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#1572790 - 12/08/10 04:06 PM Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system
dcb Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 05/15/10
Posts: 189
Hi everyone. Thanks in advance for your help. Here's my situation. I had a new Dammp Chaser system (H5 system with humidifier and dehumidifier) installed into my upright piano a couple months ago. I live in New England so it is getting cold and dry.

My hygrometer next to the piano is saying 69 degrees and 22% humidity. I thought to myself, "wouldn't it be cool if I put my hygrometer inside my piano, came back the next day and saw a reading of 42% humidity". I tried this experiment and my reading came back inside the piano at 25%. I had the hygrometer on the bottom of the piano right under the humidistat.

So I'm a bit bummed by this and now I'm doubting whether or not my DC is working properly. I've been changing the water every 2.5 weeks roughly and the pads are wet and feel slightly warm. The dehumidifier bar is not hot. The power light is on and seems to be getting electricity.

I ordered a higher quality hygrometer that should arrive in a few days but still the problem I have is that the humidity inside the piano is almost the same as outside.

I called Dampp Chaser and they said that the installation wasn't exactly right. The humidistat should be 2" above and 2" to the left of the water tank. My humidistat was much farther away. I slid the humidistat closer but it hasn't made any difference in the last 8 hours.

Dampp Chaser was very nice on the phone and sounded like they would do whatever it took to get it to work but at this point their only suggestion was to move the humidistat.

Any idea what the problem might be? Has anyone had this same issue?

Thanks!

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#1572794 - 12/08/10 04:17 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
wayne walker Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/08
Posts: 515
Loc: Windsor,Nova Scotia Canada
was the system installed by a piano tuner or technician, if so then you should call them back to check the system
_________________________
Wayne Walker
Walker's Piano Service
http://www.walkerpiano.ca/

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#1572803 - 12/08/10 04:35 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
dcb Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 05/15/10
Posts: 189
The system was installed by a technician but I'm not sure what he would do if he came over to look at it. My gut feeling is that there is something wrong with the unit but I'd like to do the testing myself to help come to that conclusion. I've looked at the unit myself and looks correct to me. (I know I'm not a piano technician, but this is really more of an electrical/electronics installation in which I'm fairly well versed.) Also, given that the technician didn't install the system based on the directions included in the unit (regarding location of the humidistat) I'm not sure he is going to be the right person to help troubleshoot the system.

Because the system is so simple, I'm assuming there is an issue with the built-in humidstat in the DC system, but I'm curious to see if anyone has had similar experiences that I can learn from.

Cheers.

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#1572813 - 12/08/10 04:46 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
Supply Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 3919
Loc: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
I suspect the problem is with your hygrometer. As you say, the system is in principle quite simple. If the humidity is too low, the humidifier bar is turned on and this is what you are seeing. So, the system is working.

For accurate measurements, I suggest getting a humidity data logger, available online.

Remember, even the DC system is not a cure-all for humidity issues, rather, it mitigates the problem.
_________________________
Jurgen Goering
Piano Forte Supply
www.pianofortesupply.com

Piattino Caster Cups distributor

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#1572816 - 12/08/10 04:53 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
dcb Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 05/15/10
Posts: 189
That was my first thought so we'll see what happens when I get my new hygrometer. I ordered a fairly expensive one that is certified to be pretty accurate. It would make my current hygrometer about 20% off. Certainly possible.

The only glitch with this logic is that theoretically the DC cycles on and off and moves the RH% up to ~50% and then down to the high thirties. I reset my hygrometer to record min/max and there were no fluctuations over the two day test.

Of course if my hygrometer reading is innacurate maybe the min/max is too. We'll see what happens with the new hygrometer.

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#1572817 - 12/08/10 04:55 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
dcb Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 05/15/10
Posts: 189
One more thing I forgot...there is about an inch of space between the top of the bottom panel and the underside of the piano. I'm wondering if that space is allowing leaking humidity in some way. Not sure it would be significant enough.

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#1572835 - 12/08/10 05:19 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
wayne walker Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/08
Posts: 515
Loc: Windsor,Nova Scotia Canada
the Dampp-Chaser has a five year warranty, call your tech, he knows what to do.
_________________________
Wayne Walker
Walker's Piano Service
http://www.walkerpiano.ca/

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#1572952 - 12/08/10 08:48 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
Steve W Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/18/07
Posts: 249
Loc: Omaha, NE
You say you "change the water" every 2.5 weeks -- what do you mean by this?

Normally you don't actually "change" the water - it evaporates on the pads, the light goes on, and you refill the tank.

I'm not trying to be nit-picky - just trying to understand if the unit is actually using water or not.

In mine, on a grand, in the winter I may need to fill it about every week.
_________________________
Steve W
Omaha, NE

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#1572956 - 12/08/10 08:56 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
dcb Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 05/15/10
Posts: 189
Sorry. To clarify I fill the water tank every 2.5 weeks so it is doing something...the question is whether it is doing enough.

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#1573022 - 12/08/10 11:10 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
daniokeeper Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/01/09
Posts: 1056
Loc: PA
If the piano was tuned before the change of season, is the piano holding tune reasonably well after the change of season? If so, the D-C system is doing its job.

If the piano was tuned after the change of season, did your tuner need to significantly raise the pitch when he tuned it? If so, then you do need additional troubleshooting. It may be the unit. But I think this is unlikely. If you are having tuning stability issues, you might want to consider supplementing you D-C system with a room humidifier during the winter.

Edit: One full inch between the bottom panel and the keybed... that is a lot.


Edited by daniokeeper (12/08/10 11:20 PM)
_________________________
Joe Gumbosky
Piano Tuning & Repair
www.tinyurl.com/tunerjoe
(semi-retired)

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#1573041 - 12/08/10 11:50 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
Gadzar Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/15/06
Posts: 1432
Loc: Mexico City
I have a similar problem with my system. The min-max readings are just too far from the theoretical 42% RH.

I asked Dampp-Chaser and they told me that what matters is the average humidity not the isolated readings. But I had no humidity data loger in order to check the average humidity in the piano.

My piano holds tunings very well. So I guess the system is working fine.

I have to add water every 2/3 weeks depending on the weather.
_________________________
Rafael Melo
Piano Technician
rafaelmelo@afinacionpianos.com.mx

Serving Mexico City and suburbs.

http://www.afinacionpianos.com.mx

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#1573134 - 12/09/10 03:55 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
Mark R. Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/31/09
Posts: 1865
Loc: Pretoria, South Africa
dcb,

Once you get that new hygrometer, please post your findings here. I'd be very interested to read how things worked out. I'm considering to install a DamppChaser, but my piano also has a gap of about 1" between the bottom panel and the keybed, and I'm wondering whether this would "leak" too much humidity.
_________________________
Autodidact interested in piano technology.

1922 49" Zimmermann, project piano.
1970 44" Ibach, daily music maker.

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#1573161 - 12/09/10 06:01 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
Les Koltvedt Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/13/05
Posts: 3195
Loc: Canton, MI
You could opt for a back cover, that would help.
_________________________
Les Koltvedt
LK Piano
Servicing the S. Eastern Michigan Area
PTG Associate

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#1573220 - 12/09/10 09:21 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
dcb Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 05/15/10
Posts: 189
Gadzar, I find DC's statement illogical to me. The DC should maintain the RH to between roughly 38% and 50%...sure it will not be exactly 42% all the time but it should be in that range. So an instant reading of 38, 45, 50...would make sense.

However, a reading of 25% where the min/max doesn't change is clearly too low and the average is not anywhere close to 42%.

The other part of this discussion that I feel strongly about is that the piano and the tuning is independent. Obviously, the reason to get a DC is to protect the piano and stabilize tuning but having a stable tuning does not imply that the DC is working. Conversely, an instable tuning doesn't mean the DC is not working. (there are just so many other variables around stability/ age of piano, new strings, how hard you play, how often you play,etc.)

This is why my simple test is just to measure the RH inside a fairly small box with a DC in it.(my piano) I'll update the thread when I do the following tests:

-improve the accuracy of my RH measurement (new/better hygrometer)
-experiment with the location of the humidistat
-seal off the 1" gap above the bottom panel
-hopefully it won't come to this but maybe replacing the humidistat with another unit from DC

Should be an interesting project. I care about taking care of my piano so it will be great if I can determine that the DC is actually improving the conditions inside the piano.

Cheers.

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#1573289 - 12/09/10 11:17 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: Mark R.]
Cy Shuster, RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/18/05
Posts: 3448
Loc: Albuquerque, NM
Originally Posted By: Mark R.
dcb,

Once you get that new hygrometer, please post your findings here. I'd be very interested to read how things worked out. I'm considering to install a DamppChaser, but my piano also has a gap of about 1" between the bottom panel and the keybed, and I'm wondering whether this would "leak" too much humidity.


Don't worry about it. I install D-C's all the time into grands, and the whole soundboard is exposed on the bottom and the top! Uprights have the whole soundboard exposed at the rear.

Uprights are easier to control, because they're much more of a box.

Measuring humidity inside the piano is the best, but it's even easier for most people to measure the pitch of your piano. There are many apps out there that will do that. The A above middle C should be at 440 Hz... how is this changing? If it's really that dry, it should be going flat.

This is the best indication of whether the D-C system is holding humidity within range over time.

--Cy--
_________________________
Cy Shuster, RPT
505-265-4234
www.shusterpiano.com
www.facebook.com/shusterpiano
Albuquerque, New Mexico

Registered Piano Technician
Dampp-Chaser Certified Installer
PianoDisc Certified Service Technician

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#1573295 - 12/09/10 11:34 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
rysowers Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 2340
Loc: Olympia, WA
Another reason your hygrometers reading may be low is that you stuck it in the bottom of the piano. I would imagine that to be the driest area because the warm, moistened air rises and disperses. Instead of just putting the hygrometer in the bottom of the piano, find somewhere up higher.

Also, I agree with Cy. The proof is in the pudding. If your piano was really running that dry you would definitely hear it.

You can download Tunelab shareware free. I think it would be interesting to measure all the Cs on your piano once a week. It can be an eye opener to see what your tuning is really doing.
_________________________
Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA
www.pianova.net

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#1573351 - 12/09/10 12:53 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
daniokeeper Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/01/09
Posts: 1056
Loc: PA
Quote:
 So I'm a bit bummed by this and now I'm doubting whether or not my DC is working properly. I've been changing the water every 2.5 weeks roughly and the pads are wet and feel slightly warm. The dehumidifier bar is not hot. The power light is on and seems to be getting electricity.


So, why would you need a new humidistat? In dry weather, the heating rod is turned off and the humidifier is turned on. The humidistat is doing its job.

You don’t want the humidifier bar to get hot and put out too much moisture too rapidly. After all, you do not want to cause rust and corrosion on metal parts like the strings.


Quote:
The other part of this discussion that I feel strongly about is that the piano and the tuning is independent. Obviously, the reason to get a DC is to protect the piano and stabilize tuning but having a stable tuning does not imply that the DC is working. Conversely, an instable tuning doesn't mean the DC is not working.


If you check D-C’s own advertising, you’ll see that one reason they recommend their systems is for stabilizing tunings across seasonal changes. http://www.pianolifesaver.com/english/pianohumidifier.php

Yes, a piano that is still at pitch after going from a humid summer to an extremely dry winter absolutely implies that the D-C unit is working correctly.
_________________________
Joe Gumbosky
Piano Tuning & Repair
www.tinyurl.com/tunerjoe
(semi-retired)

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#1573386 - 12/09/10 02:32 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: daniokeeper]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2545
Loc: PA
Dampp-Chaser today released a service bulletin about some H5 humidistats sticking in the humidify mode. If yours was recently installed, your tech will likely be contacting you to check and see if its one of the affected ones. He can then check the system while there.
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#1573540 - 12/09/10 07:27 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
dcb Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 05/15/10
Posts: 189
So I have my new hygrometer and have more accurate readings now. The hygrometer I bought is from a labaratory store and is certified to be accrate +/- 2% for relative humidity. It also reads from the main unit and has a wireless sensor I can put in the piano. This was a good purchase...now I have some confidence.

I've had it in place for about 6 hours now and it is very responsive. In fact if I hold the unit in my hand, the temperature and humidity goes up a bit.

Outside the piano my RH% reading is 22%.
I have the wireless sensor velcroed directly on the humidistat inside the piano and it is reading 32%. (note that when I had the wireless sensor out of the piano next to the main unit, both read the same % so they are calibrated.)

So based on my observations with good measurement for the first 6 hours, it looks like the DC is doing something, but not enough. So I'll monitor it for a while and try and figure out what is going on.

My guess now is either the 1" gap above my bottom panel is letting in too much dry air or the DC is incorrectly calibrated to ~32% instead of 42%....or.... I'm missing something. I'll keep you posted.

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#1573551 - 12/09/10 07:45 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
wayne walker Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/08
Posts: 515
Loc: Windsor,Nova Scotia Canada
a 1" gap in the lower panel is not going to make a differences. All upright pianos have a gap in the lower panel. I have installed Dampp-Chaser system in many upright pianos . I tune these pianos once a year and the pitch is almost bang on.
_________________________
Wayne Walker
Walker's Piano Service
http://www.walkerpiano.ca/

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#1573562 - 12/09/10 07:55 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
dcb Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 05/15/10
Posts: 189
Thanks Wayne. That's good information. That helps my troubleshooting.

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#1573578 - 12/09/10 08:19 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
wayne walker Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/08
Posts: 515
Loc: Windsor,Nova Scotia Canada
Originally Posted By: dcb

Outside the piano my RH% reading is 22%.
I have the wireless sensor velcroed directly on the humidistat inside the piano and it is reading 32%.



try installing the remote senor in the upper portion of the piano
_________________________
Wayne Walker
Walker's Piano Service
http://www.walkerpiano.ca/

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#1573819 - 12/10/10 07:30 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4789
Loc: Bradford County, PA
I didn't feel that the regular Dampchaser installation for my Charles Walter console was enough. I added a back system and now the tuning is rock solid. I have a wood stove two rooms away.

Something you could try is plugging an old dial clock into the heater bar outlet of the humidistat with an “octopus” so the heater bar will still work. This will tell you how often it is calling for heat. I understand that it is made to cycle the heat on occasionally in order to circulate the air in the piano. But if it never comes on for long, then the one humidifier tank may not be enough. Another can be added. Consider bringing this up with the folks at Dampchaser.
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1577485 - 12/15/10 08:20 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
dcb Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 05/15/10
Posts: 189
Here's the update...

-My piano is slipping out of tune from a recent tuning. This may be for other reasons, but it is important for those who think that if the piano is holding its pitch it doesn't matter what the RH% readings are.

-DC sent me another humidistat to try. It's been installed for a day and it is no better. (The room RH% = 22-23%. Inside the piano, the RH% is 26-30%.) Also note that the room is very stable in temperature. It's been a couple weeks and I still haven't had to fill the water tank.

-Just for good measure, I changed the pads.

So I'm bummed because I was hoping the humidistat was the problem. Now I'm thinking 1 of 3 possibilities.
1) The humidifier is faulty. (water tank/ pads/ heater wires)
2) DC systems really don't work as well as people think they do and the claim of maintaining a RH% in the range of 38% to 45% exagerated or only seen in perfect lab conditions.
3) Some other reason I'm not seeing.

Anyone have any thoughts?

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#1577499 - 12/15/10 08:35 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2545
Loc: PA
I doubt it's the humidifier. Earlier in the thread, you mentioned the pads were wet and slightly warm; that sounds like it's functioning normally. The humidifier is only 8w, so it won't get nearly as warm as the dehumidifier rods.
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#1577506 - 12/15/10 08:40 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
dcb Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 05/15/10
Posts: 189
Thanks Loren. That was one of my questions... the humidifier bar is warm but not hot. I'm stumped. I've read some posts where people have measured the effectiveness and the system was swinging from 38% - 53% back and forth every 18 minutes. I would also think the system would work better on a vertical piano because it is a closed box.

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#1577552 - 12/15/10 10:12 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
Eric Gloo Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 1176
Loc: Richfield Springs, New York
The 22% room humidity sounds quite low. Let me throw a few questions at you to get a better understanding of the piano and its environment:

What brand is the piano? Size of piano? Age of piano?

What is the heat source for the room? How far away from the heat source is the piano?

Does direct sunlight hit the piano at any point during the day?

From where inside the piano are you measuring the humidity?
_________________________
Eric Gloo
Piano Technician
Certified Dampp-Chaser Installer
Richfield Springs, New York

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#1577567 - 12/15/10 10:41 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
dcb Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 05/15/10
Posts: 189
It is a 45" Walter Studio that is about 13 years old. The piano is in a finished basement in Massachusetts with baseboard hot water heat. There is no heat directly behind the piano. No sunlight at any point during the day.

I have a fairly expensive hygrometer that is accurate and certified to +/-2% and it is velcroed directly on the humidistat. I've also taken measurements on the bottom of the piano next to the water tank and got the same reading.

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#1577590 - 12/15/10 11:38 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
Eric Gloo Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 1176
Loc: Richfield Springs, New York
If you can, try putting the hygrometer higher up inside the piano.

Is there a plastic baffle installed above the humidifier tank (probably attached to the underside of the key bed)?

What is the wattage of the dehumidifier bar (the bar from which the humidistat hangs). It will be either 50W or 25W. You'll probably have to shine a flashlight on either side of the dehumidifier bar to find the wattage (I think it's on the side with the cord). It's imprinted on the bar, along with the Dampp Chaser name, and a date of manufacture. Depending on how the bar was installed, it may even be facing the back of the piano, so you might need a mirror to read the info.

Does the water tank sit directly on the floor of the piano, or is it hanging?

Just looked at the clock, and it's way past bedtime! I'll check back tomorrow...I'm just wondering how the dehumidifier and humidistat are reacting with each other, which will make a difference as to how often the humidifier turns on.

If you can post a photo of the installation, that might be helpful, too.
_________________________
Eric Gloo
Piano Technician
Certified Dampp-Chaser Installer
Richfield Springs, New York

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#1577598 - 12/15/10 11:48 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
terminaldegree Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/03/06
Posts: 2554
Loc: western Wisconsin
Note: I'm not a tech, just a piano "enthusiast"...

What was the RH at the time the piano was tuned?

22% RH is really low... Perhaps the system can't add 20% RH so easily (though you observed a 10% increase previously).

The RH in my home ranges from mid 30% to high 50% year-round (note: the seasonal humidity swings in the upper Midwest are seriously extreme, and would be worse without the use of a room humidifier in winter). My DC system keeps the piano in a happy enough state that I only need to have it tuned twice a year, and I'm pretty picky. In the dead of winter when things are driest, I may have to refill every 12 days.

At my work, 22% RH is (unfortunately for the pianos) the norm in my office in winter, with some sort of humidifier allegedly running in the HVAC system in my building. The pianos in the studio need tuning monthly, and it's not due to overuse... WIth the seasonal extremes and no real protection, both my pianos at work have suffered problems they had no business having at a very young age.

Should we be fortunate enough to purchase new instruments in the future, I will insist on a full DC system with an undercover as part of the purchase. Maybe the backcover would be a good idea for you, since your basement is very dry?
_________________________
Pianist, teacher, internet addict.
Piano Review Editor - Acoustic and Digital Piano Buyer
Casio px-200, Bechstein A190 #192939 @ home
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Schimmel 130T #339100, on loan

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#1577704 - 12/16/10 03:46 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
rysowers Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 2340
Loc: Olympia, WA
I agree with Mr. Gloo,

You need to get that hygrometer off the bottom of the piano. There is no way you're going to get an accurate reading there, even if it's right next to the tank: the warm, moist air goes up.
_________________________
Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA
www.pianova.net

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#1577760 - 12/16/10 06:34 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2545
Loc: PA
Another thing, though unlikely, would be to see if the tech installed a "dry" humidistat. Dampp-Chaser offers three calibrations: dry, normal, and wet. Some parts of the country are normally drier or more humid than others. Rather than have one part of the stat constantly in an attempt to reach a desired goal, these stats are calibrated to allow easier cycling between humidify and dehumidify, which is the way the system is intended to operate. The dry, standard, and wet stats are calibrated at 39%, 45%, and 51% RH respectively.
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#1577775 - 12/16/10 07:16 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
dcb Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 05/15/10
Posts: 189
Regarding the placement of the hygrometer. My logic was this...the role of the humidistat is to sense the humidity level and turn on/off the humidifer/dehumidifier as needed. So, the humidistat is where the DC reading is being measured. Therefore, the hygrometer at that location makes sense. Unfortunatly, there are no other places higher up in the pinao to put a hygrometer easily.

