Expanding into digital piano & organ repairs

Posted by: Ryan Hassell

Expanding into digital piano & organ repairs - 11/16/12 09:10 PM

I don't know about you guys, but I routinely receive calls about working on digital pianos and organs. I usually just tell them that I only work on acoustic pianos. There is really no other name to give them, because no one around here even works on them. It am just wondering if anyone on this forum works on digitals and how would one go about learning how to do this?
Posted by: Emmery

Re: Expanding into digital piano & organ repairs - 11/17/12 12:40 AM

Ryan, I suggest reading this and many of these questions will be answered for you.

http://mitatechs.org/faq

The newer keyboards are like computers, very specialized internals with parts available from the OEM only as long as they are willing to supply them...typically no more than 10 years...often less than this.

I get these same calls you do. If its not out of my way and I can schedule it in I will often drop by and try and help. I'm succesful about 30% of the time and the only reason for that is that its either an external or internal in line fuse blown. You need to figure out how to dissasemble some cabinet parts and do simple testing with a multi tester. These keyboards are very susceptable to power surges and spikes off the grid if not protected well with a quality surge protector. The organ work in churches and such and tubed older equipment is a whole thing in itself...MITA can help with this if your willing to give up a week to travel to Vegas for one of their specialized classes.

There arn't a lot of these techs out there. We have about 3 or 4 here that cover a population area of several million people.
Posted by: Loren D

Re: Expanding into digital piano & organ repairs - 11/17/12 07:12 AM

Originally Posted By: Emmery
Ryan, I suggest reading this and many of these questions will be answered for you.

http://mitatechs.org/faq

The newer keyboards are like computers, very specialized internals with parts available from the OEM only as long as they are willing to supply them...typically no more than 10 years...often less than this.



While this is true, I know several good electronics techs who have successfully repaired bad boards that were no longer available. A soldering iron and a supply store that can provide capacitors, diodes, and other electronic components can work wonders. Of course, these guys had the ability to follow pretty complex schematics and test each and every component until they found out where the problem was.

I did some warranty repair work for Suzuki once, and sure enough it consisted of replacing a bad system board. Once I figured out how to get the thing apart, it was no more difficult than installing a sound card in a computer.
Posted by: William Steward

Re: Expanding into digital piano & organ repairs - 12/04/12 08:04 AM

Ryan - I started dabbling in electronic keyboard repairs about ten years ago since there is really no one else in my community to do it. People started bringing me their problems usually as a last stop before taking the instrument to the dump. I got more confident after several successes. Over the years I have found the number of actual 'electronic' problems are a relatively minor percentage of repairs although it has got me learning more about basic electronics. The majority of repairs are mechanical issues - broken keys, key weights, dirty or misaligned key contacts, worn out rail felts. On 'electric' pianos (eg: Rhodes) the problems are even more basic and 90% mechanical - tine, hammer tip, and pickup replacement or adjustment / regulation of the moving parts. For a piano technician the repairs are not challenging although like acoustic pianos every one is different. Electronic and electric instruments are generally designed to be serviced so dissassembly is easy and mechanically much simpler than acoustic instruments.

If it is something beyond my capability I would be honest and not attempt a repair but have yet to get stumped...except by an old Korg home model keyboard. The overall pitch was approx. -30 cents and the replacement IC unvailable from even a vintage parts supplier. There were no adjustments on the board itself or internal program options to set pitch. My knowledge of electronic components did not allow me to troubleshoot this one. The thing was old, cheap and still played OK so decided to admit defeat. Even if I had diagnosed the problem, chances are parts for repair would be unavailable.