Electronic Keyboard Repair
Electronic Keyboards is a generic descriptive term but is often used for a more specific category of electronic musical instrument. In general terms anything that has a piano style keyboard and generates sounds through some process involving electronics. This could include electronic organs, synthesizers, and even electronically enhance acoustic pianos. The term also is often used to refer to a class of portable consumer/semi-professional instruments often with built in speakers. They are often sold in big box stores and warehouse stores as well as conventional music stores. As a category it is poorly defined and subject to individual interpretation. It also becomes blurry as to when it stops being a keyboard on a stand and when it becomes a digital piano, this usually being a marketing decision.
The most familiar electronic keyboards, and the most dominant in the market, are those made by Yamaha like the PSR series and the Casio lines. There are also so very low cost models with little know brand names that can be found. Portable keyboards designed for the home market have been around since the early 70's and the internal circuitry has pretty much paralleled the development of the home organ. The earliest models used discrete transistor circuitry and consisted of individual tone generators, voice shaping circuits, and a diode or transistor keying array. They have become increasingly more integrated with the most recent models consisting of one or two high density integrated circuits one a single circuit board. The internal speaker systems have shown similar evolution starting with transistor radio type speakers and amplifiers consisting of a few transistors, to todays 3 way speaker systems with ported bass enclosures and tri-amped designs using highly integrated power amplifier modules.
Tools Needed to Repair Electronic Keyboards
Due to the portable nature of electronic keyboards and to their frequent exposure to young children many of the problems that are encountered are due to physical damage. This includes broken, knows, switches, keys and even cabinetry. Liquid spills are also a common problem as well as other types of contamination that manage to permeate the keyboard usually resulting in dead keys. Most operations require little more than hand tools and occasionally a soldering iron. A good set of screwdrivers, nutdrivers, and good quality temperature controlled soldering iron are the essentials. A good digital multimeter is usually the all that is needed for trouble shooting. Occasionally an oscilloscope can be useful and many professionals use this as their man troubleshooting tool.
Repairing Electronic Keyboards
Dirty key contacts and broken knobs, jacks, and keys are the main tasks involved in keyboard repair. Key contacts should be cleaned with plain liquid handsoap that contains no additives live aloe, moisturizers, fragrance, or vitamin E. All the contacts should be cleaned and the enclosure and circuit boards should be swept clean of all contamination. A static resistant portable vacuum is good for cleaning particulate contamination. Static discharge precautions should be used since damage to a critical IC can result in the loss of the entire keyboard since some of the IC's cost nearly as much to replace as the keyboard would cost to replace.
Most of these keyboards use an external power supply so high voltage is not a worry. The jack that the power supply is plugged into becomes a frequent point of failure as the cords get kicked or the keyboard gets dropped on the jack. Headphone jacks are another frequent point of failure since a failed jack can prevent sound getting to the speakers. Since the ability to use the keyboard with headphones is often one of the motivating factors in their purchase the do get used and abused.
Cost effectiveness of a repair becomes a major issue at the low end. It takes just as much time to clean the contacts of a cheap keyboard as it does and expensive one. Also parts availability becomes a major issue after a few short years. And ten years down the road it is very unusual to find the replacement parts necessary to make the repair. Even at the higher end the crossover point where it is cheaper to replace than to repair is not all that hard to reach.
Can I Fix My Own Electronic Keyboard?
Unless you fully understand the terms and the implications of the entirety of the above discussion, you should not even be considering working on your Electronic keyboard. Seek a repair professional to properly and safely repair your keyboard or to determine the cost effectiveness of a repair.
Where Can I Get My Electronic Keyboard Repaired?
MITA technicians are tops in the field, with the training and experience to reliably repair your gear. Find the nearest MITA technician here for further consultation or a quality repair.