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#1577781 - 12/16/10 07:24 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
UnrightTooner Offline
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Loc: Bradford County, PA
dcb:

I have been following this topic closely. I don't remember any mention of the condition of the pads. Have they been replaced recently? Are they folded over long-wise to double thickness? I think they work better if they are not folded over like that. It seems that they insulate themselves and do not evaporate as much water. It is something you could try that certainly won’t hurt. Also, since you are carefully monitoring the humidity, you could try plugging the humidifier directly into an extension cord, bypassing the humidistat. This helps isolate the problem. But I would make one change at a time and observe it for an entire week before drawing any conclusions. Pianos can absorb and release a lot of moisture, but it takes a while.
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1577807 - 12/16/10 08:22 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
Jerry Cohen, RPT Offline
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Loc: New Jersey
dcb,

The components within the humidistat generate some heat, which could throw off your reading. The sensor within the H5 is located in the upper right corner of the box and airflow of the other warm components has been taken into consideration.

Why can't you mount your probe to the underside of the keybed, as close as possible to the strings?

Also, try plugging in and electric, motorized clock to the humidifier outlet, with a cube tap. Set the clock to 12:00 and check it in a few hours. It should advance by the same amount of time, if the humidity is really that low.
_________________________
Jerry Cohen, RPT
Piano Craftsman offering, concert tuning, voicing, regulating, rebuilding.
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#1577808 - 12/16/10 08:22 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
dcb Online   content
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Jeff...great suggestions thanks. The pads are brand new...I just replaced them and I'm using distilled water to avoid the mineral build-up. The pads are doubled over. I think I'll try unfolding them (and cutting them in half lenghthwise) and seeing if that makes any difference.

Great idea about bypassing the humidistat. I wish Dampp Chaser would have told me to do that. I doubt it is the problem because I'm on my second humidistat. If it works, that would mean both the first and second humidistat were faulty. Not likely, but possible and a great way to rule it out.

Everytime I've gone into the piano and checked the pads, they were slightly warm so my guess is that it is working as best it can but it just can't humidfy enough to get the % above 26-30%.

Thanks for the help.

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#1577814 - 12/16/10 08:29 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
dcb Online   content
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Jerry...interesting thoughts. My hygrometer has a temperature sensor as well and the temp inside the piano is consistently the same or maybe 1 or 2 degrees warmer than outside the piano so that small of a range shouldn't make too much difference.

I'm going to try bypassing the humidistat to see how much I can increase the RH%.

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#1577815 - 12/16/10 08:30 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
UnrightTooner Offline
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dcb:

Hope it works. We have the same piano and similar weather. My solution was to first put a second humidifier in the bottom of the piano, which helped a lot. Then a complete back system (in addition to the inside system with just one humidifier), that did the trick. I just went by the tuning stability and did not measure the humidity. When the pitch is different across the tenor break, you know it is due to a change in humidity. Perhaps CW’s are more sensitive to humidity changes, I don’t know. This may be a good thing.
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Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1577832 - 12/16/10 08:51 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
dcb Online   content
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Jeff, my gut feeling is that your solution is the one that would work. I'm just not too excited about spending more money on the 9 piece system.

My other holdout is that the people at DC say that if it is very dry I should have to fill the water tank every week. I'm only filling it ever ~2.5 weeks so I may have an issue with the humidifier unit. Some more testing should tell.

(I'm thinking when the summer comes around and I have 60% humidity, I should close my eyes and not test my dehumidifier bar. Ignorance is bliss.)

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#1577838 - 12/16/10 08:58 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
UnrightTooner Offline
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dcb:

Yes, I noted that your humidifier was not calling for much water. That is why I thought of the doubled up pads. An interim step is two humidifiers in the piano or even humidifiers in the back of the piano without an additional humidistat. Take one thing at a time and see how it goes.
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Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1577977 - 12/16/10 12:55 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
Eric Gloo Offline
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Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 1176
Loc: Richfield Springs, New York
Originally Posted By: dcb
Regarding the placement of the hygrometer. My logic was this...the role of the humidistat is to sense the humidity level and turn on/off the humidifer/dehumidifier as needed. So, the humidistat is where the DC reading is being measured. Therefore, the hygrometer at that location makes sense. Unfortunatly, there are no other places higher up in the pinao to put a hygrometer easily.


Since the hygrometer already has velcro on it, you should be able to rig something up with more velcro and it up near the top, against the side of the piano.

Have you checked to see if the plastic baffle is installed?

...and room humidity in the low 20% range is very dry. It just might be that the basic DC system can't compete with the dryness.


Edited by Eric Gloo (12/16/10 12:55 PM)
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#1577990 - 12/16/10 01:19 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
dcb Online   content
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The plastic baffle is installed.

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#1578006 - 12/16/10 01:44 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
rysowers Offline
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Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 2340
Loc: Olympia, WA
Originally Posted By: dcb
Regarding the placement of the hygrometer. My logic was this...the role of the humidistat is to sense the humidity level and turn on/off the humidifer/dehumidifier as needed. So, the humidistat is where the DC reading is being measured. Therefore, the hygrometer at that location makes sense. Unfortunatly, there are no other places higher up in the pinao to put a hygrometer easily.


Yes, but the humidistat is probably a foot higher up. I just think the very bottom of the piano is not the best place to get a reading.

The other thing to keep in mind is that the wood is sucking up the moisture, like a big sponge.

Have you installed a back cover? These can make a big difference.
_________________________
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Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA
www.pianova.net

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#1578038 - 12/16/10 02:19 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
dcb Online   content
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Just to clarify...when I say the hygrometer is on the humidistat I literally mean the hygrometer is velcroed to the humidistat so it isn't a foot away from the humidistat...it is right on it. As a side note, the reading from the bottom of the piano is about the same as from on the humidistat.

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#1578051 - 12/16/10 02:37 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
rysowers Offline
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Originally Posted By: dcb
Just to clarify...when I say the hygrometer is on the humidistat I literally mean the hygrometer is velcroed to the humidistat so it isn't a foot away from the humidistat...it is right on it. As a side note, the reading from the bottom of the piano is about the same as from on the humidistat.


Ah, I see! I imagined it just sitting on the bottom of the piano. I get it now. Thanks for clarifying.
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Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA
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#1578111 - 12/16/10 04:33 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
Rick_Parks Offline
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Registered: 12/16/10
Posts: 22
Loc: Maine, USA
To be brutally honest (from mere experience) about these systems- and I know this is going to stir up this thread a bit- number (2) on your list would be the one I would suggest to you as the answer to your problem. Though many techs will say differently.
As a technician in the Washington DC area, I got to see a lot of these machines in action--- and also in the unplugged state due to problems from concept and design, or from simple neglect.
I doubt there is any real problem with your system at all. It is doing what it does.
We personally do not recommend these things for anyone, except for the absolute necessity (-and no we are not guild members)-- your situation may apply (being in a basement)...BUT- my first suggestion is ALWAYS to try to regulate the room the piano is in first (if at all possible).
I would say-- that for the price you paid for the system, you might have been able to solve your problem for the entire room-- both summer and winter? But, since you bought the system already- my only suggestion is to get the tech involved in your complaints. If the system doesn't do what they advertize- they need to stand behind what their claim is.
You CERTAINLY should not have to go buying better parts and spend further money to simply get the advertized results.
IF they succed in getting this system to perform to claims--- see to it that you take care of it, please. Don't let the pads get crusted over and the water turn to slime. These are not a few of my favorite things to deal with on the road.

-Rick
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#1578312 - 12/16/10 08:35 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
Loren D Offline
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Loc: PA
Everyone's entitled to an opinion. smile Many piano manufacturers recommend the system, though. Use the pad treatment as directed when adding water, and the water will stay clear. The pads need to be changed when they cake up with mineral buildup, and that varies depending on the hardness/softness of your water.
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#1578508 - 12/17/10 03:02 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
Cy Shuster, RPT Offline
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Loc: Albuquerque, NM
Could you post a photo of the lower cabinet, so we could see the distances between components? I have pictures on my Facebook page of a typical installation.

If the humidistat is too close to the water tank, it will get an RH reading that is too high, and the heating rods will be on too long, causing low humidity. Conversely, if it's too far from the water tank, it will activate the wet side too long. This is one way that we can fine-tune a system after installation.

I believe your hygrometer readings. We need to gather more information.

--Cy--

P.S. I'm reading 24% here in New Mexico, and the pitch in my upright (with backcover) has held steady for months.
_________________________
Cy Shuster, RPT
505-265-4234
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Albuquerque, New Mexico

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#1578573 - 12/17/10 06:51 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
dcb Online   content
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The installation instructions say the bottom right corner of the humidistat should be 2" above and 2" to the left of the top left corner of the humidifier tank. Originally it was installed 6" above and 7" to the left.

Ironically, Dampp Chaser told me to move the humidistat closer to the tank. I told them that that didn't make any sense becuase if the RH% reading was too low...moving the humidistat closer to the humidifier would make it worse. She said yeah, that logically makes sense but isn't necessarily how it works. This was one of the points in my conversation where it was clear to me that I wasn't getting very good (or scientifically accurate) troubleshooting tips from DC.

That said, I've experimented with this distance and have seen no change in result.

Over the last two days I've had the humidifier plugged in directly to the outlet and the rest of the DC system turned off. The RH% is now hovering around 26% inside the piano and 22% outside the piano.

This tells me that it isn't the humidstat...it is simply that the humidifier isn't humidifying enough. I'm calling DC today to see what they say. The humidifier rods are warm but just barely warm. I'm wondering if the humidifier warming rod is no good. If it's not that, I've run out of parts to troubleshoot and I'm going to conclude that the system doesn not work as advertised.

Just for fun, I may turn off the the humidifier as well and see what the reading is...That would tell us what the old "bucket of water" in the bottom of your piano would contribute to the humidity.

Thanks for everyone's help.

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#1578585 - 12/17/10 07:24 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
UnrightTooner Offline
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Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4789
Loc: Bradford County, PA
dcb:

If you can measure the amps that the humidifier rod draws you can determine if it is working correctly. Amps x Volts = Watts. So with 120 volts and 8 watts (if Loren is correct, I could not find it on the web) the humidifier rod should draw about 65 milliamps when plugged in. Maybe you have a friend or an appliance shop that could check it out.

But Rick makes a good point about controlling the humidity in the entire room. It is better for people and furnishings, too.
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
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Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1579042 - 12/17/10 09:44 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
Thomas Dowell Offline
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Posts: 122
Loc: Twin Lakes, WI
Please keep in mind that I have very, very little experience with Dampp-Chasers, but you mention that you are using distilled water. I thought, though I could be wrong, that Dampp Chasers needed tap water, to help the water wick onto the pads. Or is this what the Pad Treatment is for?

Just a brief thought.
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Thomas Dowell, R.P.T.
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#1579059 - 12/17/10 10:11 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
dcb Online   content
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My understanding is that distilled or tap works fine. You should use the pad treatment with both but it is more important with the distilled so the water sensor works. The distilled could resutl in less mineral build-up and better performance.

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#1579063 - 12/17/10 10:20 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
dcb Online   content
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So I think I've had a small breakthough...could be on to something.

I called Dampp Chaser today and they were very surprised that the system wasn't working very well. They are going to send me another humidifer warming bar to see if there may be something wrong with it.

However, this morning (just to rule out something else) I temporarily stuffed a blanket into the 1" gap between the bottom panel and the underside of the keybed. When I came home from work around 6pm the RH% was up to 36%. (It was 26% in the morning) So I went to Home Depot and bought some pipe insulation that fit perfectly into the gap. It is now up to 37% and we'll see if it can get any higher overnight.

Clearly, that 1" gap had something to do with it. I'm hoping that in the morning it will be up to 40% and I'll consider it close enough to the ideal 42-45% to call it a day.

I'll also try the new humidifier warmer bar when it arrives...could be a couple issues going on simultaneously.

By the way, the folks at Dampp Chaser have been very friendly and although they haven't been able to tell me exactly what is wrong, they have been very pleasant to talk with and have been sending me replacement parts to try.

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#1579092 - 12/17/10 11:21 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
rysowers Offline
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Wow! That's a significant discovery! I may have to add that to my installation routine! It makes sense that that gap would have a real effect. Thanks for your research!
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Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA
www.pianova.net

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#1579139 - 12/18/10 01:14 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
Cy Shuster, RPT Offline
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Registered: 12/18/05
Posts: 3448
Loc: Albuquerque, NM
Originally Posted By: dcb
My understanding is that distilled or tap works fine. You should use the pad treatment with both but it is more important with the distilled so the water sensor works. The distilled could resutl in less mineral build-up and better performance.


Distilled water is fine, but...

...the FIRST fillup needs to be tap water. There needs to be enough electrolytes in the system for electrical conductivity for the sensors. Distilled water will have too much resistance for the water sensor to work correctly without it (and the pad sensors, if you have the Smart Bracket).

After the first fillup, you can use distilled, which makes cleaning mineral buildup easier.

dcb, I applaud your persistent and excellent troubleshooting to narrow down the problem. Yes, the humidifier bar is 8 watts.

--Cy--
_________________________
Cy Shuster, RPT
505-265-4234
www.shusterpiano.com
www.facebook.com/shusterpiano
Albuquerque, New Mexico

Registered Piano Technician
Dampp-Chaser Certified Installer
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#1579250 - 12/18/10 06:22 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
dcb Online   content
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I was so excited, I woke up early this morning to take a look. The RH% = 43%. It is amazing how well the pipe insulation worked.

I still have the humidifer plugged in directly to the outlet bypassing the humidistat. So, I'm going to see if it continues to rise 50%, 55%...then I'll plug it back into the humidistat and see if it maintains a proper percentage. My gut feeling is that it will work just fine now.

The pipe insulation for 1/2" pipes fit perfectly for me and only cost a couple dollars at Home Depot. It pressure fits in and can be removed easily for tuning or maintenance. Here's a picture.


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#1579255 - 12/18/10 06:31 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: Cy Shuster, RPT]
Loren D Offline
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Registered: 06/22/10
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Loc: PA
Originally Posted By: Cy Shuster
Originally Posted By: dcb
My understanding is that distilled or tap works fine. You should use the pad treatment with both but it is more important with the distilled so the water sensor works. The distilled could resutl in less mineral build-up and better performance.


Distilled water is fine, but...

...the FIRST fillup needs to be tap water. There needs to be enough electrolytes in the system for electrical conductivity for the sensors. Distilled water will have too much resistance for the water sensor to work correctly without it (and the pad sensors, if you have the Smart Bracket).

After the first fillup, you can use distilled, which makes cleaning mineral buildup easier.

dcb, I applaud your persistent and excellent troubleshooting to narrow down the problem. Yes, the humidifier bar is 8 watts.

--Cy--


Cy, I'm pretty sure that's not what DC says. According to them, the pad treatment supplies sufficient electrolyte. Back in the old days, they called for using a pinch of salt in the water if using distilled, but that is specifically discouraged now since salt is corrosive.

*edit* Just checked, and sure enough, DC says nothing about requiring tap water for the first fill; only to be sure to use the pad treatment whether using tap or distilled.


Edited by Loren D (12/18/10 06:40 AM)
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#1579258 - 12/18/10 06:32 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
wayne walker Offline
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Loc: Windsor,Nova Scotia Canada
My question, why haven't you called the tech who installed this system, they should be the person checking the system and contacting Dampp-Chaser. You shouldn't be messing with the position of the humidistat. I would think this would be breach of warranty.
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Wayne Walker
Walker's Piano Service
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#1579259 - 12/18/10 06:33 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
Loren D Offline
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Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2545
Loc: PA
Originally Posted By: dcb
I was so excited, I woke up early this morning to take a look. The RH% = 43%. It is amazing how well the pipe insulation worked.

I still have the humidifer plugged in directly to the outlet bypassing the humidistat. So, I'm going to see if it continues to rise 50%, 55%...then I'll plug it back into the humidistat and see if it maintains a proper percentage. My gut feeling is that it will work just fine now.

The pipe insulation for 1/2" pipes fit perfectly for me and only cost a couple dollars at Home Depot. It pressure fits in and can be removed easily for tuning or maintenance. Here's a picture.


Wonderful! I know you taught me something. I never imagined there would be that much difference from the gap.

I would connect the humidifier back to the humidistat as soon as possible though, now that you know what the problem was!
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#1579265 - 12/18/10 06:41 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: wayne walker]
Loren D Offline
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Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2545
Loc: PA
Originally Posted By: wayne walker
My question, why haven't you called the tech who installed this system, they should be the person checking the system and contacting Dampp-Chaser. You shouldn't be messing with the position of the humidistat. I would think this would be breach of warranty.


True. Since DC was communicating with him though, I would think that would allay any warranty concerns.

What DOES surprise me though is that DC did not involve the tech in the process.
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#1579270 - 12/18/10 06:58 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
dcb Online   content
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It keeps getting suggested that I call the tech who installed it so here is why I didn't...

--I've since found another tech who I really like a lot and don't plan on using the original tech anymore.
--Based on my gut feeling I think he would have thought my questions were a hassle and not wanted to put the time in (I've spent many many hours troubleshooting this)
--this is the busy tuning season so I wanted to be sensitive about his time
--Like many people, I think he would have just told me that the system is working fine and don't worry about it and then made up some reason why my hygrometer readings were innacurate, etc.
--The troubleshooting process was not something that could be done by a one visit inspection
--I'm a pretty competent person and these systems are dead simple so I could handle it myself (side effect is that now I really understand more about Dampp Chasers)
--I don't particularly care about the warranty although I'm sure it is not voided because of the minimal "work" I've done. Also, the warranty is a joke because it doesn't cover labor costs...just parts.

***EDIT: I don't want to offend anyone with this statement so disregard my comment about the warranty being a "joke". The warranty is fine and again, although I received a lot of misinformation (in my opinion), the customer service experience was very good. Also, I was unaware that some or most techs don't charge for the labor part of these warranty situations.

These conversations have been very interesting to me. There is clearly three opinions about Dampp Chasers: 1) they are incredible 2) they are worthless 3) somewhere in between

From my limited experience, I think the differing opinions can be attributed to:
1. Most people install it, never measure, and never really know if it works. (I bet lots of them don't really achieve the desired result. I would have fallen into this category if I wasn't curious about it.)

2. Installation, how extreme the environment is, and design of the piano (how tightly the piano is "sealed".

My other observation is that it is very interesting that these systems don't have a built in measuring device. (hygrometer, data logger, etc.) I bet it wouldn't make good business sense to do this because it would cost a lot of money on fine tuning these systems by heigtening consumer awareness of the performance of these systems.

Thanks everyone for your help with this one. This is a very cool forum.


Edited by dcb (12/18/10 08:05 AM)

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#1579273 - 12/18/10 07:07 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
dcb Online   content
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Trust me...DC wanted to go through the tech. I pushed them and they agreed to work with me. I've very greatful for that. Dampp Chaser support was friendly but here are some things they told me that I really have trouble with...

--you can't really measure the performance of the system by humidy readings...the pitch stability is the only thing that matters
--the humidifier really only adds humidity to a small area on the soundboard above the humidifier tank
--don't fill the gap between the bottom panel and the keybed...the system needs airflow to work properly

So again, DC was very helpful in regards to sending me replacement parts to try, but I really don't think they were a wealth of information regarding troubleshooting.

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#1579275 - 12/18/10 07:22 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
Loren D Offline
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Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2545
Loc: PA
OK first, the warranty isn't a "joke." Yes it covers parts only, but in any warranty issues I've dealt with, I didn't charge labor. I chose to provide the warranty service as a courtesy to a good customer who trusted me with the installation and tunings.

Second...the purpose of the system is to stabilize the humidity and therefore the pitch of the piano. The reason many of us don't bother setting up humidity loggers after each install is because if the pitch is stabilized, varying only a few cents between seasons (instead of the normal 20-30 cents around here, for example), the system IS indeed working and doing its job. When there have been issues where the pitch didn't stabilize, further investigation was called for.

I'm glad you got your installation figured out. As you can see, there are definitely opinions about it, along with a fair degree of misinformation. In the end, your system stabilized and your piano will be better because of it! smile

*edit* I bet you'd be hard pressed to name other electronic products that give a 5 year warranty on parts. Pretty much unheard of.

