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PICList Thread
'interfacing surplus Sony 60-disc CD changers'
1995\03\16@021309 by Eric Smith

I'm sending this to the PIC list also.  Since I'm using PICs in it, I thought
people might be interested.  If not, sue me :-)

In article <>,> (Albert J. Corda) writes about the surplus Sony
CDK-006 60-disc CD changers which are available from Haltek in Mountain View,

> Has anyone played with one of these critters yet?

Yes, I have eight of them.  I've converted one back to normal speed, and will
eventually convert the others.

> Are the control codes in the tech. manual (I hope)?

Yes.  The connector is a DB-37.

The pinout is:
pins  name        dir  description

 1-4  ECMD3..0    in   command from controller
   5  L/R*        in   local or remote control
   6  HELP*       out  indicates changer in test mode
   7  CHECK       out  indicates power up
8-13  subcode     out
14-16  ground
  17  +5V
  18  EXAM*       in   SIRCS (IR remote control) input
  19  ground
  20  CLOSE       out  magazine present and door closed
  21  EACK*       out  command handshake, indicates command nibble accepted
  22  EREQ*       in   command handshake, indicates command nibble available
  23  MUTING      out
  24  QSTB*       out  status strobe
25-28  QDATA3..0   out  status
29-34  test ctrls  in
35-36  ground
  37  TEST*       in

The changer has a four-bit parallel input port (from its point of view),
ECMD3..ECMD0.  The controller drives the L/R* signal low to indicate that it
wants to talk to the changer.  As the controller presents each nibble of the
command, it asserts the EREQ* line, waits for the changer to assert the EACK*
line, deasserts thte EREQ* line, and waits for the changer to deassert EACK*.
After the entire command has been handshaked out in this manner, the controller
raises L/R*.

The changer provides command result and status codes to the controller on a
four-bit output port, QDATA3..QDATA0.  There is a strobe line QSTB* which
signals valid data.  Since there isn't two-way handshaking on the status,
the controller has to accept each status nibble within 230 uS of the falling
edge of QSTB*.  Typically QSTB* would be used to generate an interrupt to the

The changer also provides three general status lines HELP*, CLOSE, and CHECK.
HELP* when asserted indicates that a serious problem has occurred and the
changer has dropped into test mode.  CLOSE is asserted when a magazine is in
place and the front door is closed.  CHECK is asserted when the changer is
powered up.

The player supplies 5V DC power to the connector, but the service manual
claims it is only for test purposes.  Basically they don't want you to draw a
bunch of power from it.

The interface connector also has a pin to which you can connect the output of
an IR receiver/demodulator such as the Sharp GP1U5X (or some such) which is
available from Radio Shack.  The unit will then respond to standard Sony CD
remote codes, although this is of little use if you have more than one player,
and it doesn't support direct access to any disc.

> I'd love to hear of anyone else's experience with this contraption.

Since the CDK-006 was a fairly early player, and was primarily intended for
use in radio stations, it doesn't have a particularly great D/A section.  It's
OK, but not audiophile quality.  I've been looking at adding an AES/EBU
consumer format digital output (also known as SP/DIF).  It should be easy to
do but I'm not sure how much jitter the resulting signal will have.  There
are several variations of the CDK-006 which have different digital filters and
D/A chips, and the clocking is different for each.

Interestingly enough, the nature of the modifications that Personics made to
the changer are such that it *does* have a digital output (and an external
clock input); they are unfortunately in a proprietary format.

