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Cleaning Electronic Contacts In An Old Synth

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white.grant

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I've got a now (very) old Korg MS20 monophonic synthesizer, have had it for years and did a fair amount of work with it in my yoof. Amongst all of the keyboards I've owned at one time or another, it's the only one I've kept and I like to drag it out occasionally and play with the oscillators and pretend I'm still a musician!

I was alarmed to find recently that a couple of the keyboard keys are not contacting properly - so the sound is either absent or crackles. I'm guessing its a mixture of dust and corrosion (don't want to think about the beers and sweat that would have found its way into it) so will likely need to clean the contacts and perhaps the odd pot while I've got the back off.

I'm comfortable enough with taking it apart, but was wondering what the best approach to cleaning the electronic contacts (and pots) would be?

cheers

Grant
 

manticle

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I don't think anything will work.

I'll pick it up from you free of charge and dispose of it for you.

I'll accept a bottle of beer as payment but nothing more will be necessary.
 

white.grant

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I don't think anything will work.

I'll pick it up from you free of charge and dispose of it for you.

I'll accept a bottle of beer as payment but nothing more will be necessary.
Fair offer but it's a long way for you to travel, so I'd feel bad imposing on you ;)

CRC makes a contact cleaner.we use them on our hand dryer contacts to remove carbon
Sounds good, anything I should know before I squirt it on, don't want to wreck it for Manticle, he might ask for more than one bottle :eek:
 

Airgead

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If its copper contacts and there is no heavy corosion then a regular pencil eraser can clean them up a treat. If there is corosion then a contact cleaner should do the job. If the contacts have coroded all the way through you may end up with a clean contact but still no connaction. Depending on how the thing is set up, you may be able to solder a piece of wire or something in there to replace the missing metal.

Cheers
Dave
 

zxhoon

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Try a small area first, some contact cleaners may damage plastics, pots may not clean well, may need to replace or pull them apart further...
 

white.grant

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Thanks for those suggestions, guess I'll know what the state of the contact is when I open her up. Hopefully the rubber will be all I need.

Cheers

Grant
 

Airgead

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Thanks for those suggestions, guess I'll know what the state of the contact is when I open her up. Hopefully the rubber will be all I need.

Cheers

Grant
When you open it up,post a photo. That may give us a better idea of the state of it and what will work.

Cheers
Dave
 

white.grant

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Good idea, I hope to get around to it on Sunday. So stay tuned!
 

manticle

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I'd make a day trip up to woollongong for an old Korg synth and a beer. I use a few Korg thingamajigs but the oldest is an electribe sampler and that's not a synth (or vintage).

Best of luck working it out. I know some people I can ask if you get stuck but you'll probably work it out quicker than I can do that.

Let me know if you don't and I'll see what I can find out.
 

white.grant

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I'd make a day trip up to woollongong for an old Korg synth and a beer. I use a few Korg thingamajigs but the oldest is an electribe sampler and that's not a synth (or vintage).

Best of luck working it out. I know some people I can ask if you get stuck but you'll probably work it out quicker than I can do that.

Let me know if you don't and I'll see what I can find out.
So would I and thanks for the offer, I'll keep that in mind should I encounter something bad but just to be clear, you still can't have it :p

I just spent a pleasant 60 minutes doing some trippy things with the sample and hold and modulation filters while simultaneously annoying the neighbours. Not a bad end to the week at all. Based on that everything else seems to be working just fine but I'm sure it will enjoy a good clean after 32 years. I'm actually getting curious about what's in there!
 

white.grant

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Got around to taking the old girl apart this evening. It looked bad, there's quite a lot of corrosion on the casing, and I wasn't really all that surprised by the dust and assorted accumulations of grot.

Taking it apart was surprisingly quite easy, there's quite a lot of information about these on the interweb and I easily tracked down a maintenance manual and assorted other helpful things along the way. There's this one video on youtube of a guy restoring a Polysynth and he chucks all of the keys into the bath. I didn't go quite that far.

Anyway, long story short is I cleaned out the muck, carefully worked as much of the oxidation and accumulated dirt off the key contact levers, using a component clearner and some Isopropyl alcohol, gave it a good clean and she's working again and while not quite shining, her surfaces at at least free of grime and grit.


DSC_0001 by _granty, on Flickr

This is the first sighting of the dust in the out of the way places (note the essential synth repairing potato masher in upper left of frame)


DSC_0003 by _granty, on Flickr

Plenty of oxidation on the backside of the contacts


DSC_0008 by _granty, on Flickr

The suspect key is out and shows a lot of dust and other matter. The contact is pretty well covered with dirt


DSC_0011 by _granty, on Flickr

With all the keys out the mess is messy


DSC_0014 by _granty, on Flickr

After an hour or so it was looking a lot better


DSC_0015 by _granty, on Flickr

Shiny plastic


DSC_0017 by _granty, on Flickr

Shiny Copper


DSC_0019 by _granty, on Flickr

Back in one piece :)

I appreciated the advice, as I was feeling very tentative about taking her apart, but am glad I did. If I'm smart I'll building a road case for her now and keep her covered when not in use, it would be nice to be able to play her for the next 28 years!
 

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