VINTAGE SYNTHESIZER REPAIR at BAMMEL TV TECHNOLOGY SERVICES
We had occasion of late to fix up a real classic: the vaunted Oberheim OB-8 synthesizer. Similar synths in the OB-X line by Oberheim defined much pop sound in the early 1980’s, the most notable example being Moving Pictures by Rush.
Customer brought in his OB-8 with complaint of No Sound. Upon bench diagnostics we found many swollen and leaking capacitors, with many dirty and contaminated control potentiometers. We developed our repair prospectus and estimate for the customer. Our notes indicated:
UNIT NEEDS SIGNIFICANT RESTORATION, POSSIBLY 4-6-8 HOURS OF LABOR, POWER NEEDS TO BE RESTORED AT COMPONENT LEVEL WHICH WILL REQUIRE EXTENSIVE TROUBLESHOOTING AND RESTORATION OF THE POWER SUPPLY.
UNIT ALSO NEEDS KEYBED CLEANING, KEYBED ALIGNMENT, CAP REPAIR JOB, and ORIGINAL PATCH RESTORATION.
In the event, restoring the instrument’s original sound patches proved the seemingly-insurmountable barrier to repair completion. In the 1980’s only comparatively primitive techniques for importation of sound patches existed. We spent far more time than had been originally budgeted, but we eventually solved this issue and repairs were ultimately successful.
Another one bites the dust at Bammel TV. Here, a link to the Youtube video for this repair:
RACK GUITAR PEDAL REPAIR: LINE 6 POD PRO REPAIR, ROCKTRON PROPHESY REPAIR, DIGITECH GSP2101 REPAIR
June 10, 2016
Our report on three repairs performed on a customer’s Line 6 Pod Pro, his Rocktron Prophesy, and his Digitech GSP2101.
This customer owns ALL THREE of these classic units! It’s guitar pedal repair time at Bammel TV Tech Services!
Pod Pro Repair
The Pod Pro is a classic 2-rack space effects unit from Line 6. Capable of multiple simultaneous effects of the classic sorts: distortions, delays, dynamic effects, tremolo, wah, reverb, pitch shifting—a wide tableau—no, make that a panoramic sweep of tones. With dual XLR-outs as well as digital outs, and multiple possible input configurations, these were excellent machines. We haven’t seen very many, but as the authorized service center/master service center in Houston for Line 6, when those products need some TLC and attention, we’re the destination of choice for the customer.
In this case the Pod Pro exhibited periodic loud screeching noises—obviously hideously unacceptable for a guitarist. Specifically, the customer complained of a “Works 12 seconds, screeches 12 seconds” phenomenon. Our master techs would have liked to get the Main PCB for this repair, but it was NLA from Line 6. That left us scratching our heads…We came up however a solution: we REPAIRED the main PCB assembly fault. We ordered up an IC from China and were successful at restoring this high-quality unit.
Rocktron Prophesy Repair
The same customer also brought in a Rocktron Prophesy—one of the classic units designed by Tom Scholz of Boston. This unit was simply dead, exhibiting a no-power symptom. We isolated and replaced seven discrete faulty components, and unit is restored and back to proper operation.
Digitech GSP2101 Repair
Finally, customer also brought to us his Digitech GSP2101—another rack-mounted classic effects unit (and one of our personal favorites.) The 2101 was/is/remains legendary due to two 12AX7 vacuum tubes (or valves, as our British friends call them)in the preamp section, permitting a wide range of natural analog tones, from crystal-clear-clean to radically saturated distortions—that’s in addition to a huge range of digital effects, on top of an analog compression/EQ/gating stage. Altogether a wonderful unit, which fortunately in this case required only minimal service to restore.
Summary: When you need guitar pedal repair…
Three more bite the dust, courtesy of your crew at Bammel TV Tech Services.
Customer brought to us an early-1980’s vintage studio recording deck: a 2″ tape, 24-track recorder—the MCI JH-24.
The MCI JH-24 is a rather legendary studio multi-track recorder—a very impressive piece of equipment, the first commercialized 24-track recorder. Many rock classics were recorded on MCI machines: Eric Clapton, the Eagles, Led Zeppelin, and the Bee Gees recorded many of their 1970’s era hits on MCI 16-track machines. The JH-24 carried an original purchase price in the $30,000 range. Even today working units are being sold online for over $8000, not including freight.
