Sunday, February 9, 2014

Another broken piano story: Part 2

After the disassembling: The reassembling, the re-disassembling, the repair, and the re-reassembling.

The would-be piano technician, hard at work. Note how the camo pants make my legs blend into the area rug. (Fun side note: Everyone who lives in Alabama is required to have at least one pair of camouflage pants. Just letting you know in case you want to live here one day.)
The worst part about this whole piano repair project was the screws. The would-be piano technician is required to remove 82 screws to get inside the piano: four to remove the stand, six to remove the stand brace, and 72 (!) to remove the top of the piano from the bottom. Because I’m taking lessons, and I like to play the piano, and I don’t really have anything else to do with my evenings, and because my piano actually had functioning keys and sounds without the broken MIDI/sustain pedal board, after removing the broken parts, but before the replacement parts arrived, I reassembled my piano. So when the replacement part came, I also got the distinct pleasure (?) of re-disassembling my piano. 82 screws out again.

Not good.
82 screws loose. You can count them if you like.
Thankfully, with three of the four fastening points for the broken board still intact, I figured super glue should be more than enough to reattach the fourth fastening point. It was. Then all I had to do was figure out how the board connects, make sure it was connected, screw it down to the frame, then put back those 82 goddamn screws.

Where the board goes. Note the three holes at the top, the three posts (with silver screws) still good and the one missing post, and most of all, note the mangled white plastic connector on the left side of the board at right. That's going to be the make-or-break of this repair project.
It turns out, that the connector end of the board just inserts into the connector on the mother board, just as you would expect. You just slide down the plastic cover, make sure the wires are straight, and insert the end. It went in smoothly and fit snugly. I then put the broken bit of the plastic connector in and pushed it down so it secured the wires to the contacts. It worked like a charm. At least, it seemed to be everything it needed to be, but I wouldn't know for sure until I plugged it in and tried it out. I put a little electrical tape around the connector, just to hold it a little better.

The DJack board, installed. I hope this works.
Then, back in with the 82 screws.

I plugged in the piano, plugged in the sustain pedal, turned on the piano, stepped on the pedal and hit a C-Major-7 chord with both hands. I lifted my hands and, ... voila! The sustained sound of a full all-white-key jazz chord continued to fill the room. I successfully repaired my digital piano, by myself, without a service manual.


I’m not sure how to test MIDI connectivity, however, as I had only ever gotten to the point of playing my keyboard from the computer and during other operations, I wouldn't know if I was doing something wrong, the cable was doing something wrong, or the replaced board was not connected correctly. (I almost typed “corrected connectly”, which I think aptly indicates my level of trepidation.) Still, if the sustain pedal works – and it does – then that must mean the board is connected correctly. And if the board is connected correctly, there’s no reason why MIDI shouldn't work. And, if MIDI doesn't work, well, at least I've got a usable piano (although I’ll have to get something additional to compose with on my computer).

I’m practically a piano technician, but now, I can actually practice on a fully functional piano, so that’s what I’m off to do.

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