Roland MC-505 Operating System Handbook

Factory Resetting the MC-505

Power on the 505 while holding [SHIFT]. Select (with [INC]/[DEC] or the alpha-dial) between the following types of factory reset:

Generally if you find your 505 acting up, you need only do a SYSTEM reset. This way you keep your patches and, most often, fix any sluggishness, etc. with the 505. I've never known anyone to need to do a full reset to solve their problems (I would imagine you'd only need to do that if your USER memory got corrupted).

Displaying the Operating System (OS) Version

Turn on the 505. When it displays the pattern screen (i.e. fully booted) then press and hold [TEMPO/MIXER] + [PTN/SONG] + [PATCH] + [12] + [14] + [16] to display the SYS (operating system) version. For a v1.07 updated MC-505 bought in 1997/8 the result is:

SYS Version=1.07
Bld=118 98/07/27

Pressing [16] again will display the CPU version.

CPU Version=1.00
Bld=022 97/08/18

Pressing [16] once more will display the DAT (data) version.

DAT version=1.00
Bld=030 97/09/29

Operating System Bug Fixes

v1.05 this information from an informal source

  1. Sometimes deleting or erasing didn't work, that was fixed.
  2. User Memory Full was reported wrong by the Memory Info page.
  3. Information during bulk dump was sent twice.
  4. Possible freezing in stepwrite mode was fixed.
  5. Copying in Pattern edit, the beats are different and prevent copying.

The following from the 505 service manual

v1.06 the following bugs have been cured:

  1. When set groove quantize in pattern edit, the timing will change but the velocity will not.
  2. When use roland original card and execute patch write without formating, it could "write" but the patches on the card become unreadable when re-turning on the power.

Effective no production

v1.07 the following bugs have been cured:

  1. The LCD display of user patch B and user rhythm may be corrupted when execute backup load.
  2. When repeat "write" and "initialize" pattern to a card, it becomes unable to write to the card.
  3. After executing backup load, the system parameter of the sound generator may not reflect.

To above 1: and 3: will be recovered from re-turning on the power.

Effective BL40100 up (from september 1998 production)

Source: (issued by RJA) 1998-08-05 / info no 101052D

Updating the OS


Hook the MIDI OUT of a sequencer into the MIDI IN of the 505.

Turn on the 505 while holding [TEMPO/MIXER] + [PTN SET] + [PATCH]. The display will read:

MC-505 Sys-VerUp

Pressing [ENTER] will put the 505 into receive mode. (Pressing [EXIT] boots the 505 as normal).

Send the Standard MIDI files from the MC-505 OS v1.07 package.

(If you need a program to send these MIDI files with, PC users can use the UpdateSMF utility).

The target total checksum is 0F25. The following are the progressive checksums:

After file #x sent Checksum "One=" Checksum "Al="
1 96C5 96C5
2 8C1F 22E4
3 8817 AAFB
4 CFB5 7AB0
5 965D 110D
6 4732 583F
7 EF43 4782
8 2151 68D3
10 7A5D 872B
11 2CBD B3E8
12 039C B784
13 57A1 0F25

By SmartMedia Card

Turn on 505 while holding [TEMPO/MIXER] + [RPS SET] + [PATCH]. The display will show:

Updt v=1.000
Card -> Enter

Pressing [ENTER] updates the 505 OS to the OS on the SmartMedia card. (Pressing [EXIT] boots the 505 as normal).

NOTE: If you have a floppy adaptor you can download the MC-505 Operating System v1.07 (for PC) in SmartMedia format and copy it to a SmartMedia card, then perform the above to update the 505.

NOTE: See also the section about backing up the 505 to SmartMedia.

If anyone can explain the v=1.000 that some v1.07 OS 505 display, it'd be nice.

Backing Up the 505


The only way to back up any aspect of the 505 by MIDI is to press [SHIFT] + [16] to bulk dump the SETUP, SETUP&PATCH, or ALL. Then perform this function for each pattern you wish to backup. To restore this backup you would press [SHIFT] + [16] until the 505 goes into RECEIVE mode. Then send (by external sequencer) the previously dumped sysex data.

The Dumpster utility will help with sending and receiving SYSEX if your sequencer doesn't do this task.

By SmartMedia Card

There seem to be two ways of backing up the 505 to SmartMedia:

1. You can press [SHIFT] + [15] twice until you see "User Backup". Pressing [ENTER] will copy the entire 505 USER memory (both patterns and patches) to the card, including system settings (D-Beam settings, MIDI settings, etc.). I'm not sure if this backup includes the OS (I doubt it).

2. You can turn on the 505 holding [TEMPO/MIXER] + [RPS SET] + [PATCH], which leads to a display of:

Card -> Enter

NOTE: see the section about Updating the 505 OS from SmartMedia about this screen.

