Alpha Juno keyboard fix (intermit contacts)

In the realm of electronic music production, the Roland Alpha Juno synthesizer stands as a beloved classic, renowned for its distinctive analog sound and versatile capabilities. However, even the most iconic instruments are not immune to the passage of time. One persistent issue that plagues many Alpha Juno owners is the deterioration of key contacts, resulting from a combination of dust accumulation and the natural aging. This seemingly innocuous problem can manifest as intermittent or unresponsive keys, significantly impeding the instrument’s playability and frustrating its users. In this article, we delve into the root causes of this issue, explore its impact on musicians and enthusiasts, and discuss potential solutions to restore the Alpha Juno to its former glory.

Using screwdriver remove all the screws from the side of the unit and from the bottom of the unit, with exception to the brassy ones below the keyboard. Don’t remove those yet.

Open up the hood and make sure to remove the three screws on this board in the centre. Now lift the unit again, and remove those brassy screws that hold the keyboard. Use your other hand to HOLD THE KEYBOARD STEADY else it will fall. The keyboard itself has two notches which actually hold this board shown above. This is why you have to remove these three screws, to pop up the PCB board a little bit, then remove the keyboard. You will do the same procedure when assembling the unit, except you will do it in reverse.

Now gently lift the keyboard and if you have a phone nearby, snap a photo, although you should see a very similar picture. The point is to know which of the two sets of wires goes into which connector. In my case, the yellow green one goes into top connector. If your Juno has different coloured wires, please snap a photo because both connectors have the same number of pins.

Alpha Juno should now look like this.

Place the keyboard on a safe spot and start removing metal springs that hold each key in place. You do that by placing the screwdriver below the spring and simply by applying a lever action to pull it out of the metal anchor that is on top. Use other hand to ensure the spring doesn’t fly away by holding it with a thumb. IMPORTANT(!) You must either wear eye protection or close your both eyes when pulling each spring. And here’s a small tip: when removing keys, you can leave springs on them. That way you don’t have to separately remove the springs and then place them back.

You remove the key by pressing its upper part down and simply pulling it out. Hint: you first remove two adjacent white keys, and then the black key. It doesn’t go the other way.

If the keyboard mount has a plastic strip on this place, you will have to gently push that strip with a screwdriver in order to ease up the pressure it applying against the key pins when you try to pull out the key. In other words, the key won’t go out because of this plastic strip. But since it is flexible, you can simply push it with a screwdriver to make some room, to be able to pull out the key.

You will need a marker in order to mark every rubber stip before you pull it out. What you want to do i to place a small red dot on the lower part of the strip, before you pull it out. That way you will know the correct orientation of the strips when you will be placing them back. This is an IMPORTANT step, because strip placed upside down will have incorrect velocity reading.

After you remove all of the rubber strips, it is time to clear the PCB contacts first. You will start by using cotton and highest percentage alcohol you can buy, ideally 99%, aka denaturalised alcohol. You will clean the contacts area of where the rubber contacts once were.

You will use another cotton and repeat the procedure. It should not look dirty as it does on the picture above. If it does, repeat again. The contacts area must be clean.

Now comes the most important part of the cleaning. You need to dip a cue tip into the alcohol and clean each one of those little black contact until you remove all of the dirt that was on them. If you do not remove even the smallest piece of dirt, the key will not work right because of the flat surface of the contact.

The result should be completely black contacts.

Placing springs back is very easy with a help of a small screwdriver. First you attach the spring to a key. Then you place the screwdriver into the loop of the spring and apply a small action to extend it until it reaches the anchor onto which you fix it. And that’s it. To assemble the unit, you can simply read this article back to front.

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