Roland A-80 (Aftertouch Repair)

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Roland A-80 (Aftertouch Repair)

Postby noisevoid » Thu Sep 25, 2014 3:49 am

So, the story is, i picked up a roland a-80 on the cheap and the previous owner was having issues with aftertouch. He had carpal tunnel (which was probably caused by this controller...), and couldn't handle the weight anymore. He eventually had it cleaned up, had the aftertouch mod done (see Plink Floyd's thread on modifying aftertouch sensitivity), and removed the AT boards, settling on just having some felts installed for the feel of it.


Anyways, here are the three aftertouch boards:
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here's another shot of the boards flipped over so you can see the conductive pads:
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with a closer look, you can see that one of the strips seems to be in good condition, and is still secured to the board:
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here's a really close shot:
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here's a shot of all of the other strips and felts. you will notice that some of the conductive material that connects the pads on the pcb's have worn away:
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So, my main question is this:
Does anyone know what kind of conductive material (the white rectangles on the plastic strips) is used to short the pads on the pcb?? I've been looking for conductive paint, silicone-based conductive adhesives, etc., I don't think that these are appropriate solutions.

If i don't find anything soon, i may go down to the store and get some dry lube (that's graphite, folks, not that aerosol crap in a can) and whip up some type of silicone-based conductive sealant... As Plink said before (in another thread before I moved this here), I don't want anything that will flake off and into my unobtainitransitronithermotuder.

Now! some quick observations:
  • if i set my multimeter to read up to 2M ohm, and barely touch the conductive material, i can get anywhere between 1M ohm resistance or more.
  • as i apply (a lot of) pressure with the probes of my multimeter, the resistance goes down... really far down... I can get to about 4 ohms at the very lowest.
  • the probe points can be a few millimeters apart

For sure, I know that the Caikote44 stuff i usually use for servicing membrane buttons is NOT what I want, as the resistance is MUCH lower... maybe i can dilute the stuff... i dont know...



EDIT: ASK AND THOUGH SHALT RECIEVE

ZOFLEX ZL60.1 Pressure-Activated Conductive Rubber Sheet
Last edited by noisevoid on Thu Sep 25, 2014 7:17 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Roland A-80 (Aftertouch Repair)

Postby ClavAnother » Thu Sep 25, 2014 5:37 am

I'm not familiar with Plinky's thread, but anyway are you intending to put it back to stock?

What's it like with just the felt?

I've never really been a fan of after touch.
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Re: Roland A-80 (Aftertouch Repair)

Postby noisevoid » Thu Sep 25, 2014 6:19 am

ClavAnother wrote:I'm not familiar with Plinky's thread

it's this one.

ClavAnother wrote:What's it like with just the felt?

To be honest, it has magnificent weight, and i like the response. I havent tested a whole lot of weighted hammer actions, but i've tested a few, and I definitely like this one the most.

as for aftertouch... i mean, it's nice to have, for sure. and polyphonic aftertouch? definitely nice to have, considering i can split/overlap 4 sections across the keys, and each section (or `zone`) will send out aftertouch on it's corresponding channel/midi out. so even if i don't have any synths that can take full advantage of poly-aftertouch, i can still send individual devices their own aftertouch... (admittedly, i'd still need to convert the midi status byte for poly-aftertouch 0xAX into the corresponding channel-aftertouch status byte 0xDX)

a few pieces of gear that i have do recieve aftertouch, and i'd like to be able to use the A-80 as my master controller for anything with keys. :tounge:
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Re: Roland A-80 (Aftertouch Repair)

Postby Plink Floyd » Thu Sep 25, 2014 9:30 am

Good pics, noisevoid! Man, some of those rubber pads are really trashed, aren't they? No wonder the previous owner got carpal tunnel, he must have been pounding the hell out of that poor thing. Either that, or he spilled a Fresca in there. What's that snot on the PCB substrate? Glue from the felt?

So, you're thinking about buying a sheet of that Zoflex and trying to replace the bad pads on the plastic strip? I dunno, man, I have qualms about how successful that would be. If you do that and it works, you'll have my admiration you bet.

Me, I'd patiently wait for someone to sell a complete set of gently used strips from an A80 they're parting out.

Ooh, here's one now... 'Course, those pads may be no better. But if you do find a donor, I'll buy some keys from you...

