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New Aurora Board Bx

New Aurora Bx board with large capacity back-up battery

Over the past few of months, I've installed several Aurora systems into customers' MKS-80s and my Live Forever battery mod gets asked for a lot so that got me thinking...

The layout of the Aurora Board B which hosts mains protection and filtering, has been tweaked so as to allow for a couple of additional components. The new Aurora Board Bx now has a CR123 / CR123a battery holder and SMD pads which, after removing the original CR-1/3N memory back-up battery, can be connected to the battery points on your MKS-80's CPU board.

Back-up battery in Roland MKS-80
The original CR-1/3N isn't just on the (bottom) CPU board but it's also right at the back. While Roland thought of nice, large SMD pads so as to measure the battery voltage, they're still really awkward to get to and, well... you could just stick your probes on the side of the battery!
Live Forever battery mod on MKS-80 - CPU board connection
Here's a view after the battery has been removed. Terminal pins have been inserted into the original battery contacts on the CPU board and flying leads added.

As with the original Aurora Board B, the new Aurora Board Bx sits on a steel plate just like the one that supported the original MKS-80 transformer, making upgrading easy.

Aurora Bx Secured Battery Holder
The CR123a battery holder is screwed to the PCB.

With a capacity of 1.5 Ah, a CR123a will last almost nine times longer than the original CR-1/3N. The battery voltage can be easily checked without having to lift the MKS-80's two voice boards (oh boy). On top of those benefits, if (seriously, if) the battery ever leaked, your precious CPU board will be well out of harms way.

Aurora Bx Battery Connection Points
Conveniently located SMD pads that wire to the original battery points on your MKS-80's CPU board. These also make measuring the battery's voltage a breeze.

Since the enhanced back-up battery mod connects directly to the points on the CPU board where the original battery was, there are no other components to add and circuitry around the original battery remains untouched. There is for example, a protection diode that's in series between the battery and pin 24 of IC5 (memory). This is not bypassed and remains totally functional.

IMPORTANT

  • Don't forget to back up your MKS-80's memory before disconnecting the back-up battery.
  • Switch off AND unplug your MKS-80 from the mains, whenever checking the battery voltage.

Of course not everyone will want to take advantage of the enhanced back-up battery option that the new Aurora Bx board has to offer. That's why the original Aurora Board B will still be available. Check out my store or contact me for further information.

Aurora Board B and new Board Bx 2
The original Aurora Board B will still be available.

Here's the official Aurora post and here's a post detailing the development of Aurora.

Oh just one more thing; batteries are NOT included! I've always wanted to put that somewhere. 🙂 No seriously, shipping stuff with batteries is a little difficult. Our postal service really doesn't like it.


UPDATE - 24th December 2020

Aurora installation instructions are now available in German.

Die Installationsanleitung für Aurora und Aurora Board Bx ist jetzt in deutscher Sprache verfügbar.


UPDATE - 24th April 2021

Aurora is now offered with the optional V06 data cartridge re-enforcement bracket. Such a cool solution to a problem that many Roland MKS-80 owners will be familiar with, the V06 basically strengthens an undamaged cartridge slot and reinforces a broken one by putting 2mm of solid steel behind it!

V06 Bracket for Roland MKS-80 Data Cartridge Slot
V06 bracket for Roland MKS-80 broken data cartridge slot assembly.

Existing Aurora customers take note; once your Roland MKS-80 is open, V06 can be installed in a few minutes, with just a M3 (5.5mm) nut-runner.

Read more about the V06 here.


Plasma Music Limited -

I'm deeply concerned about the environment and the exploitation of labour and so  I always use local manufacturers in preference to the Far East, with the following in mind:

  1. I can be confident that workers are treated fairly and earn a proper wage.
  2. I can be confident of the standard of quality of each item that is delivered to me.
  3. Communication is important and using local manufacturers, all correspondence is quick and understandable.
  4. I believe in supporting the local economy.
  5. I can be confident that the disposal of manufacturing waste is managed properly and in accordance with national and EU law.

Plasma Music uses local manufacturersUsing local manufacturers isn’t the cheapest option but the above points are important to me. I hope that they’re important to you too.