There haven’t been any photos on the blog lately so here’s one:
The big green thing is called Grey Tower Wizard – or Wizard in short. It’s a prototype obviously but the final product won’t be much different. What does it do?
Well, for one it’s a working FM Towns ODE – I mean it works on my gen 3 at least but hopefully it’ll also work on other tower models:
- gen 1 – MODEL 1 and MODEL 2
- gen 2 – 1F, 2F, 1H, 2H
- gen 3 – 10F, 20F, 40H, 80H
- gen 4 – TOWNS2 CX
If you have gen 1, 2 or 4 please contact me, I need some photos. You’ll need a screwdriver and general knowledge on how to disassemble your unit. I can help with that but you still need the skills. I’m also interested in photos of the UX and UG models since I have no idea if those use tower or desktop CD drives.
Anyway, the Wizard is meant to be mounted inside the case, there’s empty space for it right on the back side of the front panel assembly. This way you don’t need to remove your CD-ROM, no matter if it works or not. In fact if it does work you can still use it, connect it like you see on the photo and the jumper on the bottom selects which device will be used – ODE or CD-ROM.
Does it mean you can use both at the same time? No, and also switching between them requires a power-off, but all you have to do is move the jumper. I might change that to a small switch. Also, that doesn’t allow you to rip CDs directly to the card with that setup, not that you would want to use Towns CD-ROM drive for that purpose, trust me.
There’s a catch though, I was unable to find the very unique connectors that Fujitsu used on these drives so soldering is required. There are a few ways that can be done, depending on whether or not you actually want to keep using the CD-ROM (if it works). Wires can be soldered directly to each PCB or original CD-ROM connectors can be carefully removed and replaced with modern ones.
You can also spot 2 yellow holders for CR2430 and CR2450 coin cells – these are optional but can be used to replace the (usually dead) battery pack in the tower. That requires soldering another 4 wires to the PCB (once cut from the original pack). This way time and HDD settings will not be lost each time, very useful if you use HDD (or SCSI2SD emulator).