Replacing my 360 Systems Instant Replay SCSI Hard Drive With A Memory Card

Earlier this month a very generous listener of The Snow Plow Show was nice enough to send me a sound board machine. It’s called an Instant Replay Hard Disk Audio 2.0 and it’s manufactured by 360 Systems. I’m told that radio stations across the country used these to play sound clips and promos during the 1990’s and early 2000’s before upgrading to something new.

It’s an awesome machine and works great. The buttons have an instant response time which is a nice upgrade from the Android tablet and soundboard app I’ve been using for years. This thing will make doing live shows much easier for years to come. The only problem with my 360 was that the hard drive wasn’t sounding too good. It made a high pitched noise the entire time it was running, which could be heard while recording shows. It also clicked loudly at every single button press. It seemed likely that the hard drive could die at any second.

Since the 360 was made way back in the 1990’s, finding a replacement drive for it wasn’t going to be cheap. The 360 uses a SCSI interface which, as far as I know, isn’t in use anymore except in really old machines like this. The documentation for the 360 wasn’t very clear on how big its drive was allowed to be, so if I purchased the wrong size, it might not work at all. I opened the 360 and looked at the drive, but the size wasn’t listed on the drive anywhere.

All the label told me was that it was a Quantum Fireball ST drive and that it was one of four model numbers: 2.1S, 3.2S, 4.3S, or 6.4S. I assume those are drive sizes, but it doesn’t tell me which drive this actually is. Some online searching found that Fireball hard drives were sold in those sizes. A 2.1 gig drive on eBay can go for over $150. Other SCSI drives are cheaper, but again, I don’t know how finicky the 360 is about sizes.

I counted the pins on the drive to find out that it was a 50 pin SCSI connector. I thought it might be easy to find a SCSI to IDE/SATA converter so I could try random sizes of old drives I have lying around the house, but that didn’t seem to be something that was available.

In the end I took Mr. Bigg’s advice and decided to try a device called the SCSI2SD adapter. It’s a circuit board with a 50 pin SCSI connector on one end and an SD memory card on the other, effectively tricking the 360 into thinking an old SD card is a SCSI hard drive. From what I could see online, a lot of people use the SCSI2SD card to keep old music samplers alive. I couldn’t find any mention of using one on a 360, but since I could define the size of the drive on the SD card, it seemed likely to work. And it did! Below I’m going to detail the installation process. Here is a picture of the SCSI2SD card I purchased.

I got my SCSI2SD from an eBay account called inertialcomputing. It’s version 5.1 – there is a newer version, but this one was less than $80 and seemed like it would work just fine, so I picked it. It even came with an 8 gig SD memory card. You might notice it has a weird power connector. That’s an old floppy drive connector. Since the 360 uses a standard Molex power connector, you’ll also need to buy a 4-Pin Male to Floppy Drive 4 Pin Power Adaptor Cable. It looks like this, and you can probably find one on eBay.

STEP 1: Something very important to know about the SCSI2SD board is that it runs on just 5 volts. According to their website, if you try to connect 12 volts to it, it will burn out the main chip. It makes me wonder why they even have the 12 volt pin wired up. Maybe they don’t and people just accidentally wire them backwards. In any case, cut the yellow wire off of that Molex-to-floppy cable, just to be safe. The yellow is 12 volts and the red is 5 volts. You don’t need the yellow and it could melt the board, so CHOP IT OFF.

STEP 2: Download files for your SCSI2SD. I was naive and hoped that my SCSI2SD board and SD card would work straight out of the box. I was wrong. You have to download a utility that connects to your SCSI2SD card, a boatloader, and a firmware update. The version numbers are confusing. I bought a v5.1 SCSI2SD card, but the verison numbers currently only go up to v4.8. That’s the one you would use for the v5.1 card. Unless, of course, they’ve released a newer version by the time you read this. (I’m writing this in mid-2018!) Go into the directory and get whatever is the latest one.