*edit 2* I'm sorry, but this is really starting to bug me! A full 5 years on parts and it's a joke because the warranty doesn't include labor? Most other products cover labor for a short time and then parts only, but none come close to 5 years on the parts; a significant trade, I would think. Second, the company supplied you with a new humidistat and humidifer bar under its warranty, even though neither of those were the problem. So I guess I'm scratching my head about the joke of a warranty. The real problem lay in the installation, which would have been the tech, who you chose not to call. Dampp-Chaser ended up covering the system even though none of the system components were at fault. They dealt directly with you courteously and professionally, according to your comments. Hardly a joke, my friend! smile


Edited by Loren D (12/18/10 07:32 AM)
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#1579283 - 12/18/10 07:54 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
dcb Online   content
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Registered: 05/15/10
Posts: 189
Hi Loren. I think that's fair. I suppose calling the warranty a "joke" was a bit much. True 5 years is great. To be totally fair as well, many techs probably waive the labor costs or it takes so little time to replace parts, the cost is negligible. If I could retract my statement, I would.

Thanks for keeping me honest and reasonable. smile

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#1579286 - 12/18/10 07:59 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
Loren D Offline
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Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2545
Loc: PA
No problem, my friend. smile I'm glad it all worked out for you!
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#1579311 - 12/18/10 08:47 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: rysowers]
Les Koltvedt Offline
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Registered: 04/13/05
Posts: 3195
Loc: Canton, MI
Originally Posted By: rysowers
Wow! That's a significant discovery! I may have to add that to my installation routine! It makes sense that that gap would have a real effect. Thanks for your research!


FYI, in regards to the 1/2" pipe insulation, you can find a variety of sizes in a product known as "Backer Rod" it's an easy to compress rope-like celled foam, available from 1/4" up to 6" in diameter. Any local box store "should" carry it.
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LK Piano
Servicing the S. Eastern Michigan Area
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#1579312 - 12/18/10 08:50 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
wayne walker Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/08
Posts: 515
Loc: Windsor,Nova Scotia Canada
Originally Posted By: dcb
Trust me...DC wanted to go through the tech. I pushed them and they agreed to work with me. I've very greatful for that. Dampp Chaser support was friendly but here are some things they told me that I really have trouble with...

--you can't really measure the performance of the system by humidy readings...the pitch stability is the only thing that matters
--the humidifier really only adds humidity to a small area on the soundboard above the humidifier tank
--don't fill the gap between the bottom panel and the keybed...the system needs airflow to work properly

So again, DC was very helpful in regards to sending me replacement parts to try, but I really don't think they were a wealth of information regarding troubleshooting.


from what I gather you now know more than Dampp-Chaser and us techs on the forumn, you're the expert now . The system might work if you stop messing with the installation


Edited by wayne walker (12/18/10 08:52 AM)
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#1579330 - 12/18/10 09:22 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
dcb Online   content
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Registered: 05/15/10
Posts: 189
I think I've been offending people on these posts so I'm going to stop posting. For anyone who has been offended, I'm sorry. I don't claim to know anything about piano tuning, repair, etc. and don't want to step on anyone's toes. I have a lot of respect for the forum members and how much experience everyone has.

My piano tech is lucky I didn't call him...I can be that customer that can be a pain and expects things to be too close to perfect. I know that so I wanted to spare him.

I do have a background in science, troubleshooting technical things, some common sense, and a DIY approach.

All of your experience, thoughts, and insight have been greatly appreciated which is why I read this post... I learn a lot from listening to you all.

My testing is certainly not scientifically sound in a perfectly controlled environment so I wouldn't expect anyone to use any of my experiences as the end all...just one guy, one piano, one experience.

I can say, however, that I think my DC system is great now and I expect it to work great for a very long time.

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#1579377 - 12/18/10 11:31 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
James Carney Offline
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Registered: 07/30/10
Posts: 401
Loc: new york city
Interesting thread...

I've owned a DC system since 1994 for my own grand piano and I've installed a number of new DC systems. (And, as of a few weeks ago, I am now a certified Dampp-Chaser installer.)

Everyone is certainly entitled to their opinion, but my experience is that the systems work beautifully, especially when the client doesn't have their piano sitting over or next to a heating vent in the floor (yes, I've seen this lots of times) or next to an open window...Or in direct sunlight for hours each day...Or all of the above.

I do a lot of work for a dealer who sells Bluthner, Bosendorfer, and Steingraeber - all three of these companies (and many others, including Ciresa soundboards from Italy) recommend the use of a Dampp-Chaser system for their pianos. Why would these manufacturers recommend a system that isn't effective? These are some of the finest pianos money can buy, and these companies have a legacy that goes back a long, long time...not to mention long before the Dampp-Chaser was even invented.

But more importantly, since living in NYC for six years now, I have personally witnessed the toll that our weather takes on tuning stability and action performance. It's absolutely awful here - sweltering summer humidity that morphs to static shock-inducing winters of indoor dryness where the % of RH measures in the teens or twenties. We are also surrounded by water, much of it salt or brackish. When I service pianos that have a DC installed, (and when the owner is diligent about keeping the tank filled with water!) the stability of the previous tuning is usually quite impressive, even if I am tuning in December and the piano was last tuned in July - it's almost always within a few cents of where it should be. It basically eliminates the need for a pitch raise so the tuner has a much better chance of leaving a rock solid, stable tuning. To me this is a major benefit of having one in your piano.

One thing that hasn't been brought up yet is the EMC factor. (Equilibrium Moisture Content) And this is what the Dampp-Chaser is really all about - maintaining an EMC that will protect the soundboard from expansion and contraction, which is the ultimate objective. (EMC is the point at which a given piece of wood will absorb and desorb (lose) moisture at the same rate.)

So my take is this: Don't worry so much about measuring the magic numbers of 40-45% RH on your hygrometer. Those numbers are not nearly as important as what is happening with the EMC of the soundboard (which was purposefully conditioned to remain somewhere around 10% EMC after an initial drying of the wood at about 6%.) If you are refilling the humidifier often, if your piano stays in tune longer, and if the action doesn't bind or get sluggish from season to season then you can be reasonably confident it's working.

As far as location of the DC humidistat, you will indeed get slightly more humidification if it is located a bit farther away from the humidifier tank. The install recommendation for a vertical is 2" above and 2" away from the side of the tank, so don't go too far away from those numbers. (In fact you should only alter the horizontal position if you must alter anything - always keep it 2" above the tank.)

Also, the use of distilled water is fine, and it may prolong pad life, but the pad treatment should always be used to add the necessary electrolytes so the sensors work. The pad treatment also inhibits mold growth.

Another thing that many piano owners may not understand: The DC can't compensate for a new piano that has received only one comp tuning a month after purchase. If the piano is new, or if it was neglected for many years, it may need multiple tunings in the first year to stabilize, especially if it only got one tuning at the dealer. (If it got one at all!) It also can't compensate for a lousy tuning, or for actions that haven't been correctly regulated/prepped. It is also crucial for owners to know that the system can sometimes work in a somewhat counterintuitive way. For example, even if it is pouring rain on an incredibly humid summer day the humidifier might be working some of the time - and this does not mean the system is malfunctioning. Its regulating itself within the microenvironment of the piano.

Some techs don't believe in the Dampp-Chaser, and there are probably some regions in the U.S. and other parts of the world where they may not be crucial, but I'm absolutely convinced that it makes a significant difference in the preservation of the piano and tuning stability in environments with dramatic swings in relative humidity.
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www.jamescarney.net
http://jamescarneypianotuning.wordpress.com/

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#1579405 - 12/18/10 12:38 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: James Carney]
wayne walker Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/08
Posts: 515
Loc: Windsor,Nova Scotia Canada
Originally Posted By: James Carney
Interesting thread...

I've owned a DC system since 1994 for my own grand piano and I've installed a number of new DC systems. (And, as of a few weeks ago, I am now a certified Dampp-Chaser installer.)

Everyone is certainly entitled to their opinion, but my experience is that the systems work beautifully, especially when the client doesn't have their piano sitting over or next to a heating vent in the floor (yes, I've seen this lots of times) or next to an open window...Or in direct sunlight for hours each day...Or all of the above.

I do a lot of work for a dealer who sells Bluthner, Bosendorfer, and Steingraeber - all three of these companies (and many others, including Ciresa soundboards from Italy) recommend the use of a Dampp-Chaser system for their pianos. Why would these manufacturers recommend a system that isn't effective? These are some of the finest pianos money can buy, and these companies have a legacy that goes back a long, long time...not to mention long before the Dampp-Chaser was even invented.

But more importantly, since living in NYC for six years now, I have personally witnessed the toll that our weather takes on tuning stability and action performance. It's absolutely awful here - sweltering summer humidity that morphs to static shock-inducing winters of indoor dryness where the % of RH measures in the teens or twenties. We are also surrounded by water, much of it salt or brackish. When I service pianos that have a DC installed, (and when the owner is diligent about keeping the tank filled with water!) the stability of the previous tuning is usually quite impressive, even if I am tuning in December and the piano was last tuned in July - it's almost always within a few cents of where it should be. It basically eliminates the need for a pitch raise so the tuner has a much better chance of leaving a rock solid, stable tuning. To me this is a major benefit of having one in your piano.

One thing that hasn't been brought up yet is the EMC factor. (Equilibrium Moisture Content) And this is what the Dampp-Chaser is really all about - maintaining an EMC that will protect the soundboard from expansion and contraction, which is the ultimate objective. (EMC is the point at which a given piece of wood will absorb and desorb (lose) moisture at the same rate.)

So my take is this: Don't worry so much about measuring the magic numbers of 40-45% RH on your hygrometer. Those numbers are not nearly as important as what is happening with the EMC of the soundboard (which was purposefully conditioned to remain somewhere around 10% EMC after an initial drying of the wood at about 6%.) If you are refilling the humidifier often, if your piano stays in tune longer, and if the action doesn't bind or get sluggish from season to season then you can be reasonably confident it's working.

As far as location of the DC humidistat, you will indeed get slightly more humidification if it is located a bit farther away from the humidifier tank. The install recommendation for a vertical is 2" above and 2" away from the side of the tank, so don't go too far away from those numbers. (In fact you should only alter the horizontal position if you must alter anything - always keep it 2" above the tank.)

Also, the use of distilled water is fine, and it may prolong pad life, but the pad treatment should always be used to add the necessary electrolytes so the sensors work. The pad treatment also inhibits mold growth.

Another thing that many piano owners may not understand: The DC can't compensate for a new piano that has received only one comp tuning a month after purchase. If the piano is new, or if it was neglected for many years, it may need multiple tunings in the first year to stabilize, especially if it only got one tuning at the dealer. (If it got one at all!) It also can't compensate for a lousy tuning, or for actions that haven't been correctly regulated/prepped. It is also crucial for owners to know that the system can sometimes work in a somewhat counterintuitive way. For example, even if it is pouring rain on an incredibly humid summer day the humidifier might be working some of the time - and this does not mean the system is malfunctioning. Its regulating itself within the microenvironment of the piano.

Some techs don't believe in the Dampp-Chaser, and there are probably some regions in the U.S. and other parts of the world where they may not be crucial, but I'm absolutely convinced that it makes a significant difference in the preservation of the piano and tuning stability in environments with dramatic swings in relative humidity.


nice post.
I've installed many systems and found the pianos very stable after installation. Most times when I hear people complaining about the systems it usually come down to improper installation . Dampp-Chaser provides instruction for a reason and some people including some techs think their way of doing it is more right than the manufacturers.
_________________________
Wayne Walker
Walker's Piano Service
http://www.walkerpiano.ca/

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#1579478 - 12/18/10 02:44 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
Eric Gloo Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 1176
Loc: Richfield Springs, New York
Originally Posted By: dcb
I think I've been offending people on these posts so I'm going to stop posting.


You can't stop now! laugh

You should let us know the humidity reading now that you've plugged the humidifier back into the humidistat.

Have you lowered the dehumidifier bar so that the bottom of the humidistat is 2 inches above the water tank?
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Eric Gloo
Piano Technician
Certified Dampp-Chaser Installer
Richfield Springs, New York

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#1579546 - 12/18/10 04:56 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
Rick_Parks Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/16/10
Posts: 22
Loc: Maine, USA
I just wanted to bring up a possibility of mold or mildew forming if the air-flow is blocked? Humidity without air-flow- that's dampness isn't it? I doubt this is what Damp-Chaser wants.

Just a quick comment on the 20-30 cent change being normal for a piano? Ummm- I might have misunderstood what you meant by normal---- but, the average I come away with is about 10 cents (if that), in a normal environment. Again- perhaps I misunderstood what you were saying, Loren D.

Also--- another quick point DCB is in the seat of consumer/customer-- we are in the seat of service...Should we (as professionals) be telling the person we are offended? Or just take what's said and work with it?

I think this customer has given Damp-Chaser some things to consider for improving their product's performans (that is, getting it to do as advertized).

Just my thoughts.
-Rick


Edited by Rick_Parks (12/18/10 04:59 PM)
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#1579553 - 12/18/10 05:01 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: wayne walker]
James Carney Offline
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Registered: 07/30/10
Posts: 401
Loc: new york city
Originally Posted By: wayne walker


Most times when I hear people complaining about the systems it usually come down to improper installation . Dampp-Chaser provides instruction for a reason and some people including some techs think their way of doing it is more right than the manufacturers.


Wayne makes a great point, and when I initially read through the first posts I didn't catch the remark that the tech did the installation differently from the instructions.

Without seeing the work firsthand we certainly can't comment on the quality of the installation (detailed pictures would be extremely helpful here) but if the tech didn't do it right then the OP would be wise to get another tech that knows exactly how the DC should be installed. Even if it was done wrong initially, it's likely that the components can be repositioned/reinstalled to correct the problem, if there is one. If I were the OP I would probably get someone else - perhaps recommended by Dampp Chaser - to take a look just to be on the safe side.

BTW the online training modules at the DC website (for tech certification) are pretty cool. I was surprised at how much I learned, even though I already had experience installing the systems. There are a lot of little details that I am now aware of - and the section on wood, humidity, and EMC is especially informative.
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www.jamescarney.net
http://jamescarneypianotuning.wordpress.com/

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#1579556 - 12/18/10 05:07 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: Rick_Parks]
Rick_Parks Offline
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Registered: 12/16/10
Posts: 22
Loc: Maine, USA
Oh- had a question for Loren D. and the others---
Has any study been done (by a third party not connected to PTG or D-C--- independent study smile ) as to the actual performance of the system in the piano? - also, the results of having twice the amount of humidity on the inside compared to the outside...and, the keybed's reaction (does it get humidity from this?- i.e. do the keys stick?)...
These are things I would be interested in finding out.

I'm not questioning honesty here-- I'm questioning the R&D. Not just a yes, please---- actual reports on this?

--Thanks

** EDIT: Citation ("Understanding Wood Finishing" Bob Flexner):
"When wood is exposed to more moisture on one side than the other, the imbalance causes cupping. The side exposed to the most moisture is restricted from swelling by the other side."


Edited by Rick_Parks (12/18/10 05:30 PM)
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www.parksandsonspiano.com

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#1579560 - 12/18/10 05:10 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: Rick_Parks]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2545
Loc: PA
Originally Posted By: Rick_Parks
I just wanted to bring up a possibility of mold or mildew forming if the air-flow is blocked? Humidity without air-flow- that's dampness isn't it? I doubt this is what Damp-Chaser wants.

Just a quick comment on the 20-30 cent change being normal for a piano? Ummm- I might have misunderstood what you meant by normal---- but, the average I come away with is about 10 cents (if that), in a normal environment. Again- perhaps I misunderstood what you were saying, Loren D.

Also--- another quick point DCB is in the seat of consumer/customer-- we are in the seat of service...Should we (as professionals) be telling the person we are offended? Or just take what's said and work with it?

I think this customer has given Damp-Chaser some things to consider for improving their product's performans (that is, getting it to do as advertized).

Just my thoughts.
-Rick


I don't think sealing the gap will be an issue. Dampp-Chaser advocates the under piano cover in grands, which pretty much does the same thing.

And yes, where I live we have extreme humidity fluctuations. At colleges where I tune, pianos run 30 cents sharp in September and just as flat in March.
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#1579620 - 12/18/10 07:23 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
dcb Online   content
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Registered: 05/15/10
Posts: 189
Hi everyone. I tried to stay away but I couldn't. I find this conversation really interesting.

I woke up this morning and the RH% was 44% without the humidistat plugged in. I plugged in the humidistat again and 12 hours later it is about 37%. I think I have to give it more time to see what happens.

Based on the DC spec, theoretically it should cycle between 38% and 46% and over time average about 42%. (dehumidifier goes on at 46%, humidity drops to 38%, humidifer kicks in until it reaches 46%, repeat, repeat)

Unfortunately, I screwed up my experiment slightly. When I got the 44% RH I had the pads at 1/2 thickness (2 plies instead of 4). The tech at DC told me that wouldn't make any difference so when I turned the humidistat back on this morning I changed the pads to std thickness.) I may have to redo this part of the experiment.

Also, as a side note on pitch stability, the DC tech support guy told me that I should expect no more than 2 cents off year to year if the DC is working properly. I think that's incredible so I'll be excited if that comes true. I think I read somewhere that most human beings couldn't detect less than 4 cents of a pitch difference so 2 cents would be really good.

Regarding the installation. My installation done by my tech is slightly off from the instructions. The humidifier bar is 4" too high. It is 6" above the tank instead of 2". The left/right distance is to spec at 2". Maybe I should just move the dehumidifier bar down 4" just to rule it out. Probably not a bad idea although I would love to hear from someone who has had the experience with moving the humidistat and the resulting performance change.

If I can get my RH% at around 37%, that's good enough for me. At this point, I'm just enjoying this as an academic excercise that offers some interesting debate.

Cheers.

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#1579629 - 12/18/10 07:46 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
dcb Online   content
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Registered: 05/15/10
Posts: 189
On second thought...I'll move the dehumidifier bar down 4" tonight and see what happens. That will remove one more variable and will help answer the question, "what happens if your dehumidifer bar is 4" too high".

It would make sense that DC has done the research and spec'd the ideal distance.

Originally, the humidistat was also about 5" too far away (too far left) from the dehumidifer tank. I moved that to the 2" position and it didn't make a difference. Perhaps the vertical distance is more critical than the horizontal distance.

Cheers.


Edited by dcb (12/18/10 07:47 PM)

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#1579640 - 12/18/10 08:12 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2545
Loc: PA
Well, wait a minute. It's the bottom of the humidistat, not the dehumidifier bar, that needs to be two inches above the humidifier. The humidistat is around 4 inches thick at least (I never measured it...never had to!).

*edit* I mean 4 inches long, not thick.


Edited by Loren D (12/18/10 08:13 PM)
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#1579649 - 12/18/10 08:32 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
dcb Online   content
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Registered: 05/15/10
Posts: 189
Yep. I wasn't clear in my post, but I did it right. Here is an image. It was pretty easy to move. You can see the baffle installed above as well.


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#1579659 - 12/18/10 08:43 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2545
Loc: PA
Ok, perfect! smile
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#1579709 - 12/18/10 10:22 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
wayne walker Offline
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Registered: 08/29/08
Posts: 515
Loc: Windsor,Nova Scotia Canada
What part of hire a tech you don't understand
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Walker's Piano Service
http://www.walkerpiano.ca/

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#1579732 - 12/18/10 11:02 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2545
Loc: PA
Rick, I can't answer about Dampp-Chaser's r and d, since I honestly don't know. That would probably be a question better referred to them. I doubt it matters though, since you obviously are against the systems. Nothing wrong with that, that's your choice.

I can say though, from experience, that there is a dramatic difference in stability in pianos I service where systems are installed properly and maintained. I keep the customers supplied with solution and change the ads when needed. When the systems are installed right and kept up they way they should be, the pianos benefit.

Like i said earlier, the seasonal changes here are dramatic. In the winter the rh in homes goes into the teens. 20-30 cent changes in pitch are not uncommon in non DC-equipped pianos, verses 3-5 cent fluctuations in ones that are equipped.

It's too bad that one tech installing a system wrong can cause such a bias against the product, but thats the way it goes, i guess!

Anyway, I suggest you refer your original question to dampp-chaser. I'm sure they'd be eager to answer!
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http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#1579844 - 12/19/10 06:24 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
dcb Online   content
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Registered: 05/15/10
Posts: 189
I agree that it would be very unfair to judge one system based on a an incorrect installation. The underlying logic to that statement is correct installation = works well, bad installation = doesn't work well.