I'm using a PIC16C84 to interface it to RS-232.  The PIC is converting the
parallel binary to serial ASCII hex.  I implemented some control codes for
addressing units so I can daisy chain more than one from the serial port.
The entire interface fits inside a DB-37 connector shell, and is powered from
the CD changer since it only needs a few milliamps.  I used RJ-11 modular
connectors for the serial input and output.

host (computer)                 interface #0                    interface #1
---------------|        |---------------------------|        |------------
        RS232 |        |                           |        |
        out   |------->| in -------    ------- out |------->|
              |        |          |    |           |        |  ...
        in    |<-------| out -    |    |    --- in |<-------|
              |        |     |    |    |    |      |        |
---------------|        |     |    |    |    |      |        |
                       |MAX  ^   ---   ^   ---     |
                       |232 / \  \ /  / \  \ /     |
                       |    ---   v   ---   v      |
                       |     |    |    |    |      |
                       |mux /-\   |   /-\   |      |
                       |   |   |  |  |   |  |      |
                       |   --^--  |  --^--  |      |
                       |    |  |  |   |  |  |      |
                       |    |  |  +---- GND |      |
                       |    |  |  |         |      |
                       |    |  |  |         |      |
                       |    |  ---u----------      |
                       |    |     |                |
                       |    |     |                |
                       |    |     |   PIC16C84     |
                       |  |---------------------|  |
                       |  |                     |  |
                       |  |                     |  |
                       |  |                     |  |
                       |  |                     |  |
                       |  |                     |  |
                       |  |---------------------|  |
                       |     | |       / \         |
                       |    \---/     /---\        |
                       |     \ /       | |         |
                             | |       / \
                            \---/     /---\
                             \ /       | |
                       |                           |
                       |  Sony CDK-006 CD Changer  |
                       |                           |

Ordinarily you can't attach multiple devices to an ordinary RS-232 port
(without violating the RS-232 specifications).  I considered using RS-485,
which was specifically designed for multidrop applications, but then I would
have had to build an RS-232 to RS-485 interface.  Okay, admittedly that would
be trivial, but I still would have to have DIP switches or something to
assign unique addresses to the interfaces, so I decided I was best off with
an active daisy chain arrangement, in which case it may as well be RS-232.

The PIC16C84 doesn't have a UART, so I am bit-banging the serial.  I considered
using a PIC16C74 which does have a UART, and also has more available port
lines, which would be an advantage in this application.  Unfortunately the
PIC16C74 is more expensive, harder to obtain, and takes a *LONG* time to
erase, whereas the PIC16C84 is less expensive, very easy to obtain, and uses
EEPROM so it erases and reprograms in seconds.

Since the PIC16C84 is somewhat short on I/O pins, I use a 74HC259 addressable
latch (not shown) to provide eight extra outputs, and a 74HCT151 multiplexer to
provide eight extra inputs.  It takes six lines from the PIC to control these
chips, for a gain of ten lines.

One output controls a section of a 74HC4053 multiplexer to control whether the
incoming serial from upstream (the host or a lower numbered interface) is
passed downstream to higher numbered interfaces.  Another output controls
another multiplexer section which determines whether the interface provides
its own output to the upstream device, or just passes along the output of the
downstream device.  These multiplexers are used to allow automatic assignment
of interface addresses, and to allow the interfaces to be daisy chained on a
single RS-232 port.  (The multiplexer control lines are not shown in the crude
diagram above.)

At power up, none of the interfaces has an address, and none of them forward
the upstream input to the downstream interface.  The host sends an "assign
address zero" command.  Only the first interface receives the command, so it
learns that its address is zero, sends an "acknowledge" to the host, and and
then enables the upstream input to be passed downstream, and the downstream
input to be passed upstream.  The host then sends an "assign address one"
command.  Interface #0 already has an address so it ignores the command.  The
next interace receives it and sets its address to one, sends an "acknowledge"
back to the host, and sets its multiplexers.  Eventually the host will send an
"assign address n" command which doesn't generate an ack; then it knows that
there are n interfaces.

I considered avoiding the use of multiplexers by having the PIC be responsible
for forwarding in the upstream and downstream directions as appropriate, but
I think that there would be problems with retiming the bits as they passed
through multiple daisy-chained interfaces.

I don't have everything completely debugged yet.  I'll be happy to give out
schematics and code when it's ready, but don't hold your breath.


PS:  Here's some notes I wrote on the serial bit-banging that might be useful
to others.  Ignore them if you're uninterested.

Notes on bit-banging serial
Copyright 1995 Eric L. Smith
Permission is granted to copy these notes unmodified for noncommercial use
provided this Copyright notice is preserved.

