U20's Keys refuse!

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Vincent Kroon

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Sep 12, 2003, 2:46:17 PM9/12/03
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Has anyone expirence with cleaning the contacts of tke keys of Roland U2?

Especially the black key only perform when they are hit extremely hard.
Do I need new contacts or should I clean them?


Filthy Rich

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Sep 14, 2003, 4:38:10 PM9/14/03
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On Fri, 12 Sep 2003 20:46:17 +0200, "Vincent Kroon" <de...@planet.nl>
wrote:

>Has anyone expirence with cleaning the contacts of tke keys of Roland U2?
>
>Especially the black key only perform when they are hit extremely hard.
>Do I need new contacts or should I clean them?
>


Sit down before you read this..............

You have what is a very common fault with the U20. The following is
from posts on this very topic a few months ago.


The contacts in your U-20 are between the keytops and the frame of the
keyboard itself. It's not a job for an amateur or the faint-of-heart,
but it can be done..... Your problem is probably due to trash under
the rubber switch tops (if you're lucky), worn out rubber switchtops
with an imprint of the grooves of the pads on them, ripped rubber flex
sections that hold each little black contact button in position (the
grey rubber part that bends)...or....heaven forbid....the
glued-together "connector" that connects the contact strip with the
foldable PC cable to the main computer board has "separated" making
just one contact intermittent....if you're not lucky.

BEFORE WE DO ANYTHING SAVE ALL YOUR PATCHES TO WHATEVER YOU SAVE
PATCHES TO!! WE'RE GONNA TRASH THE WHOLE MEMORY REPLACING THE ALMOST
DEAD MEMORY BACKUP BATTERY!! WHEN WE REASSEMBLE IT, ONLY THE ROM
PIANO SOUND WILL WORK!! YOUR PATCHES WILL BE HISTORY IF NOT PROPERLY
SAVED TO CARD OR COMPUTER.....WARNING!!!! www.rolandus.com has
factory U-20 patches you can download. It's a little midi file you
can use media player to play to the midi/game port to restore the
original patches. My other post tells you how to load them on this
newsgroup.

Hint - When placing the keyboard top-down on a table....DON'T rest its
weight on the BENDER!! Use a book or something to hold the bender OFF
THE TABLE or you'll BREAK IT! I use a foam block I cut to fit OVER
the bender and tape it in place so it can't come off. You should,
too!

This job requires you to remove the bottom, loosen the MIDI plug
board, the audio board behind the bender, the main computer board, the
plug-in-card board and connector and move them, CAREFULLY out of the
way so you can unmount the keybed frame and completely remove the
keybed from the main frame of the unit. Be informed there is ALWAYS
battery power on the main computer board (replace the Lithium battery
while you have it apart...Radio Shack and Walmart have the button
battery)..so you MUST be careful not to short anything out to the main
computer board that may destroy the memory chips. This thing is VERY
static sensitive so must NOT open the case any where near a nylon
carpet, or anything else like a carpeted benchtop that may produce any
static charge to destroy it when you touch it. Are we scared yet??
Hope so.

To unplug the "modulator" switch's tiny little ribbon cable under the
bender, carefully pull it loose from the little connector it's plugged
into. NOTE EXACTLY HOW IT WAS UNPLUGGED SO WE CAN PLUG IT BACK IN THE
RIGHT WAY....WRITE DOWN ALL NOTES!!
To unplug the keyboard from the main computer board you must RELEASE
the edge connector lock! Use a tiny screwdriver to pry CAREFULLY
towards the cable the face of the connector which moves. The ribbon
cable literally falls out of the hole when you open this connector.
DON'T FORCE IT OUT or it'll ruin the contacts on the cable. Reclose
the connector locks so you don't lose the locking part. They're AWFUL
cheaply made.

Now that you have the keybed removed from the guts of it, lay it keys
UP on a flat table or bench....there are still static sensitive keyer
devices built right INTO the contact strips. They look like little
domes of clear glue. No carpeted bench tops,etc to zap them!!

