I got a partial refund on the Boss DR-110 I bought on eBay. The problem isn’t very serious though, a pot needs to be replaced.
Lately my Roland S-330 sometimes hasn’t started when I’ve pushed the power button on the front. I’ve noticed that if I moved the power cable downwards it powered on, although a bit glitchy if I didn’t pull it hard enough. So when I had the S-330 out of rack I opened it up to see if everything looked alright near the power supply. And everything did, the soldering looked perfect. Moving the power cable made it turn on and off. I reckoned there must be some kind of breakage in the power cable, probably where the cable goes of the case.
As you can see the cable is run through a bit of plastic that is mounted on a separate metal plate. Removing the plastic was a major PITA, the trick is to rotate it a bit and using a pliers and push it from inside out. After the plastic bit is loose, it’s possible to open it with a flat screwdriver. As you can see in the photo below, the plastic piece has deformed the cable so it looks like a U.
I bought a new power cable with a Euro plug, the original cable is an old style ungrounded plug.
To start with, I cut away the bad part from the plastic piece.
The I tried to unsolder the old power cable. That was unsuccessful and the tubing on the brown hot cable was damaged, so I fixed it with some yellow heat shrink tubing. I then cut the old power cable and solder it to the new one. Before I soldered I did remember to run the new power cable through all the bits and pieces that the original cable went through.
I powered it up and it worked perfectly. By the way, putting the plastic piece back was an even harder task than to remove it, but with a lot of patience I succeeded. The S-330 is now back in the rack, but before I reassembled it I took some bonus photos of it’s inside. Notice all the custom Roland chips and the HxC SD Floppy Emulator as well as all the different outputs.
I’m actually not very interested in virtual analogs. With an all digital audio path you could as well use software instruments. One good feature though is that some of the oscillator waveforms are sampled from real classics. The Venom also has classic drum machine samples from 808, 909 and more. This review is quite nice:
Anyway, a couple of months ago I pickup a (not that) used Venom for about 1000 SEK / $150. My plan was to use it purely as a midi controller since it has four assignable knobs that sends midi CCs, so I thought why not.
After a few hours use, suddenly the A3-key started to squeak every time I pressed and released it. It’s hard to describe how utterly annoying that is, I was near reinstalling my Roland PC MKII that has been turned on and worked flawlessly for 17 years (and still going strong=quality) and sell or trade the Venom for a Behringer BCR-2000. Also, there was something lose in the Venom that rattled everytime I moved it.
With not too much too lose, I decided to try to fix the Venom. The first thing was to open the damn thing. When I looked underneath it, I was chocked to find 42 Philips screws! Insane! Not knowing which ones to unscrew to open the case, I googled for a service manual but couldn’t find one. This had to be done the hard way…
Luckily, it turned out that it wasn’t very complicated, but rather time consuming. What you have to do is simply unscrewing all the of the 32 screws that in “rectangular” holes. The 10 screws in round holes (marked by a red square) are holding the keys to the bottom part of the case. We’ll get to these later.
So I started to unscrew. After that, the top part could be lifted a couple of inches. The only thing left to completely detach the top from the bottom was this lead that connects the keyboard to the motherboard.
As soon as I opened the Venom, this little piece of glue fell out of it. This was also the piece that caused the rattling.
The next thing was to locate what made the key squeak. An interesting and quite confusing thing is that all white keys are marked E1 to E7, plus the C6 key that is marked E8. All black keys are marked C4.
You can also see the key spring. To remove the key, the spring must first be removed. Removing the spring is a no brainer, just lift the spring in the bottom or the top. As soon as I hade removed the spring from the squeaking key, the squeaking disappeared. I put the spring back and then the squeaking returned. I tried to swap the spring with one from another key, but that made no difference.
I figured I had to remove the squeaking key and one other key to compare them and see if there was any visible difference. The simplest way to remove a key is to push it towards you, the same direction as the arrow in the photo. It doesn’t take much force. Putting it back isn’t hard either.
Looking at visual differences, there wasn’t any, other than the low quality plastic stuff on the edges left there from manifacturing. You never see stuff like this in an old vintage Roland synth…
Next thing to try was to swap the squeaking key with another non-squeaking one. The bad boy was the A3, so I decided to swap it with the A5 key. To my surprise, the A3 stopped squeaking and so did the A5. Don’t ask me how, but this was the solution! I put the Venom back together, only using a third of the screws just to make sure that it still worked. Which it did! Case closed!
During my investigation I also removed the key circuit boards to see if the error was there. Looking back, this was totally unnecessary. I took some photos, so I thought I might as well post them here. Have a look at the gallery below.