Upgrading the Z4/Z8 Hardware
Upgrading of the hardware is cheap, but you need to know what you need. That can be a real problem, there is no or little information on internet about this issue. Only on forums you can find information about harddisk & memory alternatives. But most of the time there are discussions about what will work, so try it out. The Z4/Z8 is made for maximal compatibility with a standard FAT32/DOS system and with standard USB 2.0.
AKAI Z8 Sampler Memory
For intern memory we need DIMM Memory, maximal 2 x 256MB. Dual Channel kits will work the best, but in the most cases there will be used different kinds of memory. Because in that period the Dimm’s where still expensive, look on ebay or secondhand sites for prices. The specs for the Z4/Z8 compatible memory : 2x (Dual Channel) 256MB (total 512MB) PC133 SDRAM Non-ECC 168 pin 3.3V 133MHz Unbuffered 168-pin DIMM Memory (PC133/PC100,CL2,256MB max.)
AKAI Z8 Harddisk Alternatives
Well only ATA100 disks are compatible with this system, FAT32/DOS disk format. So an old disk configuration. To understand the possibility’s and restrictions we see that a standard was not yet developed so not every ATA100 disk will be compatible. These disks are not very expensive but old, so also not very reliable and become very rare. Lately my old HD became defect, it still works but not very good, sometime you will lose some data, or saved parameters will disappear. At first I was afraid my sampler was defect, but by replacing my harddisk, de loss of data stopped.
To find a solution for the longer term, we must experiment and find out a system that will work. For example the CF2IDE adapter, Compact Flash CF to 40 Pin 3,5" IDE adapter, cost you nowadays 5 euros. Big CF memory cards like 16gb and 32gb are still expensive, but maybe it is possible to make the card reader slot on the front (the 3.5” bay cover on Z4/Z8 front) so you can switch between smaller cards. Also other IDE/PATA adapters can maybe help out here like a more expensive SD card converter, but the cards are much cheaper.
On the front USB connector you also can use USB Stick or external USB Harddisk and also it is possible to autoload/boot. Also the extern disk must be format in FAT32/DOS. For autoboot tips look Z8 Software & Workshop. Also the front USB can read external USB CD-Rom readers, diskette drives and USB keyboards.
AKAI Z8 Connection Cable
The connection cable for the removable front of the Akai Z8 is a standard ps/2 cable.
So every ps/2 cable must be working, also ps/2 expansion cable, will work. My cable bought second-hand, is 3 meters long and cost me a few euros. It is so long that I can remote it in a relaxed position, handy for editing programs, which will cost a lot of time.
The specs for the Z4/Z8 connection cable : Mini DIN 6pin male - Mini DIN 6pin male - standard ps/2 cable.
Z8 still hot !
In my workshop replace Z8 harddisk I will do more experiments with the autoboot options for internal en/or external disks. I am already working on the internal flash drive, but is it going to be Compact Flash or SD card? Find out in my workshop, down this page.
I am also open for suggestions here, is there anyone with ATA133 drive in his sampler and working or has any experience with harddisks bigger than 80gb or installed a different internal flashdrive? contact me and if it contains helpful information, I will report your short story, on the site. Email contact you will find on the bottom of the page..... MNX2010 April'03.