Fix It

In 2008 when moving to the first studio the Yamaha DX7 was leaning against the wall while gathering equipment around. It fell to the ground in the mist of twirling around the room packing the stuff. Seeing how the delicate digital apparatus is to be handled in such videos as “Nine Inch Nails Live At Woodstock’94” I thought nothing of it. At the studio when I tried to turn the synth on nothing happened. It was dead, no lights, no sound, nothing.

During the past seven years there has been some attempts to debug the device. I did notice that when I plugged the headphones in and turned it on I could here the hum. During the seven years I opened it several times and tried to see if I could locate the problem without removing any components. One of my friends did take some very quick looks at it always stating that we should someday fix it.

On sixth of March we took another shot at it. The synth was opened and visually inspected and the transformer and regulator part were tested with a multimeter. Everything seemed to be ok as far as we could tell. We almost gave up on it and started to prepare to play something. My friend kept staring at the DX7, it clearly bothered him very much. Suddenly he shouted out “I think I found it”. There seemed to be a crack on the PCB were the voltage regulators were and the massive aluminum heat sink. He took the PCB out and turn it around to see that there really was big enough crack on the ground rail. Now that we knew where the problem was we had to fix it. “Do you have soldering iron here?” “Yes I do 25w” “Ok and how about solder?” “No”. So we had part of the stuff we needed to fix it. I did suggest that we could try to get some solder from an old CD player that was broken. Of course there is no flux so it was not a good idea. We even asked some guys that were in the building if they had solder, but they didn’t. This was a situation that was really annoying. We even looked for solder in the next door rehearsal room where there should have been some solder, but it was lost. Finally my friend said that lets try the old CD player. The soldering iron was heated up and the CD player brought close to the regulator PCB of the DX7. The PCB was sanded to bring out the copper a bit and my friend started heating the solder on the CD players transformer. He tried to get the solder from the transformer to the PCB and to make it stick. The PCB was heated for a long time, but eventually a very tiny drop of the solder got stuck on the PCB. Multimeter that everything was ok and regulator back into the DX7.

The feeling was great after seven years of silence hearing the sound of the Yamaha DX7. I did not even pick up the bass that evening. We changed the tape loop on the Echocord mini after the DX7 project, but that is another story. My friend took the PCB home and did a better fixing on it. The one that was done in the studio was something that I wonder how it work, it was a very tiny drop of solder that worked as a bridge over the crack.

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