Ambika SMR4: problem with one voicecard

Hi everybody, I’ve finished my six voice Ambika, and everything’s working great, except for a non-working voicecard. The card doesn’t make any sound and the none of the leds seems to work either. I’ve looked in the forum for some related trouble shooting, but I haven’t found much. So far, I’ve checked the DAC, and it’s powered, but I don’t have the oscillator signal at pin 6, and about 0v at pin 8. I guess the problem is happening before that, in the ATMega chip, but I don’t know exactly what to look for. At least, it’ has 5v at pin 7.
Any suggestions about what to do next?

Hi there,

a quick way to determine weather it is the atmega mcu, would be to just swap the mcu with one of a working voicecard…

Have you tried the card in a different slot and checked the A/B jumper?

Ehm… do you have only one voicecard? If you do only have the one voicecard my last post was pretty useless though…
Try Lindeborgs suggestion then… :wink:

…I understood that you have more voicecards…

Hey, thanks for your answers. It was the mcu chip. I’ve swapped the chip with one from another voicecard [I do have more than one] and the “wrong” voicecard worked perfectly. I don’t know exactly what I did wrong. Maybe nothing? Could the mcu be dead from the beginning?
Now I just need to get another mcu, but it seems I can’t buy it directly from the shop. Any ideas? Maybe pichenettes can do something here :wink: ?

Yes, mail me the chip, I’ll look at what went wrong and if possible bring it back to life.

Thanks pichenettes! Just tell me where should I send it…


I have the same problem. Today I build three smr4 voice cards and one of them isn’t working. At the first start the LEDs lit up for a brief moment, but now there is no sound or led light.

How Can I check what went wrong? I can’t see any solder mistake on the card.


> At the first start the LEDs lit up for a brief moment, but now there is no sound or led light.

Have you tried doing a voicecard firmware update? If you power on/off the unit too often without giving the voicecard the time to boot, it will lock itself in firmware update mode. You can notice that it shows a blinking LED pattern at boot for a short moment. This seems to be consistent with what you describe.

With a “blank” chip, absolutely nothing would have happened.

There is no blinking of the leds when switching on the Ambika. The LEDs and sound of one voice card (voice card 1) are simply not working anymore.

I think I haven’t turned it on/off to often. In fact, I plugged it in for 2-3 minutes when the LEDs turned off. Wouldn’t also all voice cards lock itself in the firmware update mode as I tried all cards in the same time?

can you check if the 5v rail is active on that voicecard?

Is the voicecard assigned to a part?

Yes, the voice card is assigned to part 1. I also tried to assign it to other parts.

Where do I need the check the 5v rail? I’m really a beginner with electronic voltages etc., so could you please tell me the location.

You should have 5v between pin 7 and 8 on the ATmega… that is counting the legs on chip wich are on the side of the cristal starting from top (the side of the chip with the half hole in it)

There is 5v on pin 7 at the ATmega but no 0v on pin 8. However I get the same result on other voice cards that are working great.

Did you try the voicecard update procedure Olivier said? You could also try swapping the ATmega with one from the other card (be careful not to break off the legs)

I really fear the remove the Atmega, it was already extremely hard to insert it.

I can only update the Atmega with a special device, right?

you can also update the firmware from the sd-card … see the manual

Okay, I named the file VOICE2.BIN, placed it at the root of the sd card and went to the about screen of the Ambika. Then I switched to port 2 with the encoder (my voice card is the second voice card) and a question mark is shown. I also can’t see an update button/text.

Edit: It works! You need to place the updates in a folder “Update” and then you can install the firmware :slight_smile:

@pichenettes You should mention it in the manual, that you need to place the updates in a UPDATE folder :wink:

I am not sure what happened, because the firmware update files must be present at the root of the SD-card - not in an “UPDATE” folder. I’m not sure why you did this, I haven’t found any reference in the manual or this forum to a folder called UPDATE…