Also (and you may already know this), try to avoid touching the bare copper pads on the AT contact boards. Finger oil works corrosive mojo on bare Cu. And de-grease them anyway, before you replace the rubber pads, no matter which repair scheme you use.
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Re: Roland A-80 (Aftertouch Repair)

Postby Plink Floyd » Thu Sep 25, 2014 9:36 am

Oh yeah, VSTi softies Z3TA, Dimension Pro, Reaktor, CS80v, Albino and Free Alpha all have polyaftertouche. Probably several others too.
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Re: Roland A-80 (Aftertouch Repair)

Postby noisevoid » Thu Sep 25, 2014 4:05 pm

Plink Floyd wrote:What's that snot on the PCB substrate? Glue from the felt?

yeah

Plink Floyd wrote:So, you're thinking about buying a sheet of that Zoflex and trying to replace the bad pads on the plastic strip? I dunno, man

i looked at the datasheet, and it is supposedly `nonconductive` or very high resistance (in the order of 30M Ohm) when there is no applied pressure, and at ~3kg/cm^2 of applied pressure, it tapers off to ~0.1 Ohm.

So, if my calculations are correct, 3 (kg / cm2) = 6.61386787 (pounds / cm2), which seems pretty darned reasonable. :cool:

Plink Floyd wrote:...I'd patiently wait for someone to sell a complete set of gently used strips...

They may be extinct at this point... but i do like gambling... perhaps. The Zoflex is only $40 including tax and shipping, and i contacted them last night about sending a few samples of the various force-resistive materials they have, and at varying thickness.

Plink Floyd wrote:... Finger oil works corrosive mojo on bare Cu. And de-grease them anyway, before you replace the rubber pads, no matter which repair scheme you use.

this is a very good tip, thanks! :thu: i probably would have just thrown it back in without thinking about it.
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Re: Roland A-80 (Aftertouch Repair)

Postby ElectricPuppy » Thu Sep 25, 2014 6:08 pm

The thing about polyAT is that it's a MIDI hog. Maybe for USB-MIDI controllers it's less of a problem, but for old-school standard MIDI, poly AT eats bandwidth like crazy, so you'll want to dedicate a MIDI input to just the controller and nothing else. Good luck with your rehabilitation project!
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Re: Roland A-80 (Aftertouch Repair)

Postby noisevoid » Thu Sep 25, 2014 6:20 pm

ElectricPuppy wrote: ... poly AT eats bandwidth like crazy ...


I had not even considered this.... hmm, maybe repairing this board aint even worth it...
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Re: Roland A-80 (Aftertouch Repair)

Postby Plink Floyd » Tue Oct 07, 2014 9:11 am

ElectricPuppy wrote:The thing about polyAT is that it's a MIDI hog. Maybe for USB-MIDI controllers it's less of a problem, but for old-school standard MIDI, poly AT eats bandwidth like crazy, so you'll want to dedicate a MIDI input to just the controller and nothing else. Good luck with your rehabilitation project!
So Pup, you've had trouble playing poly AT stuff?

I have to admit, I've never used it. So the other day, I sat down to try it with my A-80 driving Z3TA. The next hour entailed figuring out why NONE OF MY MIDI CRAP WAS WORKING! After finding a bad electrical strip and various stolen cables (note to kill boy), it turns out my old M-Audio MIDISport 8X8 is getting flakey.

Then I got to deal with the A-80 display showing sanskrit. I had to hard reset the thing three or four times, just to change the patch param from channel AT to poly. I hope all it need is a new backup battery.

So finally, I settled in to dig deeply into the soft synth. Is patching mod sources to oscs supossed to be a Cakewalk? Apparently not for me. I got pretty close, I think, but then Life happened.

Studio time is too infrequent.

:mad:
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Re: Roland A-80 (Aftertouch Repair)

Postby Plink Floyd » Tue Oct 07, 2014 9:22 am

noisevoid wrote:hmm, maybe repairing this board aint even worth it...

Me, I wouldn't just toss it. Other than being a hernia hazard, it's one of the best at what it does. Really, the only thing I dislike about it is what most people love about it: the action. It's pretty heavy for my taste. If I ever drag live gigging gear around again, I probably wouldn't even use a piano action controller.