Before starting ANY disassemble of ANY key, look in under the keys
from either end to see how it's held in place and what that damned
spring looks like when it's in the right place and WORKING. Notice
how the spring is arched UP from being straight? Think about that
little spring, the cheap plastic "hinge" at the back of each key and
the little felt pad in the front the next time you are POUNDING THE
HELL OUT OF IT WITH THE VOLUME CONTROL ALMOST AT ZERO! I bet after we
get done today you will NEVER pound on this U-20 again!....hee hee

Along the back edge of the plastic keys is a long, black plastic strip
that's stuck down to the metal frame and prevents the keys from moving
"back". Carefully remove it by prying it off. Don't get anything on
the glue!! We want to put it back and have it STAY THERE!! Set it
aside in a safe place. AT this point you'll need a small box to store
straight metal springs in safely so we don't lose any. We want all 88
of them when we put it back together! With the locking strip removed,
you can now push back on the white keys FIRST enough to dislodge them
in the rear...then up and towards the front through the hole they are
mounted in making the BACK of the key loose. Under each key is a
metal spring that spends its life bent UP inside the key in a little
arch. DON'T LOSE THEM! THAT'S BAD. Look VERY CLOSELY at the little
plastic piece they fit into in the INSIDE BACK END of each key and
note EXACTLY how they fit in there. Notice the two little metal
"ears" are pointed DOWN into two matching holes in the metal keybed
frame. They MUST go back EXACTLY as they come out. Note it. The
front end of the springs fit in a little metal tab just behind the
contact strip, which, in a brain fart that costs customers LOTS of
money to clean, Roland STUPIDLY decided to put on TOP of the frame,
not under it where we wouldn't have to remove ALL THE KEYS to get to
it. All Japanese engineers are NOT brilliant, just most. Start on
one end and remove all the white keys. The front of the keys, after
you get the back loose and have been CAREFUL NOT TO LOSE THE SPRING,
fits over a "hook" that limits the travel of the key when it's
assembled. Tilt the back of the key UP off the spring, which just
fell into one of the damned holes in the keybed frame ESPECIALLY
punched to drive American technicians, whos fathers fought the
Japanese in WW2 and who bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki, CRAZY to get
even for the war! I'm a conspiratist at heart. Why else would anyone
in their sane, right mind put the damned key switches BETWEEN the keys
and the bed??!! Having found out how to get the white keys dislodged
from this insanity, you may now take ALL the white keys off the
keybed, storing them in a box and the SPRINGS IN A SMALL BOX SO YOU
DON'T LOSE THEM!

Now that you have all the white keys laying in a jumbled pile, I'd
like to mention that all the C and F keys are exactly the same, all
the E and B keys are exactly the same, all the G keys are the same,
all the A keys are the same, all the D keys are the same. They are
all marked for your enjoyment on the top back by the hinge in the rear
for reassembly later. The only QUEER key, of course, is the very TOP
key which is double width to fill up the hole. We're going to
reassemble it in no particular order so you can just pile the keys in
a box, not worrying about any order in them.

The black keys are removed in exactly the same way. Remove the very
left black key and stop to look at the keybed frame for me. Notice
the spring is exactly the same as for the white keys? Store the
spring in our spring box, SO YOU DON'T LOSE IT, DAMMIT! Notice there
is a little difference in the frame where the black keys fit? This
will be used later so you don't put white keys in black key places and
vice versa. Just note it for future reference....(c; Remove all the
black keys and put them on top of the white key pile. DON'T LOSE ANY
OF THE SPRINGS...JUST FOR ME, OK? NO, THE SPRINGS GO IN THE SPRING
BOX, NOT LAYING AROUND ON THE BENCH OR IN YOUR POCKET!

