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Old September 21st, 2011, 01:08 PM   #1
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Converting my Edirol R4 Pro drive to solid state

I tried once before to convert the drive in my R4 Pro to an IDE SSD and the unit wouldn't boot. So, I switched back to the original hard disk. But the drive was several years old and I started to worry about hard-disk failure due to age. I also don't like treating it like a carton of eggs on-set. I worry when I do following shots with the bag (and recorder) moving around.

So, I researched a way to connect IDE 2.5" notebook drive interfaces to some other solid state medium. I found this IDE to dual compact flash adapter from a company called Best Connectivity on Amazon. I also bought a 32 GB compact flash card - 400X - the uplift wasn't that high for a speedy one.

32 GB was Ok, even though the original recorder has an 80 GB drive. I rarely capture over 3 GB in a day of recording -- even with all 4 tracks going.

In short, the conversion worked beautifully. After doing the conversion and reassembling the recorder, it booted just fine and formatted correctly. A subsequent record test worked, as well.

The attached images show the recorder's interior, the components I used to do the conversion and the subsequent boot, format and recording operations on the converted recorder.

Cautionary notes I would add if you're thinking of doing this: Use an anti-static mat or surface. Micro-electronics don't like static discharge. Pay attention to the red-coded side of the IDE ribbon cable. By convention, this connects to pin 1 on the connector. The adapter orientation is correct for the cable when the slot labeled "master" is facing up when the drive is mounted.

Hope this helps someone who might want to update their R4 Pro.

Cheers,

Stephen H
Attached Thumbnails
Converting my Edirol R4 Pro drive to solid state-generic_ide-to_compact_flash_adapter.jpg   Converting my Edirol R4 Pro drive to solid state-transcend_32gb_compact_flash_card.jpg  

Converting my Edirol R4 Pro drive to solid state-r-pro_open.jpg   Converting my Edirol R4 Pro drive to solid state-adapter_installed_showing_orientation_of_pin_1_on_cable.jpg  

Converting my Edirol R4 Pro drive to solid state-ground_cable_on_drive_mount.jpg   Converting my Edirol R4 Pro drive to solid state-booting.jpg  

Converting my Edirol R4 Pro drive to solid state-formatting_drive.jpg   Converting my Edirol R4 Pro drive to solid state-recording_successfully.jpg  

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Old September 21st, 2011, 03:16 PM   #2
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Re: Converting my Edirol R4 Pro drive to solid state

I had wondered about doing this. Thanks for sharing! I'm glad to see that it works. I wanted to put a 64GB SSD drive in. I'm wondering if certain brands of SSD will work. Very cool to not have to worry about spinning disk bumps and definitely brings the R-4 Pro to another level.
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Old September 21st, 2011, 03:50 PM   #3
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Re: Converting my Edirol R4 Pro drive to solid state

I'd be cautious about using an SSD as the primary recording drive. It's my understanding that they can exhibit signifigant performance deterioration over time when in a write-erase-rewrite service such as the data drive in a recorder would be. For the system and programs drive in a workstation, which is write once and read lots but with rather static file content once it's on the drive they're terrific but for storage of data that's continually changing, not so much.
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Old September 21st, 2011, 07:37 PM   #4
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Re: Converting my Edirol R4 Pro drive to solid state

Quote:
Originally Posted by Guy Cochran View Post
I had wondered about doing this. Thanks for sharing! I'm glad to see that it works. I wanted to put a 64GB SSD drive in. I'm wondering if certain brands of SSD will work. Very cool to not have to worry about spinning disk bumps and definitely brings the R-4 Pro to another level.
Guy, I tried a 64 GB OCZ drive first. The recorder wouldn't even boot correctly, so I abandoned that. It was an early-model SSD, so maybe a newer design would work. The trouble is that the new ones all seem to be SATA drives. IDE is sorta obsolete.

Stephen H
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Old September 21st, 2011, 07:54 PM   #5
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Re: Converting my Edirol R4 Pro drive to solid state

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve House View Post
I'd be cautious about using an SSD as the primary recording drive. It's my understanding that they can exhibit signifigant performance deterioration over time when in a write-erase-rewrite service such as the data drive in a recorder would be. For the system and programs drive in a workstation, which is write once and read lots but with rather static file content once it's on the drive they're terrific but for storage of data that's continually changing, not so much.
Good point, Steve, but lots of mass-storage is moving to solid state, these days: think P2 cards, all the new camcorders with SD card recording media, and of course, the Sound Devices 552 mixer's solid state recording capability, 442, 788T, etc.

The information I've read is that read-write cycles *are* important for compact flash media, but the wear becomes a problem in the tens of thousands of writes to a given cell. Since the controllers are supposed to distribute the writes over the cells ( wear-leveling ), the practical limit won't be exceeded during the projected life of the unit.

We'll see how it works. If my system stumbles with the compact flash recording media, I'll publish the info here.

Stephen H
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Old September 21st, 2011, 08:28 PM   #6
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Re: Converting my Edirol R4 Pro drive to solid state

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen Hall View Post
The information I've read is that read-write cycles *are* important for compact flash media, but the wear becomes a problem in the tens of thousands of writes to a given cell. Since the controllers are supposed to distribute the writes over the cells ( wear-leveling ), the practical limit won't be exceeded during the projected life of the unit.

We'll see how it works. If my system stumbles with the compact flash recording media, I'll publish the info here.
At 10,000 cycles, it'll wear out in just 27 years if you do this every day!
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