You’ll want the utility program – scsi2sd-util.exe in the Windows directory, or scsi2sd-util.dmg if you use a Mac. The monitor program didn’t seem necessary and I didn’t use it for anything. Also grab the latest firmware file from the firmware directory and the bootloader files from the bootloader directory. I’m still confused about which bootloader files you need, so I took all three of the v5.1 files just in case – SCSI2SD-V51.hex, USB_Bootloader-V51.elf and USB_Bootloader-V51.hex.

STEP 3: Prepare your SD card. Put it into your computer and make sure that it’s formatted as a fat32 drive. Copy your three bootloader files onto the card. You probably don’t need all three files, but I put them all on there and it works, so don’t question my instructions. Just do it.

STEP 4: Install the windows software by clicking on the exe file. Once that’s done, insert your SD card into the SCSI2SD board, plug in a USB cable from your computer to the SCSI2SD card, and run the utility software. If all goes well, you’ll be connected to your SCSI2SD board.

STEP 5: Update the SCSI2SD firmware. Under the “File” heading there’s an option to update the firmware. Do that. It’s easy. Now your card works.

STEP 6: Set up your virtual SCSI drives on the SD card. The only way I could get this thing to work on the 360 was to create two virtual hard drives instead of one. The 360 seems to ignore the first drive and uses the second drive. There is probably an easier way to do this and I could probably make it work with just one drive if I knew anything about SCSI. But I don’t, so we’re creating two virtual hard drives.

Using your SCSI Utility, go to the Device 1 tab. Check the box that says “Enable SCSI Target.” Your SCSI ID is 0, device type is Hard Drive, no Quirks, Sector size is 512, and device size is 3.20 GB. You’ll want to check the “Auto” box on SD card start sector.

Now go to the Device 2 tab. Check the box that says “Enable SCSI Target.” Your SCSI ID is 1, device type is Hard Drive, no Quirks, Sector size is 512, and device size is 3.20 GB. You’ll want to check the “Auto” box on SD card start sector.

Leave devices 3 and 4 alone. Go to the General Settings tab and leave everything exactly how it was. The “Enable SCSI terminator” should be checked. Host speed is Normal. Startup Delay is 0. SCSI Selection Delay is 255. All the boxes under that are unchecked. Below are pictures of what each of your three tabs should look like.

Once all of that is done, go to the File heading and select the option that uploads your changes to the SCSI2SD card. If it gives you the confirmation message that it worked, then you are ready to install your card into the 360. If you get an error, don’t panic. That happened to me a few times. I had to retry and it worked the second time. If you keep getting the error, maybe try a different USB cable or a different USB port.

A note about hard drive sizes – when I first tried this, I set my first drive size to .25 because it wasn’t used and my second drive size to 7 gigs, thinking I would get a bunch of extra space to record things on. It seemed to work, but then I was getting drive errors on the 360. It’s probably best to stick to the standard drive sizes that are written on my 360’s actual hard drive. Those sizes are 2.1, 3.2, 4.3, and 6.4. It might not even be able to go as high as 6.4 gigs. I stuck with 3.2 gigs on each drive it seems to be working great so far. Maybe you can get more space by doing 2.1 gigs on the first drive and 4.3 gigs on the second drive. All I know is that 3.2 gigs on each drive works for me and I have no idea what the actual size limits are.

STEP 7: Take apart your 360. Disconnect the power and audio cables, obviously, dummy. When you turn it upside down, you’ll see five circular rubber feet – two in the back and three in the front. Remove the three in the front with a screwdriver. Stick a 5/16″ socket driver into each of the holes and remove the nuts inside. Good luck happening to own a 5/16″ socket driver that actually fits into these holes. Two of mine didn’t, but the third one I found did. It seems like it’d be really easy to lose your socket driver inside one of these holes. Be careful.

Once that’s done, turn the 360 back upright and take the lid off of it. To do this, slide the lid all the way toward the back as far as possible, lift up the bottom part of it and then pull it down. If that doesn’t work just jiggle it all over the place and figure it out yourself. There are four cables connecting the lid to the circuit board. Disconnect all four of them and set the lid aside. Now gaze into the beauty of that that 1990’s circuit board with all the chips lovingly labeled and spaced apart. You just don’t see craftsmanship like this anymore.

