Harmony Central Forums
Announcement Announcement Module
Collapse
No announcement yet.

Zoom MRT-3B drum machine initializes on startup every time. Can't save anything!

Page Title Module
Move Remove Collapse









X
Conversation Detail Module
Collapse
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Zoom MRT-3B drum machine initializes on startup every time. Can't save anything!

    I need a bit of very specific advice about the lovely old Zoom MRT-3Bdrum machine.

    I bought a used Zoom MRT-3B drum machine and used it happily for 2 years. Then one time it went into "initialize" mode when I turned it on. This resets the device to factory settings and deletes all programmed content. I lost all my programmed drum tracks and songs. Now it does that every time I turn it on, which means I can't save anything. How do I make it stop doing that?

    Page 49 of manual says that "init" mode should only come on when you hold down the record button as you turn power on. But mine comes on without that.It says push STOP to make it stop. But I push that button and it still does it.

    I eventually concluded that my unit had just become faulty for some reason and was unfixable. So I bought another used MRT-3B on eBay. And this one does the same thing right out of the box! WTF?!?!?

    Anyone know how to make this bad boy behave? I thought there might be some internal battery that had failed, so I opened it up and looked. There is not, I'm totally at a loss. This drum machine that I once loved is now basically useless. And so is the replacement unit I just bought. There must be some trick I need to learn.

    If there's a better forum for my question please let me know. Online searches for help have turned up nothing. I can't find an answer in the manual or on the Zoom website.Any help would be- well- helpful.
    Hartke 輸入販売:株式会社ズーム
    In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. But in practice, there is.

  • #2
    Most chips that contain memory are backed up by either a small battery or capacitor.
    If the battery has gone bad, the chip looses backup power and the data is lost.

    You may be able to find the battery on the board. It may look like a hearing aid battery or larger
    silver flat disk. Some batteries have clips to hold it in place and others have solder connections
    that require soldering in a new one.

    If its a cap that keeps the memory active, then you'd need a schematic to find it and replace it.
    You may want to inquiry Zoom with an email and check to see what can be done. If you have the issue
    I'm sure others have had it. Some MFG sites have forums and Q&A links. I'd start there.

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks for the info.

      I opened up my first unit (the black, made-in-China one) and looked for exactly that, but I could not find anything that looked like a battery.
      The user's manual makes no reference to a second battery. A capacitor would be tricky.

      I've poked around the Zoom website some and haven't yet discovered any means of contacting them. I'll have to look harder.

      The website says some things about "contact the dealers, not us, if you have problems with faulty equipment." But since I bought both of these old, discontinued units second hand, I have no dealer to go to.
      In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. But in practice, there is.

      Comment


      • #4
        As an Electronic tech, I've worked for manufacturers and dealers. If a manufacturer is wholesale only, they direct all service support to dealers. If a dealer does have a tech
        to do local repairs his should have access to service information, schematics, parts and tech support. If a dealer doesn't have a tech then they are just a shipping
        portal back to the manufacturer. The problem with legacy gear is the manufacturers are only legally responsible for supporting the parts for that gear for so many
        years after manufacturing ends. In my case, when they end a line of product, the normal lifespan is about 5 years and the manufacturer provides parts for maybe
        a total of 10 years before they tell you to go fish. Many of the common OEM parts are usually available as generics, Others that are unique aren't. You usually
        resort to cannibalization of old units at that point.

        In my case the gear we sell ranges from a few grand up to a half million per unit. Customers usually lease the gear and upgrade when their leases run out
        after 5~8 years. Some buy out the lease at the end and maybe get another 5 years of use, but the gear becomes unreliable, Maintenance contracts increase,
        and they can wind up with an unserviceable piece of junk when parts run out.

        One small units like yours the manufacturers probably set a time limit on the boards repair of 30 minutes which covers most of the simple stuff that fails.
        If they couldn't repair it in that time, they would swap a board or the entire unit for a flat fee that covers their wholesale cost of a new or refurbished unit.
        The unit "Might" be sent back for recycling or remanufacturer if the product is still being sold.

        Once they are dated, it comes down to finding a tech who really knows his stuff and can probe the unit and fix the problem.
        Its a whole lot easier when you have a schematic because many of the proprietary parts cant be identified by their part numbers stamped on them.
        Manufacturers in the orient are not under obligation to provide any technical information directly to a customer.
        They are to dealers but not customers. The rise of piracy has even made the distribution of schematics and technical data
        to authorized technicians limited.

