Monthly Archives: January 2018

Up yours Roland


Well my broken BK7M got me thinking ……. If my PC goes wrong, I just go to the shop and buy a part and replace it. e.g. hard disk, motherboard, peripheral interface. Its no big deal and the stuff is cheap.

I propose to build a BK7M clone from parts that are common off the shelf and cheap as chips. If it goes wrong just chuck the old part and put a new one in.

And what better to use than the trusty Raspberry Pi. The Pi Zero W is a fully functional computer running Linux that costs 10 quid. It has wifi, bluetooth, 2 USB ports, HDMI video, additional general purpose IO and uses SD cards for solid state disk.

I bought one of these in the past to monitor my surveillance video cameras and hook up to the Internet. I have now bought three more.

1) Hooks up to a USB hard drive and runs a Samba and Subversion server. This provides me with a common file server that is easily accessed by a Windows PC and any other computer on my home network. Its powered from the USB on my Internet router and the power consumption is too small to meter.

2) Hooks up to a stereo amplifier and provides a neat web interface to any mobile phone on my wifi network. It accesses my file server (1) containing my entire CD collection or any Internet audio stream. So I can play music anywhere in the house. It’s so cheap I can put one in every room and recycle redundant sound systems. None of this Sonos nonsense !

3) This is for audio experiments like a replacement BK7M. Well so far I have hooked it up to a Midiman USB Midi interface and played a sampling sythesizer (QSynth). It is very impressive. I could replace the Midiman by a few electronics components, but that is a future project. I am currently getting the analog synth (amsynth) to work. These are open source software projects.

As for the arranger software – I haven’t located an open source Pi implementation yet. There are ones for the Windows PC that cost money, e.g. One man band and Virtual something or other. So this is something I am looking to write. I am going to use Free Pascal (Lazarus) to develop it because I can develop on the Windows PC and cross compile to the Pi. I have already written a control program in Lazarus for my video project and it is the only program that doesn’t crash ever… Although I have made a living writing C, C++ and C# programs, I just hate C. Its ugly.

So that’s it. One Pi will handle synths for the solo keyboard. One Pi will do all the auto chording, drums and additional instruments. One Pi will handle the buttons, sliders, screen, Play and Record, and Karaoke screen. (Karaoke, you’ve got to be kidding !!)



My BK7M is broken

I switched it on the other day and got a blank screen – nothing – What a load of crap !! I have got Yamaha equipment over 25 years old that still works. Lucky it didn’t happen on a gig. Something is still alive as I get the splash screen and the firmware loader prompts me and attempts to load the firmware from USB pen drive.

I contacted Roland :-

Got this :-

Sorry to hear about your BK-7m :o(

If you purchased it new from a Roland UK Authorised dealer within the past 3 years then you are covered under warranty.

If this is the case please supply me with proof of purchase and the units serial number so I can register your purchase and proceed with the repair.

Speak soon,

No, the unit is secondhand and older than 3 years :-

I’m sorry to hear that your warranty has expired.


However, we can provide you with details of freelance engineers throughout the UK who may be able to assist you with non-warranty repairs should you require them. This information is available by clicking on the link below: –  under Independent Engineer List.

The independent repairers charge £45 just to look at it. I suspect with such a complicated board they would just plonk a new card in place of the old one.

What if I need to replace the processor board ? Where is the price list Roland ? Can I exchange for a re-conditioned part ?


So basically if your unit is older than 3 years you are screwed. So am I going to buy 2 units at £750 each (for safety) every three years ? Roland, go and discover the meaning of life….