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#224805 - 09/05/2004 08:21 Outline: How to Upgrade Your Central Hard Drive
The Central Guy

Registered: 18/03/2002
Posts: 225
Loc: San Diego, California USA
I'm re-posting an old post with added information about how to upgrade the 40 GB standard hard drive in a stock Rio Central HSX-109.

Note: Standard disclaimer - I'm not responsible for anything going wrong with your upgrade, so please make sure you know what you're doing before attempting this procedure...Thanks...Be careful of the power supply inside the cabinet as well...

I've done 3 drive upgrades on Rio Centrals and have used Maxtor 120GB drives exclusively with excellent results. You can't use a larger drive (I've tried twice and it doesn't work).

The simplest way to do the upgrade involves swapping out the stock drive with a larger 120MB Maxtor drive and then using the original CD to install the software and CDDB music database. This method will initialize the new drive, so you'll have to re-rip any music you had on the old drive....

The hard drive that was inside my Rio Central was a Seagate ST340810A 40GB model, part of the U series. It was jumpered as a Master.

After searching around, I purchased a Maxtor D540X 4G120J6 120 GB drive from Jazz Technology ( for the upgrade. This model may not be available any longer, but I've used other Maxtor 120GB drives with no problem...

Here are the steps for the upgrade:

First, you will need to take the Rio Central apart. This can be done by unscrewing the 6 Phillips head screws on the bottom.

After undoing the screws, you need to unhook or unlatch plastic "tabs" that are holding the top and bottom of the case together. These tabs are inside the Rio Central and cannot be seen. There are two on the left side of the case at the seam and two on the right side of the case at the seam. You'll need to press in on the case from the outside at these pressure points to unlatch the tabs. I'll make a very simple drawing below (a top view of the Central case) that shows where the tabs are by using X's...


After gently taking the top off, you'll be looking at the "guts" of the Central. The hard drive and CD are attached to a bracket assembly on the left side (if you're at the front of the Central). The bracket uses 2 screws and a latch to hold the bracket and drives intact. The good news is that the old HD and the new one have the same screw holes, and the same power cable and data cable locations. So it's an easy replacement. Just don't forget your anti-static precautions!

After unplugging the HD/CD IDE cable and the power cable from the motherboard, you can remove the entire bracket with the Hd/CD assembly so you can work on it outside of the Central.

Tip: After removing the screws on the bracket containing the HD/CD, the latch will also have to be undone. This can be done with a small flat-blade screwdriver. From the top, stick the screwdriver down on the left side of the bracket. If you use a flashlight, you'll be able to see the latch. Use the screwdriver to hold the latch and the whole bracket will move backwards towards the rear of the chassis. Now you can lift the whole bracket assembly out of the Central onto a table for the drive replacement.

Next, take apart the data and power cables from the old hard drive, unscrew it from the bracket, and then attach the new hard drive in it's place. You'll be able to use the old screws in the bracket because the mounting holes are the same.

Next, re-attach the data cable and power cable, making sure that the striped on the ribbon cable is towards the power connector.

Now you're ready to replace the bracket back into the Central. Just reverse the above disassembly procedure and put the bracket back. It will latch in place and you can put the two screws back in place.

Then plug in the power cable and data cable back into the motherboard.

Now time for the smoke test...With the cover off, you'll want to power up the Central. Open the CD door and place the original CD in the tray.

The CD that ships with the Audio Center has a dual purpose. It will run in your PC and let you read documentation, install the Emplode software, etc. But when you insert the CD in the Audio Center with a new blank HD, will give you a Menu option of restoring the Central to the "As New" state. That's what you want, so make that selection.

Then let the unit run while it copys the software over, the CDDB database, etc. When it is all done, The Central will reboot and come up as it did when you first plugged it in.

Now would be a good time to replace the top cover and all the screws on the bottom. You may want to unplug the unit when doing this and reboot it when you get done...

Of course, you'll have to re-do network settings, MP3 settings, etc. You should be back up and running with no problems...

Just check out all that free space and start filling it up with all of your choice CDs!!!! The upgrade should show 112 GB free if you use a 120 GB drive...

I think I covered everything here, but please let me know if you have any questions.....

Happy owner of 2 Centrals, 2 Empegs Mk2a 160GB, 1 Empeg Mk2a 60 GB, a Rio Riot, 4 Rio Receivers, and two 1GB iPod Shuffles...

#224806 - 09/05/2004 08:21 Re: Outline: How to Upgrade Your Central Hard Driv [Re: The Central Guy]

Registered: 24/09/2003
Posts: 148
This seems like a great candidate for the FAQ section.

#224807 - 10/05/2004 11:05 Re: Outline: How to Upgrade Your Central Hard Driv [Re: geeknerd]
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 31578
Loc: Seattle, WA
Moved to the FAQ section, as suggested.

A few things that should be made clear with regard to a drive upgrade on the Central:

- If I recall correctly, the Linux kernel that's used for the Central will only support drives up to 127 gigabytes or so. And there is no upgrade kernel to fix this issue. So a 120-gig drive is approximately the upper limit.

- You can only put one hard disk into the Central. And there's no "easy" way to copy the songs from an old hard disk to a newer one. It can be done, but it involves some trickery and some knowledge of Linux.

- The original CD that came with your Central is not the latest software. It will work, but there is a slightly newer version that you can download from if you like.
Tony Fabris