Lots of people think (or at least claim in their ebay ads) that A-80 keys are Real Ivory™. This is false.

My ARP 4-Voice EP had wooden keys. And a much lighter action. I really liked the way it felt.
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Re: Roland A-80 (Aftertouch Repair)

Postby ClavAnother » Tue Oct 07, 2014 2:28 pm

Plink Floyd wrote:
ElectricPuppy wrote:!
So Pup, you've had trouble playing poly AT stuff?

I have to admit, I've never.

:mad:



I had a session involving poly AT midi hogging that ended in me swearing off midi devices for 20years. It was the catalyst for me going strictly electro-mechanical in 1994 until reintroducing only analog synths in 1999.

It's a long and painful story, so I can't go into it at the moment.


\.clavamadder.?
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Re: Roland A-80 (Aftertouch Repair)

Postby selfinflikted » Tue Oct 07, 2014 2:48 pm

ClavAnother wrote: swearing off midi devices for 20years.


Wowzers. That is serious biz. I do not think I could survive without MIDI, or some similar replacement, in my life.
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Re: Roland A-80 (Aftertouch Repair)

Postby ElectricPuppy » Tue Oct 07, 2014 4:22 pm

Personally, I just don't think Poly AT is worth it. Apparently all the MIDI controller folks agree; does anyone sell a MIDI board that does Poly AT anymore?
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Re: Roland A-80 (Aftertouch Repair)

Postby soundwave106 » Tue Oct 07, 2014 5:52 pm

ElectricPuppy wrote:Personally, I just don't think Poly AT is worth it. Apparently all the MIDI controller folks agree; does anyone sell a MIDI board that does Poly AT anymore?


The market for electronic instruments people actually play seems to be... limited. :lol: But I think it would be worth trying now for the added expressive potential. USB MIDI runs *far* faster than standard MIDI, so as long as you stick to that, less chance for The Data Clog.

The CME XKey and QuNexus both have poly AT, which given the low cost build principle is a little bit ridiculous to me. The Linnstrument (if it ever comes out) is said to support poly AT, and that would be more like the type of device that needs one.
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Re: Roland A-80 (Aftertouch Repair)

Postby Plink Floyd » Thu Oct 09, 2014 5:23 am

soundwave106 wrote:The CME XKey and QuNexus both have poly AT, which given the low cost build principle is a little bit ridiculous to me.

lol I didn't know that. But if you think about it, it probably adds very little to the cost of either one of those to add poly AT. After all, they have only MPC type FSRs instead of key contacts anyway, so it's just a matter of a little more bit twiddling to implement it.

Can you imagine trying to play an actual riff on one of those? Ugh.
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Re: Roland A-80 (Aftertouch Repair)

Postby Purity_Control » Thu Oct 09, 2014 7:08 pm

He had carpal tunnel (which was probably caused by this controller...)


I'm sorry, I know that's not funny in real life or anything but :lol: Image Image Image
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Re: Roland A-80 (Aftertouch Repair)

Postby Plink Floyd » Thu Oct 09, 2014 10:47 pm

ElectricPuppy wrote:Personally, I just don't think Poly AT is worth it. Apparently all the MIDI controller folks agree; does anyone sell a MIDI board that does Poly AT anymore?


I immediately thought of this one. Apparently your sentiments are shared...
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Re: Roland A-80 (Aftertouch Repair)

Postby noisevoid » Tue Dec 30, 2014 6:39 pm

Just a quick update:
I asked for samples, and after months of anticipation, have recieved a couple of sheets of that Zoflex stuff.
I will experiment, take pictures, and post any findings sometime soon!
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Re: Roland A-80 (Aftertouch Repair)

Postby CMGF24 » Sun Dec 20, 2015 7:39 pm

Do you think it's possible to change the whole keyboard into a Fatar-Keyboard ?
http://www.fatar.com/pages/TP_40WOOD.htm
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Re: Roland A-80 (Aftertouch Repair)

Postby christianrock » Mon Dec 21, 2015 5:56 pm

CMGF24 wrote:Do you think it's possible to change the whole keyboard into a Fatar-Keyboard ?
http://www.fatar.com/pages/TP_40WOOD.htm


I had the A-90 and it's closer to the "Fatar feel" of my Alesis 88 key synth which has a Fatar. Better, in fact. I'd search for one of those.
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