        Even in the fields I work in, the Manufacturers provide the bare minimum they think a tech should know. They black box
        entire schematics and only give you the input/output measurements to determine if the board is functioning properly.
        If it isn't you swap the whole board. The board gets sent to a repair center where they get connected to a computer and analyzed
        and then special soldering stations using a microscope are used to remove and replace chips. Those centers have their techs screened
        to be sure they don't pirate information for other manufacturers.

        There's a whole lot more but that's the gist of how the industry works now. Having a bench tech is pretty much
        a thing of the past. I was doing bench work on musical gear in the early 80's for a few years after I got my degree.
        Getting parts for new gear was tremendously difficult because the doors were already being closed on non
        authorized dealer repairs. We were authorized on about 50 brands and still we couldn't get the parts and documentation we needed.
        All that difficulty got passed on to customers in repair time, and when it became greater than the units worth
        the customer would either choose to pay the diagnostic fee, apply that fee to buying new gear, or walk away leaving the unit.

        I quickly discovered the trend and knew it was a dead end career and moved on to working for major manufacturers and high end gear.
        The manufacturers send you to product specific classes to teach you how to repair and maintain the gear, and you work on that gear in the field.

        If you can find the biggest dealer, call them and get through to an experienced tech you may be able to have him get the info you need.
        If not he may know the guy whose the wiz on that unit and can put you in contact with him. Techs see the symptoms daily and can tell
        you if its a simple fix or DOA.

        ~~For a small drum machine out of date, if you cant find the info readily and cheaply, you got to look at upgrading as your eventual solution.
        You may be able to find a used one and swap parts to make one good one out of the two.
        Or you could put the thing on a battery backup and just keep it powered up 24 hours a day.
        That's about all the options you have.

        Comment


        • #5
          As the former manager of a repair center, I can attest to the truth of the previous post. Most everything is now done with board swaps, and even authorized service centers often have difficulties getting parts for things, especially once they have been out of production for several years.

          A lot of times, the battery on the board will be soldered in place, and it won't look much like a battery. If you can find a schematic, it will be easy to see if it has any kind of onboard battery for the internal memory. The only other thing I can think of is that maybe it's using the AA batteries for memory - have you tried putting in a fresh set of them? I doubt it will help, but it's not going to hurt to try.
          **********

          "Look at it this way: think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of 'em are stupider than that."

          - George Carlin

          "It shouldn't be expected that people are necessarily doing what they appear to be doing on records."

          - Sir George Martin, All You Need Is Ears

          "The music business will be revitalized by musicians, not the labels or Live Nation. When the musicians decide to put music first, instead of money, the public will flock to the fruits and the scene will be healthy again."

          - Bob Lefsetz, The Lefsetz Letter

          Comment


          • #6
            I have a pair of those Zoom 123 drum units.
            If your MRT-3B has the same kind of drum tones as the 123 I can see why you like it.
            The drum tones sound really good for recording.

            Chances are a new unit is your best option. http://www.ebay.com/itm/Zoom-MRT-3-M...item23388791e6
            Or get a newer model and you'll have allot more beats and sets to choose from.
            The 123 has 300 stock beats and 100 user beats.http://www.ebay.com/itm/ZOOM-Rhythmt...item4ad1e02104
            Its got bass accompaniment if you use it. (I don't because I play bass)
            The newer models like the 223 have a slider that changes many parameters like tuning the drums themselves or adding reverbs.
            The 323 is even cooler. http://www.ebay.com/itm/zoom-rt-323-...item19eb6fb2ee
            It has 400 patterns plus you can do things like change the groove of the beats, Create your own drum kits,
            and upload new beats with the midi connection.
            Last edited by WRGKMC; 04-11-2014, 01:54 PM.

            Comment


            • #7
              Thanks for all the good info y'all! Even if it's not what I wanted to hear...

              I used to be able to change the AA batteries without losing my programmed patterns and songs, so I think it must have another source of power for memory.

              I opened my unit up looking for a small battery of any kind and could not detect one. But maybe I had the wrong search image. I could try again.

