Roland Juno-106 restoration/repair, nice update parts are now available

Juno-106When quoting restoration/repair of the Juno-106 I often describe it as a money pit because of the amount of work it requires, and high parts price. If it is in physically nice condition and you want to keep it then it is worth investing in as it is a nice sounding synth. I just want folks to know what they are getting into up front and that it is not a quick and cheap fix as if the voice modules have not been dealt with then they need to be.

Juno-106 Voice ModuleWe all know about the voice module issues on the Juno-106. If the module has not failed the chances are it will so I recommend changing all 6 80017a modules. If you have the original 80017 modules then you need to change them as a set as Roland warns your in the Service Notes that the timbre is different on the “a” variant. A common belief is that it is the epoxy coating becoming conductive over the years that is causing the failures (dead, crackling, failing the various tests in Test Mode) and that the acetone strip method was a cure. Long term the acetone strip method was not holding up and I had a couple of units in for rework that had been to the xxxxSpa. Looking at these with a microscope I Acetone stripped voice modulessaw incomplete material removal between the pins of the chips, and pins on the chips and the chips pins going cold-soldered. This leads to the belief that it is not the epoxy becoming conductive, but more it is the that the epoxy was pushing against the chips and as the temperature fluctuates, it expands and contracts which eventually lifts legs off the pads on the PCB. I re-flow the solder on all the pins on my re-work solder station under a microscope, then coat the module with silicone conformal coating to seal the moisture out and protect them. This will not cure a bad chip but has recovered a far greater percentage of modules with far less fallout. I also see failures of the Wave modules but the acetone strip (if the epoxy comes off with this method) does not seem to help as there is a red coating of “other stuff” over the actual chips that I have not tried to remove so cannot re-flow the soldering. This coating is much softer than epoxy so the epoxy is not applying any leverage on the chips.

I still do some acetone strips but prefer folks to order the complete package of 6 voice andAnalog Renaisance Voice and Wave modules 3 wave modules from Analog Renaissance in Belgium (Analogue Renaissance voice and wave module package ) and bring/send them with the synth. They have a buy 5, get 6 pricing on the voice modules. These are really nice and a much better solution than acetone stripping. Shipping is a bit slow and the price is something like $350 depending on the exchange rate but I so much prefer installing them as I know I can just put them in and they set-up easily and work. Syntaur also carries the modules but do not offer a complete package price.

I change the battery and reload the factory patches on a service, plus clean the unit inside and out. There is a factory FCO for early battery fail that was later incorporated. Check that pins 4&5 of IC4 which is near the battery.

On the modulation panel it is common for the mod lever and/or Laser cut gasketsLFO bend plate to be broken. Syntaur carries these. I also see failures of the sliders. When I service a mod panel with the old crumbling gaskets still in place I remove the old gasket and fit a new new laser cut gaskets (foam or fiber) which I have had made.

ThFront panel crumbling gasketse final area of concern, and one which many initially come in for is the front panel. Bad sliders cause it to constantly drop into edit mode crumbling gasket(you can see bad ones wittering on the MIDI Out stream). The gaskets over the sliders crumble and fall into the slider impacting its smooth travel so things get worse and worse with the shaft breaking when you move a tight one. The switches behind the buttons become sticky and intermittent (they can’t be cleaned).

For a front panel service we:

  • Clean the panel removing all the old gasket materialGaskets and old button switches removed. Cleaned after.
  • Clean (or replace the sliders… I’m recommending these really nice ones from
  • LASynth that the slider caps are a correct fit on. These work and feel perfect: LA Synth Juno-106 Slider set )
  • Fit new laser cut gaskets (foam or fiber) which I glue to the front New gaskets installed, looking good!panel. This looks
  • really nice and works well
  • Replace all of the button switches if they are original/any are failing.

IEC ConnectorIEC ConnectorOne final item folks like is to have the original 2 pin power connector replaced with a standard IEC grounded cable connector


As you can see there is a lot of work to do in order to get a tired Juno-106 back to a nice operating condition. Contact me if you would like yours restored.