The glitch is that technically the installation that worked better is the one that was wrong. (sealing the gap) The installation instructions don't say anything about sealing the gap. DC told me not to. When I did (incorrect installation) the system worked much better.

Note that I think these DC systems are very good(in my opinion). The design is simple, the installation is easy. They are good for pianos. My curiosity is just about how to maximize the performance.

Since moving the dehumidifer bar down to the correct height, my RH% has been 33-37%. My guess is that it had no affect but it is probably more critical to have the dehumidifer bar in the right place in the summer time.

To Wayne's point...maybe he's right. Maybe I should hire a tech to come to my house and fix my problem. I'm thinking about what exactly to say... Probably something like... I was having some problems and tried a bunch of things and found that if I seal the gap I can get to ~35%. Can you recommend anything that could help me get to a RH closer to 42%?

My guess is he might recommend not to seal the gap because that's not what DC recommends. Other than that, I'm not sure what he will say. (This is just opinion...I have no idea what he would say) This exercise would certainly take out another variable which is me and my inexperience...and would answer the question what would a tech do differently than I would. I'll keep you posted.

I'm still glad that I tried this stuff on my own first. I certainly learned a lot about DC systems. Thanks everyone.


Edited by dcb (12/19/10 06:29 AM)

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#1579847 - 12/19/10 06:47 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
dcb Online   content
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Registered: 05/15/10
Posts: 189
By the way, the scientfic testing recommendation was a great idea and could be a terrific marketing boost for DC. It would be pretty easy to do...

--Take a bunch of identical pianos and measure the moisture content of the sound board in many places across the board to get a startng point.
--Then put these pianos in people's homes and don't touch them (no playing, no tuning) Homes could be around the country in different climates.
--Then, measure the soundboard moisture content throughout the duration of the study. Also take good measurements of the home's environment for comparison.

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#1579849 - 12/19/10 06:53 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2545
Loc: PA
Originally Posted By: dcb
By the way, the scientfic testing recommendation was a great idea and could be a terrific marketing boost for DC. It would be pretty easy to do...

--Take a bunch of identical pianos and measure the moisture content of the sound board in many places across the board to get a startng point.
--Then put these pianos in people's homes and don't touch them (no playing, no tuning) Homes could be around the country in different climates.
--Then, measure the soundboard moisture content throughout the duration of the study. Also take good measurements of the home's environment for comparison.



I have a feeling it's been done; I just don't know for sure. It's a good question for Dampp-Chaser.

However, I DO know that Baldwin, Bechstein, Bluthner, Bosendorfer, Hailun, Kawai, Pearl River, Petrof, Sauter, Schimmel, Seiler, Steingraeber, Steinway, Yamaha, Kluge, North Bennet Street School, Randy Potter, University of Western Ontario, Enrico Ciresa, and Andre Bolduc are all on record endorsing Dampp-Chaser™ systems. Those are big, reputable names, and if I were a gambling man, I would bet that they all did studies before lending such an endorsement.

As I said, my own personal experience is that they reduce pitch fluctuation in my area by roughly 90%; that's good for the piano and the customer.
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#1579875 - 12/19/10 08:43 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
dmsynck Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/10/10
Posts: 91
Loc: Dallas, Texas
Can anyone tell me the approximate cost of a replacement humidistat ? I have an older vertical system(no smart bar) that has been in place and worked well for about 8 1/2 years where the humidistat does not seem to be turning the humidifier bar on. I just replaced the pads and they are wet, but cold to the touch. I verified the bar itself does work by bypassing the humidistat and plugged the humidifier bar directly into an extension cord. After a minute or two, it started to get warm. Will be contacting my piano tech after the holidays to see about getting the situation corrected. Do you think that not having the "warm" humidity will have a negative effect on the piano / tuning ?

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#1579891 - 12/19/10 09:26 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dmsynck]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2545
Loc: PA
Without the humidifier bar turning on, the system is not humidifying the piano. Are you absolutely sure humidification is called for right now? You can test the humidistat by gently blowing a hair dryer toward the sensor holes to see if that trips the humidifier to turn on.

If the stat does need replaced, the original one may no longer be available. What model humidistat is it? The model number is on the front of it. The current model is the H5, which has different light and probe connectors. If that's the case, you may have to go for an HM5 kit, which is the humidistat, universal tank, warning light, led panel, and watering kit (essentially, everything except the dehumidifier rods, which last pretty much forever).

For starters though, check and see which model humidistat you have and we can go from there.
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#1579897 - 12/19/10 09:37 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: Loren D]
Rick_Parks Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/16/10
Posts: 22
Loc: Maine, USA
Originally Posted By: Loren D
Rick, I can't answer about Dampp-Chaser's r and d, since I honestly don't know. That would probably be a question better referred to them. I doubt it matters though, since you obviously are against the systems. Nothing wrong with that, that's your choice.

Aside from your rather rude assumptions about my character and my point of view- I do think that independent reports should be presented to verify statements--- otherwise you merely have a bunch of 'opinion'- such as with you; since you do not know the actual facts behind the claims Dampp-Chaser make.
I understand the strong feelings, having a product you endorse questioned...but, let's simply get to truth about the topic- once and for all.
I would think that IF there were such reports Dampp-Chaser would be the first to be waving it around-- especially to its own certified techs. We'll contact Dampp-Chaser and find out Monday--- let you know.

By the way, I do admit to my opinions as being such-- based on experience.

Originally Posted By: Loren D

.....Like i said earlier, the seasonal changes here are dramatic. In the winter the rh in homes goes into the teens. 20-30 cent changes in pitch are not uncommon in non DC-equipped pianos, verses 3-5 cent fluctuations in ones that are equipped.

Again-- I will give my experience (for what it is worth)- I live in Maine... I lived in PA for 15 years. I Worked for a company that serviced PA, MD, DC, and W.V for 6 years....
Now, I service Maine area (a very humid climate)...
My experience in both places says to me- a piano can be expected to fall out on average 7-10 cents (this is an average piano in a decent location in the home)... BUT, the really good piano (without a system installed) I find generally holds within the 5-7 cent range. Again- I don't know the situations your pianos are in--- but if it is a college piano (extreme heavy use, in a climate that goes up and down routinely) this could explain that...THIS however is not your average environment for a piano. So, scientifically- it would be wrong to try to apply such info as "The average".


One more thing-- your endorsements for Dampp-Chaser is interesting... It certainly reveals successful advertizing abilities- but, not necessarily truth in performance. I know there are many fields that endorse items for the money involved. Not saying this is the case- just a consideration.
The independent reports would take care of this.

I am still able to be swayed- believe me, there is nothing I would like better than to start advertizing these things for extra money--- but, my own experiences and the logic behind the system have hindered me from doing this with a clear conscience.

The test have to be thorough and ALL pianos in the same room- same environment--- first without the system to take readings on average affect...THEN install the units on all of them, and take your tests. It's really basic proof being expected.
I would think ANY tech who is going to endorse such an item would first check to make sure of the details (you say you don't know). I would certainly suggest that you, as a certified installer should find out--- it's for your own benefit.

I don't think I am bringing up something that should upset people here...if it works it works, there's nothing to be upset at when someone questions whether it works.
_________________________
Parks and Sons Piano Service
www.parksandsonspiano.com

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#1579906 - 12/19/10 09:50 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2545
Loc: PA
Not rude at all, just calling it as I see it; you don't believe in Dampp-Chasers, which you've made clear in your comments. If understanding your position makes me rude, then I'm sorry I understand your position. (??)

And I stand by my claim that pianos fluctuate 20-30 cents between seasons here pretty routinely. Churches, schools, homes. That's not your experience, and I respect that. We go from 90 in the summer to 0 in the winter. That's a lot of dry heat.
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#1579914 - 12/19/10 10:12 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: Loren D]
Rick_Parks Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/16/10
Posts: 22
Loc: Maine, USA
Originally Posted By: Loren D
Not rude at all, just calling it as I see it; you don't believe in Dampp-Chasers, which you've made clear in your comments. If understanding your position makes me rude, then I'm sorry I understand your position. (??)

I said rude, because you say that the reports would not change my perspective- being "against" Dampp-Chaser (all assumptions insinuating a rather bad character trait)...
<i>"...I doubt it matters though, since you obviously are against the systems. Nothing wrong with that, that's your choic"</i>
I have not insinuated that you would continue to sell and install D-C systems IF we knew they did not work, did I?


Originally Posted By: Loren D

And I stand by my claim that pianos fluctuate 20-30 cents between seasons here pretty routinely. Churches, schools, homes. That's not your experience, and I respect that. We go from 90 in the summer to 0 in the winter. That's a lot of dry heat.

I never asked you not to stand by your claims-- I never said your experiences were untrue. I only question your applying it as "the average" in support of D-C systems.
What area of PA are you in? I was around Gettysburg area-- miss it (very beautiful state).
_________________________
Parks and Sons Piano Service
www.parksandsonspiano.com

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#1579915 - 12/19/10 10:26 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2545
Loc: PA
Rick, it's Christmas. If any rudeness was implied, it was unintentional and I apologize if i came across that way.

I'm near Pittsburgh. Been crazy cold past couple of weeks! Lost a couple days due to snow/closings too.

Anyway, best wishes for a happy holiday and continued good business. smile
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#1579921 - 12/19/10 10:36 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: Loren D]
dmsynck Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/10/10
Posts: 91
Loc: Dallas, Texas
Originally Posted By: Loren D
Without the humidifier bar turning on, the system is not humidifying the piano. Are you absolutely sure humidification is called for right now? You can test the humidistat by gently blowing a hair dryer toward the sensor holes to see if that trips the humidifier to turn on.

If the stat does need replaced, the original one may no longer be available. What model humidistat is it? The model number is on the front of it. The current model is the H5, which has different light and probe connectors. If that's the case, you may have to go for an HM5 kit, which is the humidistat, universal tank, warning light, led panel, and watering kit (essentially, everything except the dehumidifier rods, which last pretty much forever).

For starters though, check and see which model humidistat you have and we can go from there.


Thanks for your help. The humidistat I have is an H3. To answer your question, I am not 100% certain that the system should be calling for humidity right now. I don't know what the humidity level inside my house is currently, but according to the weather service, the humidity outside right now is about 57%. Possibly the conditions are not dry enough to kick the humidifier on. I believe I located the sensor holes you were talking about. There are two holes (1 at either end of the box that extend all the way through from front to back). So if I gently blow a hair dryer towards those holes, it should dry out the air around the humidistat enough to force the humidifier to try to come on ?

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#1579922 - 12/19/10 10:36 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: Rick_Parks]
wayne walker Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/08
Posts: 515
Loc: Windsor,Nova Scotia Canada
Originally Posted By: Rick_Parks
Originally Posted By: Loren D



I would think that IF there were such reports Dampp-Chaser would be the first to be waving it around-- especially to its own certified techs. We'll contact Dampp-Chaser and find out Monday--- let you know.



If you check the website Dampp-Chaser has test result conducted by Roger Jolly that proved their system works.http://www.pianolifesaver.com/pianotechweb/index.php
_________________________
Wayne Walker
Walker's Piano Service
http://www.walkerpiano.ca/

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#1579925 - 12/19/10 10:42 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dmsynck]
wayne walker Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/08
Posts: 515
Loc: Windsor,Nova Scotia Canada
Originally Posted By: dmsynck
Originally Posted By: Loren D
Without the humidifier bar turning on, the system is not humidifying the piano. Are you absolutely sure humidification is called for right now? You can test the humidistat by gently blowing a hair dryer toward the sensor holes to see if that trips the humidifier to turn on.

If the stat does need replaced, the original one may no longer be available. What model humidistat is it? The model number is on the front of it. The current model is the H5, which has different light and probe connectors. If that's the case, you may have to go for an HM5 kit, which is the humidistat, universal tank, warning light, led panel, and watering kit (essentially, everything except the dehumidifier rods, which last pretty much forever).

For starters though, check and see which model humidistat you have and we can go from there.


Thanks for your help. The humidistat I have is an H3. To answer your question, I am not 100% certain that the system should be calling for humidity right now. I don't know what the humidity level inside my house is currently, but according to the weather service, the humidity outside right now is about 57%. Possibly the conditions are not dry enough to kick the humidifier on. I believe I located the sensor holes you were talking about. There are two holes (1 at either end of the box that extend all the way through from front to back). So if I gently blow a hair dryer towards those holes, it should dry out the air around the humidistat enough to force the humidifier to try to come on ?


plug a night light into the humidifier outlet and then use the hair dryer method. this way you will see instantly when the outlet switches on
_________________________
Wayne Walker
Walker's Piano Service
http://www.walkerpiano.ca/

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#1579934 - 12/19/10 11:01 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
dcb Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 05/15/10
Posts: 189
I can't access the Roger Jolly article because it is password protected. This is a great find...could someone summarize the findings from this research and also tell me who Roger Jolly is? (I'm assuming he doesn't work for Dampp Chaser)

It would be intersting to see if the findings support the 38%-46% RH% range and 2 cents pitch stability a year.

It would be very cool if the findings support Dampp Chaser's marketing. (My guess is that it might not support it entirely...but that's ok. Most marketing claims slightly more than normally observed...that's just the art of marketing. My cell phone never gets the claimed standby time and most car drivers never really experience as good MPG as advertised...that's just life.)

With other products things like Consumer Reports and other competition come into play but this is a unique product because I don't think they have any competition and they don't sell to the end user.


Edited by dcb (12/19/10 11:08 AM)

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#1579935 - 12/19/10 11:01 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: wayne walker]
dmsynck Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/10/10
Posts: 91
Loc: Dallas, Texas
Originally Posted By: wayne walker
Originally Posted By: dmsynck
Originally Posted By: Loren D
Without the humidifier bar turning on, the system is not humidifying the piano. Are you absolutely sure humidification is called for right now? You can test the humidistat by gently blowing a hair dryer toward the sensor holes to see if that trips the humidifier to turn on.

If the stat does need replaced, the original one may no longer be available. What model humidistat is it? The model number is on the front of it. The current model is the H5, which has different light and probe connectors. If that's the case, you may have to go for an HM5 kit, which is the humidistat, universal tank, warning light, led panel, and watering kit (essentially, everything except the dehumidifier rods, which last pretty much forever).

For starters though, check and see which model humidistat you have and we can go from there.


Thanks for your help. The humidistat I have is an H3. To answer your question, I am not 100% certain that the system should be calling for humidity right now. I don't know what the humidity level inside my house is currently, but according to the weather service, the humidity outside right now is about 57%. Possibly the conditions are not dry enough to kick the humidifier on. I believe I located the sensor holes you were talking about. There are two holes (1 at either end of the box that extend all the way through from front to back). So if I gently blow a hair dryer towards those holes, it should dry out the air around the humidistat enough to force the humidifier to try to come on ?


plug a night light into the humidifier outlet and then use the hair dryer method. this way you will see instantly when the outlet switches on


Thanks for the tip.

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#1579940 - 12/19/10 11:07 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: wayne walker]
Rick_Parks Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/16/10
Posts: 22
Loc: Maine, USA
That's ok Loren... Sorry if I mistook what you were meaning.
Pittsburg is quite a different climate than Gettysburg, I certainly see you having a harsher experience there.
As far as the holidays- I don't celebrate any of them...Trying to follow what The Bible teaches (Sabbaths & Holy Days in Lev.23) while holding to faith In Christ. But, I guess that's for a different forum.

Oh, Wayne- Roger Jolly is a very successful and knowledgeable source to have behind you...
Source (Bio):
"Mr. Jolly is a member of the Master Piano Technicians of America, the Piano Technicians Guild, and the Canadian Association of Piano Technicians. He is widely published, and active as a Master class clinician."

But, Mr. Jolly doesn't qualify as a 3rd party, does he? He is a member of The Guild- which is the backbone for the D-C system (perhaps I misunderstand this?).
Again- let me make clear that I am not insinuating dis-honesty here; I'm merely pointing out what 'independent' means... How about a university study, or some Piano Mfg such as Steinway-- have they fully tested- or accepted these reports at face value?
We all assume things- but IS there actual proof from a source that has no interest involved? Seems to me that would be the clincher. Perhaps I am being too cautious over this- but the Tech world IS pushing these systems- we are responsible to know.

Oh, by the way--I meant to say this earlier-- having Steinway as an endorsement doesn't mean Steinway HAS tested it fully... Let's all remember- even Steinway has made mistakes (1962 and teflon).
_________________________
Parks and Sons Piano Service
www.parksandsonspiano.com

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#1579945 - 12/19/10 11:14 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2545
Loc: PA
I think what Rick is after is a totally independent review, such as by Consumer Reports, etc. Which wouldn't be a bad idea, really. I'd welcome it, in fact.
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#1579953 - 12/19/10 11:30 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: Loren D]
Rick_Parks Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/16/10
Posts: 22
Loc: Maine, USA
Exactly- Loren. Thank you!

Believe me, I would like to make money here too with this--- but I can't without knowing for certain that this system works.
I'm probably going to be Dampp-Chaser's hardest sell here- but in the end could prove their best friend. LOL
_________________________
Parks and Sons Piano Service
www.parksandsonspiano.com

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#1579975 - 12/19/10 12:01 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
daniokeeper Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/01/09
Posts: 1056
Loc: PA
Quote:
But, Mr. Jolly doesn't qualify as a 3rd party, does he? He is a member of The Guild- which is the backbone for the D-C system (perhaps I misunderstand this?).


I am not a member of the Guild and I do occasionally recommend and install D-C systems. I don't think there is any sort of mutual linkage between the PTG and D-C Corp. I'm a school-trained, full-time tuner who has has been tuning professionally since 1979. I can tell you that the subject of the Guild has never once come up in any of my dealings with D-C or their wholesalers.

These days, many homes have and use whole-house air-conditioning during the summer and have humidifier systems on their furnaces during the winter. Most pianos seem to hold pitch reasonably well under these circumstances.

However, there are those customers that do not like air-conditioning and do not have winter humidification. There are also church pianos and school pianos that are really subject to extremes. In some cases, I would be grateful if the piano's low tenor region would only fluctuate 30-40 cents. In these cases, I do recommend the installation of a D-C system.

Edit: Every time I have installed a system, I have been able to stabilize the piano to within a few cents of A=440 year round.


Edited by daniokeeper (12/19/10 12:18 PM)
_________________________
Joe Gumbosky
Piano Tuning & Repair
www.tinyurl.com/tunerjoe
(semi-retired)

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#1580003 - 12/19/10 12:52 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: Rick_Parks]
wayne walker Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/08
Posts: 515
Loc: Windsor,Nova Scotia Canada
Originally Posted By: Rick_Parks
That's ok Loren... Sorry if I mistook what you were meaning.
Pittsburg is quite a different climate than Gettysburg, I certainly see you having a harsher experience there.
As far as the holidays- I don't celebrate any of them...Trying to follow what The Bible teaches (Sabbaths & Holy Days in Lev.23) while holding to faith In Christ. But, I guess that's for a different forum.

Oh, Wayne- Roger Jolly is a very successful and knowledgeable source to have behind you...
Source (Bio):
"Mr. Jolly is a member of the Master Piano Technicians of America, the Piano Technicians Guild, and the Canadian Association of Piano Technicians. He is widely published, and active as a Master class clinician."

But, Mr. Jolly doesn't qualify as a 3rd party, does he? He is a member of The Guild- which is the backbone for the D-C system (perhaps I misunderstand this?).
Again- let me make clear that I am not insinuating dis-honesty here; I'm merely pointing out what 'independent' means... How about a university study, or some Piano Mfg such as Steinway-- have they fully tested- or accepted these reports at face value?
We all assume things- but IS there actual proof from a source that has no interest involved? Seems to me that would be the clincher. Perhaps I am being too cautious over this- but the Tech world IS pushing these systems- we are responsible to know.

Oh, by the way--I meant to say this earlier-- having Steinway as an endorsement doesn't mean Steinway HAS tested it fully... Let's all remember- even Steinway has made mistakes (1962 and teflon).

Dampp-Chaser and PTG have nothing in common. The proof is in the findings, but you're too narrow minded to see. I have seen the results of a property installed system in extreme conditions and know they work. I've provided this to Dampp-Chaser and did not received anything for compensation.

