Octatrack MKII freezing and emitting smoke

Recently bought an Octatrack MKII. Have been using it fairly extensively at home and in the studio. Today while using it for several hours it froze several times. The screen went blank while the 6 recording input lights flashed an orange red and so did the card status LED. Each time I just turned it off and on again and continued. But then much to my shock horror smoke began coming out of the card holder and there was a smell of burnt metal. I turned it off and unplugged everything and inspected the card. It seems alright, I plugged it back in and the Octatrack seems to be working alright. Im worried now as I have spent a lot of money on the octatrack and dont want this to happen again. I am afraid the machine will be damaged or that it is a potential fire hazard. Can anybody advise me as to what is wrong with my device?

Contacted Elektron support? Probaply the best thing you can do.


YIKES!!! yeah contact support. also I wouldn’t use the machine until they’ve replied to you, just in case.


Definitely don’t turn it on again, and get a new one! BTW you should never turn Elektron machines on/off again multiple times over a short period of time as you described.


And smoke a joint. If you see Elvis, everything is normal.


Why shouldn’t you turn them on or off as described?

It says not to in the manual. I’m guessing it has something to do with DSP boot and shutdown routines or something, I don’t really know, but it can cause problems in my experience. If an Elektron machine hangs on boot, you should switch it off, unplug the power supply from the wall and from the machine, wait 5-10 minutes, plug it all back in, and turn it on. If you keep it plugged in and power cycle repeatedly, it will not boot properly and could potentially cause other issues.

edit: FYI the advice about 5-10 minutes is from me, I don’t know how long the exact minimum period of time you must leave it unplugged is but I do know that I have had to unplug it for at least some period of time for my machine to boot again once it’s been unplugged after a hang. The information about not power cycling the machine is directly from Elektron though.


Not sure if it’s an “official” recommendation but power cycling electronics is one of the most stressful things to the electronic components.


Just FYI it is an official recommendation, I only had the Digitakt manual handy but below is the text verbatim. I’m sure the same applies to the Octa.

• For a complete restart of the Digitakt, wait for at least 30 seconds after turning it off before turning it on again.

In my experience, if you accidentally power cycle too quickly (in my case it’s when I rock the switch just far enough to turn it on, but not far enough to flip to the other side, and when released it flips back to the “off” side) the unit will hang and will not boot until the power supply is unplugged from the unit and wall for at least a few minutes.


this should be enough to contact support


Yeah, unplug the psu, don’t touch it and contact Elektron support.
I assume no waranty anymore? If it’s still under waranty, I guess you should contact the seller instead.

As others have said, this is such a major fault that you should contact Elektron’s tech support to get the machine replaced or fixed by them. If it’s way past its warranty, take it to a good and trustworthy synth repair shop and ask what they can do.


if I were Elektron, I would be bending over backwards to get the OP help. warranty or not. don’t want something like that out there.

Yeah, I was about to add that tech support might still help him even if the unit is past warranty. So it’s a good idea to contact them first in any case.

ya I’m with @guga I don’t think smoke is a normal function of any box. unless its a smoke machine of course.

powering on and off quick prob had the card reader over heat. I dont think its an issue on the other boxes save for just not starting correctly. 30 sec after power down to let the caps drain of power. then restart. best practice. [who knows…perhaps rapid on/off fucks the caps too]

the card reader could have gotten damaged? anyways…smoke is never good.
good luck man.

I smoked an Octatrack once. It really opened things up for me.


Jimi too!


Sure they will. In any case. If it’s still under waranty the seller is responsible, though and should be contacted instead (afaik).

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In most cases smoke means a fried/faulty PSU. You should get it fixed and don’t turn it on again. It probably has nothing to do with the card reader. Chances are the smoke just escaped through the opening


Although it looks like the octatrack has an external PSU. Did you use (even just briefly) a potentially unsupported 3rd-party (universal) power supply chord?