Previous next

The Floppy Drive Replacement

When Yamaha introduced the PSR-3000 in 2004, they replaced the floppy drive with a 16MB Smart Media Card. They also included a USB (Universal Serial Bus) port for an external USB flash drive. The 16MB Smart Media Card rapidly became obsolete, replaced by cards with different formats and higher capacities, but the addition of the USB port proved to be an excellent choice. All modern day computers now include one or more USB ports and there are a wide variety of USB devices available to the public.

You will see USB flash drives referred to as pen drives, jump drives, thumb drives, key drives, or memory sticks. Whatever you call it, a flash drive is a welcome addition to your computing environment. Just stick the USB drive into the USB port on your computer and within a few seconds a new drive appears on your desktop. In the PSR, PSR-S, PSR-SX and Tyros/Genos models the flash drive will appear as USB1. That's it. You don't have to take your computer or keyboard apart to put in a new drive. You don't even have to install software to read the drive.

These drives have many desirable features: no need for batteries, solid state storage, good transfer speeds, durability, portability, and an expected data retention of ten years. With all of these features, these tiny drives replace much of the functionality of the floppy disk, the CD R/RW discs, and even hard drives.

Which USB Flash Drive?

There are many flash drives available on the market. Flash drives are available in a variety of capacities (the Kingston drive shown here is available in 16GB and 32GB versions). Early USB drives had capacities of 500MB, 1GB, 2GB, and 4GB. In today's market these smaller capacity USB drives are difficult to find. Typical drives offered today are 8GB, 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, and even 256GB. Note that these capacities are measured in GB (gigabyte)! A CD-ROM disc is normally about 700MB (megabyte) so an 8GB flash drive can hold the equivalent of 11 CD-ROM discs and then some. The floppy disk drive was a great addition when it first appeared in the PSR-2000 model. That meant a performer could store an additional 25 to 30 extra styles on a floppy disk and, since you could have as many floppy disks as you wanted, you could have potentially hundreds of styles readily available. Contrast that now with an 8GB flash drive, which can hold 160,000 to 200,000 additional styles, all of which are immediately available. With capacities like that, you need not worry about the absence of a hard drive in your Yamaha keyboard.

Many of the style collections available from the PSR Tutorial are provided freely on this site in compressed zip files that you can download -- check out the Styles section of the PSR Tutorial. A number of large collections can be ordered and directly downloaded. For those who do not want to be bothered with downloading and unzipping, we offer the collections on a USB flash drive that can be mailed to the user. Initially, we offered these collections on 4GB or 8GB USB drives. Today, we use only the 16GB USB drive. Smaller capacities are not only hard to find, they are also often more expensive. The large capacity of a 16GB usb drive means that almost all of the data collections currently offered can fit on one single 16 GB USB drive. Check out the Orders section for more information.

Multiple USB Drives

All drives will go bad some time, so most users have learned that it is important to back up the data stored on their drives. This is true of the flash drives as well. Since you can plug your flash drive into your PC, you could create a folder on the PC and use that as a backup to your flash drive data. You could also buy a second flash drive and use it to backup the first drive. If you are out playing a gig and something happens to the first flash drive, you would have your backup available to pop into your keyboard and continue playing. (Of course, the contents of both of these would also be saved on your home computer, which has its own backups somewhere.)

You might also want to have different flash drives to store different kinds of data. One might have your complete library of files on it while the other is used to store just the "good" stuff you have reviewed and you use all the time. If so, you may want to have two (or more) USB devices connected to your keyboard. But how do you do that if you only have one USB port? Simple. You just buy a USB hub. A simple 4-port hub is shown here. You plug that into your keyboard (or into your computer) and then have room for four additional USB devices, which could include two USB flash drives AND a USB floppy drive, even a USB hard drive.

The PSR-SX900 has 2 USB ports (the SX700 has only one) located on the back of the keyboard. The Genos has 2 USB ports, one in the back and one on the front of the keyboard.

USB Extension Cable

Even if you only have one flash drive you use, plugging that into and out of the back of your computer can get to be a real drag, particularly if your keyboard is set up so that the back is not easily accessible. In addition, the constant in and out can cause wear and tear on the USB port. The solution here is to get yourself a USB Extension Cable. These are relatively inexpensive and are used to provide additional distance between a USB device and the port it is plugged into. In the case of your keyboard, you can plug one end into the back of your keyboard and drape the other end over the top of your keyboard or velcro it to the side or someplace more convenient. Now, your USB flash drive is plugged in and out of the extension, which remains more or less permanently plugged into the back of your keyboard. This is also useful if you are using the USB hub. It would be plugged into the extension and then all the ports of the hub can be more conveniently reached and used.

If your keyboard is brand new, you may not have all of this equipment yet, but at least you know what to look for. Now, let's get back to looking at your keyboard and all those buttons and controls with which you operate the keyboard.


Previous next

This page updated on February 15, 2024 .