Now that we have all the keys seemingly destroyed for eternity, take a
30 minute break. This allows you to cool down and think twice about
how to blow up the Roland factory using diesel fuel and fertilizer in
a U-haul rented truck. There....feeling calmer??

You are now gazing at one of the cheapest and
most-prone-to-fill-up-with-crap-that-will-destroy-it keyswitch contact
strips in the entire music industry. I've made a very nice living,
over all these years, disassembling and cleaning the hair, beer,
booze, coke, cigarette ashes (LOVE CIGARETTE ASHES), puke and (for you
cat lovers) unbelievable organic acid cat piss from under these flimsy
boards. If you, at this point, smell cat piss, call your friendly
Roland dealer and order the new replacement contact strips as NOTHING,
including straight, concentrated, fuming sulfuric acid, can totally
destroy a contact strip like that nice little kitty marking territory
on top of your keyboard! No sense wasting time cleaning something
that no longer has circuit board contacts. See my other message in
this newsgroup with all the part numbers in it.

For those of you without cats, only a bunch of drunks hanging over
your keyboard singing in your face, we will now remove the rubber key
switches for a careful inspection. Look at the UNDERSIDE of the
keybed directly under the rubber switchtops. See those rubber "nubs"
that hold all this down to the keybed metal frame? We're going to
CAREFULLY remove the nubs from the holes WITHOUT ripping them off the
switchtops no matter HOW mad you are. While pulling the rubber
switchtops away from the contact board, wiggle them around in a little
circle and these nubs will "give way", we hope in one piece, allowing
you to remove the rubber switch from the contact strip.....

NOTICE HOW THERE ARE TWO BLACK BUTTONS UNDER EACH SWITCH. NOTICE HOW
ONE STICKS FURTHER DOWN THAN THE OTHER? REMEMBER WHICH BUTTON IS ON
WHICH SIDE OF THE KEYBOARD. IT MAKES REASSEMBLY MUCH EASIER! It
makes a difference.....it only goes on ONE WAY.

Start at the upper end of the keyboard. WE do this because the left
end of the top rubber strip OVERLAPS the right end of the strip
further down the keyboard. Use a pencil and make a mark at EACH
JUNCTION of the rubber strips. They have a different number of keys
on them!! The holes in the nubs ONLY fit if you get them back in the
right sequence they came out of. The top one, I think, is only ONE
NOTE! DON'T LOSE IT!!

Remove the top strip. Look very carefully at each note's TWO
contacts. The tiny black button is the only contact that shorts out
the contacts on the strip to play the note. If the lower one misses
contact, the note will HAMMER LOUD when the upper one contacts. I'm
sure you've heard this on some keyboard or other. The computer senses
the first switch to close and counts the time until the second switch
closes. This time sets the touch sensitivity of the note, its timbre,
loudness, etc. It would be very nice if they all worked ALL THE TIME.
You know, like it did when it was new!

Is there a pronounced "ridge" on the end of the black button? New
buttons are completely flat, very dull and black. Worn out buttons
have a middle "ridge" with shiny, worn-out, black contacts on either
side. If the ridge gets so "high" it prevents the rubber button on
either side of it from making GREAT contact with the contact pads by
holding them off the surface of the pads, the note will start playing
twice, 3 times, not at all....it'll MISS! Get any occasional
HAMMERING LOUD notes?? This is what does it. If there is the
SLIGHTEST DOUBT if this is "good enough" for the next 3
years...REPLACE ALL THE RUBBERS NOW INSTEAD OF TRYING TO CLEAN THEM.
REMEMBER WHAT A PAIN-IN-THE-ASS THIS DAMNED THING IS TO GET APART!
Don't cheap-out trying to use worn out rubbers for another 6
months....it just ISN'T worth it!