CHD MIDI Upgrade for the Roland TR-808

CHD TR-808 MIDI ModWhen writing about the MTG TurboCPU upgrade I promised to put a blog entry up for a really nice and non-intrusive MIDI mod for the Roland TR-808, and here it is. The thing I really like about this implementation is the degree to which they went to make in non-intrusive (i.e. drilling holes!).


CHD TR-808 MIDI ModIt comes complete with a printed manual of step-by-step instructions, and supporting CD.

For the MIDI connector the existing Din-Sync connector is removed, along with its In/Out switch. A new connector that includes MIDI In/Out is fitted (a special adapter cable is supplied. The switch is replaced by a 3 way one, In/MIDI/Out.

CHD TR-808 MIDI ModThe “umbilical cord” for triggers and power is socketed at the controller end, so for service it can be unplugged and the TR-808 will still work (so this is not a CPU upgrade/replacement like TurboCPU).


CHD TR-808 MIDI ModOnly one hole needs to be drilled, and it is for a MIDI active Led and sits in the Start/Stop switch, under the yellow label. Awkwardness here is that they specify a metric drill, and for accuracy a CHD TR-808 MIDI Modwoodworking one is probably best. I’m sure you could get by with a slightly larger US drill and use a band of shrink-wrap tubing or some-such to tighten the fit. Of course you could ignore this step and just know that center switch is MIDI on!

Be sure to keep the parts removed such that the TR-808 can be put back to standard if need be. Here is a link to the CHD TR-808 MIDI kit. I may well contact CHD and offer to distribute this in the USA.

ARP Soloist meets 3D Printing

This is a ARP Soloisist Slider Fixrare original ARP Soloist (before the ProSoloist or DGX). A lot or restoration work was done on it, but one issue remained; the slider shafts were all broken at the point where they exited the case, and the slider caps were long gone.

The sliders are the same type as fitted to the ARP 2600 and moog SonicSix, amongst others. This is a hard to find part, and here we have 4 sliders with 3 different values. ARP Soloisist Slider FixSometimes you can find replacement shafts for these on Ebay, but nothing was listed at this time. After much head scratching I decidedARP Soloisist Slider Fix to raise the existing sliders by 8mm, and needed some precise flat blocks to do that with. I came up with a design and after many attempts (that’s 3D printing for you!) I produced a nicely printed set.

ARP Soloisist Slider FixThe sliders were removed, opened, cleaned, re-greased, then set on the blocks which I had super-glued to the ARP Soloisist Slider Fixcircuit board. There were locators in the blocks for the original slider mounting, so when the wiring was added using a heavy gauge wire extension, all was firm and true. I re-assembled the unit and added some Omni-2 style slider caps I had previously printed. All working and crackle free. Next move was to tune and scale it.

One item remains on the Soloist, the after-touch used conductive foam which was known to only last 8 months, and had all by disappeared on this 1975 keyboard. I would have liked to have got some modern strain/pressure sensors and tried to make a solution, but the owner decided to defer that to another time.



MTG Pro One Turbo CPU

Turbo CPU

I’m generally against modifications.  I have seen too many vintage synths spoiled by badly drilled holes that hold fragile switches, connected through an “umbilical cord” to undocumented perf-board based mods made decades ago, and then more wires soldered to the circuit boards. Working on the gear becomes difficult as these wires are holding the case to the cards, and of course wires fatigue and come away, and you have a challenge as to where they once went, and how the mod is supposed to work.


CV WiringI do see the benefits of a good MIDI implementation, and I have come across a couple of MIDI kits where the designers have come up with good clean designs that can be unplugged for service. In this entry I talk about the Turbo CPU upgrade kit from MTG (Music Technologies Group). Grant runs the MTG and I have found him responsive, friendly, and helpful so recommend doing business with him.

In a different post I will talk about a nice MIDI solution for the Roland TR-808 from another vendor.

Installed MIDI interface cardAll of the instructions are available to download from MTG (, so you can see what is involved. I’m on the list of experienced installers and would be happy to implement this for you, but note that I am not a reseller so you have to purchase the kit from MTG. Turbo CPU a simple removal of the CPU and install of the Turbo CPU module.

