Originally Posted by Preston135
For soldering get youself some of them basic electronic kits, make youself a radio. or a number generator or something, before you start going wild with a soldering iron on your synths.
Great idea. The first kits I made only half of them worked and they were a mess .. I'd hate to learn soldering on my synths!
Originally Posted by Brainchild
Then finally I bought "Make: Electronics", got all the parts for the projects in it from mouser.com, and started getting my hands dirty actually making shit.
I have both books and the only one that I've used was the "Make: Electronics" also! Yes I'm the same I can't learn from text books I learn through doing and breaking things then fixing them.
TBH most of my synth repair consists of (make sure you're earthed when working on circuit boards with chips):
1. Replacing all 10+ year old electrolytic and tantalum capacitors (especially the power supply ones) with the same voltage, capacitance, and physical SIZE (usually in Panasonic or Nichicon brands from digikey.com)
2. Look for any physical signs of damage or dry solders (an eye glass helps) on the circuit board and replace with the same components, repair circuit traces with wires if necessary to ensure clean lines.
3. Clean inside and out thoroughly with a damp (almost dry) cloth with 10% white vinegar 90% water solution
4. Replace bushings on keyboards (hint! Bushings have a top and bottom. That's why some ebay keyboard keys are all wonky
5. Clean j-wires on keyboards that have them. Clean contacts on keyboards that don't (cleaning with Deoxit Red 100% and then finishing with Deoxit gold 5%)
6. Remove mess on PCB from previous work with Flux-Off (optional if you're anal)
7. Reseat chips with a chip lifter (this takes practice without bending legs), reseat cables and plugs. Look for oxidation and clean with deoxit red 100%, finish with deoxit gold 5%. If the chips/ICs have different metal from the socket this will cause problems over time, so I replace the socket with a better quality one if you can.
8. Replace the battery with same type (back up presets first if the synth/fx works). Don't let batteries (or any component) get too hot - use heatsinks. Install a battery socket if there isn't one so you don't have to solder it next time. If you can't backup presets you can wire another battery in parallel while you desolder the original to preserve presets.
9. Find the service manual, grab a $30 multimeter, $15 guitar tuner, and ideally an oscilloscope and follow the instructions for voltage checks and calibration.
Turn it on. If you see smoke turn it off straight away
Take your time, go slow and don't rush. I've never blown up anything and repaired many. The above will cover 90% of repair jobs.
For equipment that still has a fault, you then have a diagnostic process to go through. This is a different topic than just maintenance but let us know how you go?