you must be a group member to read it):

http://launch.groups.Yahoo.com/group/YamahaA5000/message/11322

The author asked for advice, received a lot of stupid advice by people that never read his question and eventually solved his own problem. The OS files were in perfect order. It was the sysex librarian that caused the errors. He mentioned of a program that worked well. It is known as SysExdumper (how original !!!), it has been updated to a newer version since then and it can be downloaded free of charge from here:

http://www.jomox.de/support.php?lang=2

Midi OS Updater / SysExdumper Info, Size: 264 KB, 11.07.2012
http://www.jomox.de/upload/tools/SysExdumper.pdf

Midi OS Updater / SysExdumper MAC, Size: 379 KB, 11.07.2012
http://www.jomox.de/upload/tools/SysExDumper_3.5.dmg

Midi OS Updater / SysExdumper WIN PC, Size: 443 KB, 11.07.2012
http://www.jomox.de/upload/tools/SysExDumper_3.5.zip

There is suspicion that a hardware sequencer would also work in place of that program but I am not about to remove my QY700 from its place on the rack and check. Too many cables to re-organize afterward. Here is the process I followed:

1. Connect the midi-out of the interface to the “IN-A” midi input of the A5000 or to the only midi input of the A4000.

2. While holding down "COMMAND/EXIT" + "ASSIGNABLE" + "AUDITION" on the A4000/A5000 switch the power ON. The bios screen will inform you that the unit is in an update-mode waiting state and the LEDs corresponding to those three buttons will be ON. At this point the A5000 monitors the midi port for data.

3. With the SysExdumper or perhaps a hardware sequencer, play back only the “main.mid” on the A4000 or the “sub.mid” followed by the “main.mid” on the A5000.

4. During the transmission of the midi file the “PLAY” LED is ON. If the transmission speed is low that LED will be flashing. If the speed is high it will appear to be a steady light. It actually flashes too fast for the human eye to notice. Every time a packet is fully transmitted the LED turns OFF momentarily and then ON again. If there is an error the “EDIT” LED will turn ON. The indication on the left side of the screen is 40000 (in hex) for the first packet, while on the right side it is increasing from 00000 to 3FFF8 (in hex). As soon as the first packet is transmitted the left indication changes to 80000, then C0000, etc, until all the packets are transmitted. The A5000 stores the data into some memory chip during the transmission and then dumps the contents into the proper CPU chip. At that point the six LEDs from F1 to F6 are lit up. Switch the power OFF.

5. If you have an A4000 power it ON and you should see the A4000 graphic. If you have an A5000 hold down "COMMAND/EXIT" + "ASSIGNABLE" + "AUDITION" and switch the power ON. The bios screen will inform you that the unit is in an update-mode waiting state and the LEDs corresponding to those three buttons will be ON.

6. With the SysExdumper or perhaps a hardware sequencer, play back the “main.mid” on the A5000. The process from step 4 will be repeated, however during the memory dumping the six LEDs will cycle from left to right. Eventually all of them are lit up too. Switch the power OFF.

7. Power the A5000 ON and you should see the A5000 graphic. If something goes wrong during the upgrade process start again from step 2. The sampler won’t turn into a brick, I checked at least twice. Please note that the “main” file requires three times more time to load than the “slave” file.

8. Press DISK to display the [DISK-PgmLoad] screen. Press COMMAND/EXIT to display the [DISK Command Select] screen. Turn Knob 4 to the right to highlight the second line of the LCD [BACKUP, CD-DA, LOAD-OS]. Press Knob 4 to display the [Command LOAD OS] screen where you will see that the OS version is V1.07. That’s right, the upgrade advertised as 1.50 on Yahoo is actually the old version. You must then upgrade to 1.50 by using the floppy drive. Yamaha has included instructions on the self-extracting files A4000_OS.exe and A5000_OS.exe to help with the process. I would say that the revival and upgrade to 1.50 can take about an hour and you have to be around to perform the proper steps. So take your time and be patient.

Now, a parenthesis about patience is in order. Many years ago I watched a clip on TV with Mr Bean. He was dressed as a priest, seating on a chair, reading a book. The announcer at the beginning of the clip explained that the sermon would be about patience. During the next 5-10 minutes Mr Bean would turn a page, change position on the chair, lick his finger to turn a page, perhaps scratch himself a bit and repeat all this. No word came out of his mouth. At the end of the clip Mr Bean finally looks up at the camera and says, “and the Lord said: be patient”. That was all. I cannot find that clip anywhere but I would like to have it around to show it to my students from time to time. It’s funny as hell but it also teaches patience. If anyone knows where I can find that clip please let me know.