Real UARTS typically sample the received signal at 16 times the baud rate, so
that they can accurately detect the leading edge of the start bit and hence
sample the actual data bits very near the center of the bit time.  This allows
for a fair bit of slop between the transmiter and receiver bit rates.

This diagram illustrates the best and worst case timing:

-----                /-------------\-/-------------\-/-------------\-/----
   |  start bit    /  data bit 0   X  data bit 1   X  data bit 2   X

------                /-------------\-/-------------\-/-------------\-/----
    |  start bit    /  data bit 0   X  data bit 1   X  data bit 2   X

    |                       |               |               |
    ^                       ^               ^               ^
start bit detected      first data bit   subsequent data
within first 1/16 bit   sampled 24       bits sampled every
time of leading edge    intervals later  16 sample intervals

Most UARTs will actually sample the middle of the start bit (eight sample
periods after the leading edge is recognized) and verify that it is low in
case the detected leading edge was just a glitch.  Some UARTs will also take
multiple samples in the middle of the bit time (i.e, at 23, 24, and 25 in the
diagram above) and set error flags for noise if they don't all match.

Many application notes on implementing software UARTs, including the Microchip
ap notes, suggest sampling at two times the bit rate.  This results in the

-----                /-------------\-/-------------\-/-------------\-/----
   |  start bit    /  data bit 0   X  data bit 1   X  data bit 2   X

-------------                /-------------\-/-------------\-/-------------\-
           |  start bit    /  data bit 0   X  data bit 1   X  data bit 2   X

           |               |               |               |               |
           0       1       2       3       4       5       6       7       8
           ^               ^               ^               ^               ^
start bit detected     first data bit    subsequent data
within first 1/2 bit   sampled 2         bits sampled every
time of leading edge   intervals later   2 sample intervals

This results in a 1/2 bit time uncertainty regarding when the start bit
actually arrived.  As a consequence the data bit sampling can occur any time
within the first half of the data bit, including right at the leading edge.
This allows no margin for rate mismatch.

An alternative would be to sample the first data bit three sample periods
after the start bit is detected, and every two sample periods thereafter.
This is no better as the window is then from the middle to the end of the
data bit, so the bits could be sampled right at the trailing edge, again
allowing no margin for rate mismatch.

The Microchip ap note does at least suggest waiting 1.25 bit times from the
leading edge of the start bit to sample the first data bit, which results in
the sample window being in the middle 50% of the bit.  That's great unless you
want to do full duplex serial and use the same time base for transmit.  Since
you can't get a 1.25 bit time delay using a 0.5 bit time timebase, you
maintain proper transmitter timing during that 1.25 bit time delay.

The correct solution (IMHO) is to sample at 3 times the bit rate:

-----               /------------\-/------------\-/------------\-/-----------
   |  start bit   /  data bit 0  X  data bit 1  X  data bit 2  X

----------               /------------\-/------------\-/------------\-/-------
        |  start bit   /  data bit 0  X  data bit 1  X  data bit 2  X

        |                   |              |              |              |
        0    0    0    0    0    0    0    0    0    0    1    1    1    1
        0    1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8    9    0    1    2    3
        ^                   ^              ^              ^              ^
start bit detected     first data bit    subsequent data
within first 1/3 bit   sampled 4         bits sampled every
time of leading edge   intervals later   3 sample intervals

As you can see, this reduces the uncertainty of the timing of the start bit
to 1/3 of a bit time, and guarantees that the sampling of the data bits will
occur within the middle 1/3 of the bit time, thus providing better tolerance
to speed variation than the 1/2 bit time scheme provides (even with the 1.25
bit time delay).  It also uses fewer CPU cycles than would be required to
sample at 4 times the bit rate.

I've implemented this scheme on a PIC16C84 and it seems to work quite well.
I use the RTCC timer to generate interrupts at three times the bit rate, and
the interrupt routine has simple receive and transmit state machines to do the
work.  I'll make the code available after I do some more testing.

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