If you're satisfied the rubbers are "ok"...take your finger and move
them sideways. The grey rubber "spring" must be completely WHOLE....
See any rips or weak spots in the grey part? The buttons, POUNDED AS
THEY ARE, may peal loose from the grey part. They will even rip OFF
the grey part. IF it's the tiniest bit lose...the note will
miss...replace the rubbers....ALL OF THEM!

Do this procedure for all the rubber contacts and if you're going to
replace them, skip washing them in the next step....you'll be headed
to the Roland dealer for new ones while the rest of us are washing
ours.....IF IN DOUBT REPLACE DON'T WASH.

Get a nice, clean glass and fill it with WARM NOT HOT water. Add a
little squirt, not much just a tiny drizzle, of Dawn dishwashing
liquid to the glass. Stir it until the Dawn dissolves. Lemon Joy
works, too, but all those drunks will think you're gay when they smell
the lemons while you play! If you're gay, use the Joy, you might get
lucky!

Hold your breath and put all the rubber switches INTO the WARM NOT HOT
dishwater in the glass. Shake vigorously as if you are making a
martini. Hold the strips in the glass and let the water pour out into
the sink. Refill with clean WARM NOT HOT water for the first "rinse
cycle". Shake some more. Drain, fill, shake. Drain, fill, shake one
last time to make sure all the dishwashing liquid is gone. The
switches are as clean as new if you DON'T TOUCH THE BLACK BUTTONS FROM
NOW ON! Finger grease is as bad as that crap under the keys...well
not as bad as cat piss. Lay out a few gourmet paper towels on the
counter next to the sink. Remove each rubber switch from the glass
and shake the water off it. Blow more water off it. Lay it black tit
DOWN on the paper towels to dry. We won't be installing them back
into the keybed unless they are TOTALLY DRY!! We don't want them to
"rust", do we??

OK....YOU NEW RUBBER BUYERS START READING HERE AGAIN.....

Now we're going to clean off the coke, booze, beer, tears (sad song
artists), ashes (love them smokers!), hair, dandruff, dirt, grime,
salt water crusts (I fix these on tourboats in Charleston Harbor) from
the key contact strips. Dig into the kitchen cabinet for your WINDEX
.....WITHOUT AMMONIA PLEASE!! Ok, are you back from the store with
NON-AMMONIA WINDEX, yet? Bring a roll of paper towels and the NON
AMMONIA Windex to the keybed table. Spray a little Windex on the
towel NOT THE CONTACTS. Make the towel quite damp, but not dripping
wet. SLOWLY, CAREFULLY, GENTLY let the Windex dissolve off the crap
and dirt as you SLOWLY, CAREFULLY, GENTLY wipe down the contact strips
being VERY CAREFUL not to put any strain whatsoever on that joint
where the ribbon cable attaches to the contact strip...OR YOU'LL BE
SORRRRRRYYYYY! Change paper towels often, reapplying more Windex each
time until all the crap is off the nice, pretty, clean strip. Clean
the crap off the keybed, too, the same way. Be very careful of the
contact strip while you do. Now that it's all clean DON'T touch the
black contacts with your finger any more....they must be clean and
have NO PAPER TOWEL OR OTHER CRAP ON THEM. Inspect them to make SURE
they are all clean.

By now you need another cooling off period....while the rubber
switches dry. Turn the switches over and use new dry paper towels
until they are totally dry. See you in an hour or so. I'm going to
lunch!

Ah, we're back....now we're going to reverse the entire process you've
been taking careful notes on. Start at the bottom (reverse of when we
took 'em off) of the keyboard and put the left-end rubber strip back
in the holes. This strip has a square end on the left and the
"junction end" on the right, remember? If you did it right, all the
nubs have a matching hole! Using your finger push down on each nub to
seat it into the hole it belongs in. Wiggle it around a little and
it'll go farther. Now is when I get my hemostat out....like the
doctors use to hold skin. Radio Shack has them if you don't. Pull
CAREFULLY, GENTLY on the end of the nub on the bottom of the keybed
until you see its little collar that holds it pass through the metal
hole. GENTLY I SAID! WE DON'T WANNA RIP THEM NOW!! Motion the
hemostat around a little to help it fit through the hole without a lot
of pressure that will tear it. Do this for all the nubs on this
strip. Do this for every strip, taking frequent breaks for NON
ALCOHOLIC beverages and "curse breaks" away from the family's earshot.
Isn't this FUN?!