By the early 1980’s digital recording was emerging on the horizon, but many artists then, and still today, prefer the perceived “warmth” of analog recording equipment. And so we found ourselves facing a non-functioning JH-24 deck—the first one we have seen.
Assessing the Repair Prospects on the MCI JH-24, and Phase 1
Customer’s complaint was that “Tape transport won’t function.” Our diagnostic assessment found the following:
“MAJOR RECONSTRUCTION REQUIRED in POWER SUPPLY, STANDBY CIRCUIT WORK, and SYSTEM CONTROL CIRCUIT. ADVANCED TROUBLESHOOTING PLUS REPLACE OF MISC COMPONENTS INCLUDING DISPLAY LAMPS—HOWEVER IT IS OTHERWISE IN GOOD SHAPE AND REPAIR IS FEASIBLE & RECOMMENDED FOR REPAIR.”
After considerable efforts by one of our master technicians, our repair essentially stalled out—“I can’t fix it.” Despair set in. Eventually I transferred the ticket to our other master tech and assigned him a full time assistant for this challenge. The risk was considerable: should he and his team flame out, and the unit prove unrepairable, this would represent a large loss of valuable repair production time.
Phase 2: Breakthrough
The second tech team completed the remaining work, but having done so, we ran into additional complications with this very complex product. Customer had requested that at least 16 of the original 24 tracks be restored. As it turned out, each individual recording track presented individual electronic circuit issues. Both our master techs worked on the unit, and were finally successful in restoring 23 of the 24 tracks, each of which required individual troubleshooting and circuit repair, for a total repair cost below $4000—thus saving the customer over $4000 off the cost of purchasing a replacement.
Summary: We Fixed It
Finally, we presented the triumph to the customer: a restored, functioning MCI JH-24, at just half the cost of a working replacement. Just another save-the-day at Bammel TV Tech Services. Click on the video player below for a brief video review of the final, functioning unit.
Customer brought to us his Weslo Cadence DS11 treadmill for treadmill repair service, with the following complaint: “Unit powers on, but nothing activates.”
The Weslo DS11 is a lower-priced treadmill in the market, with a pretty low hp motor and 4 stock incline positions. Often found at $300 or below, could such a low-cost unit be economically repairable? To ask the famous question: was the product worth fixing? Yes!
We found that the unit’s control board had an intermittent cold solder connexion (we like British spelling, sometimes.) We repaired the connection and unit was picked up, saving the customer considerably off a new replacement.
Summary: Treadmill Repair Time at Bammel TV…
Just another save-the-day at Bammel TV Tech Services.
Customer recently brought to us for restoration a classic, vintage Zenith console stereo, model #MH2602M, bearing a chassis designation of 4G21 9H20. We estimate this unit was from the late 1950’s or quite early 1960’s. Customer reported “retro appeal” on the unit: it being fashionable to come to her home and listen to vinyl discs on the stereo console. But her kitty-cats had gotten out of line and clawed up the grill cloth—quite badly—one of the worst cases of pet clawing damage we have seen! BAD kitty! (Customer indicated she has subsequently declawed the little villains, or otherwise disarmed them.)
But, as pet damages go, this one wasn’t amongst the very worst. We did a restoration/replacement of the speaker grill cloth, using material supplied by the customer. Additionally we did some cosmetic treatment of some critical internal fixtures, cleaned all potentiometer controls, and repaired/re-aligned the display glass, which had slipped out of alignment.
We’ve fixed many, many vintage and console stereo units for customers. We’ll add more posts “in future,” as our British friends say.
For our Stereo & Electronic Repair Service main page, click here.
Summary: Vintage and Console Stereo Repair at Bammel TV…
“I get a message, it says ‘add beans,’ I add beans and start grinding. then it stops and says, ‘add beans’ again.”
Our master techs and support staff were on the case by January 21st; we determined that the grinder had gone faulty and would have to be replaced.
Upon completing the parts research and vendor sourcing phase, and obtaining manufacturer’s part # for the grinder, we found that one of our reliable parts vendors, Encompass Parts, had the item in stock.
We obtained approval from the customer to proceed with the purchase order and repair on February 9th; part was in on 2/17, and the grinder installation and quality control testing completed by 2/19.
As these units go for ~$2000 used on eBay, and we fixed it for $385, you might say we saved the customer $1600.
Need Delonghi Gran Dama repair? Call the professionals! Call Bammel TV!