Roland JD-800 (part 1)

For some time now, I’ve had a saved search on eBay for ‘spares-or-repairs’ musical equipment, since I enjoy fixing stuff and it’s always interesting to get some new noise-making/-mangling equipment isn’t it?

Just unpacked the JD-800

November saw me purchasing a rather sorry-looking Roland JD-800 (I’d not really been looking for one, but it came up at a reasonable cost — £210 all in — so I thought I’d take a chance). Obviously something had been dropped on it at some point in its life, but the seller stated that the keyboard worked and that some of the buttons needed a bit of pressure to activate, but that the synthesiser was basically working.

The obvious cosmetic damage was something to be thought about for the future, so I was interested in getting to grips with getting it functional again — initial assessment wasn’t great: none of the sound-selection buttons worked (so it was stuck on patch 23), and some of the sliders were a bit jumpy. This was going to be a bit more work than I had first thought (however since JD-800s usually sell for £400+, I had a bit of room for repair costs!).

An unexpected find was the famous Red Goo problem — of which I was unaware  before I got the keyboard. It turns out that the glue used by Roland to stick the weights onto the keys in the 1990s was of an unstable composition and, over time, it oozes and drips into the keybed; this is a problem as there are delicate circuit boards and contacts in there. Fortunately, although this keyboard had the Red Goo, it had not yet affected the keybed.

So, from the start, I was looking at a list of things to get fixed:

  1. Sort out the Red Goo;
  2. Clean/replace the dirty sliders;
  3. Clean/replace the buttons;
  4. Find a replacement for the Value up/down actuator;
  5. Find a replacement for the smashed left-hand-end.

Those are for separate posts I think…