Then press bank buttons ([PRESET], [USER], and [CARD]) for:


But nobody really has any clue exactly what each setting backs up.

Test Mode

To enter the MC-505's test mode, turn on the 505 while holding Beam ON, D-Beam Type, and FUNC. All the lights on the 505 will briefly light and the display will show:

MC-505 Test Mode

1. Memory Test

Hitting ENTER performs a memory test. After this test the 505 will then display:

2. MIDI Test

MC-505 Test MIDI
Connect ---

Connect a cable from the 505's MIDI IN to its MIDI out. The display (if all is okay with its MIDI system) should change to

MC-505 Test MIDI
Connect ok

and the green arrow between the LEDs should light up. Hitting ENTER scrolls through the following displays:

MC-505 Test MIDI
SYS Version=1.07

MC-505 Test MIDI
CPU Version=1.07

MC-505 Test MIDI
DAT Version=1.00

To advance to the next test, disconnect the MIDI cable. The green arrow should turn off, and the display should indicate "disconnect OK". At this point the display will change to read:

3. SmartMedia Card Test

Card Protect ---
Read/Write ---

What it is asking you to do (took me a few minutes to figure this out) is insert a write-protected (with the silver circle affixed) SmartMedia card. If you do so, "Card Protect ---" should change to "Card Protectok". Repeat with a non-write-protected card to get a second "ok" and move on.

Note: If you insert the wrong card (i.e. a non-write-protected one when the 505 wants a write protected one) you receive "NG!" Presumably this stands for "not good!" - why they didn't use "bad" (which also has 3 characters) is a Japanese mystery. Hit [ENTER] to move on:

4. Footpedal Test

Pedal Test

Connecting a footpedal to the PEDAL input and pressing it will display a green arrow between the LEDs and change the display to read "ON".

5. SW & LED Test

Lights up all the lights on the 505 and you must turn them off.

Few things to note:

- Holding a button changes the display to define the button and display "ON" while turning off any associated LEDs. Letting go changes the display to "off". Pushing that button again will not do anything (to indicate you've tested it) unless the button is associated to more than one LED (e.g. the WAVE SELECT button, which tests the main LED display, must be pressed numerous times to test the entire display).

- Make sure you keep pressing each button until there are no more functions to be tested or you will get "stuck" on that button - unable to test another button until you return and finish the first.

- You must even push buttons with no associated light.

- Try pressing two buttons at once to get the dreaded "Plural Click Err"!

When you have pressed every button on the 505 adequately, the display will give you an "ok" and prompt you to push [ENTER] to move on to:

6. Encoder Test

Encoder Test

and all the green rhythm buttons will light. Use the alpha dial to scroll from a value of -24 to +24 to get "ok" here. As you do, the red and green part/rhythm tone buttons will light to visually show you where in the range you are. At the same time the LED display will display the value you are currently at.

7. AD Test

The display will show:

AD Test

and the large LED display will display the value the currently moved dial/slider is sending.

Move every dial and slider through its full range to get an "ok" for that dial/slider. When you've done them all the 505 will prompt you to push [ENTER] to move on.

8. D-Beam Test

The display will show:

D-Beam Test

Move your hand through the full range of motion of the D-Beam (values will display on the LED display). When finished, push [ENTER].

9. Sound Test

The display will show:

Sound Test sin

This test will test a sine and square wave out the left (L) and right (R) outputs of each of the MIX OUT, DIRECT1 and DIRECT2 outs. Hit [ENTER] to move through the tests. When complete, the 505 will provide a low frequency sine wave tone with which you can test the Low Boost, while displaying:

Sound Testsin
Lo Boost

The Octave button should be tested now.

Hitting [ENTER] moves you on to test the DSP (chip), which the 505 self-tests. If all is well you should end with the display reading:

Sound Test

NOTE: if you want to do what seems like manually feeding the DSP chip bit values, at this point you can use the alpha dial to move up and down. Moving up scrolls the value given the chip, displayed in binary in the LCD display. To provide the chip with high bit inputs without ruining your alpha-finger scrolling through 256 values, hold shift as you turn the alpha dial, which scrolls through inputs of the high 8 bits.

NOTE: it is interesting to hear the clicks and pops that result from high bit inputs. Strange that the 505 should be so noisy in a test mode.

Hitting [ENTER] moves on.

10. LCD Test

Use the alpha dial to adjust the contrast of the LCD display while the red and green part/rhythm buttons below display the range. Hit [ENTER] to move on to:

11. Factory Data

Factory Data Set
Ready ??

Clicking [ENTER] restores the factory data set into the 505's memory, just as if you did a FACTORY RESET ALL.

If all goes well the display should read "Complete" and the 505 will reboot itself. If you got this far you should have no problems with your 505.