              Zoom's US distributor says: "Sorry you're having trouble, but this product is >6yrs old so sayonara."

              I can probably keep programming stuff with my memory-challenged drum machine as long as I leave it powered up and never turn it off. That may get me through my very next project need. I'm making simple multitrack demos of original rock songs for my bands.

              Looks like I need to stop throwing good time and money after bad with these old MRT-3Bs and get a new (used?) drum machine. So let's talk product recommendations!

              I want a drum machine that is:
              Battery powered
              Cheap (say <$300?)
              Easy for a knucklehead guitar player to figure out.
              In current production
              Strong on traditional rock, blues, country sounds. Don't really need the techno/ electronica beats much.
              Suitable for live use if needed. I'd hate to have to go there, but we are between drummers right now.
              MIDI in/out might be useful someday?

              I'm considering:
              Zoom RT-223 But I'm a little sour on Zoom at the moment.
              Alesis S18. Phil's recommendation in a 2011 thread on guitar effects forum. Looks pretty good.

              Are there other products I should consider? I do not have a Mac, so Garageband is not an option.

              Thanks again for all the good info you guys!
              In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. But in practice, there is.

              Comment


              • #8
                I think you meant Alesis SR18.

                http://www.musiciansfriend.com/drums...8-drum-machine

                And after thinking for a minute about what's available in your price range (and still in production), that recommendation still holds true.
                **********

                "Look at it this way: think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of 'em are stupider than that."

                - George Carlin

                "It shouldn't be expected that people are necessarily doing what they appear to be doing on records."

                - Sir George Martin, All You Need Is Ears

                "The music business will be revitalized by musicians, not the labels or Live Nation. When the musicians decide to put music first, instead of money, the public will flock to the fruits and the scene will be healthy again."

                - Bob Lefsetz, The Lefsetz Letter

                Comment


                • #9
                  Is there a key stuck down that, in combination with turning on the power switch, resets the unit?


                  you can't control the wind but you can learn to sail

                  contentment is true wealth

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by onelife View Post
                    Is there a key stuck down that, in combination with turning on the power switch, resets the unit?
                    He said that it is going into init mode, even when he's not trying to put it into that mode, so I assumed he's checked and that the record button isn't being held down while powering it up.

                    Page 49 of manual says that "init" mode should only come on when you hold down the record button as you turn power on. But mine comes on without that. It says push STOP to make it stop. But I push that button and it still does it.
                    Last edited by Phil O'Keefe; 04-27-2014, 11:54 PM.
                    **********

                    "Look at it this way: think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of 'em are stupider than that."

                    - George Carlin

                    "It shouldn't be expected that people are necessarily doing what they appear to be doing on records."

                    - Sir George Martin, All You Need Is Ears

                    "The music business will be revitalized by musicians, not the labels or Live Nation. When the musicians decide to put music first, instead of money, the public will flock to the fruits and the scene will be healthy again."

                    - Bob Lefsetz, The Lefsetz Letter

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I still think there is a possibility that, for whatever reason, the unit thinks the record button is being held down on startup. Maybe something got spilled on it and is causing enough of a short circuit to confuse the logic. Maybe the STOP button is ineffective while it

                      If it were my unit, I would record something to test going in and out of record mode


                      you can't control the wind but you can learn to sail

                      contentment is true wealth

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I still think there is a possibility that, for whatever reason, the unit thinks the record button is being held down on startup. Maybe something got spilled on it and is causing enough of a short circuit to confuse the logic. Maybe the STOP button is ineffective while it

                        If it were my unit, I would record something to test going in and out of record mode


                        you can't control the wind but you can learn to sail

                        contentment is true wealth

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          The zoom units use a rubber mat over a board and use carbon contacts to make continuity connection between the traces on the PC board.

                          Its is possible there may be corrosion or dirt that has migrated in between the board and contacts. The contacts are very sensitive, you can activate them with just the touch of your fingers. If a fluid got spilled it would have to run off the sides of the rubber mat and migrate under it. It probably wouldn't be isolated to one pad because there are so many close together.

                          As an electronic tech I've done thousands of repairs on these types of keyboards in computers and business equipment, and even my own Zoom drum units. Surferbeto can take the unit apart and carefully lift the keyboard mat off the board then clean both the carbon contacts on the mat and the board contacts. You can use a damp non lint rag to clean any water based residue. Coffee and coke leave sugar behind and will come off with soap and water. You also need to use 99% isopropyl alcohol afterwards to be sure there is zero residue.

