It lives! It lives, it lives, it lives!!!

The Emulator III has returned! As of this afternoon it is now back in working condition!

How did this happen? Well gather round and let me tell you about today’s serendipitous events. It all started when I noticed a closed auction for sampler memory for Roland samplers. As I’ve thoroughly documented, I’ve got a Roland S770 that I’m going to keep, but I’d really like to max out its memory to a full 16MB. The memory that it takes is pretty old and not the easiest to find. The auction reminded me that I really should buy some memory and get it installed. I found a few auctions that were promising candidates, but I was still a bit unsure and decided to open my S770 and closely inspect some of the memory that was already in there.

As I was searching for information, I found a page that claimed that the E-mu EIII used the exact same memory as the S770. That got me thinking…maybe the EIII’s cryptic problem was just an issue with faulty memory? That would be easy to check! With the S770 opened up, I had some spare sticks of memory that I knew were good. This would be a great time to check. Soon I left the S770 behind and was on a rabbit trail tearing apart the EIII.

The EIII is a beast inside. The rackmount version has five long cards that slide into place. I had to take out the processor card in order to get the memory card out. Once out, I swapped out the SIMM sticks and put it all back together. And…

…nothing. It still didn’t work. Except this time, I didn’t even have funny characters on the screen. I had nothing at all. It wasn’t trying to check the floppy drive or anything. That’s when I started thinking about a post I’d read on an excellent E-mu website called eiiiforum.com. That post had talked about having a dead display when you try to power up the sampler. The cause was some errant voltages coming from the power supply.

Power supplies generally scare me. That’s probably cause I assume that all power supply problems are going to mean burnt-up transformers or dried-out capacitors. But things were different in this case. The EIII’s power supply has a small trimmer pot that allows you to adjust the output voltage. For some reason it can stray slightly, and that can lead the entire machine to crash. So I pulled out my multimeter and checked. Sure enough…the voltage was about 1 volt too low – enough to put it out-of-tolerance.

I followed the steps in the post and reset the voltage to 5.05 volts exactly, plugged everything back in, and it’s back in business! Such an easy fix! And to think that I’d been dreading that for months!

I’m really excited to have the EIII back and working. The 2012 Ultimate Sampler Showdown is back on!

I’ll leave you with this parting photograph. I think that the back of the EIII is pretty impressive. There really is nothing about this sampler that leaves you doubting that it means business. I don’t think I’ve seen quite this many jacks on a piece of equipment. Clearly, a formidable instrument: