Akai AX-60 Minor Restoration Advice

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smoothcriminal
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Akai AX-60 Minor Restoration Advice

Post by smoothcriminal » Wed Jun 09, 2010 3:22 am

I've obtained a used (obviously) AX-60 which seems to be in decent shape for the most part, but has some fortunately minor issues which seem as if they would be easy to fix if I were to open up the synth.

The most irritating issue is that several of the bank/pattern select buttons are unresponsive. This gave me a pretty good scare, but it turns out they do work, only when pressed fairly hard. Ok.

Second, one of the F keys is "stuck" to F#, so they both sound when only one of them is pressed. This fits with the general theme: Virtually every fader control on the instrument feels extremely sticky, like someone had a beer/soda/whatever accident 30 years ago and it fossilized on the inside of the synth.

And lastly, a couple cosmetic issues - some of the LED displays are pushed in or detached from their housing. And there is a big spot of tape residue which i hesitate to even call a problem, it adds character.

No big deal, I'm quite happy to have it in this condition for the price I paid for it, and having been shipped across 3/4ths of the US. I'd like to fix anything I can within reason, especially if it only requires cleaning as it seems most of these problems do. The only problem is I've never opened up a synth before, and I'm extremely wary of doing more permanent damage to this rare monstrosity. I'd appreciate any advice and guidance, whether it be help in diagnosing the problems im having, or more general advice on taking these things apart without destroying them. :shock: I'm going to start with a simple surface cleaning with Simple Green, as per another VSE thread...

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Re: Akai AX-60 Minor Restoration Advice

Post by rhino » Wed Jun 09, 2010 2:16 pm

If some dork in the band spills a drink, the laws on nature demand that it will go on your keyboard. (lol).
You'll never know what you'll find under there.

The button switches are probably standard 'tact' switches. Not too bad to replace.

I say this often, and don't mean to come off as a pompous bastard: If you've not had experience in vintage synths, it might be a good plan to find a tech.
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Re: Akai AX-60 Minor Restoration Advice

Post by smoothcriminal » Wed Jun 09, 2010 3:26 pm

I understand the sentiment that this type of thing is better left to the pros, but I can't really justify the expense given that these problems are so minor. Whats the worst thing that could happen just taking apart the casing and dusting off some contacts?

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Re: Akai AX-60 Minor Restoration Advice

Post by sam » Wed Jun 09, 2010 3:35 pm

You could replace the switches but if you can live with it don't bother...You have to take the whole thing apart.

The keys are easy...It's like a polysix copy..

If you can't work it out just say... :D
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Re: Akai AX-60 Minor Restoration Advice

Post by balma » Wed Jun 09, 2010 3:55 pm

I do not recommend to replace the button chips yourself.

You have to disasemble for the first time an old synth, take out the big card, go to the controllers board, disasasemble it from the metal cover .... no kidding doing that to the AX. And you are not sure if the problem is dust. generally, some of these chips go stuck after overuse, not for dust

Those are standard chips that cost a misery each one, and can be done by a technician.
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Re: Akai AX-60 Minor Restoration Advice

Post by sam » Wed Jun 09, 2010 4:20 pm

I found the more you press them the better they get..Or just find the sweet spot ...

A tech may charge half the value of the synth to fix it..
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Re: Akai AX-60 Minor Restoration Advice

Post by smoothcriminal » Wed Jun 09, 2010 4:25 pm

I wouldn't be comfortable replacing switch mechanisms - not enough experience with soldering. And you're right Sam, they do seem to work better with time. My only worry is that if I am forced to use a lot of pressure to get them to respond, that will eventually cause them to fail completely. I wonder how many of these issues are simply caused by the fact that the synth probably hasn't been played in years, and can be worked out with regular use. Maybe a few drops of oil could help the 'sticky' faders respond better?

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Re: Akai AX-60 Minor Restoration Advice

Post by sam » Wed Jun 09, 2010 4:53 pm

They are sealed units...These problems are caused by lack of use over time.

