BOSS DR-220A LIPO-BATTERY MODIFICATION
Updated: Jul 26
Last year I bought a DR-220A (A=analogue; the drum set samples, E=electronic) It's a beefy drum machine for it's size, I really enjoy it. With programming the accent and (closed hat cuts off open hat) , you can program some quite swingy beats, even though it's all quantized on the 16th.
Also useful (to me) is the trigger in/out functions, where you can step a sequencer, arpeg, or LFO retrigger (anything that accepts a trigger) with the RIM shot in playback mode. (so not just by tapping the RIM shot pad) If you want to use the trigger out and do not want rim shot sounds in your beat, its possible to turn the volume down on RIM: trigger out will always work regardless of volume setting for RIM.
And: there are plenty of user preset save locations, taking us to the next point:
The battery compartment had been cleaned up after some obvious leakage and corrosion. This meant that the contacts did not hold well against the batteries themselves, and presets were not saved, even with batteries in the device! Obviously this also meant intermittent performance on battery power.
I decided to replace the 4 AA cells with a 3.7v Lipo battery, charge board, and boost circuit. The boost circuit is needed to take the 3.7v up to 6v needed for operation of the 220A.
A 4 x AA cell compartment is ideal for this modification. I experienced the same with the DMG Gameboy. There is enough space for the parts without additional cutting of the interior. Also there is enough space that everything is a snug fit without excessive movement. I bought all these items on Aliexpress very cheaply.
The mod is working very well. A disadvantage is that you cannot see charge status of the LED, as it's inside the case. It would be very tricky to bring the LED (or it's light) to the front of the machine. However: these chargers are really only meant to be used under supervision. (NOT when you leave the house, or go to sleep!) I'm fine being unable to see the charge status. It's a very quick charge anyway, the big advantage of Lipo batteries.
The other slight downside is that the lipo weighs less! With AA cells, the machine feels nicely weighted. The 220 is VERY light, being made of plastic. Obvs a minor point : )
The mod took a few hours all in. Fairly easy mod really. Highly recommended if you have one of these. Battery powered drums + presets saved= ACE!
Here is a gallery with some more pix of the install:
When fastened into the case, the USB connector is a good fit, it stays put when you insert the cable. I prefer the USB connector which was released before this one, it's just that there are less of those cables around now. This type is ubiquitous (at the moment anyway!)
Short video discussing the BOSS DR220A and the Lipo Modification.