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Old 12-01-09, 10:07 PM   #1
Snicklefritz
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Digital piano woes

I have a Korg digital piano that I bought back in '91. It is a full-sized keyboard with weighted keys, back in the day when touch-sensitive action was a big deal. After many wonderful years, this piano is starting to give me some grief. About a year ago I had trouble getting sound out of it. Funny thing is, this seems to be random. Sometimes I turn it on and get the usual sound out and at other times the sound is so faint I can hardly hear anything. I've tried hooking it up to my stereo system, hoping that some external speakers might work but no such luck. Yoday I turned it on and heard an outrageous amount of static for maybe 30-60 seconds after which it went back to normal.

I'm planning to call Korg tomorrow to see whether or not they have a facility nearby that can take a look at it. I'm guessing though that if it does need a major repair, it might not be that cost effective, but I can't say for sure. Anyone have experience dealing with this sort of thing?
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Old 12-02-09, 11:27 AM   #2
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Not on electronic piano's specifically, but intermittent issues can be caused by loose soldering just about anywhere in the piano, which can be darn hard to track down. Another possibility is water...has it been in a particularly humid area or did you spill anything on it lately?

For electronics repair out of warranty, it's standard to have customer pay shipping and a fee to have it looked regardless of whether they can fix it. If they can find and fix the problem, it's often not too much more, however. That's not the final word. Ask Korg for an estimate how much it will be to have it looked at when you call.

If it's not cost effective, however, it's a great excuse to get something with hammer action keys. They feel really, really nice to play.
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Old 12-02-09, 11:29 AM   #3
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This was my "keyboard" back in the day!
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Old 12-02-09, 11:55 AM   #4
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I live in Calfornia so humidity is low and I haven't spilled anything on it, although it did sit idle for about a year (albeit with a cover on it). One strange thing I noticed was the following: when I first turned it on yesterday it wouldn't produce any sound at all. However, after I hooked it up to my stereo system it produced sound from its own speakers. Even after I unplugged the connections to the stereo system, I was still able to get sound out of it whereas beforehand I couldn't hear anything. Does this offer any other insights into a possible electronics problem?
The effect seemed to be analogous to someone being shocked with a defibrillator. This did happen once or twice last year, but eventually the problem came back. So whatever happened with I hooked it to the stereo (and later unplugged) wasn't a lasting effect.


I completely agree on the notion of the piano with regular hammer action. I'd love to get a regular piano, but I studied classical for so long that I think my taste has gone well beyond my budget.
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Old 12-02-09, 01:30 PM   #5
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Sounds to me like some corrosion on some connectors or as mentioned above, a loosening solder joint. Sometimes once you get juice running through the connection the issue will clear up for a bit, but it's usually a sign of worse things to come.

That being said, my home stereo amp only works on one channel for about five minutes, then suddenly starts working and I won't have any issue for the rest of the day. Been that way for years, and doesn't bother me enough to bother fixing or replacing it. So you may luck out and be able to live with it for a while.

If you're gigging with it, then I would for sure get it fixed or replaced. The last thing you want is for it to go down in front of a large group of people.
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Old 12-02-09, 01:35 PM   #6
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corrosion or even dust inside. might be crossing a couple solder joints and causing a "short" until it gets blown away or burned off.
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Old 12-02-09, 02:43 PM   #7
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I feel for ya. I have a YAMAHA PSR-520 that I have been using to gig with since 1996. (Of course I only paid $500 for it and probably nowhere near what you paid for your KORG.)

It's on its last leg and already does more than I should reasonably expect from it. Once it goes, though, I won't be replacing it.
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Old 12-02-09, 03:05 PM   #8
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I have an Ensonic keyboard from the same era. It is gigged 4 or 5 times a month. 6 months ago it started doing the same thing that you are describing. It turned out to be a bad/dead battery. Don't ask me how a low voltage condition will cause it to only work some times and not others, but the local electronic Mom and Pop fixed it for $25 plus the cost of the battery. No problems since.

BTW, on mine the battery is soldered in.
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Old 12-02-09, 04:35 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snicklefritz View Post
when I first turned it on yesterday it wouldn't produce any sound at all. However, after I hooked it up to my stereo system it produced sound from its own speakers. Even after I unplugged the connections to the stereo system, I was still able to get sound out of it whereas beforehand I couldn't hear anything. Does this offer any other insights into a possible electronics problem?
The two folks who suspected "corrosion" are spot-on. That's the classic symptom of corroded contacts on the output jacks (which probably have a normalling pin designed to disconnect the internal speakers when an external sound system is used). Try spraying some Caig DeOxit (or Radio Shack TV tuner cleaner) on a plug and repeatedly plug & unplug it in the piano's output jacks several times.This should remove all but the most stubborn corrosion.
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Old 12-02-09, 04:37 PM   #10
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Man, those Korgs are nice keyboards. I'm still on the hunt for an old Wurly or Fender EP from the 70's or 80's...you know the ones where you have to drop solder on the mechanisms to keep it tuned? Awesome.
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Old 12-02-09, 04:43 PM   #11
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Quote:
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The two folks who suspected "corrosion" are spot-on. That's the classic symptom of corroded contacts on the output jacks (which probably have a normalling pin designed to disconnect the internal speakers when an external sound system is used). Try spraying some Caig DeOxit (or Radio Shack TV tuner cleaner) on a plug and repeatedly plug & unplug it in the piano's output jacks several times.This should remove all but the most stubborn corrosion.
I will give that a go. Incidentally, when I turned the piano on just now I couldn't get any sound of it. However, after playing it for a couple minutes I heard a lot of static and then eventually a normal level of sound.

Would the corrosion only be an issue when trying to hook it up to external speakers? Or would corrosion in the same area affect the internal speakers as well?


Fortunately I don't gig with this, but use it mainly for practice when I'm at home...
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Old 12-02-09, 04:49 PM   #12
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This is kinda OT but I have one of those expensive light sabers (yes, I'm a dork) and the sound is kinda whack sounding, crackly? I have barely ever used it, so I doubt I "blew the speaker." could it be corrosion?
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Old 12-02-09, 05:37 PM   #13
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nah, the force is going byebye.
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Old 12-02-09, 05:38 PM   #14
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^ lol
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Old 12-02-09, 05:42 PM   #15
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nah, the force is going byebye.
going to the Dark side...
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Old 12-02-09, 06:22 PM   #16
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this is my current "keyboard"!
fify
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Old 12-02-09, 10:04 PM   #17
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I completely agree on the notion of the piano with regular hammer action. I'd love to get a regular piano, but I studied classical for so long that I think my taste has gone well beyond my budget.
I wasn't even talking about a regular piano. You can get electronic keyboards now with keys that simulate the weight and feel of the hammer linkage in a real piano. The thing I hated most about electronic keyboards wasn't so much poor sound quality, but the feel of the keys. I was skeptical at first, but when I tried one I was amazed how right it felt, and that was on a lowly $500 Casio!
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Old 12-02-09, 11:11 PM   #18
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This piano does have that which is one reason why I hope I can fix the problem with the speakers/circuitry !!!
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Old 12-02-09, 11:22 PM   #19
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Oh nice. I didn't realize they made hammer action keyboards back in 1991.
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Old 12-03-09, 05:43 AM   #20
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I have a Korg digital piano that I bought back in '91. It is a full-sized keyboard with weighted keys, back in the day when touch-sensitive action was a big deal. After many wonderful years, this piano is starting to give me some grief.
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Oh nice. I didn't realize they made hammer action keyboards back in 1991.
mmm hmmm...
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