Author Topic: Simple digital sample playback module - questions  (Read 5984 times)

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Simple digital sample playback module - questions
« on: August 26, 2010, 07:16:22 AM »
I just ordered a few of these for a one-off instrument I am developing for kids (for a friend who is a teacher):

http://www.electronics123.com/s.nl/it.A/id.2845/.f

The basic idea of the instrument is a simple triggered/sequenced sample playback (like a sampling drum machine or phrase sampler, but you record directly into a mic). I figured I could use these and trigger/sequence the playback with some cmos stuff.

However, I just read the datasheet and it says that it is rated for only 1000 playback cycles.

If it was put into a toy sampler, for example, that seems like not a very long time before it dies.

How seriously should I take that note? I have no idea what the reason is for that limit. I am pretty much a noob when it comes to anything digital beyond cmos logic chips. I was doing this the quick and dirty way and finishing this thing within the next few weeks is important, so I don't have time to dig into something fancier.

I just don't want to send this thing off to just have it die after barely being used.

I have a very similar device here to the one linked that I bought from radio shack years ago but never used, and it is looping on and on in the background right now as I type, just to test it out... but I was wondering if I could get the input of any of you folks who work with digital stuff more often.
« Last Edit: August 26, 2010, 07:17:59 AM by Top Top »

jasperoosthoek

Re: Simple digital sample playback module - questions
« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2010, 11:56:43 AM »
It will have some flash memory inside. Flash memory is damaged by repeated writing of data. Maybe there is one around with some (non-non-)volatile memory (DRAM) inside. These memories are rated for at least a hundred trillion write cycles...  :icon_mrgreen:
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Top Top

Re: Simple digital sample playback module - questions
« Reply #2 on: August 26, 2010, 02:26:53 PM »
well 1000 write cycles is not so bad. It would take a long time to record 1000 different things onto it.

It may be a typo, but the datasheet only specifies "play times." I was concerned about that because you could kill it in as little as 1/2 hour of use depending on how much it was getting played.

I didn't get to play it long enough last night to see if I could kill it by repeated plays, but I'll try again today.

It does say it is non-volatile on the data sheet, so that seems confusing. I thought that just meant it will hold data even when no power is applied.

I'll check to see if I an find any with DRAM.

jasperoosthoek

Re: Simple digital sample playback module - questions
« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2010, 02:42:38 PM »
Flash is the only non-volatile chip based memory on the market today. 1000 write cycles is a clear indication that is it flash. But 1000 play times must be a typo. Memory like flash can normally be read as many times as DRAM. Why would it break down, maybe it overwrites itself when playing??? Buy it and see for yourself.
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Top Top

Re: Simple digital sample playback module - questions
« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2010, 06:30:12 PM »
The one I have that is similar has been looping along all day with no problems. I am guessing it is a typo.

I am not worried about 1000 WRITE times, that would be fine. It would have to get used pretty often to run into problems. It is just that I am going to have it set up to trigger like a drum machine, so you could quickly PLAY the sample 1000 times when playing with it.

I've ordered them already, and a couple more than I actually need, so I'll be able to test.

Quackzed

Re: Simple digital sample playback module - questions
« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2010, 03:04:56 AM »
i'd love to see this thing in pedal form  :icon_twisted:
step on it, play your thing, then repeat it every time you step on the play button...
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MoltenVoltage

Re: Simple digital sample playback module - questions
« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2010, 08:11:43 PM »
i've usually seen 10,000 as the flash write limit

i've never seen a limit on the playback
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cloudscapes

Re: Simple digital sample playback module - questions
« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2010, 09:07:06 PM »
Flash is the only non-volatile chip based memory on the market today. 1000 write cycles is a clear indication that is it flash. But 1000 play times must be a typo. Memory like flash can normally be read as many times as DRAM. Why would it break down, maybe it overwrites itself when playing??? Buy it and see for yourself.

FRAM is another non-volatile. It's also a much greater number of write cycles. Like tens of millions or something. Difference is that it's quite a bit more expensive. Several dollars for just a couple seconds of audio.

I have a couple FRAM chips lying around I have yet to try out.
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slotbot

Re: Simple digital sample playback module - questions
« Reply #8 on: November 06, 2010, 11:23:43 PM »
TI has some chip that is basically a battery in an IC package. its to turn any volatile ram into nonvolatile. It think the battery is good for 5 years or something like that. (probably based on SRAM since it draws almost literally no current when its not switching.) Not sure how much it costs but sort of an interesting work around to dealing with NVRAM.

jasperoosthoek

Re: Simple digital sample playback module - questions
« Reply #9 on: November 07, 2010, 08:25:04 AM »
FRAM is another non-volatile. It's also a much greater number of write cycles. Like tens of millions or something. Difference is that it's quite a bit more expensive. Several dollars for just a couple seconds of audio.

I have a couple FRAM chips lying around I have yet to try out.

I didn't know that FRAM is already on the market. In my daily life I work on developing the next best thing: phase-change memory (PRAM or PCRAM).
I switched a single bit with a pulse generator for over 100 million times. No biggy. Some companies such as Samsung are planning to put it on the market the coming years.
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deadastronaut

Re: Simple digital sample playback module - questions
« Reply #10 on: November 07, 2010, 08:30:58 AM »
4k is a pretty naff sample rate...
how does it sound...crackly, like those birthday cards....?
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Quackzed

Re: Simple digital sample playback module - questions
« Reply #11 on: November 07, 2010, 06:23:50 PM »
if you look at the data sheets , you can get a sample rate of up to 12k , if you give up 1/2 max  length, i think. check and see, but it seems there is a resistor on it that you can adjust to either lowersamplerate/longer max time, or vise versa... 12k aint too shabby...even 8k, though not ideal, isn't too bad considering cost...
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The Tone God

Re: Simple digital sample playback module - questions
« Reply #12 on: November 09, 2010, 04:31:20 PM »
Just looking at the specs, wiring, and feature set I'm pretty sure those are just ISD IC based recorders and not true digital. The smaller ones are probably 1600Bs and the larger ones are 1700.

They typically have a 100,000 write cycle so the 10,000 might be a miss print. They don't use flash in the common sense but a charge cell storage system that stores the message like a large array of S&H caps. It is technically analog but controlled digitally.

Andrew