STEP 8: Remove the hard drive. Or Don’t. I left mine in there and just set the SCSI2SD board on top of it, separated by a thin piece of plastic. The holes on your SCSI2SD card aren’t going to line up with the holes on the hard drive, so you’ll have nothing to mount it on unless you buy a 3.5″ kit for your SCSI2SD card. Unless you have a better plan, just leave the old SCSI drive right where it is. If you want to remove it, the mounting screws are located on the bottom of the 360, making it awkward to remove. The rest of these steps will assume you left it in there.

STEP 9: Connect your SCSI2SD card to the 360. Remove the grey SCSI cable from the old SCSI drive and plug it into your SCSI2SD card. Remove the Molex power plug from the old SCSI drive and connect your Molex-to-floppy adapter cable. Make sure you’ve cut the yellow wire completely off of the adapter cable so you don’t accidentally send 12 volts into your SCSI2SD card, making it explode like a bomb. Plug the floppy connector into the SCSI2SD card.

Your SCSI2SD card will sit on top of the old SCSI hard drive, but you don’t want to have the metal pins underneath it touching the metal hard drive, so you need to insulate it somehow. I cut up a plastic lid from a container of ice cream into a SCSI2SD shaped rectangle. I taped the plastic onto the bottom of the SCSI2SD card. Then I taped that onto the hard drive.

You’ll notice I taped it at an angle instead of squarely in the middle of the old hard drive. This is because of that one capacitor sticking up on the SCSI2SD card. It sticks up enough that it might get crushed when you put the lid of your 360 back on. So just to be safe, it’s at an angle and looks very unprofessional. It’s okay, nobody will ever see it. Look at that tape job. I didn’t even try to make it look nice.

STEP 10: Put the 360’s top back on. Connect the four cables that you unhooked and place the lid back where it belongs. Don’t bother putting the three screws back in yet. Chances are something won’t work right and you’ll have to get back in there to tighten a cable or put out a fire caused by a plastic ice cream lid heating up and catching on fire. Connect the 360’s power cable and turn the unit on. If all goes well it will boot up and you’ll be greeted with a message on the screen that says WRONG DISK FORMAT – SELECT INT DRIVE?

That is a good message to see! This means that the 360 is seeing your fake SCSI hard drive, but it still needs to be formatted. This stumped me for an hour until I looked at the 360’s manual and found out that I needed to format. To format the drive, turn the 360 off. Press and hold down the STOP button and turn the 360 back on. Keep holding the STOP button until you see a message that states PRESS PLAY TO FORMAT PRESS CANCEL TO QUIT.

Press the play button and wait for the disk format to complete. For my 3.2 gig virtual drive it took around five minutes, so be patient and let it finish. Once it’s done it’ll flash your version number, a 1990’s date, a hilarious message about how much RAM we used to use in computers, and you’ll see the message NO CUTS AVAILABLE on your screen. Congratulations, your 360 is now ready to use!

Record some cuts and make sure it works. Once you’ve confirmed that it’s okay, it’s safe to put those nuts back into the bottom of the machine. Hopefully you taped your SCSI2SD card down better than I did mine. Good luck getting those nuts back on because it’s nearly impossible to do. For best results, magnetize your 5/16″ socket driver. My solution is just to never put them back in there.

I hope this tutorial has helped you. I spent hours getting this all to work for myself so I hope this page has helped you complete your conversion in considerably less time than it took me. Now it’s your turn to help me if you can. I have some questions about the 360 that I wouldn’t mind getting answered.

QUESTION #1: How do I upgrade the firmware on the Instant Replay 360? I can’t find an answer to this anywhere. Currently my unit is at version 2.014. I know that if I had version 2.3 I would have the extra featuring of editing my clips on the machine so I could take silences off the beginning and ends of clips and make them more loopable.

QUESTION #2: Why can’t I see the files on the SD card when I take it out of the SCSI2SD and put it into my laptop? Even after I put a bunch of sounds into the machine, the SD card only shows me those bootloader files. When I check the properties, it shows that the entire card is still available, minus the space for the bootloader files. The card looks blank to me. I know absolutely nothing about how SCSI works, so I guess it’s possible that they’re just invisible to a modern windows machine.

