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Fixing the keys of my Edirol PCR-M50

When I went to use my MIDI keyboard today I found that lots of keys weren't responsive anymore. Well, actually, it's not that they weren't responsive --it was more that they didn't do anything at all when pressed. Which is quite a sad outcome for their purpose in life.

It seems this particular brand and model has this defect; there are several posts and threads mentioning it, and some of them even suggest that the manufacturer would replace some piece or cover the cost of repairs, if under warranty. But unfortunately I just found out about it when the warranty had expired (as it always happens). Not that I would have been able to find a receipt, since it was a gift, and I seriously doubt trace is still storing the receipt almost five years later. And the shop where the keyboard was acquired doesn't even exist anymore (it was the defunct Virgin Megastore at Oxford Street, if I'm right; either that, or the also defunct turnkey at Charing Cross Road).

I had attempted to fix this problem a few months ago. The first suggestion I tried was the easier and also the least effective: just press the non-responsive key several times, frantically, until it begins to respond. It somehow worked, but a few minutes after it stopped working again. I then went for the second suggestion, which implied opening the case and cleaning the internals, just in case there was dust or something blocking the contacts.

PCR M-50 Keys

I spent quite a lot of time dissasembling the keyboard itself. It's very time consuming: you have to loose each spring individually before you can take a key out. Also, you need to do things in a certain order: each black key can only be removed once the surrounding white keys have been removed. Once the bloody 49 keys with their springs had been taken out (by means of an ingenious use of a screw driver to lever/yank the spring out), I could see there was a lot of dust and dirt inside (although I have seen much worse, I must say). So I vacuum-cleaned everything carefully, and then used q tips to clean the small delicate places one by one.

As a cleaning routine it was very hygienic, but it was totally useless for my purpose (i.e. playing music). When I reassembled everything I found that the keys were still not working. I thought that I had had enough, and decided that I would do with whatever working keys I got. In a bad case I could always use the octave up and down keys --the lower octave worked perfectly!

PCR M-50 Springs

My error was not removing the rubber bands and cleaning below them. I thought that if the rubber bands were so closely together with the underneath circuit board, there could not be any trace of dust below. And I was right on that --there wasn't dust. But as I have found today after disassembling the 49 keys with its 14 screws, it's not dust we want to remove from the contacts, but the remains of the rubber contacts.

PCR M-50 rubber bands

I know it sounds confusing, and it won't help that I haven't taken a picture when I removed the bands, but I'll try to explain: underneath those rubber bands there's a couple of golden contacts per key. Those contacts are right below the circles which the key presses when you press the key. Each of those circles has a black round piece which deals with closing the circuit when the key is pressed.

Then the problem is that due to using the keyboard the pieces end up leaving their mark on the golden contacts. It seems that once their mark is in there (a round, ghostly impression of the black pieces), no matter how strong a key is pressed --it won't be reported as a key press. And the solution is very simple.

A pencil eraser.

Yes. A simple pencil eraser. When I read that I couldn't believe it. Cleaning the contacts with a rubber eraser? What's next, drawing circuits with indian ink? But hey, why not? It couldn't be worse; this time there were even more failing keys than the first time I tried to fix it, so it was either attempting this or starting a search for spares.

I first erased the contacts for B-2, which had stopped working six months ago, and was really bugging me: it being in the middle of the keyboard, it's probably one of the closest keys I press to test sounds and patches!

I then reconnected its rubber band (which is quite a tedious process in itself), and tested the keyboard. It worked!! I was ecstatic. Would it work for the rest of keys? I did the same for the rest, even if not all had failed, but just in case. Then tested them again, pressing with a ballpen over the rubber contacts (to avoid getting accidentally electrocuted by pressing some of the metal surfaces and connections you can see in the picture). All the keys worked now, even the highest C! But... would it work with the keys on?

49 keys and their corresponding springs, and 14 screws later, I can proudly say that YES they work!! I have now a functional keyboard again \o/

Comments

trace

\o/ I may actually have the receipt still :p

Jeketerri

Creo recordar que los contactos de los cartuchos de consolas tambien los limpiaban con una goma de borrar. De todas formas muy buen trabajo y que lo disfrutes mucho.

sergeeo

Dicen que utilizar aspiradoras en aparatos electrónicos no es una buena idea. Lo de los contactos pasa con muchos modelos de teclados. Enhorabuena por la experiencia positiva ;) Yo tengo pendiente cambiar un pote a mi Roland Fantom y me da una pereza terrible.

sole

Yo es que soy muy arriesgada XD ¿Un pote? ¿Qué es, un knob?

sergeeo

Un potenciómetro :)

sole

Jaja, pues no iba desencaminada :P Tambien me pregunte si no seria un bote, pero no se donde lo podrias poner...

Henry

thanks I have the same problem and I have mounted and dismounted the keyboard several times, I will try this solution. Thanks a lot for the publication

Jordan.

Thanks, this worked great.

zaid

it works thanks, i have PCR m50 and have same prob with all of my keys, it really works good thanks buddy

Ivan

I had the same problem, 60% of my keys were not responding in my EDIDORL PCR-M30. I tried the eraser pencil technique without any realistic results. SO I decided to use aluminium tape, I had to cut it in round pieces with puncher and stick them to all the contacts in the rubberband. It took me few hours, at least 3 hours but now my keyborad is alive again!

emad philip

I have the same shit with my PCR m 50 but it doesnt work with the A pencil eraser.only i use the pincel it self

jGmang

IT WORKED! THANK YOU SO SO SO MUCH :)

aaron

awesome thanks to you my inspiration is back all but one has a problem which i can live with as opposed to 7 non responsive keys thanks alot dude really made my day :D keep up the good work

Vito

Man I have similar situation with my PCR-30 keyborad. Only one button works now after 2 years of not using it.

Colm in Dublin

I cleaned the gold contacts with Servisol contact cleaner on a cotton bud. Rub firmly until contacts are clean. Then gently remove all traces of cleaner with a dry cotton bud. Then very gently use a cotton bud with contact cleaner to just barely wipe the two black dots on the underside of the rubber strip. When replacing the keys, replace the black keys first. Springs can easily be detached or reattached using a small long nosed pliers. Works perfectly!

Vitaliy

I paint on a black rubber band with a lead pencil.

tiago

Had the same key problem i try this solution and it worked better then i had before. Does the pencil it self solve the problem ? Great thanks

Jose

¿Con este sistema la velocidad de las teclas te ha quedado homogénea?. Yo he hecho algo similar en mi PCR-M50 y, si bien suenan todas las teclas, algunas detectan una pulsación más rápida de lo que deben. Es usable, pero algo molesto... Por suerte, son de las octavas más alta y más baja, y las dos medias van mucho mejor. He intentado contactar con Roland España para comprar repuestos, pero por ahora no hay respuesta :-( Un saludo y Feliz Navidad, JOSE

sole

Pues no note nada al respecto. Espero que tengas suerte con Roland!

Dan

Thanks so much for this, worked like a charm! Thanks sir! Also, all the keys are labeled on the back, best to double check when you're putting it back together 'cause the D and G/A keys are very similar. Thanks again!

90_bucks_richer

Hell yes! Saved me $90 an hour in labour. Take off the rubber bands and clean the black stubs on the bottom with contact cleaner and q-tips, do the same to the contacts. Might need a couple of passes. worked for me. AWESMOE

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