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Final update on BK9 repair
After several years using my BK9 with no problems, when I would plug in the Roland EV5 (or any) expression pedal, the overall volume of the BK9 would drop in half.
(for a while, before I figured out what was happening, I just turned it UP overall and pounded the piano a lot)
I took it to my local authorized (central Ontario Canada) Roland repair place, and he, in close consultation with Roland Canada in Vancouver, determined that I needed an new 'output board'. (That is - all the 1/4" and MIDI jacks plug into 1 output board) The estimated cost: $1000 Cdn.
I avoided the repair for 6 months - using slider to control organ etc volume. Last week I swallowed hard and had it repaired for just under $800Cdn. My local guy says Roland had mercy on me and dropped the price of the board.
Of course, there was always a chance that replacing the board would in fact not fix the problem. But it did fix the problem and I'm happily playing my organ+accordian with foot volume control. (Most of the time when I use the BK9 I am playing along with a midi file).
I actually SAW the board at the repair place and I didn't feel too bad paying it - it is a VERY complex piece of equipment with 5 micro processors.
I/we would be interested to hear if anyone else has had a similar problem.
Realizing how expensive (and hard to obtain) Roland parts are, if you aren't already, it might be a good time to do some basic preventative steps to try and ensure it doesn't happen again...
First thing I try to do is make sure ALL jacks going into my keyboards are right angle 1/4" jacks. They put a LOT less angular stress onto the jack itself (the further out the weight of the cable is, the more force it exerts on the jack) and also are less likely to stress the input jack in the event of it getting pulled, or the keyboard moved before you remember to pull all the cables (we've all done that, once or twice! ). Not that this is the probably cause, but it sure doesn't hurt!
But possibly the cause of your issue was a voltage spike, or some kind of electrical event that stressed the output board. So, I try to make sure that I'm always isolated from the mains... A small UPS (uninterruptible power supply) is a good thing to use to prevent brownouts, spikes and power cuts from house and venue power (here in Florida, lightning capital of the US, they are a way of life!) stressing the electrical components of your rig. Keep your power amps off of it, and even a small one is sufficient for the low current draw of most of your music gear...
It is possible you simply got a lemon, but the above steps can help avoid the same issue if it wasn't.
I expect I will buy the hard shell carrying case also.
I suppose , in a perfect world, I would have a battery back-up also in case 'the power goes out'. And there's always that 'switching to boat power from shore power' issue.
A UPS is good for boat gigs, without a doubt. I did some cruise work in the late 70's, early 80's, and boat voltage and smooth current were in short supply. Gear back then was a bit more resistant to undervoltages (no microprocessors back then!), but nowadays, a nice clean supply is essential.
A repair tech once told me that undervoltage (brownouts) are the cause of more problems than sheer cuts in power. So anything microprocessor based really needs a small UPS simply to keep the voltage regulated, and avoid spikes and drops in current.
With the preponderance of digital switching amps in PA's, I am not sure if the same advice applies to powered speakers, etc., but that seriously ups the demands on a UPS, so I generally keep any power amps/powered speakers off the UPS.
I wonder if you could do me a solid, and ask Roland Canada if they have the parts to replace the BK-9 slider board out?
I do not believe you can change individual sliders, because it is one of those integrated circuit board things, where the slider contacts are part of the substrate of the board - there are no individual slider parts in the official parts catalog.
You CAN easily still get pitch bend levers, because it's the same component in most current Roland keyboards (FA, EA etc.), but a keyboard barely 4 years old should not have major components unavailable...
If they still have the parts in stock in Canada, perhaps I can get you to order them and send you the money? I have no doubt I can't do it from the US, LOL
Thanks in advance.
I just had a look at the manual and the answer isn't simple. The board is part of a larger assembly that includes several boards that snap apart for assembly, so the harmonic board isn't available separately. I'm guessing the cost will be huge to purchase this assembly but I can send an enquiry and try to get price and availability. The interesting thing is that it looks to me as though the slidepots are listed as individual parts and may also be available. The part number for the slidepot appears to be # J3339105, and they are all the same value. Perhaps he can investigate whether those pots are available through his folks in the States and if not I can look into it here. Let me know what you think.
Yes, it's going to cost an arm and a leg, but what option do I have?
I was led to believe that the sliders were not discrete components, and that the assembly available as a spare was simply the slider wiper and the conductive part was on the circuit board, but if I was given this information in error, I'd sure like to know that!
I actually have access to a spare BK-9 at the moment (and a first dibs on it if the owner decides to sell) so I am not QUITE in a complete bind, and also am considering getting an iPad for the BK9 Editor program, which would allow me to adjust the sliders from the screen, but if you could see if your tech (who seems to be more willing to go the distance!) could find out if those sliders really ARE the full potentiometer or simply the wiper, I could take another crack at my local Roland service center and see about availability.
Bottom line, I was considering, if the full assembly was available, simply using the slider board and then trying to resell the other boards to either RolandUS or a tech center to help defray the cost.
This sure looks like planned obsolescence, though. What are the components that receive the most daily wear and tear on a keyboard? Pots, sliders, bend levers and switches... That this keyboard was designed to not be able to replace out the components most likely to wear well within its life cycle is bad news for Roland. If they were selling new models, better models, sure, I could see the point. But there isn't a replacement for the BK9.
I wonder what widespread news of this parts shortage will do to future sales... "Buy a Roland! But plan on buying another in four years, because we won't make enough spares to fix it!" - Not the world's best marketing strategy!