No point trying to fix them...Keep pushing and see. A good sharp poke in the right place did the trick here.
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Re: Akai AX-60 Minor Restoration Advice

Post by smoothcriminal » Fri Jun 18, 2010 8:08 pm

I'm about to talk to a repair shop about this, but does anyone have insight as to whether a loose LED housing as shown in this photo will be easy to repair? Like, maybe its just missing a screw or something?
Image

Also, is it a viable option to put a drop or two of oil on some sliders to make them less sticky? Or do I risk some drips messing up the inside of the synth?

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Re: Akai AX-60 Minor Restoration Advice

Post by Ashe37 » Sat Jun 19, 2010 7:06 am

smoothcriminal wrote:I'm about to talk to a repair shop about this, but does anyone have insight as to whether a loose LED housing as shown in this photo will be easy to repair? Like, maybe its just missing a screw or something?
Image

Also, is it a viable option to put a drop or two of oil on some sliders to make them less sticky? Or do I risk some drips messing up the inside of the synth?

You can try putting fader lube in them...

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Re: Akai AX-60 Minor Restoration Advice

Post by smoothcriminal » Sat Jun 19, 2010 9:52 pm

I could obtain some fader lube, but I already have a little vial of oil that came with an electric razor - seems like it should work, since (apart from the caps) the fader mechanism on the AX appears to be all metal. And I suspect fader lube is a similar petroleum-based oil thing. I just don't want to put anything in there that could mess with the electronics.

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Re: Akai AX-60 Minor Restoration Advice

Post by sam » Sun Jun 20, 2010 7:40 pm

Before you lube it's best to clean them out..
What i do is this.

Get a cotton bud and squeeze the end with clean pliers then dip it in isoprop alcohol and clean as much dirt out as possible...It works for me.
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Re: Akai AX-60 Minor Restoration Advice

Post by Altitude » Mon Jun 21, 2010 12:23 pm

smoothcriminal wrote:I could obtain some fader lube, but I already have a little vial of oil that came with an electric razor - seems like it should work, since (apart from the caps) the fader mechanism on the AX appears to be all metal. And I suspect fader lube is a similar petroleum-based oil thing. I just don't want to put anything in there that could mess with the electronics.
um, putting some oil that came with a razor is probably NOT the best idea seeing that you have no idea what it is.. Faderlube is designed to do exactly what you are looking for

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Re: Akai AX-60 Minor Restoration Advice

Post by wrekkstylz » Tue Jun 22, 2010 12:58 am

I had some of the same problems.

the covers over the led lights were sunk in, they cum unglued over time. I fixed this with a little bit of JB weld.

they keys. I've had this problem before with the prophet 600 and the akai ax-60 and guess what. they both have the same kind of keyboard (pretty much). They both use rubber contacts. what i did was take out the keyboard, take that apart until you get to the the little rubber contacts. then carefully pull them out, and if they're still have good elasticity (no cracks, or feeling like a dried up rubber band), wash them with some luke warm water and a little bit of dish soap.

the patch buttons (and any button on it). what i did was buy some new momentary contact buttons. desoldered the old ones, and soldered the new ones back in.

http://store.gravitech.us/mipubusw4qt4.html

there was a little gap between the top of the button and the bottom of the akai plastic buttons, but i just glued tiny little square cut outs from an index card.

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Re: Akai AX-60 Minor Restoration Advice

Post by wrekkstylz » Tue Jun 22, 2010 1:11 am

oh and for the faders.

http://www.radioshack.com/product/index ... =107597316

you might wanna try some of this stuff to clean it and also maybe get somecontact cleaner. contact cleaner is not like compressed air. think of it as like a WD-40 that's made for electronic components.

just give it a quick little spray cuz the stuff blasts out pretty quick. it's probably a good idea to unscrew the circuit boards when you're cleaning them, you don't just want to do this all from the outside because then you can't dab up any excess stuff that may have dripped out onto the circuit board.

p.s. always remember to unplug your synth when working on it.

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