Drilling holes for MIDII think most folks would be interested in the MIDI interface which for a solid installation does mean drilling the base of case to mount the MIDI interface card, and the back of the case for the MIDI connectors.

I prefer the look of the MIDI connectors squeezed between the lettering, and made some identification labels for the MIDI ports squeezed between logosMIDI ports. Both customers for this kit wanted the MIDI interface, plus the “DIY” CV interface which adds a tiny MCP4728 chip to the v2.00 MIDI board (I was fortunate that the MCP4728 was pre-installed on one unit, but had to order it from Mouser for the other.

Alternative MIDI connector mountingFine soldering skills are required to install this chip as it is surface mounted, so ask Grant if you can have a card with the MCP4728 pre-installed when you order :-). The DIY CV interface gives you MIDI control over 4 CV wires and is a great addition that requires no trace cutting or case butchering, so I like it!

MIDI interface with plug connected CVFor my implementation of DIY CV I installed a connector at the MIDI interface card for the 4 wires so it could be disconnected for service.

Linn 9000

Linn 9000 1My customer won this working unit on Ebay, and agreed to pick it up from the seller. Between the end of the sale, and it being picked up the seller decided to get his tech to replace the batteries as they were leaking. Following this it would partly boot but hang, not good! Thankfully a heavy discount was negotiated to cover repairs, and in it came to my shop.

I have not worked on one before, and I was amazed to find it Linn 9000 3is based on the first IBM PC, ISA bus and all. This one had a lot of Forat mods, including the SRAM256 card which I have read is a favorite for folks to blow up by inserting backwards. I checked the batteries that had been fitted, and was only getting 2.4v, and one read shorted. I purchased new lithium batteries and a charger which confirmed that one was indeed Linn 9000 6shorted. New batteries were fitted. Powering on found the screen blank, and this was traced to the CPU being stuck in reset. The transistor between the batteries and this line was bad, and replacing it released the reset. Checking the CPU clock found it running less than 1/10 correct speed. The osc chip SN74LS04 and its socket were badly corroded by the battery acid; parts replaced and clock working correctly.

We were back to it hanging, but things were now solid as the battery/acid damage was out of the way. Address line A6 was found to be low amplitude, and the SRAM256 card was Linn 9000 4dragging it low. Removing the card put the 9000 into a mode where it was looking for the SRAM 256 card (Forat firmware and card), so it would not come up. From the schematic, -12v would go to A6 on the SRAM card if it were reversed (surprise!). I traced the shorted A6 line to a PAL on the SRAM256 card, and socketed the chip. Lifting the PALs leg Linn 9000 7enabled the card to be plugged back in. Bruce Forat was contacted for parts, but by the time he came back with a price I was well into reverse engineering the card fitted detection in the PAL using a logic analyzer and 8080 disassembler. Clearly the address decoding part of the PAL was still good as after zapping the code that looks for the card everything came up. The customer wanted to go this route as he wanted to see what else was bad on the 9000 (i.e. was it a write-off) before spending more on it. As the PAL is socketed he can eventually order the PAL from Bruce, and fit it along with the original firmware eprom.

Linn 9000 2Testing showed the floppy controller was bad, and a chip change fixed that (did the cable get reversed at some point?). Last thing was to replace the screen with a more modern high contrast led back-lit one. Customer sent me a YouTube video of it in action that night, he is delighted!

Moog SonicSix

SonicSix1I’ve completed a few of these now, and must admit to a little trepidation when they come in as this synth was clearly made for education use (everything is squeezed into a SonicSix2plastic suitcase with no ventilation holes, or easy access to pre-sets for set-up etc.). Setting it up is difficult to say the least, and like others in blogs I have read, just got it to scale on both SonicSix3oscillators with minute adjustments. The original pre-sets are of very poor quality, so I replaced the majority of them; thy used very low ohm values and did not get a nice sweep on adjustment, so multi-turn replacements would be good, but space and access is an issue.

