Wizard installation

Wizard installation needs some soldering, and certain proficiency is required to transplant the CD-ROM connectors without damaging anything. In general this ODE installation should only be done by users well familiar with soldering iron and construction of the FM Towns grey tower models – or left to professional modders.

[Test models only] IMPORTANT: PCB has wrong order for battery wires (white and orange are swapped) – see the photo below for correct connection.

Before you start:

Wizard is meant to fit right behind the CD-ROM drive on generation 3 and 4 grey towers. It can be used on previous models as well but with more extensive modding required.

Installation instructions:

Please follow the steps outlined below. Do not use excessive force – some might be required to snap the ODE in place for the first (and usually the only) time, but this requires only some thumb pressure.

  • Disconnect all cables from the console
  • Remove front panel along with the CD-ROM drive, then remove the drive itself
  • Desolder all 3 white connectors – to be transplanted to the ODE PCB

Since this is a single-sided PCB and has no plated vias, all that’s really needed to remove these connectors is a temperature-controlled soldering iron and some solder sucker. Some extra flux might help too. Two side pins on the 10-pin connectors are factory bent to prevent them from just falling out when unsoldered, but in general once the pins are all free the connector can be pulled out with just two fingers.

  • Solder in new connectors (note different orientation!)

This step can be skipped if your drive is dead and/or you will not be using it anymore and don’t need the pass-through functionality. Simply leave the PCB as-is.

  • Solder connectors to Wizard ODE (again, note orientation!)

The top row is where the original cables will connect to and should be populated with the connectors recovered from CD-ROM drive. The bottom one is for pass-through and can be omitted if that won’t be used.

  • Solder the selector jumper header, or if the pass-through won’t be used just solder in a permanent wire into position 1-2
  • Cut the wires from the original battery pack and solder them to the ODE

Soldering this cable is recommended because the original battery pack is now dead anyway and you can always just choose not to populate the battery holders. If you don’t solder it and change your mind later it will require a lot of disassembly to even get to the solder points.

IMPORTANT: Use proper CR24xx size batteries to avoid shorts and/or premature drainage and loss of date/time and hard drive and boot order settings. Note that, just as in the original pack, two different sizes are used, 2430 on the left and 2450 on the right.

  • To prevent ODE from flapping around on the top it’s advised to stick one or two self-adhesive felt pads (like those used for furniture legs), about 2mm thick, right behing the battery holders.
  • Install the short pass-through cables into the new CD-ROM connectors, put the drive back in the front panel assembly
  • Install Wizard on the back of the front panel and connect the short cables to complete the pass-through loop

Some light force might be required to properly snap the PCB in place (get the plastic latches to fully engage) – a few twists and some extra finger pressure on the latches might help. It’s best not to rush things here, it’s a tight fit on purpose but it does fit.

  • Install the front panel assembly back in the tower, connect the original drive cables before you fully seat it back in (and make sure the battery cable is not trapped where you can’t reach it)

The ODE PCB has the connector IDs match the cables but since this might be difficult to tell once assembled in the case, the correct order is:

  • Power cable is the 3-pin one and fits only one connector
  • Cable marked with “10” / “CN1” and white band goes to CN10 connectors, the middle ones
  • Cable marked with “9” / “CN2” and black band goes to CN9 connectors, the side ones

Those 10-pin cables are identical and can be swapped around if somehow necessary but both are the same length.

And that’s pretty much it. Put the jumper into 1-2 position to use ODE, and 2-3 to use the original drive instead. There is no need to remove the card from ODE to use the CD-ROM drive, but it is recommended to remove any CDs from the drive when using ODE to avoid spin-up and noise.

New models have a switch instead of jumper, since this is easier to operate in confined space behind the CD-ROM drive. Up position (towards SD card) is ODE, and down (towards drive uplink) is original CD-ROM – which is the reverse of jumper positions but seems more logical now.