PIANO LOCATED OUTDOORS

"For the last 20 years our company has rented an upright piano for the Nova Scotia Choral Federation choir camp. The piano is located in an open stage area. Open to the elements. Temperatures from 49 F at night to 85 F to 90 F day time and high humidity 80% +. The camp runs the full month of August and the piano is required to be tuned each Saturday morning before 8 am plus 1 hour drive each way. When I tune the piano I'm lowering the pitch a good 1/4 semitone each week.

Last year and this year I decided to use a piano with a Piano Life Saver
System installed. We just brought the piano back today. The piano hasn't been tuned since it left the shop. The piano was only 1.2 cents flat. This has saved me many early Saturday mornings over the last two years."

Wayne Walker


Edited by wayne walker (12/19/10 02:44 PM)
_________________________
Wayne Walker
Walker's Piano Service
http://www.walkerpiano.ca/

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#1580006 - 12/19/10 12:57 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
wayne walker Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/08
Posts: 515
Loc: Windsor,Nova Scotia Canada
Originally Posted By: dcb
I can't access the Roger Jolly article because it is password protected. This is a great find...could someone summarize the findings from this research and also tell me who Roger Jolly is? (I'm assuming he doesn't work for Dampp Chaser)

It would be intersting to see if the findings support the 38%-46% RH% range and 2 cents pitch stability a year.

It would be very cool if the findings support Dampp Chaser's marketing. (My guess is that it might not support it entirely...but that's ok. Most marketing claims slightly more than normally observed...that's just the art of marketing. My cell phone never gets the claimed standby time and most car drivers never really experience as good MPG as advertised...that's just life.)

With other products things like Consumer Reports and other competition come into play but this is a unique product because I don't think they have any competition and they don't sell to the end user.


contact Dampp-Chaser and see if they can send the test results to you by e-mail
_________________________
Wayne Walker
Walker's Piano Service
http://www.walkerpiano.ca/

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#1580007 - 12/19/10 12:58 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
dcb Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 05/15/10
Posts: 189
Wayne, the suspense is killing me. Can you please summarize in a few sentence the findings of the testing you found? Or, if you want to email me the article that would be great too.

Independent or not...at least it sounds like a controlled test of some sort and would be very interesting.

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#1580010 - 12/19/10 01:02 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: Loren D]
dmsynck Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/10/10
Posts: 91
Loc: Dallas, Texas
Originally Posted By: Loren D
Without the humidifier bar turning on, the system is not humidifying the piano. Are you absolutely sure humidification is called for right now? You can test the humidistat by gently blowing a hair dryer toward the sensor holes to see if that trips the humidifier to turn on.

If the stat does need replaced, the original one may no longer be available. What model humidistat is it? The model number is on the front of it. The current model is the H5, which has different light and probe connectors. If that's the case, you may have to go for an HM5 kit, which is the humidistat, universal tank, warning light, led panel, and watering kit (essentially, everything except the dehumidifier rods, which last pretty much forever).

For starters though, check and see which model humidistat you have and we can go from there.


I tried the hair dryer trick on the humidistat. It took about 20 or so minutes for the system to react to the changes, but I just checked it and the de-humidifier bar was cool to the touch and the humidifier bar / pads were warm to the touch. So, bottom line is that it appears the system is working like it is supposed to. Thanks again for all your troubleshooting help.

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#1580020 - 12/19/10 01:12 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dmsynck]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2545
Loc: PA
Originally Posted By: dmsynck
Originally Posted By: Loren D
Without the humidifier bar turning on, the system is not humidifying the piano. Are you absolutely sure humidification is called for right now? You can test the humidistat by gently blowing a hair dryer toward the sensor holes to see if that trips the humidifier to turn on.

If the stat does need replaced, the original one may no longer be available. What model humidistat is it? The model number is on the front of it. The current model is the H5, which has different light and probe connectors. If that's the case, you may have to go for an HM5 kit, which is the humidistat, universal tank, warning light, led panel, and watering kit (essentially, everything except the dehumidifier rods, which last pretty much forever).

For starters though, check and see which model humidistat you have and we can go from there.


I tried the hair dryer trick on the humidistat. It took about 20 or so minutes for the system to react to the changes, but I just checked it and the de-humidifier bar was cool to the touch and the humidifier bar / pads were warm to the touch. So, bottom line is that it appears the system is working like it is supposed to. Thanks again for all your troubleshooting help.


Great! Glad to be able to help. smile

*edit* If you ever need to test it again, a quicker way is to unplug the humidifier from the humidistat and plug a nightlight or lamp into it instead. Then you'll know immediately when it clicks on instead of having to wait for the bar to heat up.


Edited by Loren D (12/19/10 03:35 PM)
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#1580028 - 12/19/10 01:23 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
Cy Shuster, RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/18/05
Posts: 3448
Loc: Albuquerque, NM
I'm independent, and have the systems in my own pianos. I measure the pitch on every piano before I tune it. I just measured the pitch on my vertical, and it's at 440.35 Hz, and the last time I tuned it was June. We had two months of wet weather in July and August, and now two months of heating.

Here's another independent graph of pitch (this comes up over and over):
http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/341557/1.html

The company has been in business for 60 years, and the systems have been installed in more than half a million pianos. Yes, that in itself is no guarantee, but people are very picky about their pianos, and can tell when the pitch goes out.

dcb, the current humidistat is the H5, two generations newer than the one you have (unless Dampp-Chaser upgraded you to the H-5). Another poster asked about the upgrade cost; it's at least several hundred dollars. The connectors to the light panel are different (to meet current U-L standards), so you may need to change more than just the stat.

Anyone with a smartphone can get an app to measure the pitch. If you have Windows Mobile, you can use the free trial version of TuneLab (www.tunelab-world.com). There's unfortunately no trial version for iPhone at the moment.

Seven cents is roughly where most people can tell pitch errors, although a one-cent error between strings of the same note would give four beats per second in the middle octaves, which most people would notice.

I draw a graph of the current pitch before tuning on every invoice, because I like to make decisions based on Real World data.
http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthrea...tml#Post1380228

--Cy--
_________________________
Cy Shuster, RPT
505-265-4234
www.shusterpiano.com
www.facebook.com/shusterpiano
Albuquerque, New Mexico

Registered Piano Technician
Dampp-Chaser Certified Installer
PianoDisc Certified Service Technician

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#1580047 - 12/19/10 01:47 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: daniokeeper]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2545
Loc: PA
Originally Posted By: daniokeeper
Quote:
But, Mr. Jolly doesn't qualify as a 3rd party, does he? He is a member of The Guild- which is the backbone for the D-C system (perhaps I misunderstand this?).


I am not a member of the Guild and I do occasionally recommend and install D-C systems. I don't think there is any sort of mutual linkage between the PTG and D-C Corp. I'm a school-trained, full-time tuner who has has been tuning professionally since 1979. I can tell you that the subject of the Guild has never once come up in any of my dealings with D-C or their wholesalers.

These days, many homes have and use whole-house air-conditioning during the summer and have humidifier systems on their furnaces during the winter. Most pianos seem to hold pitch reasonably well under these circumstances.

However, there are those customers that do not like air-conditioning and do not have winter humidification. There are also church pianos and school pianos that are really subject to extremes. In some cases, I would be grateful if the piano's low tenor region would only fluctuate 30-40 cents. In these cases, I do recommend the installation of a D-C system.

Edit: Every time I have installed a system, I have been able to stabilize the piano to within a few cents of A=440 year round.


I agree, Joe. That low tenor can be hideous, and in dry homes where I've tuned to 440 the summer before, finding that section 30 cents down is not uncommon. By contrast, where I've installed vertical systems, the fluctuation is usually no more than 5c, which is quite a contrast. Personal experience doesn't qualify as independent review though, and that's what's being sought after here.
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DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
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#1580269 - 12/19/10 08:09 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: wayne walker]
Rick_Parks Offline
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Registered: 12/16/10
Posts: 22
Loc: Maine, USA
Originally Posted By: wayne walker

The proof is in the findings, but you're too narrow minded to see.

Narrow minded?
This was already suggested as the solution to my current stance.

All I've done is ask some reasonable questions (at least they are in most industries that present a product for consumers).
Is it so unreasonable for me to question the impact (over an extended length of time- ?years?) a system that steadily introduces humidity into a wood box?--- A wooden box that contains so many intricate wooden parts, pivot points, metal strings, and glue-joints.
A wood box that cost my customer many thousands of their hard-earned dollars?...
You see, I'm not just interested in whether the piano is currently holding tune better than before.
Am I narrow-minded, or truly looking at all possibilities?

There are surely woodworkers present who can speak on the long-term affects of applying moisture to one side, AND dryness to the other with the same piece of wood. This is just one of the concerns there are.

Anyway----- I am done for now. Until I know more from Dampp-Chase.
I don't particularly care to continue debating without anything to discuss. It's been made clear that, so far opinion rules amongst people (Yes, I include myself in this)...
Let's try to get to the studies that address the concerns. I'll start with calling Dampp-Chaser tomorrow to find out about any independent studies.

*** Oh, and-- I think I did------- (checking....yep)- insinuate earlier that I wuold recommend the D-C to a customer in drastic cases where they cannot control the environment another way (that is, where the piano is going to basically suffer majorly anyway)...I actually did do this quite recently.
See? I'm not all bad.


Edited by Rick_Parks (12/19/10 08:12 PM)
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#1580640 - 12/20/10 02:00 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
UnrightTooner Offline
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Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4789
Loc: Bradford County, PA
dcb:

Hope you don't mind if I ask a question that you may have already given an answer to. (I only skimmed through the last few pages...) Did you notice any difference in the tone with the insulation installed? I kind of remember sticking some towels in the opening of my CW and didn't like the change in tone, but maybe I didn't. Like Red Green said, It's not that my memory is going, its just I forgot how bad it was.

If nothing else, the pipe insulation idea might be a good trick for keeping mice out of church basement pianos. Maybe inside a piece of PVC pipe so they don't chew through it.
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1580692 - 12/20/10 03:10 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
dcb Online   content
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I did not hear a detectible difference in tone with the gap filled with the pipe insulation.

I did this a few days ago and it made all the difference with the humidity readings. It has been very steady at 35-37% now that I have the gap sealed. (It was 26% without the gap sealed.) My room has about a 23% ambient RH.

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#1580827 - 12/20/10 06:29 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
Eric Gloo Offline
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Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 1176
Loc: Richfield Springs, New York
dcb, just wondering if you took readings with the humidistat in the recommended spot, but with the gap not filled. Or, was it all done at the same time?
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Piano Technician
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#1580831 - 12/20/10 06:38 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
dcb Online   content
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I took readings with two exact setups but one with the gap sealed and one with no seal. (seal = 36% RH, no seal = 26% RH)

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#1580933 - 12/20/10 08:50 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
Rick_Parks Offline
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Registered: 12/16/10
Posts: 22
Loc: Maine, USA
Ok-- so for what it's worth...
We contacted Dampp-Chaser today and asked if there were any independent studies or reports on the system...
After a pause- there was the reply that they had some "marketting reports".
We asked if there were any studies or reports that dealt with 2 pianos being compared to each other (one with and one without D-C)- she said, "yes, many", but after a pause (our side waiting for more)--- she offered mo more on that...
She inquired if we meant studies for RH% Averages, and we made clear that we were hoping for that AND something with information about the overall affects on the piano (parts and such) as well... She said "hold on a sec, let me look" and it turned into a loooong hold after that- she came back on saying she would email us "the marketting reports" and took down our email address.
We 'assume' there were no studies of such as we were asking (dudn't want to press them)-- still waiting on the email with those reports, however.
When we get that info- we'll try again with the push for some sort of detailed study or report.
Appears to be a losing battle. We'll try again though.

By the way-- I read Roger Jolly's full report on the systems...It appears to me this was nothing to do with what I am discussing (it was a study for the undercover-- 2 pianos WITH the D-C- one without the cover and one with)...
I thought the report interesting in its critic-- as he reports that the system couldn't do its job in a 10% RH. The answer was for 2 bucket systems. It's an interesting report, but, like I said- it does nothing to prove anything except RH levels could possibly be acheived and held as desired(with the extra work).
I personally do not understand why this was suggested for me to read? Thanks anyway.


Edited by Rick_Parks (12/20/10 08:54 PM)
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#1580950 - 12/20/10 09:09 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
Loren D Offline
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Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2545
Loc: PA
Hey Rick, I'm wondering about the concern of humidifying one side of wood, though. It would seem to me that if a piece of wood is dry to the point of cracking, and applying humidity to both sides of it is not possible, then applying humidity to one side is better than none at all. Consider: if a room humidifier is used instead of a Dampp-Chaser (that is, applying moisture from outside of the piano as opposed to from the inside), humidity is still being applied to only one side of the soundboard, just the opposite side. The only way to apply humidity to both sides of a vertical piano soundboard, it would seem, would be to have a room humidifier and a Dampp-Chaser™, so moisture could be applied to both sides of the board at once. Either one alone is going to humidify one side of the soundboard only.
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#1581023 - 12/20/10 10:56 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: Loren D]
Rick_Parks Offline
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Registered: 12/16/10
Posts: 22
Loc: Maine, USA
That seems logical, Loren.
Only, let me present our argument to that...
I think you overlook the fact that the piano is naturally in an environment that encases it, surrounds it, envelops it, seeks to make it equal (the wood coming into balance in time)...
Compared to making a piano's inside an environment all its own (mostly the lower cabinet), completely different AT ALL times from the outside (a constant struggle for the wood, never ending)...

Cracks that develop from moisture are normally caused by some part of the wood trying to swell to meet that moisture level--- while something else is restricting it (i.e. the other dry side).
The wood trying to expand, when it meets the resistance of the wood that's not expanding to that moisture level becomes compressed...then when the moisture level drops, the wood begins to shrink. Now, it's sides had already become compressed, so it actually shrinks smaller than it was before 'width-wise'---- this is what opens up into cracks and checks.
Again-- this is our point of view on this (remember- as yet, there is no actual proof, but 'opinion'-- on all sides).

Again- the 'piano-inside' made an environment of its own does nothing to the outside.
The wood in a piano seeks to equal the environment-- this is why we push the customer to control the environment FIRST and FOREMOST.

What is it that a 40% RH 'piano-inside' seeks to equal?
The outside (a 23% RH). D-C is making certain it won't even get close…in deed, considers it a victory to keep it opposite.

Consistantly unequal levels on each side cause problems to wood. This is our concern about that particular issue.
Yet, ONLY ONE of the concerns about the affects on the rest of the piano parts-- as I said before there are many others.

Again-- this is our opinions based on what we understand about these things. I do wish we had some actual LONG-term test results--- as I feel our thoughts might very well be confirmed.
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#1581163 - 12/21/10 06:14 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
Loren D Offline
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Registered: 06/22/10
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Loc: PA
I see what you're saying. It will be interesting to see what tests show. If there aren't any, someone should commission someone to do one! smile
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#1581177 - 12/21/10 06:59 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
Loren D Offline
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Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2545
Loc: PA
Mark, is your position then, that creating a whole room environment at the proper humidity level is superior than creating a microenvironment within the piano? I like to summarize things so I can keep on target. Would that be a correct summary?

Edit: not Mark. Rick! Sorry..:)


Edited by Loren D (12/21/10 07:42 AM)
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#1581185 - 12/21/10 07:21 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
UnrightTooner Offline
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Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4789
Loc: Bradford County, PA
Here’s an anecdote for the installation of a DC.

The piano is a 1960s Winter studio in a middle school classroom with large windows that face SW. First time I tuned it the lowest tenor note was at the same pitch as the highest bass note. Brought it up to pitch and six months later was called again to tune it and it was almost as bad and about 20 cents low in the center. This went on for about two years tuning 2-3 times a year. Finally a Damppchaser was installed. It was a unit taken out of a spinet that was donated to the school.

I just tuned it again mostly due to some unisons in the treble, but the pitch was dead on in the middle and only a little low in the low tenor. I also tightened the pressure bar about 1/8 turn on each screw making the piano much more tunable. No overshoot with a smooth pull on the left string and just a hair of overshoot on the center and right strings. As long as they keep it watered, I doubt if I will be called to tune for 2 years. I’ll change the pads as a courtesy occasionally when I tune the auditorium pianos.

Is some kind of damage occurring due to the inside of the SB being humidified while the outside is being dried? I don’t know. But there must have been more damage occurring when the pitch was dropping about 20 cents between every tuning!
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1581192 - 12/21/10 07:45 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
Loren D Offline
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Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2545
Loc: PA
I agree with Jeff. That kind of fluctuation certainly has to be more damaging than humidifying one side.
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DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#1581203 - 12/21/10 08:20 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
dcb Online   content
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Posts: 189
This has been a great conversation. I'm continuing to test my system and the only thing I can't understand is why I'm maintaining 36% RH with the system installed to spec + gap sealing and distilled water...but I got up to 44% when I plugged in the humidifier directly and bypassed the humidistat.

I may retest that part of my test and try it again.

Testing Dampp Chaser's claims are very difficult because their claims are so amazing:
1. Maintain year-round humidtity level of 38-46% RH
2. Maintain pitch stability within 2-3 cents (this one is vague because I'm not sure if DC meant yearly, between tunings, or indefinitely)
3. My piano will last twice as long than if I didn't have a DC installed. (Don't think I made this up...it is on their website.) I think pianos can last 100 years so mine should last 200 years. Pretty cool.

So, clearly the claims DC makes are not easily testable so people like Roger Jolly and me just try to measure the RH% in and around the piano. smile (And...nobody needs to mention that Roger Jolly is a very well-known, talented, and experienced person in the piano world and I'm not...I know.)

I think we should use this forum to collect thoughts on testing variables and setups so we can, as a community, do the testing that DC should, but hasn't. It would make us more knowledgeable about the systems and we should charge DC for the R&D. Here are some ideas:

1. Experiment with pad materials (maybe there is a bette wicking material out there that could improve performance)

2. Experiment with surface area of the pads/ heater bar. (Bigger surface area should increase evaporation rate)

3. Experiment with how tightly the gap is sealed. I tried to seal it completely, but maybe if I left a few inches of gap exposed, I could achive a small air flow across the pads that could also increase evaporation

4. ????

Obviously, use good judgment when it comes to these experiments. Safety first, and who knows how the warranty is affected. As for testing the effects of humidity on one side of the wood and not the other...I think those results would be interesting, but only after we've tested the much more basic claims around the performance of the system. (Maybe I'll start a new thread to call for testing ideas)

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#1581215 - 12/21/10 08:45 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
UnrightTooner Offline
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Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4789
Loc: Bradford County, PA
Dcd:

The difference between the reading you get with the humidifier plugged in directly and the using the humidistat may be due to the automatic cycling of the dehumidifier bar that the humidistat calls for. This is to cause an air current within the piano in order to distribute the humidified air. It makes sense to me. After more humidity is absorbed by your piano I expect that the humidity will rise. It can take weeks especially when starting off as dry as you are.
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1581223 - 12/21/10 09:02 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
Loren D Offline
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Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2545
Loc: PA
The reason for a higher reading without the humidistat is obvious, isn't it? Without anything regulating it, it's running constantly.
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http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#1581225 - 12/21/10 09:03 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
dcb Online   content
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The only thing that I don't understand is that the dehumiifier bar is only supposed to go on when the RH% hits 46% (based on DC info). So, theoretically, the dehumifier bar should never go on below 46%.

My temperature readings support this becuase the temperature has been dead steady with no max/min variation.

I'll give it some more time...if the piano is still soaking up the moisture, maybe teh wood is soaking up the moisture faster than the humifier can add water to the air...then once the wood is moister the air RH may rise. Makes sense. We'll see if I see it over time. Someone who knows more than I do could probably calculate how long that would take, but I don't know the calculations.

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#1581255 - 12/21/10 09:59 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
dcb Online   content
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Hi Loren. The reason for the higher reading isn't obvious. It's interesting...I thought it was obvious how a humidistat worked, but maybe it's not so let me review. Note that the high and low set point percentages were given to me by DC.

-humidifier on until RH% = 46%
-then the dehumifier turns on to pull the RH% down to 38%
-then the humidifer turns on to bring the RH% back up to 46%
-cycle continues

So my confusion was that technically, the dehumidifier bar should not turn on until it reaches 46%. My system never got past 44% so even when the humidifer was on its own...it never reached a point where the dehumidifier turned on.

My temperature reading is constant so it doesn't indicate that the 50W heater bar ever turned on so my conclusion is that my humidifier is working as hard as it can but never reaches the point where it gets "too high" and triggers the dehumidifier.

