Electronic Keyboard Repair | Keyboard Repair |
Electronic Keyboards is a generic descriptive term but is often used for a more specific category of electronic musical instrument. In general terms anything that has a piano style keyboard and generates sounds through some process involving electronics. This could include electronic organs, synthesizers, and even electronically enhance acoustic pianos. The term also is often used to refer to a class of portable consumer/semi-professional instruments often with built in speakers. They are often sold in big box stores and warehouse stores as well as conventional music stores. As a category it is poorly defined and subject to individual interpretation. It also becomes blurry as to when it stops being a keyboard on a stand and when it becomes a digital piano, this usually being a marketing decision.
The most familiar electronic keyboards, and the most dominant in the market, are those made by Yamaha like the PSR series and the Casio lines. There are also so very low cost models with little know brand names that can be found. Portable keyboards designed for the home market have been around since the early 70's and the internal circuitry has pretty much paralleled the development of the home organ. The earliest models used discrete transistor circuitry and consisted of individual tone generators, voice shaping circuits, and a diode or transistor keying array. They have become increasingly more integrated with the most recent models consisting of one or two high density integrated circuits one a single circuit board. The internal speaker systems have shown similar evolution starting with transistor radio type speakers and amplifiers consisting of a few transistors, to todays 3 way speaker systems with ported bass enclosures and tri-amped designs using highly integrated power amplifier modules.
Repairing Electronic Keyboards
Dirty key contacts and broken knobs, jacks, and keys are the main tasks involved in keyboard repair. Key contacts should be cleaned with plain liquid handsoap that contains no additives live aloe, moisturizers, fragrance, or vitamin E. All the contacts should be cleaned and the enclosure and circuit boards should be swept clean of all contamination. A static resistant portable vacuum is good for cleaning particulate contamination. Static discharge precautions should be used since damage to a critical IC can result in the loss of the entire keyboard since some of the IC's cost nearly as much to replace as the keyboard would cost to replace.
Most of these keyboards use an external power supply so high voltage is not a worry. The jack that the power supply is plugged into becomes a frequent point of failure as the cords get kicked or the keyboard gets dropped on the jack. Headphone jacks are another frequent point of failure since a failed jack can prevent sound getting to the speakers. Since the ability to use the keyboard with headphones is often one of the motivating factors in their purchase the do get used and abused.
Cost effectiveness of a repair becomes a major issue at the low end. It takes just as much time to clean the contacts of a cheap keyboard as it does and expensive one. Also parts availability becomes a major issue after a few short years. And ten years down the road it is very unusual to find the replacement parts necessary to make the repair. Even at the higher end the crossover point where it is cheaper to replace than to repair is not all that hard to reach.
Learning to Repair Keyboards, Synthesizers, Guitar Amps and Other Musical Equipment
Part 1: Sound Basics
- What is Sound?
- Sound Systems
- Application 1: Announcements
- Application 2: Background Music
Enhancing the Environment
- Application 3: Live Events
- The Merits of Digital Sound
Part 2: Amplifers and Speakers
- Types of Speaker Systems
- Speaker Layout and Sound Pressure Level
- High-impedance and Low-impedance Connections
Part 3: Mixers and Processors
- Analog Mixers and Digital Mixers
- Console and Rack Mount Mixers
- Processing Types
- Tuning a Sound System
- Feedback Control
- Feedback Control
Using an Equalizer
- Feedback Control
Using a Feedback Suppressor
- Automated Mix Functions
- Peripheral Equipment