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TASCAM RC-FS20 Flash Start Controller

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Hello, I have an RC-FS20 which is a flash start controller for a TASCAM MD-801RMKII.  All the LEDs are on but I am not able to get it to do anything.  If anyone has any intel on this unit I would be very grateful.  An instruction manual would be pure gold.  I am not sure if I am doing something wrong.

I also have an RC-8 and an RC-801, both remote control units, which I am able to get working in tandem.  I have recently installed the BU-801 RAM buffer in my MD recorder and I am able to flash start tracks using the RC-801, but nothing is happening with the RC-FS20.  I imagine the way this should work is that all lights should be OFF until I flash load any tracks, and then only the tracks I have flash loaded will be illuminated.  Any help would be greatly appreciated.

0929201820.jpg

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Wow that’s some kit!

Dont know the answer to your question but at some point I will endeavour to have a Google and see what I can find. Otherwise your initial proposition seems reasonable!

The 801 with those remotes must be the single most expensive setup in the world for a one disk deck (with buffer expansion) plus controllers!

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9 hours ago, kgallen said:

Wow that’s some kit!

Dont know the answer to your question but at some point I will endeavour to have a Google and see what I can find. Otherwise your initial proposition seems reasonable!

The 801 with those remotes must be the single most expensive setup in the world for a one disk deck (with buffer expansion) plus controllers!

Trust me, it's taken a while for me to get to this point.  :)  The RC-FS20 wasn't even on my radar, actually I didn't even know it existed at the time, it just came with the RC-801 deal.  It's not a huge priority in my life but it would be so nice to get it working now that I have it.  Yes, I am aware what these are worth.  The RC-FS20 in particular is impossibly rare and was made custom to order by TASCAM.  I am an ex-radio DJ and always loved MD.  I do have a large project on the horizon in which having the RC-801 will make things a lot easier.  Don't forget the cost of the DB25 cables!  Check the gauge of those, they're like garden hoses!  I also tried using a TDIF cable on the RC-FS20 but that didn't work, either.

0926201424.jpg

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I'm looking for a Tascam RC-MC1 at the moment... (for Tascam MD-CD1).

Anyone know if the RC-5 would work with this machine? (I guess there is a good chance it will work with the MD section as the IR manufacturer code will be right...)

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Tascam-RC-5-Mini-Disc-Remote-Control-Tascam-Original/363226779505?hash=item549200cf71:g:RVQAAOSwbwFeySdn

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Hmmm - that looks suspiciously like a Sony controller (non-MD). I wonder if the codes are related?

To clarify, it's the only manufacturer who made one with those dimensions and that shape of buttons.

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In response to the RC-8 listing, yeah that looks like a pretty clean one.  All of my TASCAM MD stuff was purchased second-hand over years of search, starting with the MD-801RMKII + RC-8 combo deal in 2012.  My RC-8 came with the RECORD button disabled, for some odd reason (I have since had it enabled).  The battery in my MD-801RMKII is also custom soldered so I can just swap it out.  When I purchased the RC-801 + RC-FS20 combo deal (2020) I didn't have DB25 cables at the time and wasn't about to drop the $$$ on them without knowing if the controllers were operational.  I sent everything to an authorized shop ($$) to have them test everything and perform some modifications.  Long story short, they sent everything back promising everything was functional, without even installing the RAM buffer (BU-801).  This chip is required for flash starting and they had no clue about it, no matter how clearly I outlined it.  Fortunately everything was returned to me, including all service charges ($$$), but I am wary that something may have happened to my RC-FS20 while in the hands of incompetents.

After learning that the BU-801 is indeed rare as sin and there is close to zero documentation on it, I searched the deepest darkest web to find a guy who still services these artifacts and had a couple BU-801s new in the box.  If only I had started with this guy.  Mind you he is far from local.  Very few MD-801RMKIIs were sold in the states and even fewer controllers were sold.  He seems to think, without any inspection, that my RC-FS20 is defective.  Mind you, it could have only been fried if the DIP switches on the back of the RC-801 were set wrong, my best guess.

Still hoping that someone will chime in that has been down this road.  Thank you guys for keeping the thread active.  :^)

Attached: custom solder work done on my MD-801RMKII PCB to reconfigure the lithium battery terminal.

1017202358_paint.jpg

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My 801 is very poorly since it seems to be missing (at least) the laser lens, possibly the whole laser. 
 

Some photos of that BU-801 next to a 1/10” rule(r) would be useful. I’m guessing the PCB pins are 1/10” spacing - but what about the left/right pitch? Assuming a suitable DRAM can be found these days a PCB for that module would be straightforward to design.

Can you capture here the part number of the DRAM? It’s not fully clear for me from the photo - the line starting M5

I think it might be M5M416400CTP, 4Mx4-bit (note: no speed grade is evident from the markings on your chip, e.g. -6 or -7):

DSAFRAZ0013654.pdf

The more clear info you can post the better as good data on all this kit is virtually impossible to find. Whilst the data is with someone interested and knowledgable we should get it captured in good quality. 