I was hoping that I could pop the SD card out of the SCSI2SD board, put it in my laptop, and load WAV files directly onto it. But since everything is invisible, I guess that’s not possible.

QUESTION #3: What is the actual hard drive size limit on the 360? I played around with 6.4 and 4.3 sizes, but the available audio space seemed to be the same as when I chose a 2.1 or 3.2 size. Is it just ignoring everything over 2.1 gigs?

I hope to keep using the Instant Replay 360 for many years, so if you happen to know anything about it that would make it even cooler than it already is, please share in the comments. Below is a video I made as I installed the SCSI2SD into my 360. There might be a few extra details in the video that aren’t on this page, so if you’re stumped, try watching the video.

QUESTION #4: I’d like to back up the contents of the SD card, but I don’t see how that’s possible since I can’t see any contents on it. The 360 has a port on the back for an external SCSI drive. I’ve heard that you can plug Zip drives into this port, and I guess those Jazz drives or probably even an external SCSI drive. What would you recommend I use to back up the contents of my 3.2 gig SD card?

I doubt I’ll have more than 1 gig of audio on the machine, probably even less since I’ve been recording everything in AC-2 format, so maybe using an old Zip drive is feasible for backing things up.

Thanks, Hackaday, for featuring my terrible workmanship on your website!

Thanks, Mr. Biggs, for finding the SCSI2SD solution for me! Everyone should be listening to the Stick It With Mr. Biggs podcast, one of my favorite comedy shows on Internet.

And while you’re at it, give my shows a listen too. I do The Snow Plow Show, Brad’s Cactus Shack, Phone Losers of America, Mr. Dobalina’s Wonderful World of Prank Calls, and Hobosodes.

For more photos of the 360, visit my Instant Replay 360 page on phonelosers.com

Brad’s Cactus Shack Episode 12 – Dial-A-Pay-Phone – The Couch Gang

Here’s another hour of listeners calling my pay phone in a contest I like to call Who Can Saying The Weirdest Shit Possible To Me. During post editing I solved the mystery of daylight savings in Indiana. It wasn’t the Mandella effect after all. “From 1970 until 2006, most of Indiana in the Eastern Time Zone did not observe daylight saving time, but the entire state started to do so in April 2006 after eight counties in western Indiana were shifted from the Central Time Zone to the Eastern Time Zone.” Opening music is Welcome To My World by Nerf Herder. Ending music is Emo Swag by Emergency Pizza Party.

Brad’s Cactus Shack Episode 11 – TRS-80 Color Computer 2

After playing a few random sound clips I found on my hard drive last night, we jump into the mysterious world of 1986 where we jam out to the Neutron Dance, where I say everything I type into the computer for the listening audience just like I was taught in movies, where I torment the teenagers that hang out in front of 7-Eleven, where I get shot in the chest at point blank range, where Domino’s finally quits taking phone orders from non-human voices, and where everyone is so concerned about that damn box.

Here’s an old post I made about writing TRS-80 program variables on the wall in my closet. FML means First Middle Last, 2008 Brad. Derrr. Here’s a 2007 post mentioning things I’ve found on old cassettes. Here’s another post about importing my old tapes. Here’s Pauldotcom’s Security Weekly Show on his fancy new domain. Here’s a website that obsesses over TRS-80 Color Computers. Their setup is much fancier than mine where I had it plugged into an old TV, but you get an idea of the hardware we were using.

Brad’s Cactus Shack Episode 10b – Addiction Counseling

Back in February I was surprised to find out that I was sentenced to 12 weeks of a drug and alcohol abuse class, even though I’ve never had an issue with drugs or alcohol. I know you guys think I pound the 4lokos 24/7, but really I might drink a couple beers per week, usually on separate nights with my dinner, occasionally taking a break from all drinking for months at a time. I mostly drank during live shows at night, which I’ve mostly stopped doing because daytime shows are more convenient for me.