In my case patience and persistence paid back with the SY85 upgrades, the SY99 upgrades, the TX16W memory upgrade, the super-lengthy A3000 CD preparation process, the PSR-1000 upgrades, the many USB emulator upgrades and now the A5000. So, as Mr Bean said: be patient. :wink:

Best wishes.
DrF
Motif XF6, DeepMind 12D, MicroArranger, MicroKorg S, SY99, SY85, QS300, PSR1000, WX5, EX5R, A5000, TG500, TG55, RM50, QY700, QY100, QX5FD, MDF3, MJC8, EMX2, YDP2006, REV500, EMP700, EQ500U, MCS2, AW16G, Axiom Pro 49, AKAI Pro Advance 49, Arturia KeyLab mkII 61, and a few other things by Behringer, Evolution, Philips, Tascam, Technical Pro, Yamaha, etc, etc,... I wish I had time to use all this stuff; I am not even pro. :-)
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Re: How to revive an A5000 in a coma (and be happy again)

Unread post by Clyde » Tue Nov 06, 2012 2:07 am

DrF, bravo for persistence and ingenuity!! ((i)) And thank you for posting the solution that you worked so diligently to complete, I'm sure there are other A5000, etc. owners that will have you to thank one day. Again, BRAVO!! ((i)) :D ((i))
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Re: How to revive an A5000 in a coma (and be happy again)

Unread post by EX5_etc » Tue Nov 06, 2012 6:05 am

Engineers are problem solvers Clyde. Politicians on the other hand... I have received help from other users in the past and I am just giving back. That's why I posted the solution to the problem. Believe me it's a very bad feeling when you fry one of your toys but it's even more rewarding when you revive it.

All the best,
DrF
Motif XF6, DeepMind 12D, MicroArranger, MicroKorg S, SY99, SY85, QS300, PSR1000, WX5, EX5R, A5000, TG500, TG55, RM50, QY700, QY100, QX5FD, MDF3, MJC8, EMX2, YDP2006, REV500, EMP700, EQ500U, MCS2, AW16G, Axiom Pro 49, AKAI Pro Advance 49, Arturia KeyLab mkII 61, and a few other things by Behringer, Evolution, Philips, Tascam, Technical Pro, Yamaha, etc, etc,... I wish I had time to use all this stuff; I am not even pro. :-)
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Re: How to revive an A5000 in a coma (and be happy again)

Unread post by izotope » Mon Jan 21, 2013 10:40 pm

Thank you very much, I repair my A4000 this way!!!!!! ((i)) ((i)) ((i))

A4K-5K-update.zip (update by midi files) http://martin78.com/samplers/yamaha-a4000-a5000/
Last edited by izotope on Wed Jul 03, 2013 7:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How to revive an A5000 in a coma (and be happy again)

Unread post by tiger001 » Thu Feb 07, 2013 9:35 pm

mmm,
when i use sysexdumper v3.5 (on Win7 64b run as admin or normal user) and send the main.mid i always get a ILLEGAL SYS. EXCL. DATA error on my A5000 @ block 001C0000 PACKET 0003FFF8, so rather at the end of the file
i send through my creative Xi-FI midi port (in a handshake or normal connection), using my AKAI MPC4000 (hardware seq.) or Tascam FW-1884 interface i get checksum errors rather fast in the file
any thoughts on what is going wrong?
greets from belgium,
j
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Re: How to revive an A5000 in a coma (and be happy again)

Unread post by Clyde » Fri Feb 08, 2013 3:00 am

Hi j,
Welcome to the Forums! Perhaps an A5000 user can offer you some advice on this, I have no A series experience.
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Re: How to revive an A5000 in a coma (and be happy again)

Unread post by tiger001 » Sat Feb 09, 2013 3:05 am

succes -so far
i used a laptop with xp, hooked to tascam-fw1884
sysexdumper does the job - but not on 7 64b
like u said, patience & persistance
thx for the walk through
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Re: How to revive an A5000 in a coma (and be happy again)

Unread post by Derek » Sat Feb 09, 2013 2:12 pm

You could be seeing a general problem with Windows 7. I've discovered in my work with x.factory Librarians that Windoze 7 seems to have taken a backwards step in that it cannot handle large sysex dumps, which are handled fine on Windows XP (and OSX Mountain Lion). I suspect there is a buffer size limitation coming into play, which is probably fine for general MIDI duties . I discovered it when trying to transfer sequencer dumps from an SY77.
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Re: How to revive an A5000 in a coma (and be happy again)

