The Ultimate SCSI2SD For Samplers Site - the Final Word

SCSI2SD SD Card Computer Compatibility

2019-07-15 (Last Update: Tue, 16 Jul 2019) Garth Hjelte 0 General


Your SCSI Computer Sampler
Your SCSI Sampler is really a computer, but runs it's own embedded operating system. In a like manner, the disk storage it uses is often it's own proprietary disk format. It wasn't until the mid-90's to where the sampler manufacturers started using the standard computer disk formats - FAT and then FAT32.

SCSI2SD Complicates Things
SCSI2SD throws in some additional complications, notably the fact that it stores multiple ID's one after the other on the SD card. If you ahve your SD card in your computer's card reader, even if you have a FAT-compatible sampler (S5000, Emu EOS 4.7, others), with a computer you can only access the first ID, and that is if it's set up to start on Sector 0 of the SD card. (the v6.x Exception: this isn't true if you have your v6.x board hooked up to your computer directly. Then the v6.x board performs as the computer's card reader, and each ID presents itself as a device to the computer.

But back to proprietary disk formats - no matter what, your computer is not going to read the ID's (even the first one) without some help. There are many software samplers and 3rd party utilities that can read the proprietary formats - but again, almost none of them can read the multiple ID's of a SCSI2SD SD card. To date there are only two - Chicken Systems Translator and Constructor, (both all formats, Mac/Win) and EMXP (Emu only, Win only). With these programs you can set them up to read and write the different ID's that are set up within that card.

The Mac Trick
These one other important inside trick regarding SCSI2SD, proprietary disk formats, and computers - and that concerns Mac's. WIndows computers are much more forgiving if a connected disk doesn't have a known file system. Mac's, however, are much more controlling. When you insert a disk that doesn't have a file system that the Mac does not understand, the Mac will complain. You can always click Ignore, but that doesn't end the potential problems. If the SD card isn't set up in a specific way, the Mac may have difficulty writing to the SD card.

SCSI2SD boards that are sold by are set up with a little trick to it, so that not only the Mac nag dialog doesn't come up, but also the Chicken Systems Translator and Constructor programs can read and write them properly. If they are not set up, then reading and especially writing may not work properly (and probably won't work).

The trick - without giving the specifics - is that a dummy Mac boot sector is written and covers the first 20480 sectors (9.4mb). The rest of the disk is foreign/free and not allocated in the boot sector. Then, the SCSI2SD board (or SD card in case of v6.x) is set wher the first ID starts on sector 20480, NOT 0. Research by Chicken Systems has found that this completely avoids interference from the macOS operating system, especially in terms of automatic mounting attempts and write OS calls.

Again, all SCSI2SD board sold by are set up with this in mind, and also contains specific directions so you can set up your own cards.

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