So I still can't explain why I could get up to 44% with the humidifier plugged in directly. It might have been a fluke and maybe I should repeat the test.

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#1581264 - 12/21/10 10:08 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
UnrightTooner Offline
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Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4789
Loc: Bradford County, PA
dcb:

I think it may only be mentioned in the installation instructions about the dehumidifier bar coming on occasionally even when the unit calls for moisture in order to circulate the humidity.
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1581276 - 12/21/10 10:15 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
Loren D Offline
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Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2545
Loc: PA
So if you got up to 44, and the rods shouldn't come on before 46, and the rod didn't come on, what exactly is the problem? Now you're confusing me.

As to achieving higher humidity with uncontrolled humidification vs. controlled humidification, sorry, that's what should be expected!
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DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
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#1581293 - 12/21/10 10:41 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
James Carney Offline
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Registered: 07/30/10
Posts: 401
Loc: new york city
dcb, (Dampp-Chaser buyer? Dampp-Chaser buster? Doubting credible beliefs?) laugh

I too am slightly confused by what you have just written, but then again I could use some more coffee.

This was mentioned previously, and Jeff just alluded to it, but again...the humidistat will sometimes work in a counterintuitive way, because the system is regulating itself. And Jeff is right - The DC takes at least 3 weeks of running properly to maximize its effect. But really, why get worried about a measurement being "off" by 2% ? Even expensive hygrometers usually have an error window of +-3%.

Another anecdote...

Yesterday I tuned four pianos, all in Manhattan: a Steinway 45, a Steingraeber 138, a Bluthner Model 6, and a Steingraeber 205. All four apartments had RH levels between 24-27% (according to my mid-priced hygrometer which I believe to be fairly accurate.)

All had Dampp-Chasers installed except the Steingraeber 138, which was 15 cents flat of 440. The other three w/ DCs were within 2 cents of A440. Both Steingraebers are about one year old, and, according to the owners, yesterday was the third tuning for each since delivery.

Re: further research...It would be interesting to see more studies on wood and how the humidification of just one side affects it. But isn't it true that cut wood absorbs and desorbs mostly along the end grain anyway? I would also think that - at least in a grand - the water vapor can pass through the nose bolt holes in the soundboard as well, which would put some of the vapor on top of the soundboard.

Again, for me anyway, the alternative of not using a Dampp-Chaser based on "insufficient data" or unknowns is a much less appealing proposition than having one installed in a piano environment that goes from 24% to 60% relative humidity each year. That kind of humidity swing puts a lot of stress on glue joints and the wood itself, does it not? Plus we know that humidity changes can affect regulation, and even the tone of hammers. I also believe that the German pianomakers know more about wood than just about anyone, so if they recommend the use of the DC they must have a very strong belief in its benefits - and little concern about any potential destructiveness. And I would think that any negative side effects of DC use would have appeared by now, but that is just my opinion.

As another tech pointed out earlier, an incorrect installation is probably the biggest risk of using a DC system, or continuing to use the old systems from 50 years ago that had no humidistat or humidification capabilities. Oh yeah, another important variable beyond our control: piano owners with DCs who ignore the flashing yellow light...
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#1581416 - 12/21/10 01:27 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
dcb Online   content
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What isn't working correctly is that after the system achieved 44% without the humidistat plugged in, it dropped to 36% once I plugged the humidistat in again. If the dehumidifier bar only goes on at 46%, I should have been able to get to the 44% with the humidistat plugged in. (Note that my hygrometer is certified to be accurate +/-2% and measures min/max so it is not the case where it got higher than 44% then dropped to 36% when I took the reading.)

I'll be honest, if I were reading my post I would doubt everything I said based on the conventional wisdom of how effective Dampp Chasers are.

I'm hoping that this conversation might spark enough people to be curious enough to do their own testing. If 10 people test their systems and only get an average 26%...maybe there's something to it. If 10 people get measurements close to the 42% claim DC makes...I would conclude perhaps that thre is something ineteresting or different about my conditions.

Or...like so many gray areas in life...maybe the results would be mixed. Some systems would work as claimed and others wouldn't. This could continue the research as to why certain ones work and why certain ones don't work up to the company claims.

Another note is that I don't, and never did, believe that DC harms your piano in any way. Also, I've never questioned the need to control humidity to as close to 42%...those benefits have been scientifically proven. My only question was do the DC systems perform up to my expectations which are equal to but not above the claims made by Dampp Chaser....1)pitch stability of 2-3 cents per year, 2)my piano will last twice as long as it would without a DC, and 3)the humidty will be controlled to a constant range between 38-46% RH.

Maybe I'll call DC and see if I can talk to someone higher up in the company. It might be an interesting conversation. Maybe the company would be interested in some free customer insight. If anyone knows anyone at the company who I could talk to...an introduction would be very cool.


Edited by dcb (12/21/10 01:40 PM)

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#1581454 - 12/21/10 02:09 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4789
Loc: Bradford County, PA
Yes, I can give you the name of the head of the complaint department. It is Helen Waite. So, if you have a complaint, go to Helen Waite! laugh laugh laugh

(Oh, I crack myself up...)
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1581465 - 12/21/10 02:30 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
Loren D Offline
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Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2545
Loc: PA
I think most of us probably see the dramatic difference in tuning and regulating stability and are content to leave it at that without stressing about whether it's stable because the humidity level is at 42, 44, or 46. At some point you're going to have to leave the system alone and see if your piano is better off because of it.

Good luck!
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DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#1581466 - 12/21/10 02:35 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
Loren D Offline
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Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2545
Loc: PA
Hmmm...
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#1581478 - 12/21/10 02:57 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
dcb Online   content
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Loren, I couldn't agree with you more. 42, 44, or 46% humidity makes no difference. When I get to those numbers I will consider my DC working perfectly.

In the beginning, if I didn't alter the installation to a non-recommended way, I would have still been at 26%. I think that is too low.

Your point is well taken...once you get to an acceptable range small fluctuations aren't significant.

However, I'm going to be really upset if my piano doesn't last 200 years. (Two times the expected 100 year lifespan) (Of course I'm just kidding.)

Also, I've been on the phone with DC for over an hour. I asked to speak to Helen Waite and still haven't been connected.



Edited by dcb (12/21/10 02:58 PM)

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#1581499 - 12/21/10 03:31 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
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Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
One thing some people in here need to remember is that placement of a Dampp Chaser system is just that.... Placement... A starting point. It is not set in stone that x piano will have the Chaser system placed in x position every single time. If the humidifier just as an example, is turning off to quickly, not humidifying enough, we might have to place the humidisat in a different location to compensate. In a way, that's sort of like tuning. No two pianos tune alike. While we may use the same system to tune, we must compensate with every single piano to one degree or another in order accommodate for its quirks, needs and/or failures.

As for proof? Who cares? If it works, we recommend it. If it doesn't work, we do not recommend it. Most of us have installed many of these units and endorse them upon our own findings and the changes we see within the piano itself over the course of many years. I have systems that have had Dampp Chasers on them for over 30 years. The piano is in marvelous condition because of it. Otherwise, many of these pianos would likely have cracked sounding boards like their neighbor's do, or some other problem due to our very major humidity fluctuations here in Michigan. Personally, I've installed hundreds and hundreds of these units over the past 40 years and I highly endorse them because of how I have seen them perform from my own personal experience which is all that matters to me.

95% of the time I find a Dampp Chaser system not working or not working properly? I find it to be the fault of the owner, mostly through neglect of some sort intentional or not ---- not the fault of the system... The other 5 % I find is an improperly installed unit or failure of a system part which is fairly rare.

They work extremely well IF and only IF they are properly installed. And, IF, the client faithfully fills the unit when it is required, changes the humidifier pads and stops playing around with it themselves and listens to the advice given.
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

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#1581625 - 12/21/10 06:59 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
TimR Online   content
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Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3001
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: dcb
What isn't working correctly is that after the system achieved 44% without the humidistat plugged in, it dropped to 36% once I plugged the humidistat in again. If the dehumidifier bar only goes on at 46%, I should have been able to get to the 44% with the humidistat plugged in.


I know you already know this, but I'm going to mention it anyway because you may not have considered the implication.

The DC has no dead band. It is not like your house furnace. Your furnace turns on when the room gets cold. When it gets to the setpoint, it stops and does nothing. It doesn't immediately turn on an airconditioner. When your room temperature drops below the setpoint, it doesn't turn on right away. It waits to drop below the dead band, usually two degrees.

The DC has no mode when it is not doing something. Even if your humidity is in the perfect range, it will be trying to change it up or down. It humidifies (runs power to the humidifier bar) until it reaches whatever RH is set on the humidistat, then it immediately starts dehumidifying (running power to the heater bars). It is ON or ON, there is no OFF.

As a mechanical engineer who works on HVAC and control systems, I find that frankly horrifying. It works, kind of sort of, but it doesn't control humidity to a point or even a range. It averages humidity by swinging back and forth past that point.

However, in your situation, the heater bar never comes on. The most obvious diagnosis would be that the humidistat never got to the desired RH, so it never "satisfied" and never turned off. Why you got any higher RH bypassing the humidistat is kind of a mystery, and I suspect a measurement error.

I want to commend you for actually doing measurements. That is so rare as to be almost nonexistent. However, if you search this forum, you may find a previous thread where someone did very careful measurements and posted the results. They were in some other language, French maybe (I disremember) but the graphs were very instructive. In that example, the wood of the piano obviously serves as a slow time constant mass, smoothing out the rapid humidity swings produced by the DC.

The fact that blocking your slit with insulation produced better results shows your unit was undersized for your local conditions. This would never have been detected without actual measurement - you could not have known that your DC was not working.

Would your installation technician have known? Sure, if he measured. But as far as is known, the number of technicians who actually do this measurement is zero, and the DC firm does not seem to recommend it.
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#1581653 - 12/21/10 07:30 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
Loren D Offline
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Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2545
Loc: PA
Am I missing something? If the humidifier was plugged directly into a wall outlet, making it constant on, and allowed to run in that state, it's going to produce a higher reading than if it's plugged into a humidistat that is cycling it on and off.

As for being undersized, there is only one size humidifier and it has an 8-watt bar. Two humidifiers are used on concert grands, but it would definitely be overkill for a vertical.

Technicians may not measure, but they do return three weeks later for a follow up and tuning; the state of the piano at that point speaks volumes of what is happening as far as humidity within. If the piano is not as it's expected to be, then troubleshooting starts. Again, my concern is that the piano become stable, and I don't worry about if it's stable at 42% or at 46%. If the pitch stabilizes and it goes from season to season with only a few cent change in pitch, I'm happy. So is the customer. smile
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#1581665 - 12/21/10 07:51 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
wayne walker Offline
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Registered: 08/29/08
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Loc: Windsor,Nova Scotia Canada
I tuned a Bell upright today that has an open under the key frame. I installed a Dampp-Chaser system in this piano about 2 or 3 years ago. Even with the extra open area under the keys the piano was within 2-3 cents of pitch. When I see results like this I don't worry about sealing the cabinet up because it is not necessary. I know the system work, so I don't try to find fault with them.
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#1581668 - 12/21/10 07:53 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
dcb Online   content
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Posts: 189
You are missing something, Loren...here is what you are missing.

Your statement would be true if the directly plugged in humidifier got above 46% but it didn't.

If it never got above 46%, the results should be the same as with the humidistat enabled. This is because theoretically, the dehumidifier only turns on once it reaches 46% so never turned on.

This is what the system should do (more or less)
38,39,40,41,42,43,44,45,46,Dehumidifier kicks on 45,44,43,42,41,40,39,38, Humidifier kicks on again 39...

Another way to say it is that the dehumidifier stops the environment from rising above 46%. So if you are talking about conditions below 46%, the dehumidifier is out of the picture.

Not to confuse things, but I think I figured it out. I observed my system today when it was reading 33% I looked at it and found out the dehumidifier bar was turned on and hot. So this makes me believe that both parts are working but the humidistat is set a bit too low from the factory. It also explains why the RH is lower with the humidistat enabled vs. not enabled. (even below the 46% threshold.)



Edited by dcb (12/21/10 08:09 PM)

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#1581676 - 12/21/10 08:07 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
Loren D Offline
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Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2545
Loc: PA
Quote:
38,39,40,41,42,43,44,45,46,Dehumidifier kicks on 45,44,43,42,41,40,39,38, Humidifier kicks on again 39...


But you're never turning the humidifier off. When the humidistat turns the dehumidifier on, it simultaneously turns the humidifier off.


Edited by Loren D (12/21/10 08:12 PM)
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#1581681 - 12/21/10 08:10 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
Loren D Offline
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Loc: PA
Run the furnace in your house for an hour without it being connected to the thermostat. Then run it the next day for an hour with the thermostat set at 70 degrees. Which scenario is going to produce the highest temperature?
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#1581682 - 12/21/10 08:13 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
dcb Online   content
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When I tested the humidifier directly plugged in, correct, the humidifier was on all the time. But...it peaked at 44% and wouldn't go any higher.

Under different conditions, you are right, it is obvious that a directly plugged in humidifier may reach 50,60 or more percent RH which would be higher than the system with the humidistat enabled.

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#1581689 - 12/21/10 08:18 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
dcb Online   content
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Loren, that is a great example. Let me fill in the rest of the details so we are comparing apples to apples.

It is 20 degrees farhenheit outside and the furnace hasn't been turned on all day so it si 40 degrees F in the house.

I turn the furnace on for an hour and the house temperature reaches 55 degrees.

Then, I turn it off again and let the house get back down to 40 degrees.

Then, I do what you sggest and set the thermostat to 70 degreees and turn the furnace on for an hour...guess what the house is after an hour....55 degrees.

If you work at a level below the thermostat setting it won't be different.

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#1581721 - 12/21/10 09:15 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
daniokeeper Offline
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Registered: 02/01/09
Posts: 1056
Loc: PA
You may not want a powerful humidifier inside the piano.

In your extraordinarily dry conditions, to get the kind of rapid response you seem to want, you would obviously need a more powerful humidifier.

But, is is really a good idea to have a humidifier that powerful so close to the strings and other metal parts?

Edit: Also, is it a good idea to have the humidifier running continuously next to the strings and other metal parts without cycling off? ? Even if the piano has not yet reached the "ideal" humidity?


Edited by daniokeeper (12/21/10 09:39 PM)
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#1581839 - 12/21/10 11:52 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
daniokeeper Offline
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Loc: PA
One other thing just came to mind...

Even though D-C Corp. has explained to some extent the functioning of the humidistat, there may be proprietary aspects of its design that they simply cannot reveal without injuring themselves. If so, we may never be able to fully resolve all questions relating to it.


Edited by daniokeeper (12/21/10 11:53 PM)
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#1581858 - 12/22/10 12:55 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: TimR]
Cy Shuster, RPT Offline
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Registered: 12/18/05
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Loc: Albuquerque, NM
Originally Posted By: TimR

The DC has no dead band. It is not like your house furnace. Your furnace turns on when the room gets cold. When it gets to the setpoint, it stops and does nothing. It doesn't immediately turn on an airconditioner. When your room temperature drops below the setpoint, it doesn't turn on right away. It waits to drop below the dead band, usually two degrees.

As a mechanical engineer who works on HVAC and control systems, I find that frankly horrifying. It works, kind of sort of, but it doesn't control humidity to a point or even a range. It averages humidity by swinging back and forth past that point.



Tim, we've covered this before. The goal here is not to humidify the air; it's to maintain a certain EMC in the wood itself, to prevent condensation, and to create some airflow without any moving parts. Different problem; different solution.

Quote:

The fact that blocking your slit with insulation produced better results shows your unit was undersized for your local conditions. This would never have been detected without actual measurement - you could not have known that your DC was not working.


Again, incorrect. Across all the wild theories of wood cell membrane moisture transfer, and all the other hypotheticals spun out of thin air, the rubber meets the road at the pitch of the piano. When it's too dry, the piano goes flat. End of story, and something measured by every technician when tuning.

--Cy--
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#1581959 - 12/22/10 06:42 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: Cy Shuster, RPT]
Loren D Offline
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Loc: PA
Quote:
Tim, we've covered this before. The goal here is not to humidify the air; it's to maintain a certain EMC in the wood itself, to prevent condensation, and to create some airflow without any moving parts. Different problem; different solution.


Thank you! I think you may have finally interjected into this thread exactly what was needed, and something I never even considered, EMC. The humidity level of the air is not what is being addressed, the moisture content of the wood is; and that is something that takes time. I knew waiting at least three weeks before any measurable effect on the piano could be gauged was key.
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#1581974 - 12/22/10 07:26 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
dcb Online   content
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Sorry to disappoint you Loren, but moisture content and air humidity are related. DC and other folks know that 42% is ideal RH...know why? because at 42% air humidity, wood eventually gets to 7 or 8% moisture content. (Check me on the 7 or 8%, but the point is that they are related)

So if I can't get the air to 42%, the wood moiture content won't get to 7 or 8%. Not in a day, a week, 3 weeks, or 3 years.

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#1581987 - 12/22/10 07:42 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
Loren D Offline
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Registered: 06/22/10
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Loc: PA
Equilibrium moisture content is where the wood is losing and gaining moisture at the same rate, whatever level that may be, which is the goal of the system. This may or may not equal the level of the surrounding air.

The true measurement is a stable piano.
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#1582001 - 12/22/10 07:56 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: Cy Shuster, RPT]
TimR Online   content
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Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3001
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: Cy Shuster
Again, incorrect. Across all the wild theories of wood cell membrane moisture transfer, and all the other hypotheticals spun out of thin air, the rubber meets the road at the pitch of the piano. When it's too dry, the piano goes flat. End of story, and something measured by every technician when tuning.

--Cy--


I would contend that exactly the opposite is true.

Regardless of the pitch motions of that piano, if the DC is not maintaining the air relative humidity that it claims to, it is NOT working. Something might be working but it is not the DC.

It is quite possible to have the humidity maintained correctly and still have a piano's pitch unstable.

It is quite possible to NOT have humidity maintained correctly and still have a piano's pitch stable.

What is not possible is to have a DC NOT work, and take credit for stable pitch. Having the DC work is the first step in this process, and a step that apparently most technicians skip. And most piano owners, obviously.

And by the way, it would be dead simple (and no more expensive) to design that control system correctly. That would give you much more time in the correct humidity range, much slower swings, and some small energy savings.


Edited by TimR (12/22/10 07:56 AM)
Edit Reason: spelling error
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#1582004 - 12/22/10 08:00 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
TimR Online   content
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Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3001
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: dcb
If you work at a level below the thermostat setting it won't be different.



You would be amazed at how many people do not believe this.

I frequently get a complaint of a cold area where I work, and the first request is always to raise the thermostat. (most of our thermostats are set by computer)

I try to explain that if the temperature isn't getting to setpoint, raising the setpoint won't help. Something is broken and I'll send a mechanic. But the reaction is almost always "well just try it." Even from people who should know better.
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#1582005 - 12/22/10 08:03 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
Loren D Offline
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Loc: PA
Unstable humidity = unstable piano pitch, Tim. Simple as that.
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#1582006 - 12/22/10 08:03 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
dcb Online   content
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As I said...the moisture content percent of the wood is most definitely lower than the RH% of the air but they are directly related.

You can find lookup tables and calculators that can tell you what the EMC will be for a given type of wood in a specific relative humidity.

The ture measurement of whether or not a DC is maintaining a relative humidty of 42% is to measure what the DC is measuring when the humidistat turns t humidifier / dehumidifier on and off...relative humidity in the air.

Pitch stability is also directly related to the moisture content of the soundboard which is directly related to the moisture on content of the air. So, yes...no argument there (not a surprise) the pitch stability is what we are after.

Here's the rub...there are more variables that affect the pitch stability:
1. how much the piano is played and how hard
2. how old the strings are (new strings stretch more than old strings)
3. how loose the tuning pins are
4. There's probably more...you would know better than I

So my point is why not measure something that only has one thing influencing it vs. something that has several things influencing it. My problem is also that my pitch stability is lousy since I put my DC in...4 cents flat in 4 weeks. This is why I started testing the thing. (note that I haven't taken any pitch measurements since I have been experimenting.)

I'll give you another example to make my point clear. My uncle has a grand piano with no Dampp Chaser installed and his tuner is always impressed with how stable his instrument is. It is almost always within 2 or 3 cents. So I guess his Dampp Chaser must be working perfectly...oh wait...he doesn't have a dampp chaser.

