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Roland VK-77 resurrected

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  • Roland VK-77 resurrected

    During rehearsal, it stopped playing, so I rebooted it and got a memory damaged message, then rebooted again, looked good for a few seconds then went blank. I'm figuring it blew a fuse, fortunately during rehearsal. Had the organ nearly 20 years and it's been a solid workhorse. (Never gave me any problems.) So, I'm opening it up tomorrow and looking for obvious problems. (Loose screw shorting out a component type of problem.) Anyone interested in seeing the insides? Should probably look and see if I can pull some repair info from the internet. (Have user manual, but that isn't the right tool for this.)
    Last edited by WynnD; 02-14-2016, 09:25 AM.

  • #2
    The only thing I can think of, that could possibly help would be a backup battery. The keyboard likely retains your user settings to do this and probably uses one of those large hearing aid batteries clipped or soldered to the board. When they go bad, they short the voltage that supplies the memory chips.

    Other then that I doubt you'll find anything else in there to help you. maybe an on off switch has gone flakey or you have some switch that's shorted, but that's wishful thinking for the most part. Sometimes you may get lucky reseating cables, but even that is questionable.
    The unit likely uses ribbon cables which are soldered to the boards. Sometimes they have plugs that can be removed then plugged back in again, but having poor contacts has very, very low odds.

    If the battery backup isn't the problem it's likely a power supply issue. Chances of an amateur fixing it is zero. Chances of a certified tech is nearly zero too. Rolland doesn't make schematics available to the public. A tech may be able to purchase them but theres no guarantee Rolland will selll them to a tech.

    Even if a tech has the schematic and is able to troubleshoot the issue, Rolland probably wont sell him the parts to repair the thing.

    This is the main reason I got out of the musical gear repair business. The music companies are paranoid about having their designs ripped off so they don't make schematics or parts available. They have parts branded with unique part numbers to make it impossible to cross reference them. They only authorize repairs through their own facility and they drop all support after 10 years.

    You can check with Rolland and see if they still support legacy products. A keyboard repair is likely to be an expensive job. They don't repair boards any more, they just swap them. Chances are the repair cost will make the choice unrealistic. They intentionally make the cost high and repair of an old unit makes no sense. When one thing goes bad its likely something else unrelated will also go bad soon after.

    Good luck on finding something simple. Chances are From your description you'll need to purchase something new.


    • #3
      It clearly wasn't just a blown fuse. Replaced it and the battery, turned it on and the display was lit up entirely for about 4 seconds and then the replacement fuse went. The VK-77 is now in the hands of a Roland authorized technician's hands. Hopefully it comes out of the hospital fairly quickly without costing an arm and a leg. I've noticed that used VK-77s are selling for less than $2K. I paid $3K but I also got a PK-7 pedalboard and Roland organ stand. (Necessary for pedal use under this keyboard.) There's a part of me thinking the power supply board is a likely source of the problem. We'll see.

      Thanks for your input.


      • #4
        Yea, power supplies are the first thing that get zapped with voltage surges and the power caps get weaker with age.
        I suggest you get a power filter if you don't have one. Playing out in clubs without one is risky business. Half the time the outlets are in really bad shape. You got people jamming all kinds of grimy bent plugs into them and you can have all kinds of bad contacts happening. Open ground, open neutral or arching caused by heavy loads can send all kinds of spikes to your gear. These spikes can be large enough where your older power supply caps can filter them out and they take out your voltage regulators and such.

        You don't need to spend allot on a filter either. One of those $10 filtered computer power strings will have a set of surge arrestor caps and coil to prevent surges from getting to your gear. I have maybe a half dozen of them I use in both my studio and for live shows. I also have some of the more expensive type to protect my computers and PA rack. We have allot of power outages here during the summer season and I use them to protect against lightening bolts and shorted lines.

        The best surge protectors are the isolation transformer type. They have a large 1:1 transformer which completely removes your gear from the outside line. The additional caps and coils filter out the noise.


        • #5
          OK, Just got the VK77 back. Mainboard replaced and a few components on the power supply. Good catch WRGKMC. Total damages is about $1000. Got two gigs before the end of the month so its come home at a good time. Got a rehearsal this Saturday so will run it through its paces then.


          • #6
            It was so good to sit down at the VK. Really missed it. (Been gone for nearly a month.) Everything I've tested so far works.


            • #7
              Hopefully you'll get a few more years out of it before something else goes.

              Not to be Johnny Raincloud, but I do suggest you make future plans and come up with some alternative options. The symptoms of your failure have been corrected and it may fail again as it continues to age. The parts replaced are probably not new. Once a model stops being manufactured they simply repair boards to use them as replacements. Unless you replace every electrolytic cap in the thing, you may acquire new issues with increasing frequency as time goes on.

              I'd use it while I come up with a new plan, check out its resale value, save for something better, then sell it off and get something new before it becomes a basket case and has no resale value.
              Last edited by WRGKMC; 02-15-2016, 03:27 PM.


              • #8
                Seriously considering a Crumar Mojo. Consider that as being on the back burner. Meantime, I'm thrilled to have the Roland back. the longer I put off a purchase the lower the price will be and the better it will be without a Leslie. (Even though I have those.) And that advice is clearly a place I've been thinking about. Thanks.


                • #9
                  Perhaps, WynnD, you'd be interested in purchasing a backup? I've got a VK-77 in perfect working condition with a PK-7 pedal.