Now that you have all the rubber strips holding the contact strip back
in place...squeeky clean with no hint of dirt between....we can start
installing the BLACK KEYS FIRST...(reverse order, remember?).....

ALL black keys are the SAME! Remember you can see where they go
because they are in a little different place on the keybed than the
white keys.

Now for the "Reassembly Trick of the Week". How, in hell, do we get
the damned springs you wouldn't let us lose back under and INSIDE that
key?? ALL THOSE KEYS!!??

The trick is quite simple. Install the front end of the key over its
"hook" leaving the back of the key way away from the keybed. Now put
the spring in EXACTLY the right way into the BACK of the KEY to it's
little plastic piece. Holding it there, move the key down so it goes
UNDER the metal tab it mates with on the keybed. Now that it's mated
in BOTH ends, pull a little forward just enough to bend the spring
inside the key in that arch until you can get the "hinge" end back
seated in its hole in the back. It may take you a few tries to get it
right. What happens is the keybed end of the spring doesn't get UNDER
that damned tab and will slip out until you figure it out. Or, the
key-end of the strip isn't rested against it's little plastic pin.
Once it's right, the spring's pressure does two things....It holds the
key back against the "hinge" metal hole very well and it provides the
upward pressure to hold the key up in position when not played. When
it's in place....play the key a few times to see if it feels right.
If not, remove it and fix the spring which is why it feels STIFF...The
spring is always the problem. Put all the black keys back in their
places. I always work from left to right. Do they all work great?
Now look UNDER each black key in between to make SURE there is the
tiniest of clearance between the actuator pad on the key plastic and
the top edge of the rubber switches under them. There's a tiny gap.
The key should NOT touch the rubber switch in the full UP position.
If one does, remove it and FIX THE SPRING.

Start reassembling the white keys, left to right. Don't worry about
putting them in exact order. If you pull out a D keytop (marked on
top of the hinge in back), put it in the next available D key
position. (For you novices, D fits in between C# and D# black keys.)
If the black keys don't look like the "normal" 2 then 3 then 2
pattern....now's a good time to go look at the piano to get the
pattern...(c; Be careful not to bend the rubber keyswitch tops over
when installing any of these keys. After assembling a few....now that
you can no longer see in between keys....look under the keytops on the
end of the keybed and sight down it looking for that little clearance.
They all should have the exact SAME clearance. If a rubber switch
seems "high", it's nubs are not pulled through properly. Check the
nubs. If one key looks "low", it's the damned spring out of place.
IF any keys feel "stiffer" than others....it's the damned spring out
of place.

Now that we have ALL THE KEYS reinstalled in their holes....put the
sticky strip back where it goes in the back so you can't pull the keys
forward and out...it locks them by being UNDER them back there. (We
noted how the sticky strip was way back up in page 2,387 of this
message.)

Carefully reinstall the keybed back under all those boards flopping
around loose being VERY careful not to get ANY WIRES under ANYTHING
that would pinch them and cause a nasty short! The keybed fits over
some nice alignment pins on either end to help you get it straight.
Replace all the screws that hold the keybed into the main frame of the
unit, being careful of the WIRING. Don't forget to plug in the little
tiny ribbon cable that's your modulator under all the keys...it's near
the bender, there's a little plug for it. Make sure to check your
notes so it's plugged in the RIGHT WAY, PLEASE!