My crime didn’t involve weed or alcohol, but for whatever reason they seemed to think I need not one weekly 2-hour group session, but TWO weekly 2-hour group sessions, stretching out for 6 full months. The first class seemed aimed more at casual DUI and meth use offenders, but the second focused not only on overcoming your drug addictions, but adjusting to life on the outside after being in prison. I’ve also never been in prison.

I made this show the night after I came back from my first group session on February 21st, 2018, just trying to make sense of it all. I had planned to make a few more of these, but never got around to it.

For more information about my stint at the drug and alcohol classes, listen to episode 13 of Brad’s Cactus Shack, and watch episode 10 of the PLA Show.

Brad’s Cactus Shack Episode 10 – Small Talk in Celina Ohio

In this show we get to know residents of Celina, Ohio on a very personal level with some hard-hitting questions.

Brad’s Cactus Shack Episode 9 – Dino and OCI

This episode of Brad’s Cactus Shack activates my old man story mode so I can tell stories about old men. Then I play some old 90’s Dino audio that can barely be heard, but it’s okay because I tell you small parts of what he probably said, then drone on and on about OCI for a bit. We wrap it up with voicemails from an ex-employer of mine that I remembered being funnier back when I recorded them. The opening bit is from old Q106.5 broadcasts, background music is Walk Of Life by Dire Straights, and the ending music is I Am Very Happy Right Now by Bonecage.

Brad’s Cactus Shack Episode 8 – Skunkworks Conspiracy

Cody NoName sent me a link to a conspiracy video that I really want to watch, but I’m too afraid to watch it by myself because conspiracy videos are scary, so I’m bringing you guys along to watch it with me. This is a conspiracy theory about the Skunkworks situation and what those underground tunnels really mean.
Don’t worry, there’s nothing in the video that you actually need to see. It’s mostly video of text that Evvonne is reading with the very important parts highlighted in yellow highlight pen, because that’s an important thing to do with you’re talking about conspiracies.

Here’s a link to Evvonne’s Skunkworks video

Subscribe to her channel and support her on Patreon

Here’s the FOX 5 article about Skunkworks

Here’s another article with a bit more information. This one claims that Skunkworks met the other guy as an adult, so I’m not sure where Evvonne saw that they were childhood friends. Maybe I was confused about what she said and it was actually a childhood friend of Askia Khafra who was talking about the incident.

Here’s the June 29th, 2010 episode of The Phone Show where Skunkworks calls in to ask for vocal chords

Here’s the June 22nd, 2010 episode of The Phone Show which was played near the end of this show. There’s a little more to it, but it seemed boring so I stopped playing it.

Haha, JUST as I was about to hit the publish button for this episode, I got a call from Maryland! It was a lady from the dumpster company that I called last night, saying she noticed they missed a call from me. I explained that I saw her number in a conspiracy video and was just calling to see if it was a real number. She was probably actually a CIA agent just checking up on me.

Brad’s Cactus Shack Episode 7 – Take The Money And Run

Mike sent me my arrest report from 1993, which details my crimes against the 7-Eleven I worked for, so this entire episode is me reading the report. Music is Take The Monkey And Run by Steve Miller, and Dizz Knee Land by Dada.

Brad’s Cactus Shack Episode 6 – Dial-A-Payphone

On Wednesday night I sat in my moderately comfortable chair and took calls from viewers for about an hour, who all seemed to think it’s funny to make prank calls to me. This is a serious show, people, and if the prank calls don’t stop I will end it.
The song in this one is called Rocking Chair by Dean Friedman. It’s a song about sitting in your rocking chair and broadcasting while people call you. The background music during the live part is With You by I Fight Dragons.

Brad’s Cactus Shack Episode 5 – I Think I Broke A Nail

This episode gets back to the business of clearing out my hard drive and playing a few of the interesting things I find along the way. You’ll hear some transfer files I made to more effectively trick phone company employees, some stuff I’m pretty sure came from my good pal Legend, a weird method of getting free calls and hiding your caller ID, and a broken Phone Show drop.
The ending song is Chiron Beta Prime by Jonathan Coulton. If you want to see that exciting ANSI video that stopped me from doing a show last week, here it is.

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