                          There must be no lint left behind or it will cause the buttons to fail. I've had keyboards that I've had to take apart a dozen times because some dirt kept getting into the contacts.

                          Other than that, the 1/4" jacks on the zooms are poor quality plastic jacks and the contacts can get bent or the housings can fracture, especially is someone tried to use contact cleaner on them. Contact cleaner will destroy plastic jacks and should never be used on them. If the battery is connected to one of the jacks it may be loosing continuity and the battery may be failing to keep a cap charged up. Other than that, its more likely the cap that holds a static charge on the RAM has its dialectic getting old and the charge is draining off. This causes the RAM to loose its User Write data.
                          Last edited by WRGKMC; 04-30-2014, 08:36 AM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by surferbeto View Post
                            Thanks for all the good info y'all! Even if it's not what I wanted to hear...

                            I used to be able to change the AA batteries without losing my programmed patterns and songs, so I think it must have another source of power for memory.

                            I opened my unit up looking for a small battery of any kind and could not detect one. But maybe I had the wrong search image. I could try again.

                            Zoom's US distributor says: "Sorry you're having trouble, but this product is >6yrs old so sayonara."

                            I can probably keep programming stuff with my memory-challenged drum machine as long as I leave it powered up and never turn it off. That may get me through my very next project need. I'm making simple multitrack demos of original rock songs for my bands.

                            Looks like I need to stop throwing good time and money after bad with these old MRT-3Bs and get a new (used?) drum machine. So let's talk product recommendations!

                            I want a drum machine that is:
                            Battery powered
                            Cheap (say <$300?)
                            Easy for a knucklehead guitar player to figure out.
                            In current production
                            Strong on traditional rock, blues, country sounds. Don't really need the techno/ electronica beats much.
                            Suitable for live use if needed. I'd hate to have to go there, but we are between drummers right now.
                            MIDI in/out might be useful someday?

                            I'm considering:
                            Zoom RT-223 But I'm a little sour on Zoom at the moment.
                            Alesis S18. Phil's recommendation in a 2011 thread on guitar effects forum. Looks pretty good.

                            Are there other products I should consider? I do not have a Mac, so Garageband is not an option.

                            Thanks again for all the good info you guys!
                            Do you have any midi capable software? Even check the Zoom site, you should be able to use System Exclusive commands to capture, and restore all settings on the device, via midi.
                            Last edited by gdoubleyou; 05-02-2014, 11:13 AM.
                            G-Dub
                            www.studiog-fx.com
                            15 inch Quad-core i7, Macbook Pro,
                            OSX 10.8.2, LPX, Logic 9.1.8, Apollo Duo

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Hey guys -

                              There is hope. The Zoom MRT3 (B for Black) absolutely has an internal battery back up for User patterns, songs etc. I just changed my battery out last week after having the same exact "Init?" code and all same problems described in this forum.

                              However - you need to take out BOTH PC boards in order to get to it. The battery is on the PC board closest to the pad buttons - which is under the 2nd PC board and furthest away from you when the unit is upside down after removing the back cover. The battery is a standard CR2032 which is available at most drug stores or Radio Shack for $5- $6. The battery is typically soldered or tack welded to clips holding the terminals to the PC board. You can either try to "unsolder" the clips from the battery and install a new battery. Just be careful not overheat when trying to remove!

                              Or you can do what I did which was- simply buy a replacement battery holder from Radio Shack ($1.50), remove the old clips (2 solder joints) and solder the new battery holder onto the PC board (2 solder joints). Then you can easily swap out batteries in the future if the need ever arises again. I bought my MRT3B new and used it for about 10 years before the battery needed to be changed.

                              http://www.radioshack.com/product/in...ductId=3060977

                              Done. Piece of cake and works great. One small snag is that when the new battery holder was soldered in, it hung off the PC board a little bit and rubbed against one of the ribs on the plastic frame/body inside the MRT3. I simply shaved down the plastic rib with a razor knife to make a little room. Now it fits and works great.

                              This may be my first Forum post ever? Figured, I actually had something useful to contribute. Good luck

                              Comment



                              Working...
                              X