Here's another example that I will will make up. If I buy a brand new piano with new strings and install a DC, do you think the pitch stability will still be perfect in 3,6, 12 months? I doubt it. So I guess I can conclude that the DC wasn't working. Nope...the strings were just new so they were stretching.

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#1582024 - 12/22/10 08:42 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
Loren D Offline
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Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2545
Loc: PA
Hard playing will put improperly tuned/set strings/pins out if tune, but will not change the overall pitch of the piano. Loose pins will put individual notes out of tune, some more than others. But an expanding or contracting soundboard is what most influences pitch in a piano.

This is becoming a futile argument. Humidity affects pianos. Period! The more stable an environment, the more stable the piano. Period! This is not even debatable.


Ok, I feel better now. smile


Edited by Loren D (12/22/10 09:01 AM)
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#1582030 - 12/22/10 08:51 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
Loren D Offline
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Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2545
Loc: PA
Deleted with apologies.


Edited by Loren D (12/22/10 09:00 AM)
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#1582034 - 12/22/10 08:55 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: James Carney]
Rick_Parks Offline
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Registered: 12/16/10
Posts: 22
Loc: Maine, USA
Originally Posted By: James Carney
dcb, (Dampp-Chaser buyer? Dampp-Chaser buster? Doubting credible beliefs?) laugh
...........
Re: further research...It would be interesting to see more studies on wood and how the humidification of just one side affects it. But isn't it true that cut wood absorbs and desorbs mostly along the end grain anyway?

No- that's not the case-- wood will absorb water from any direction; if this were not the case, you would find it very difficult to apply stains and such things and have them penetrate... So, not "mostly", no-- it is certainly easier at the end-grains.

Originally Posted By: James Carney

Again, for me anyway, the alternative of not using a Dampp-Chaser based on "insufficient data" or unknowns is a much less appealing proposition than having one installed in a piano environment that goes from 24% to 60% relative humidity each year. That kind of humidity swing puts a lot of stress on glue joints and the wood itself, does it not? Plus we know that humidity changes can affect regulation, and even the tone of hammers.

This is an excellent example of what I face--- are you not saying by this that you wuold recommend a piano D-C system for just about anyone who opens their windows in for spring and summer air?-- as, merely opening your windows in the spring will shoot your ambient RH% from 23% to 60%...
This is why I want the verification from D-C!


Originally Posted By: James Carney

I also believe that the German pianomakers know more about wood than just about anyone, so if they recommend the use of the DC they must have a very strong belief in its benefits - and little concern about any potential destructiveness. And I would think that any negative side effects of DC use would have appeared by now, but that is just my opinion.

Again-- great minds don't always make for great thinking (I already mentioned Steinway's teflon age). So endorsement does not necessarily mean intelligence.


By the way, to ridicule DCB is not your answer either. Besides, I believe I am your target for those words, not him.
I've been in the business 10 years-(grew up around this business)--- my dad was in it for 40+ before we lost him...
These concerns are not coming from off the cuff--- nor from an average customer who may not understand the ins and outs.
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#1582038 - 12/22/10 09:03 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
Loren D Offline
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Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2545
Loc: PA
I've exhausted anything useful I can contribute to this thread, and am getting cranky and sarcastic, so at this point I'm done. Good luck with it all! smile
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#1582044 - 12/22/10 09:14 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: Loren D]
Rick_Parks Offline
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Registered: 12/16/10
Posts: 22
Loc: Maine, USA
Originally Posted By: Loren D
I just bought 40,000 mile tires. I'm going to measure them every day and keep a running calculation so I can project if they are really only going to go 38,000. smile


You don't have to... It's been done-- you can get the consumer report on such things. smile They don't just say/insinuate/claim it will last 40,000 mi.- they prove it.

D-C's customers should not have to feel the need to do what DCB is doing...
-------

Now-- (clears throte)--- if I may take up page 7 of this thread? I didn't get to post this yesterday or last night.

Originally Posted By: Loren D
Mark, is your position then, that creating a whole room environment at the proper humidity level is superior than creating a microenvironment within the piano? I like to summarize things so I can keep on target. Would that be a correct summary?


That's not my entire position on D-C...but yes, you could summarize it like that, I suppose.
---------------------
We did get that email today from D-C.
I read their report--- actually it was an article for The Guild Journal by Don Galt, of only 1 page.
It dealt with a piano ("a 45" Studio of good quality") that was kept at Wash. University for nearly 3 years in the studio of its music building- being meither played, nor tuned during that time... This was Puget Sound-- indoor avg. RH 30-60%.
The RH% was recorded weekly from June-March.
To make a short report shorter-- it showed what we all knew-- that a piano is subject to widely varying humidity levels throughout the year.
Humidity levels on the chart were at their highest Dec.23-28 and Feb.-March (again Washington State-- i.e. rainy winters)...
Interesting enough, this report spoke nothing about D-C, except for the bold red banner at the top---- "The Piano Being Tested Was Not Protected by the Piano Life Saver System"...
The Data (again this is for the year):
C-52 varied on the chart from 9 cents sharp to 1 cent flat.
C#-29 12 cents sharp to 6.5 cents flat.
C-28 7 cents sharp to 1.5 cents flat.
They look at the variance overall I guess…and they note of course the bass break and how it varied so much more there.
Again- no surprise.
Notice the overall variance? In its natural environment, ranging 30-60% RH---- 12 cents off from the origin was the largest swing in a year.

My own note to go with this- it appears that the piano was not tuned before the test was taken. I think we know that a freshly tuned piano would hold a bit better than a piano that has been left to itself for say, 2 years and then recorded for the final year?
I set pins when I tune- as I'm sure many of you set strings...
Why? To get the tuning to hold better!
If this wasn't done before the test- we can assume that the variance might not have been quite so great. But- as it was- one year- 12 cents was the largest swing one way? Sounds like what I am experiencing.
But- again---- this proves nothing. Only that a piano in Puget Sound will fluctuate in its pitch due to humidity... This was somehow to get us to assume that IF this piano was "protected by a Piano Life Saver System" it would have performed much better. Perhaps it would-- there was no record of such made.

NOW- I'm frustrated with ALL of this topic, as it appears it is full of nothing but man's/woman's empty vain speculation (my own included).
I've come away with what I came.
(((Perhaps this is why you too are tired of the debate, Loren)))
I still have a sense that there is a very strong push to sell an item that has no verification that it can live up to what is 'insinuated'. Insinuation is not a guarantee- so I guess Dampp-Chaser is safe in that. But claims need supporting evidence (not opinion).

I'm far from sold. I'm sure I'll be looked at as closed-minded again for this. But- I cannot imagine another business or corporation on the market getting away with selling an item under such statements as have been made---- AND not being called to put forward evidence. To bring up your tires scenario- Firestone was torn into for 'insufficient testing'-- they tested and had results, but overlooked something.

Now, "doubling the life of a piano" (if this is truly a claim they make) is a silly statement to make. I could stand here and tell DCB that his piano's life will be seriously and permanently damaged. Does that make it true? Of course not---- BUT, I can prove it with just as many such tests. If I shout it loud enough and long enough, it still won't make it Truth. If I get innumerable people to join my shouting, still not truth.
So---- my stance with Dampp-Chaser is still unchanged…
Get some testing done and I'll give you my support----- when I see that the system doesn't do what my logic tells me it would over a long period of time--- that's when I'll change my opinion. This system costs a lot of money.

I do give my customers the options---- but, Loren, I ALWAYS push them to get the room controlled rather than the piano.
We both agree to this I'm sure. Only, I understand that spring through summer it's going to be open window time...the piano will go a little out---- this will be taken care of with the next tuning. ( By the way, isn't a piano with the system still getting tuned yearly?- does the customer actually get told that they now don't have to get it tuned as much- and scheduled so?)

When controlling the room RH can't be done---- AND, when I 'know' the piano is going to be seriously damaged from what is taking place--- I discuss the D-C as a possibility…Otherwise I do what was done for many, many generations before D-C came along--- I work with nature and the piano.

We've got another email in to D-C trying to get more…I'll come back to this topic (create a new post for you all)- if and when something meaningful comes up…You guys do the same for me- but please no more opinions to me as evidence...
And one more time here- I do not question that you guys have pianos that you see performing good right now (I have pianos I've seen performing the same as before the system- ie. the system not working).
I have never questioned any of your posts about your experience.
This has always been about verifying facts.

Thanks for hearing me out.
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#1582066 - 12/22/10 10:13 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
dcb Online   content
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Sounds like we are done. That's cool with me. I'd always rather be around passionate people with an opinion so I got something out of this conversation. I'm a very curious person and enjoy doing research and troubleshooting problems. I also like my piano to be fairly on pitch. This is why I want to make sure the humidty levels are right in my piano. (My piano playing sounds bad enough on a well-tuned piano)

I once bought some Michelin tires that were guaranteed to last 60,000 miles. they only lasted 50,000 miles based on Michelin's criteria so the company gave me a prorated amount of money towards my next set. I love Michelin tires and always buy them. The second set I bought lasted over 60,000 miles. I think they are a great company that makes a great product.

By the way, just to be clear once again. There is no debate and I have never said that humidity doesn't affect pitch. If I believed that, than why would I have ever purchased a DC? I go to bed at night feeling good about this because it is one thing we can all agree on.

Happy Holidays everyone.

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#1582072 - 12/22/10 10:28 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
Quote:
I've been in the business 10 years-(grew up around this business)--- my dad was in it for 40+ before we lost him...


Nice. 10 years? Is that all? You're telling some of us who have been in it for 3 decades + times longer than you have that we're wrong and disagreeing with us on our personal views and findings? Hmmmmm.

Here's my family history.

My grandfather started my business in 1926. My father took it over him and was in it for 55 years. He built it up to the point where he also tuned, serviced, installed and sold pipe organs and tuned and serviced pianos. Full time, of course. Dad had two brothers who were in it full time one working with him, one working for him.

I started tuning after school when I was 12. I'm 54. I've been in it counting all of that for 42 years, or, 36 years full time tuning on average 1,000 pianos + per year. There is a lot of experience in my family history with pianos and Dampp Chaser systems. However, not that this matters but, I am "trying" to slow down a bit.

I have a cousin, my dads brothers son, who has also been in it for 37 years full time. With all of our knowledge and experience with these systems, working for colleges and many various other organizations, if one technician (YOU) is not willing to "apparently" take the word of ANY other technicians in this business, something is mighty screwy with this picture in my opinion.

Other technicians views are usually, "appreciated in here." You're new in town. There are and have been lots and lots of various posts in here regarding Dampp Chasers or Damp Chasers as some people spell them and lots of various contributions over time. Do a search and read up on some of them and their opinions.
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#1582086 - 12/22/10 10:42 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
dcb Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 05/15/10
Posts: 189
I'm new to this forum so I don't know as much as someone who's been here longer, but I think these conversations would be more effective and civil if people focused more on the debate and observations vs people's credibility.

It's human nature to become defenisve when someone questions your opinion but debate is healthy. (I'm guilty of being defensive as well.)

I would encourage anyone who disagrees with my opnions or my testing to do their own testing and see what happens. It is pretty easy to test these things. Then we could have a really cool conversation about the results.

I would think you guys would enjoy experimenting and questioning conventional wisdom. Don't you experiement with tuning methods, voicing methods, etc?

This field is part art and part science. The art part makes one technician amazing when another one is just great. The science part can be measured and tested. I thought this was a perfect thing to try and test...so I did and continue to do so.

By the way, I have been logical and detail focused for 36 years. I am 5th generation of a very logical and detail oriented family and have a sister, many aunts and uncles who also share this approach. I even won a science fair in the 5th grade. (Just trying to keep this light...we should all get along and not take ourselves so seriously...)


Edited by dcb (12/22/10 10:46 AM)

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#1582093 - 12/22/10 10:59 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4789
Loc: Bradford County, PA
I have a nephew that can play "Dixie" with his armpit. Light enough for ya?
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1582097 - 12/22/10 11:04 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
dcb Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 05/15/10
Posts: 189
I'm not impressed unless he is in perfect pitch during all four seasons. The curious side of me wonders how it would be affected by his level of perspiration. I may start a new thread at www.armpitmusicworld.com to find out.

I know a guy over there who can play some Rachmaninoff pieces arranged for armpit like you woudn't believe.



Edited by dcb (12/22/10 11:05 AM)

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#1582156 - 12/22/10 12:50 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4789
Loc: Bradford County, PA
As the competition in armpit music has increased, so has the temptation to cheat. Here are some inspectors looking for hidden speakers before an international armpit music festival:

_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1582211 - 12/22/10 02:33 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
wayne walker Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/08
Posts: 515
Loc: Windsor,Nova Scotia Canada
I have been working on pianos for 30+ years and have installed many systems. I don't see a need to experiment with the system, because I see the result each year when I return to tune the pianos. Some people cannot accept the results in the field as proof the systems work, maybe they are unable to follow the instructions that come with systems and can't get the same results. The system needs to be left along for it, to do its job, but for some people this doesn't seem to be option. To bad the major piano manufacturer like Yamaha, Steinway, Kawai etc. recommendations don't count for some close minded people.But being the business for only 30 years I guess new comers know more than I.
_________________________
Wayne Walker
Walker's Piano Service
http://www.walkerpiano.ca/

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#1582244 - 12/22/10 03:18 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
daniokeeper Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/01/09
Posts: 1056
Loc: PA
What I sometimes tell folks is:

"The reason you spent all that money is specifically so that you DON'T have to get all involved in controlling the piano's humidity. It's an automatic system. You only need to change the pads occasionally and add water when the light blinks. That's it."

The OP does live in an exceptional climate. My own recommendation is this:

1) Since you are concerned about low humidity, purchase a room humidifier and run it in addition to the Dammp-Chaser. You can purchase units that have their own built-in humidistats. Set it somewhere between 40% to 45% and the leave it plugged in 24/7/365. Do not aim it at the piano.

2) Install a back cover.

3) Stop removing that bottom panel. Allow the Dammp-Chaser to slowly, carefully establish its own little micro-climate over a period of weeks inside the piano. There is a reason that the humidifier is low power. They could just as easily manufacture a higher power unit.

4) Rest easy and enjoy your piano. Take comfort in knowing that your instrument is now triply protected. We live in an imperfect world and you will have done all that reasonably can be done.
_________________________
Joe Gumbosky
Piano Tuning & Repair
www.tinyurl.com/tunerjoe
(semi-retired)

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#1582406 - 12/22/10 06:48 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: Jerry Groot RPT]
Rick_Parks Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/16/10
Posts: 22
Loc: Maine, USA
Originally Posted By: Jerry Groot RPT
Quote:
I've been in the business 10 years-(grew up around this business)--- my dad was in it for 40+ before we lost him...


Nice. 10 years? Is that all? You're telling some of us who have been in it for 3 decades + times longer than you have that we're wrong and disagreeing with us on our personal views and findings? Hmmmmm.


Wasm't trying to brag on my experience Mr. Groot... Sorry if you took it that way. I was trying to just demonstrate that it was not DCB who was calling D-C into question- but, rather me...
And I do know that I am not as experienced as a lot of you here in the forum. I do respect my elder professional's opinions- contrary to what you claim here (as I was taught from my youth to honor my elders)... But, sir- am I to take this as meaning that I am not allowed to have a differing viewpoint?
If you will recall- all I have done is ask for the company's proof. I understand that a lot of you have an aproval for this system--- I have NEVER questioned your findings, except to say it is not proof that my concerns are unwaranted.

That was an impressive family history--- but, sir, I am afraid that this still does not change what I see, and what I am concerned about.
With all due respect, 100+ years (1,000 years)-- it is still all opinion until proven.

As I said-- I am done with the debate until there is something more substantial that can be added... Family historys, experiences, and all such could be discussed for a very long time...and we would all still end up where we were at the start.
Again- thanks for hearing me out.


---- EDIT---- proof of my status as newcomer- don't know how to use the edit buttons LOL----- don't know if you can read the edit below DCB-- but, thanks for bringing this up (meant to say that in goodbye for now)...It's been interesting, even if unsettled as yet.
_________________________
Parks and Sons Piano Service
www.parksandsonspiano.com

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#1582436 - 12/22/10 07:36 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
Quote:
But, sir- am I to take this as meaning that I am not allowed to have a differing viewpoint? If you will recall- all I have done is ask for the company's proof. I understand that a lot of you have an aproval for this system--- I have NEVER questioned your findings, except to say it is not proof that my concerns are unwaranted.

Rick,

A differing view point is one thing. Taking colleagues views, advice and experience on multiple Dampp Chaser systems and then poo pooing them as basically meaningless without further proof, is another thing and well, rather silly to me. Other colleagues views, advice and experience on something is also a part of our learning. Ignoring this by saying
Quote:
"With all due respect, 100+ years (1,000 years)-- it is still all opinion until proven."
makes no sense to me. Rick, experience in something = stats. Not everything has to be proven or put into writing. Sometimes, a persons experience with something is proof enough.

I would advise you to try letting the wisdom and experience of others in here teach you something. It will be of much greater value to you in the long run.

Generational history is meaningless unless something worth while is taught and passed onto others. We then, pass our experience and knowledge onto the next generation of technicians. That is, provided they are willing to listen and learn. However, If one technician will not accept what other "elder more experienced" colleagues have to say about something without "more proof" then it is highly likely that person may be totally on their own if they were to ask others for advice on anything else in the future.

_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#1582491 - 12/22/10 09:07 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
dcb Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 05/15/10
Posts: 189
I discovered a product called Music Sorb.
www.musicsorbonline.com

Here is an excerpt from thier website.
"Music Sorb is a synthetic silica gel product developed by chemical engineers in Japan to help moderate and control the relative humidity (%RH) inside a given area, such as inside your piano or musical instrument case."

I like their website because it has their test results from testing. If I knew this product existed, I might have bought it instead of a DC. Of course ideally, someone would test both products and see which one worked the best.

I also discovered a piano technician named Mark Gallant in Oregon who is also a member of the PTG. You may not approve of him because he had done some testing on the musicsorb product and I found a presentation he gave. Here it is.

http://www.oppor-tune-ist.com/page/Humidity%20Control%20Alternatives_files/frame.htm#slide0006.htm

It looks like he might be suggesting that MusicSorb might be a good alternative to a DC and easier to install (5 minute installation)

What seems nice about MusicSorb is it is maintenance free and non electric. It's pretty interesting.

He states in his presentation notes that he thinks that technically the DC should do a better job but I don't know if he has tested it (couldn't find those tests) or if it was based on DC's claims.

I may call him up to talk to him. I like the fact that he is a guild member but also has some interest in controlled testing and thoughtful analysis. He might be an interesting person to add to the discussion.

By the way, I apologize if I'm telling you things that you already know.

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#1582508 - 12/22/10 09:42 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: Jerry Groot RPT]
Rick_Parks Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/16/10
Posts: 22
Loc: Maine, USA
Originally Posted By: Jerry Groot RPT

Rick,
A differing view point is one thing. Taking colleagues views, advice and experience on multiple Dampp Chaser systems and then poo pooing them as basically meaningless without further proof, is another thing and well, rather silly to me.

Again- (and this is a pretty scary mind-set being revealed)- I did not do what you say... I merely asked for verification of the opinions and claims with 'proof'.

Might I remind people that history went through a period of time when Biblical "Opinion" was said to be "Truth". 'The Dark Ages'-- when Catholic Priests held the keys {people not even allowed to have a bible); while they taught their "opinions" as Truth...a time that still has not been overcome to this day.

We went through a time when men believed the world was flat- and a contrary view was insane (heresy in fact)...many elders agreed (though the Bible itself proves it is round Isaiah 40:22). And they scoffed at the man who held an opinion that it 'was round' and who wanted to prove it...

Group persecution has always been directed at the dissenting voice of opinion.
I am afraid that your mode of thinking is basically the same here. You basically say by this, 'young man, put away what you see and are worried about, and trust us'. And you offer your experience as proof. I respect your experience, but differ in my opinion of what the long term affects could be with this system.

Long experience means your opinions should hold more weight--- BUT, it does not make people automatically right. As the scripture says, "I said, Days should speak, and multitude of years should teach wisdom. But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding. Great men are not always wise: neither do the aged understand judgment."