SonicSix4The main issue was that it did not scale, and sounded like hell. The root cause was the -15v regulator where the 723 regulator chip was holding it at -23v. Thankfully no other chips have died (yet) due to this. One of the rectifier diodes was also bad, so there was a lot ofSonicSix5 hum from that, but after replacement of these parts things settled down. The Mullard C280 “Tropical Fish” caps were falling apart, so they were all replaced, alog with the can caps. Next move was to service all of the pots/switches, re-bush the keyboard, and (struggle with the) set-up. Jim was delighted, which makes the effort worthwhile!

Moog Multimoog

MultiMoog1Back on my favorite brand, Moog. There is a steady stream of MiniMoog’s through here, which is my overall specialization, but I do not report on them as it is MultiMoog2mostly the same issues that strike them. This is a Multimoog, which customer Jim scored along with a Sonic Six. This one had no output, and the key bushings were shot; the seller reported that it worked when he put it it away in the closet decades before!

MultiMoog3It cleaned up nicely, and the bushings were replaced with each key cleaned by hand. The buss-bar plastic mounts had gone brittle, so I had to make some parts on the lathe, and rob a parts keyboard to resolve this. The lack of output was due to a dead CA3080E MultiMoog3transconductance amp (common bug). Pots and switches were gradually worked with switch cleaner until they performed correctly. The buss-bars had to be removed in order to get the oxidization off them and the contacts. Unit was set up and played nicely. One surprise for me was that the after-touch was fully working, pity the design of this severely limits key travel.

Crumar MultiMan-S

CrumarMM_6This unit had been powered off for many years, and although it looked nice once dusted off, oxidization had done its worst on key contacts, made sliders crackly etc. The brass section was not working, and the pitch slider was broken.CrumarMM_2 - Copy I could not find a source for sliders, and ended up grafting a metal shaft onto the pitch control. The sliders are of a closed and sealed type, but thankfully (and surprisingly to me)  injecting switch cleaner into screw holes in the slider cases banished the crackles.

CrumarMM_4 - CopyInvestigating the brass issue revealed cracks in a circuit board from impact, with a poor repair attempt in the past. I wire jumpered allCrumarMM_5 - Copy bad and suspect circuit board traces such that if the crack grew a little then it would still work. The final issue was key contacts, and in the end I had to remove the buss-bars in order to clean them CrumarMM_1which is a major strip-down effort. The contact springs were really bad and had to be repeatedly treated using isopropryl as a cleaner. The results are pretty good, but the only way to get it to 100% would be to find new springs. Customer just loves it!

Roland System 100 Model 101

System100_101_1  This unit shipped in and per the customers description, had a dead keyboard and lots of slider issues. TSystem100_101_4he sliders in here are rare, and the worst one was a dual slider type that could not be found anywhere. All sliders were found to be gummed up with old grease, dust, hair, and other debris. The unit had to be deep cleaned, and all sliders opened, cleaned, and lubricated.

System100_101_6The keyboard was giving a large negative CV out, so off the audible scale. The customer said it worked until he tried to clean the contacts due to a few bad keys. What he had done was to overSystem100_101_2 aggressively clean it such that a lot of the CV contacts were dis-formed and resting on the gate bus-bar. These were straightened out, but the majority of keys were then intermittent and badly triggering. Closer investigation revealed that the contact wire that is welded onto the key spring was either missing, or broken at one end such that a consistent on and off point for the trigger and gate could not be achieved. Contact sites were rare and expensive,System100_101_3 so it was a case of using the good trigger contacts from some of the contact assemblies to make complete good ones, then salvaging assemblies from my spares RS-09 (fewer keys) to fully populate the 101. This was a LOT of work, but the keyboard is fully functional now and the owner is delighted.

System100_101_5One other note here is that if someone uses the wrong tool on a ferrite oscillator coil slug as a previous repairer did on this one it will crack and not be adjustable in the future.

Roland TR-808 Step Switches

Roland_step_1I have found a source of the correct original type of step switch used in the Roland TR-808, and Roland_step_2put them in the Parts section of my main site. You have to be really careful on how you remove the switch actuator so as not to break it, and the ribbon cable to the panel is very fragile leading to intermittent/no step Roland_step_3button operation. The originals get gummed up and dusty inside, and they cannot be cleaned. I stock 2 types, the original, and a sealed variant (which has a different action). If you replace a switch I would suggest doing them all.