Monthly Archives: September 2013

Broken USB ports

usb port

Many pieces of gear these days have USB ports of this style.

Keyboards use them, DJ mixers Use them, DJ control surfaces use them, some standard mixing boards use them, some effects use them, Digital recorders use them … On and on the list goes.

The problem is the connectors were really designed to be plugged in and left alone.The music industry really needs to come up with better connector to use. The big problem is about 25% of the time when these break off the circuit board they also damage that circuit board.

Unfortunately when these break you must take them to a well-equipped and experienced shop trying to change these yourself, or having an ill equipped shop try it will only end in your having to replace the entire circuit board. Which in most cases is the Main PCB. This is a most definite do not try this at home situation.

My best advice of course is to be as careful and as gentle as you can with these USB ports. As I said they are a poor design choice for this gear and break easily.

Randy Morgan …..  Owner & head technician at All Service Musical Electronics Repair

Technics SL1200 cutting out, or output low on one side

The most common problem we see with the technics SL1200 are the rca output cables failing.SL1200

The original output cables for the SL1200 are no longer available. Due to the strain relief system on these not just any cable will fit. There are however several good quality cables out there that will fit the SL1200, just don’t try to use a super fat cable as you will never get the strain relief back on.

Other than that these tables are almost bullet proof. It is a shame they stopped making these.

Here is a link to a utube video that shows what you would be up against – If you attempt it be sure to use a better soldeing iron than this dude did.   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wK9rK6yLR7U&feature=player_detailpage

 

Randy Morgan …..  Owner & head technician at All Service Musical Electronics Repair

Roland Juno 106 voice IC’S

Juno 106

Roland stopped making the replacement Ics some years ago. However there is a guy over in Europe who is making a good quality reproduction. So if you have an old juno laying around that you thought was beyond hope due to bad voice IC’s you thought wrong.

I have installed this new part in several Juno keyboards to date, they work great and even after several years i have yet to have had one fail.

Here is a link to the part: http://www.analoguerenaissance.com/D80017A/

I do not recommend attempting this one yourself as the traces on those old boards are pretty touchy and they can be destroyed pretty easily.

Randy Morgan …..  Owner & head technician at All Service Musical Electronics Repair

 

BUYING USED EQUIPMENT

In this tech tip I am going to talk about some things to look for when buying used electronic equipment. Buying used equipment can save you big bucks or provide you with big problems if you are not careful.

The first rule is plug it in make it work and test all the functions. If the person you are buying the equipment from does not have the needed equipment on hand to test what ever you are buying, (such as a guitar & cable for and amp, an amp and cable for a keyboard, etc.). Bring your own! When you test a piece of used equipment you are thinking about buying don’t just turn it on play through it and say yea it works I’ll take it. Leave the equipment on for as long as possible.

Many problems take an extended warm up period to show up. Lightly wiggle all the jacks (including the ac adapter jack if it has one) on the unit while it is operating to check for intermittent connections. Lightly tap on the unit in different places while it is running again to check for any obvious bad connections. If a unit is capable of running on both batteries and ac power, check to see that it does indeed work with both. Rotate all the controls while operating the unit, if they are audio controls there should be no erratic behavior or crackling from them if there is, while this is usually not a serious problem it will mean an additional repair expense.

If the controls operate a function as on a keyboard or an effects unit the same applies only the problem will show up in the way the display that indicates that function changes. If a unit has an external fuse check it to see that it matches the value written on the unit. If the fuse that is in the unit is of a substantially higher value or worse yet has foil on it. Insist that the proper value fuse be installed to make sure the unit will operate and is not drawing too much current which could indicate expensive repairs.

If the unit is fairly complicated make sure you get an owners manual with it. If the person selling the unit does not have an owners manual figure on spending an average of $15.00 to $25.00 to get one if it is not available as a free download, as many are these days. Many private parties sell things as is with no warranty, but it never hurts to ask for some kind of warranty (don’t expect too much and don’t be mad if you don’t get it.) If you are buying from a music store expect some kind of warranty. In either case be sure you get the warranty in writing so you are both clear on it. Last but not least get a written bill of sale with the model and serial number of the unit on it.

Randy Morgan …..  Owner & head technician at All Service Musical Electronics Repair

Where should I buy my tubes?

From a reputable source!

Beware! There are a lot of sources for amplifier tubes and name brand alone does not assure you are getting a quality tube.

You should as a general rule avoid the internet tube warehouse type places because often the tubes they sell are seconds of inferior quality. The initial cost may be cheaper, but the repair bill when they take your amp down will not be. The old adage of you get what you pay for defiantly applies here!

Music stores that sell tubes usually sell what they can buy cheap, sell cheap and make a good profit on. Their choice of what to carry is often not based on careful research. For this reason most music stores are not a good source for tube purchases & information about tubes.

Even some repair shops unfortunately will sell cheap inferior tubes because they feel their customers will kick about the price if they don’t do this. What a good repair shop will do is sell the best quality most reliable tube they can obtain at a reasonable cost to the customer. If this means sacrificing some business so be it, because a good repair shop will realize that quality and long term reliability will save the customer far more in the long run than the small amount of money they would save initially by using cheap inferior tubes!

Sorry if it sounds like I am a soap box here, but I am very passionate about providing quality service and reliable products to my customers.

I will never sell or use something at my shop that is not of good quality, poor quality parts make poor quality repairs, which makes for amplifiers failing in the middle of a gig …and that’s no good at all.

 

Randy Morgan …..  Owner & head technician at All Service Musical Electronics Repair

My new tubes make my guitar amplifier sound so much better; surely this brand must be better than what I had.

Consider the following scenario to illustrate why people think the tubes that they recently had installed in their amplifier whether it be for a guitar amplifier, a bass amplifier, or any other type of tube amplifier are so much better than the brand they had in there before. (In other words how tube rumors get started)

Most people do not change their tubes until they have a repair issue. We find that on a average most tube amplifiers we take in for repair have not had their tubes changed for 2-3 years ! After 2-3 years any set of tubes are not going to sound good in your amplifier. So pretty much no matter what tube is installed now will sound so much better that what you had that you will think the new tubes are best thing since sliced bread. In other words it is not so much the brand of tube that you installed, but the fact that you changed the tubes at all that made the amp sound so much better.

 

Randy Morgan …..  Owner & head technician at All Service Musical Electronics Repair