Replace the memory battery now if you didn't yet. You can access it
by standing up the main computer board (the big board with the foil
shield paper on the bottom). See the battery holder that opens?
Kmart camera dept or Radio Shack has them. Oh, I almost forgot, you
just dumped ALL YOUR patches, like it said at the top of this
message....We'll reload them later, if the keyboard every works
again....(c;

Ok, new battery IS installed, Houston! Telemetry restored, solar
panels deployed!

Now, in the reverse order you loosened them, re-install all the boards
and WATCH THE WIRING....

INspect everything carefully to make sure all the cables are plugged
in, no wires are pinched or shorted to anything, all the screws are in
place,etc......

Upright the keyboard with the bottom still off it. Plug in your
earphones or an amp and the AC power cord....WE'RE READY TO TEST IT!!

If you see a message about a dead memory battery, perform a system
reset from your owner's manual. I don't have it in my head right now.

The keyboard has not booted up and instrument 11, the ROM Piano should
play correctly on EVERY NOTE. Try it! Other patches were lost and
must be reloaded when we get it put back together. Some might even
still be alive! You can make some synth sounds you like manually,
too. Test out the keyboard to see if it works. If it doesn't boot,
you pinched a wire, smoke is rolling out of the power supply by now.
It's toasted! Don't blame me....I didn't do it!

All notes should play as perfect as the day you got the keyboard if
you did it as above. I must have done 500 in the last 10 years. I
hate it with a passion, but I'm willing to help you. These are some
of the STUPIDIEST MADE keyboards I ever saw.

Look at my other post about the new key contact strips to find out how
to properly reload the downloaded factory patches from rolandus.com.

If this post helps someone fix a dead U-20....I'm a happy camper.
If this post causes you to give up the crazy idea of taking the bottom
of the unit off to fix those dirty contacts...I'm also VERY happy you
didn't destroy your U-20 by going beyond your capability. You'll love
me for saving your keyboard from certain death. Take it to a
certified Roland technician and be VERY understanding, having read
this post, of what he's about to do for you. I guess you can see now
he's not trying to rip you off telling you this is a 5 to 8 hour job
he expects to be paid well to perform. IT's a REAL Nasty Job.

Larry
Keyboard Service
Buy me a beer when you're playing in Charleston. A nice seat down
front where I can hear your music would be awful nice, too!


Filthy Rich
Music House

Vincent Kroon

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Sep 15, 2003, 11:25:49 AM9/15/03
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Thanks!

Gives me something to talk about.
I'll let you know the results.

Vincent.


"Filthy Rich" <> wrote in message
news:oak9mvci440cpqm6b...@4ax.com...

reginald...@gmail.com

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May 1, 2016, 6:02:27 PM5/1/16
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hello am in GHANA and I just bought a used Roland u 20 keyboard and almost all the keys are not working, can you please help me? MOSES KWESI AMO SACKEY

mws.michael...@gmail.com

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Feb 19, 2018, 3:51:54 PM2/19/18
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On Sunday, 14 September 2003 16:38:10 UTC-4, Filthy Rich wrote:
> On Fri, 12 Sep 2003 20:46:17 +0200, "Vincent Kroon" <??????????????>
OK, Larry,

I realize this is an "old as Jesus" post you have here........but since there aren't many folks out there posting "GOOD" technical explanations of how to do a contact tuneup on the old U-20, I guess I have to give you some kudos just for posting ANYTHING.

BUT...please tell us what you're smoking.....we want some.

The reason I say that? You mention being careful not to lose any of the "88" springs from the keyboard. May I remind you this is a SIXTY-ONE key instrument we're dealing with here! LOL (More weed, please!)

Also, go easy on the rants against Japanese engineers.....and the WW2 stuff. You Yanks WERE on the winning side of the war, but, I don't think there's too much that American engineers can say to denigrate their Japanese counterparts.

And some of your other "technical comments" about how "stupid" Roland was for putting the key contacts "under" the keys? Think about it. You really figure it would be possible to put the contact OVER the keys?

Come on now......sober up and be polite!
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