Unread post by db7 » Sat Feb 09, 2013 9:20 pm

If you want a backwards step, look at how, since Vista, Windows no longer allows the user to change the MIDI device that receives data by default (e.g. MIDI from Media Player or other programs). Users now have to have the initiative to download a program from a third party merely to have control over this fundamental setting. Thanks, Microsoft!
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Re: How to revive an A5000 in a coma (and be happy again)

Unread post by EX5_etc » Mon Feb 11, 2013 2:20 am

It will get worse sooner or later. While some users out there are happy with the "cloud" technology I am COMPLETELY against it. We won't have our own copy of Word, Excel or other program eventually. We will have to go online and use a copy from a server that Microsoft, Apple, Adobe and others will make available after they have received the proper fee of course.

The day when your device will have to go online simply to load its copy of the OS every time you turn it on is not that far away. And that will be a sad day...

That's what happens when we elect politicians that seem to forget that governments work for the people and not the other way around.

DrF
Motif XF6, DeepMind 12D, MicroArranger, MicroKorg S, SY99, SY85, QS300, PSR1000, WX5, EX5R, A5000, TG500, TG55, RM50, QY700, QY100, QX5FD, MDF3, MJC8, EMX2, YDP2006, REV500, EMP700, EQ500U, MCS2, AW16G, Axiom Pro 49, AKAI Pro Advance 49, Arturia KeyLab mkII 61, and a few other things by Behringer, Evolution, Philips, Tascam, Technical Pro, Yamaha, etc, etc,... I wish I had time to use all this stuff; I am not even pro. :-)
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Re: How to revive an A5000 in a coma (and be happy again)

Unread post by tux » Mon Feb 11, 2013 2:46 am

EX5_etc wrote:It will get worse sooner or later. While some users out there are happy with the "cloud" technology I am COMPLETELY against it. We won't have our own copy of Word, Excel or other program eventually. We will have to go online and use a copy from a server that Microsoft, Apple, Adobe and others will make available after they have received the proper fee of course.
You won't have to, there is always Linux with a whole load of very usable software.

I have used Linux exclusively for more than 10 years and I don't miss Windows at all (I do still have an old laptop with XP but I almost never use it).
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Re: How to revive an A5000 in a coma (and be happy again)

Unread post by db7 » Mon Feb 11, 2013 2:50 am

I certainly hope that the ‘main’ OSes don’t go entirely cloud-based, but nothing much would surprise me. I guess this is the time to assemble a good system that can still run versions of Windows that aren’t totally crippled. And to presume optimistically that people will continue to support them.

On that note, it’s not as though I want to run Windows. I can imagine myself ending up on Linux. So I have to hope people continue to donate their time to that, too. The problem is the volume of software that doesn’t have an equivalent on Linux. WINE can’t solve that all the time.

As for Apple, I got sick of them long ago. And it seems that Microsoft are picking up all Apple’s worst habits, at the same time as continuing to amplify its own, which makes its dominance all the more obnoxious.

I’m simultaneously becoming more interested in computing, on the programming and hardware sides of things, and more disenchanted by it, as the internet gets ever more full of ever more rubbish and ever more intrusive into basic OS functions – and we’re bombarded all day by reminders of how we should stay plugged into it all the time, ‘social’ network this, cloud that. I can see myself cancelling my ISP once the contract ends and not looking back, assuming I downloaded enough of the relevant software beforehand. If I need it enough, I can use public Wi-Fi or something. The internet is just a huge waste of time for me.
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Re: How to revive an A5000 in a coma (and be happy again)

Unread post by tiger001 » Wed Feb 13, 2013 12:27 pm

The internet is just a huge waste of time for me.
i guess the same thing applies (for me) when it comes to TV

so in that respect, maybe i can agree on that one too...

jay
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Re: How to revive an A5000 in a coma (and be happy again)

Unread post by EXer » Tue May 26, 2015 5:55 pm

EX5_etc wrote:I must praise Yamaha and in particular the design group of the A5000. They were definitely smart and sneaky at the same time. The A5000 is the only Yamaha midi device I know of that features a back-up process to revive itself from a coma.
[...]
However, the OS files that you must copy on 1.44MB floppies and use for the upgrade are useless when you get the blank screen with two horizontal lines at power on. What happens in such a case? You send the unit in for service. Or you start searching the internet and you discover that somehow somewhere there is an “upgrade” via midi.
[...]
play back only the “main.mid” on the A4000 or the “sub.mid” followed by the “main.mid” on the A5000.
Thanks for that information.

It's good to know an AxK can be recovered that way!
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