Still love that setup.

Kevin

ps An MD801R sold on eBay here the other day. Had a disk read issue otherwise smart. Went for around 50GBP plus postage. Also from the same seller went a working Tascam MD-CD1mk1 and a mk2 and an MD-350. They went for pretty good money too (145GBP for the MD-CD1mk1) so someone out there is still keen on minidisc!

pps Note for the future, other 4Mx4 DRAMs of 80ns or better access time from other suppliers, other than the Mitsubishi used originally, might well work. A datasheet comparison would be required to check key timing specifications, but there is unlikely to be anything unique about the Mitsubishi part.

ppps From the MD-801R-mk2 Service Manual: NEC UPD4216400G3-80-7JD

NECCS00623-1.pdf

pppps The socket is Toshiba/KEL ICC04-20-350T but cut down from 20-way to 11-way for each side.

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Cool to talk to another 801 owner.  Sorry to hear that yours is having issues.  Mine is from 12/1999 so a relatively newer model.

The photos are the best I can do with the BU-801 and it took a lot of patience to capture what I did. :)  I would have to take the unit apart to inspect the chip with a magnifying glass if I was to get any further detail.  The photo is just meant as a general guide since I had no idea whatsoever what this part was when I saw it mentioned first in the MD-801RMKII manual and second in the RC-801 manual.  The part originally sold for $249 (MD for $2,499)!

If anyone is seriously contemplating building one (that idea was also suggested to me) I will get down to the molecular level on this RAM chip.  Chime in. :)

FYI the older 801R (non-MKII) is not particularly desirable and probably comes accompanied with additional pickup issues these days.  If you're attempting to flash start tracks with that one you have to install an additional interface unit (IF-8FR)!  Good luck with that one. ;)  The IF-8FR is already included on the MKII.

Thanks for including those attachments, sir.  I don't have a physical RC-801 manual but I did find someone who was selling another RC-801 with the manual and got him to scan the English portions for me.  Without these scans I could have damaged the controllers depending on the DIP switch settings.  Other points to consider are...

(1) Only one keyboard can be connected, to either the MD or the controller.
(2) You cannot connect both controllers when using LOCAL + REMOTE mode, which sucks.  If I had to guess what happened to my RC-FS20 I am assuming this is what the authorized shop did to my gear (or maybe used the wrong DB25 cables).  I will concede that I did ask them to see if the controller limitation could be modified (as well as the keyboard limitation).

If someone needs the additional manual scans, chime in.  Gets down to pin assignments, tally signals, connecting a fader (might do someday), etc.

Flash starting is really cool and something that radio stations could have really utilized well.  I just wish I could get it working on my RC-FS20. :(

manual_8.jpg

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One thing that could shed some light into this mystery is if someone has the missing chapter from the MD-801RMKII manual (Chapter 6; 3 pages).  It's really odd but any manual I uncover online has this chapter omitted.  I am assuming anyone with the original manual has these pages intact?  Chime in!  :-)

chapter_6.png

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Thanks for putting other info in from the manual.

56 minutes ago, SLAMMERS said:

Cool to talk to another 801 owner.  Sorry to hear that yours is having issues.  Mine is from 12/1999 so a relatively newer model.

...

FYI the older 801R (non-MKII) is not particularly desirable and probably comes accompanied with additional pickup issues these days.  If you're attempting to flash start tracks with that one you have to install an additional interface unit (IF-8FR)!  Good luck with that one.  The IF-8FR is already included on the MKII.

Not so much issues, as pretty much dead. It had been robbed of a few parts (prior to me), including the DC-DC converter for the display. I did manage to get this working - although not brightly as I couldn't quite generate the -30V needed, but at least I could demonstrate the machine had some life. I already bored everyone with that one here:

I thought mine was a Mk1 but I could be wrong as it definitely has the BU-801 socket as can be seen on the photo in the above thread. Mine is also missing the PS/2 keyboard interface board.

56 minutes ago, SLAMMERS said:

The photos are the best I can do with the BU-801 and it took a lot of patience to capture what I did.  I would have to take the unit apart to inspect the chip with a magnifying glass if I was to get any further detail.  The photo is just meant as a general guide since I had no idea whatsoever what this part was when I saw it mentioned first in the MD-801RMKII manual and second in the RC-801 manual.  The part originally sold for $249 (MD for $2,499)!

If anyone is seriously contemplating building one (that idea was also suggested to me) I will get down to the molecular level on this RAM chip.  Chime in.

Flash starting is really cool and something that radio stations could have really utilized well.  I just wish I could get it working on my RC-FS20.

That's fine, we have the detail on the chip now in the additions to my post above. No need for you to pull your machine apart. I forgot I had the Service Manual which fortunately listed the chip number and I managed to interpret from your photo the part used on yours. So we're good for any retrospective build of this sub-module. :-)

Astounding prices! One could probably build that BU-801 module today for around 20USD/GBP/EUR once the DRAM chip was sourced.

Kevin

 

 

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