You also present to me that- IF I do not accept it:
Originally Posted By: Jerry Groot RPT

However, If one technician will not accept what other "elder more experienced" colleagues have to say about something without "more proof" then it is highly likely that person may be totally on their own if they were to ask others for advice on anything else in the future.


I hope you can truly see what you ARE saying here.

Am I truly and justly to be ostracized- for holding an opposite "opinion". NOW- IF you would present FACT, then I agree- I should be ostracized if I did not accept that...

Again- to understand the difference between Truth and Opinion based on experience makes a huge difference in what our experience teaches us in the end.

NOW- IF I find an 'elder' that proves that he is seeking the truth- and treats opinions with a decent respect (no matter who presents it)-- it is that person I want to find and follow advice from. I had two when I was learning. Both the rebuilder I trained under (Roger, a PTG member himself), and my dad, were both very respectable in this area.
I miss them both.

I will say that typed words do not always come across as we mean them--- I want to be clear-- I respect your experience… I would like to have that history myself- it is honorable. But, history and experience (as history has proven) does not mean a person is automatically right.
_________________________
Parks and Sons Piano Service
www.parksandsonspiano.com

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#1582558 - 12/22/10 11:22 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
Yes, I most certainly can see what I am saying... And I said it with some thought. But, you obviously can't see it and what's worse, is that you refuse to see it. Sad... The only proof that is good enough for you is stats on paper not words of experience or experience with installed units. You obviously have very little to NO experience with these units.

My college has LOTS of these units on pianos. They went from horrible pitch swings to barely ANY pitch swings. From being continually out of tune with our major weather swings to barely out of tune a month or 3 months later. That's proof. Oh, sorry, it's not on paper... Guess that won't work......

Ahhhhh forget it. You're to stubborn and pig headed.... Enjoy yourself in here... I'm done helping you or giving you any advice on anything in here period.

_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#1582564 - 12/22/10 11:35 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
rysowers Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 2340
Loc: Olympia, WA
Musicsorb. (sigh). Talk about lack of scientific research behind a product! I've never seen anything that would make me think that a piano with Musicsorb is any more stable then a piano with nothing at all.

I used to run a dehumidifier in my shop in an effort to keep the humidity at the mid 40 percent level. Every other day I would empty at least a gallon of water out of that thing. It became too much! So I gave up and stopped worrying so much (after all I live in one of the mildest climates in the country: The Pacific NW!). There is just no possible way Musicsorb can suck up enough H2O to get the RH down to the desired level. No way, no how.

It is MUCH more efficient to use the air itself as a drying agent by lowering its RH and moving it around. Much, much, more efficient. Maybe if you filled the entire inside of the cabinet with Musicsorb you might get some results, but then you'd really be "sorbing" the music! grin

Musicsorb (or the product that it comes from) was originally designed for using inside sealed cases for museum artifacts. In a sealed environment it might make sense. So perhaps using plenty of music sorb and then completely wrapping the piano in plastic wrap could be an effective solution. Of course it doesn't make playing the piano very convenient.

I was shown a "scientific looking" chart that showed fluctuating room humidity and then showed how the humidity inside the piano with Musicsorb fluctuated less. But there was no comparison to the inside of a piano without Musicsorb?! No control makes the "experiment" worthless. In fact worse than worthless because it's trying to make a case for something that can't physically work, and a few people buy into it.

_________________________
Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA
www.pianova.net

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#1582567 - 12/22/10 11:38 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: Jerry Groot RPT]
rysowers Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 2340
Loc: Olympia, WA
Originally Posted By: Jerry Groot RPT
Yes, I most certainly can see what I am saying... And I said it with some thought. But, you obviously can't see it and what's worse, is that you refuse to see it. Sad... The only proof that is good enough for you is stats on paper not words of experience or experience with installed units. You obviously have very little to NO experience with these units.

My college has LOTS of these units on pianos. They went from horrible pitch swings to barely ANY pitch swings. From being continually out of tune with our major weather swings to barely out of tune a month or 3 months later. That's proof. Oh, sorry, it's not on paper... Guess that won't work......

Ahhhhh forget it. You're to stubborn and pig headed.... Enjoy yourself in here... I'm done helping you or giving you any advice on anything in here period.


Looks like Jerry needs a chill pill!

_________________________
Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA
www.pianova.net

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#1582568 - 12/22/10 11:39 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
daniokeeper Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/01/09
Posts: 1056
Loc: PA
Quote:
Might I remind people that history went through a period of time when Biblical "Opinion" was said to be "Truth". 'The Dark Ages'-- when Catholic Priests held the keys {people not even allowed to have a bible); while they taught their "opinions" as Truth...a time that still has not been overcome to this day.


Do we really have to put down other folks' religions? This is a technical forum.

Btw, before the printing press, Bibles were hand copied... very labor intensive. Bibles were quite expensive and not as easily available.


Edited by daniokeeper (12/22/10 11:41 PM)
_________________________
Joe Gumbosky
Piano Tuning & Repair
www.tinyurl.com/tunerjoe
(semi-retired)

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#1582676 - 12/23/10 07:43 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4789
Loc: Bradford County, PA
I have not read the latest banter. It is always the same problem. Who is right verses what is right.
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1582686 - 12/23/10 08:04 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: Rick_Parks]
James Carney Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/30/10
Posts: 401
Loc: new york city
No one is being "ridiculed" or "targeted" as far as I am concerned. Just trying to interject a little fun and humor, which this conversation could certainly use. That's why I included the emoticon after my "initial" guesses. grin Hey, a pun!

This thread started out by asking professional techs to help troubleshoot a new DC install. But what it really has been is a forum to challenge the advertising claims and effectiveness of the Dampp-Chaser product.

That's why so many techs have jumped in, and a lot of great information and experience has been imparted to anyone following the thread.

I see the forest for the trees, and a stable piano is my goal. The proof is in the pitch...

Have a great holiday everyone...
_________________________
Keyboardist & Composer, Piano Technician
www.jamescarney.net
http://jamescarneypianotuning.wordpress.com/

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#1582692 - 12/23/10 08:34 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: daniokeeper]
RPD Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/07/05
Posts: 961
Loc: Kalamazoo Michigan
Originally Posted By: daniokeeper
Quote:
Might I remind people that history went through a period of time when Biblical "Opinion" was said to be "Truth". 'The Dark Ages'-- when Catholic Priests held the keys {people not even allowed to have a bible); while they taught their "opinions" as Truth...a time that still has not been overcome to this day.


Do we really have to put down other folks' religions? This is a technical forum.

Btw, before the printing press, Bibles were hand copied... very labor intensive. Bibles were quite expensive and not as easily available.



I'm with Joe here...lets not slip in collattoral attacks on religious grounds. Its shows us in a poor light, and its simply unfair to all the good folks who practice that particular faith.

RPD
_________________________
MPT(Master Piano Technicians of America)
Member AMICA (Automated Musical Instruments Collector's Association)
(Subscriber PTG Journal)
Piano-Tuner-Rebuilder/Musician www.actionpianoservice.com

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#1582693 - 12/23/10 08:35 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2545
Loc: PA
Has Musicsorb a 60 year track record? Independent tests? I'm curious why Musicsorb's testing by a tech who sells it carries weight, while the same from Dampp Chaser is cast aside. A valid question, I think. If you're going to have an opinion about the reliability of internal test results, at least be consistent about it.
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#1582697 - 12/23/10 08:45 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
Rick_Parks Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/16/10
Posts: 22
Loc: Maine, USA
I only say this, so that I can make it clear that I am not speaking from nothing (I do NOT care to compare experience history)--- I do have experience- having worked for 7 years under a PTG employer in MD and the DC area...where I installed (according to directions was a major focus there) these systems many times, and upkept them for the customers...

Stubborn and pig-headed and closed-minded... I will not respond to the name calling.

And- no more help or assistance from you--- I'm sorry you feel that way about this...but I think we are both better off for that decision, if this is the way you feel about things.

James, sorry if I took your humor as being serious.

I have nothing more to say-- anyone looking at this post will see what is going on here.

--------EDIT----
I was not attacking anyone's religion-- I was reciting history... Those things actually happened- and I am beginning to think are not too far from happening again!
I in no way referred to anyone's current religious practices--- my comment about the world suffering still from that period was meant to invoke thought toward why there are so many religions now out there all based on opinion rather than fact and truth...much as this forum.
I understand this is a technical forum- yet, comparing a mind-set to that of dark ages mentality IS NOT talking religion is it?


Edited by Rick_Parks (12/23/10 08:58 AM)
_________________________
Parks and Sons Piano Service
www.parksandsonspiano.com

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#1582698 - 12/23/10 08:45 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
RPD Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/07/05
Posts: 961
Loc: Kalamazoo Michigan
I haven't weighed in here on Dampp Chasers. But I feel I should.

My experience with installing the units here in Michigan is that the pianos are WAY more stable pitch-wise. Jerry's comments are echoed almost exactly in my experience; that is, in my decades working on specific pianos here we have found that the Dampp Chaser system corrects the extreme swings in RH.

Now, does that pass muster as a scientific study or argument? I suppose I really don't care, since almost everything in piano science is anecdotal anyway...i.e. which temperment sounds better, how often should a piano be tuned, heavy action vs. responsive, grand vs. upright, etc etc.

Dampp Chasers make a GREAT case for themselves in much more stable pianos for my customers. Honestly, installing them is not my favorite activity...so although there is a profit margin, at 6-7 pianos average per day tuning I'd gladly stop selling/installing/servicing the things if they didn't work.

Again, many of the techs who have reported here are taking the long view, after decades of observation. Their wisdom is worth noting.

RPD
_________________________
MPT(Master Piano Technicians of America)
Member AMICA (Automated Musical Instruments Collector's Association)
(Subscriber PTG Journal)
Piano-Tuner-Rebuilder/Musician www.actionpianoservice.com

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#1582700 - 12/23/10 08:52 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
dcb Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 05/15/10
Posts: 189
I repeated some earlier testing to make sure it wasn't a fluke. Here are my findings and they are consistent with previously.

1. I plugged my humidifier in directly and it went from 36% to 48% in about 1.5 days. This makes it clear to me that the humidifier is big enough to do the job and get the humidity above the 46% threshold for the dehumidifier to kick in.

2. I then removed the pipe insulation sealing the gap and the humdity started plummeting. 47,46,45,44,43% in about 5 minutes. I didn't want to let it go further so I stopped it at that point. This solidifies my conclusion that sealing the gap is the biggest improvement I could make. This intuitively makes sense and is consistent with Roger Jolly's testing if you agree that sealing the gap on a vertical piano is analogous to an undercover on a grand.

3. Now I am retesting the second humidistat DC sent me to see if it is calibrated differently than the first one. The first one seems to be calibrated from 37% - 33%. Ideally, it should be calibrated from 46% - 38%. (Note that my hygrometer is accurate to +/- 2%)

I think my conditions are pretty extreme with an ambient RH of 23% so in other installations, the sealed gap might not be as important.

If I decide I'm good with the 37% - 33% range, then the question will be how effective is the dehumidifier in the summer when I have ~65% humidity and 75 degrees F. If the dehumidifer can get it to the same range (37% - 33%) my pitch should be really good. However, if the dehumifier can only get it down to 50% then it might be off a bit. This is why it is important for me to get the humidity in the winter up to 42% because it is roughly the midpoint of my conditions.

Once this last test with humidistat #2 is complete, my testing should be complete until summer.

I found rysowers' critique of the MicroSorb product interesting. He stated that there was no control...I agree. I do applaud MicroSorb for publishing any testing when DC has not. Also, one might predict that a piano without MicroSorb's internal RH% would gain equilibrium with the RH outside the piano. I don't know this is for sure but I could test it. It would be very easy to test. Maybe someone without a DC installed could take the reading inside and outside to confirm. If my prediction is true, than maybe MicroSorb's "scientific looking" data chart might be something to consider as possible.

I sure hope everyone still shares knowledge with people regardless of their opinions. If all my mentors, teachers, and elders stopped teaching me things when I challenged their opinion I don't think I would have advanced past a kindergarten education. With no mentors or teachers I would be forced to take my own opinions as the only ones and I think I would be very close-minded.

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#1582701 - 12/23/10 08:52 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2545
Loc: PA
The religious attacks; don't feed the trolls.
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#1582710 - 12/23/10 09:05 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: Loren D]
Rick_Parks Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/16/10
Posts: 22
Loc: Maine, USA
Originally Posted By: Loren D
The religious attacks; don't feed the trolls.


In case you missed my edit--- because of the sudden surge in comments...
I never attacked anyone's religion... go back and read it!
I recited history. I did not speak to anyone's current religion, but of a period of time that is taught to each of us in History class...Is the history teacher attacking the Roman Catholic Church? No. I wasn't even using it in a religious context- but that of mind-sets (thinking).
You can all scream and yell and carry on as much as you wish from this point on. I hope that tempers simmer down in the end and people will examine what I actually said.
_________________________
Parks and Sons Piano Service
www.parksandsonspiano.com

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#1582719 - 12/23/10 09:22 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: Rick_Parks]
RPD Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/07/05
Posts: 961
Loc: Kalamazoo Michigan
Rick,

FWIW I'm sure most are certainly willing to grant the benefit of the doubt, but when you used a church's distant history to validate your point that some here are (in your view) blindly following the Dampp Chaser corporate jargon, its just objectionable on its face; you tend to diminish your point and lose your audience.

With respect, I have found that most of the folks who post here are extremely intelligent and insightful. We disagree from time to time, but your post sounded like you were talking down to the forum. Again, benefit of the doubt granted.

There is much in your thesis that makes sense. I'm sure if you used your detailed church reference to bolster a positive point you were making, your simile would have been met with more support.

Even with benefit of the doubt, its pretty clear that you are a critic of, and not a supporter of that particular church, and that's probably just too much irrelevant information for a technical forum.

RPD


_________________________
MPT(Master Piano Technicians of America)
Member AMICA (Automated Musical Instruments Collector's Association)
(Subscriber PTG Journal)
Piano-Tuner-Rebuilder/Musician www.actionpianoservice.com

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#1582720 - 12/23/10 09:22 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
dcb Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 05/15/10
Posts: 189
My intent by sharing the MusicSorb product was just to add more information to the conversation. Gee, sounds like there is a competitor to DC...I didn't know that before. Also, it sounds like is is endorsed by at least one PTG member...that means something to me. And finally, they did some testing. One test is one test. I didn't say it was the end all...just one more test than DC offers on their website.

I have been very consistent throughout my postings. You share your experience, I've shared mine. I've done some quantitative testing. You, and others, have many many years of hands-on experience and shared your opinions.

Has anyone ever thought for a second that maybe we are all correct? The systems typically work great but sometimes don't. I'm trying to figure out when they work great and when they don't. I have an example of my piano where it didn't work great and I'm trying to get it to work great and having a lot of success. I would think that this might be valuable information for installers, customers and Dampp Chaser.

I think the breakdown is with the debating style. People have to separate a critique on their opinions to a critique on their character or credibility. When someone challenged my testing method...I improved my testing method. That's all. I bought a more accurate hygrometer, I retested my tests, and would be open to many other ideas as to how to improve the quality of my testing. So far, I don't think I've been offered any suggestions

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#1582728 - 12/23/10 09:32 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2545
Loc: PA
No, not consistent. You are willing to accept company A's own testing, but discard company b's testing as invalid because it wasn't carried out by an independent third party. Or maybe that's Rick; I get the two of you confused any more. Speaking of which, DC's tests are also available, as was mentioned earlier in this thread.
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#1582729 - 12/23/10 09:34 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2545
Loc: PA
Quote:
I have nothing more to say-- anyone looking at this post will see what is going on here.


You can say that again!
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#1582733 - 12/23/10 09:40 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2545
Loc: PA
Quote:

Might I remind people that history went through a period of time when Biblical "Opinion" was said to be "Truth". 'The Dark Ages'-- when Catholic Priests held the keys {people not even allowed to have a bible); while they taught their "opinions" as Truth...a time that still has not been overcome to this day.


A time that still has not been overcome to this day? Saying you don't see how that could be seen as disparaging to Catholics (I'm not one) would strain anyone's credulity.
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#1582734 - 12/23/10 09:45 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
dcb Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 05/15/10
Posts: 189
Loren. You need to pay more attention to what I write. If you think I said something then quote it and please don't confuse my posts with someone elses. I don't appreciate you saying I wrote something that I didn't.

For the 3rd time, I didn't accept MicroSorb's claims as true...just one test. I shared it with everyone just to bring out all the testing that is available on any system.

Also, the test that DC offered concluded among other things that in an extreme condition, the DC didn't work as claimed by DC. This was the Roger Jolly study. Read the study yourself because I don't want to interpret it for you. This too, is just one test and I'm not saying it is the end all....just one test that should be repeated, peer reviewed, altered, and improved.

There isn't a debate going on anymore...just two parallel conversations. It's a shame...it's a waste of smart, experienced people's time.

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#1582736 - 12/23/10 09:49 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4789
Loc: Bradford County, PA
Originally Posted By: dcb
.....

There isn't a debate going on anymore...just two parallel conversations. It's a shame...it's a waste of smart, experienced people's time.


Then consider starting a new Topic. You seem to have solved the immediate problem that this Topic asked help for.
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1582738 - 12/23/10 10:00 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
dcb Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 05/15/10
Posts: 189
UnrightTooner, you're right. This thread has morphed into another topic of conversation. I think I'm going to lay low for while before I start anymore topics. smile

I wanted to share my findings to help improve the available test data but I think it has just polarized people and upset a lot of people. Not my original intent.

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#1582752 - 12/23/10 10:23 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
daniokeeper Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/01/09
Posts: 1056
Loc: PA
Rick,

Just a friendly tip...

You'll never get in to trouble around here by staying directly on topic. smile

In the past, I too have gone over the top on other forums on irrelevant side issues. I should not have. But I've tried to learn from it.

-Joe


Edited by daniokeeper (12/23/10 10:25 AM)
_________________________
Joe Gumbosky
Piano Tuning & Repair
www.tinyurl.com/tunerjoe
(semi-retired)

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#1582755 - 12/23/10 10:26 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: Loren D]
TimR Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3001
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: Loren D
Speaking of which, DC's tests are also available, as was mentioned earlier in this thread.


Bit of an exaggeration, isn't it?

There seems to be only one test, and that link is password protected.
_________________________
gotta go practice

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#1582758 - 12/23/10 10:34 AM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2545
Loc: PA
Is it unavailable? Seems it's been mentioned here that it was supplied on request.
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#1583088 - 12/23/10 08:16 PM Re: Need help troubleshooting my Dampp Chaser system [Re: dcb]
Eric Gloo Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 1176
Loc: Richfield Springs, New York
Originally Posted By: dcb
I repeated some earlier testing to make sure it wasn't a fluke. Here are my findings and they are consistent with previously.

1. I plugged my humidifier in directly and it went from 36% to 48% in about 1.5 days. This makes it clear to me that the humidifier is big enough to do the job and get the humidity above the 46% threshold for the dehumidifier to kick in.

2. I then removed the pipe insulation sealing the gap and the humdity started plummeting. 47,46,45,44,43% in about 5 minutes. I didn't want to let it go further so I stopped it at that point. This solidifies my conclusion that sealing the gap is the biggest improvement I could make. This intuitively makes sense and is consistent with Roger Jolly's testing if you agree that sealing the gap on a vertical piano is analogous to an undercover on a grand.

3. Now I am retesting the second humidistat DC sent me to see if it is calibrated differently than the first one. The first one seems to be calibrated from 37% - 33%. Ideally, it should be calibrated from 46% - 38%. (Note that my hygrometer is accurate to +/- 2%)

I think my conditions are pretty extreme with an ambient RH of 23% so in other installations, the sealed gap might not be as important.

If I decide I'm good with the 37% - 33% range, then the question will be how effective is the dehumidifier in the summer when I have ~65% humidity and 75 degrees F. If the dehumidifer can get it to the same range (37% - 33%) my pitch should be really good. However, if the dehumifier can only get it down to 50% then it might be off a bit. This is why it is important for me to get the humidity in the winter up to 42% because it is roughly the midpoint of my conditions.


I'm still curious to see you test the humidity near the top of the piano, and, for that matter, in other places other than just on the side of the humidistat. I don't believe Dampp-Chaser claims 42% humidity at the humidistat. You'll probably get different results depending on where you place the hygrometer.
_________________________
Eric Gloo
Piano Technician
Certified Dampp-Chaser Installer
Richfield Springs, New York

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