Optigan help

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Optigan help

Postby pworks » Mon Aug 26, 2013 4:58 am

I know it's not a synth but I've recently purchased
an optigan. It powers up and after cleaning the
key and chord contacts it makes noise. The problem
is that when some of the keys are pressed there
is a poping or a static noise that makes the
Optigan unplayable. Does anyone have experience
with these? I've taken it apart to clean and haven't
noticed any bad solder joint or any other internal damage.
I've also replaced a cap that the service manual suggested
might be the cause of the problem but alas still poping when the keys are
pressed. Thanks in advance for any advice.
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Re: Optigan help

Postby rhino » Mon Aug 26, 2013 4:32 pm

Welcome to the board!

Taking a wild guess: Is there a mechanical adjustment that affects the "tracking" of the optical sensors to the bands of data on the disk? Sorta like the tracking adjustment on a VCR?
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Re: Optigan help

Postby pworks » Mon Aug 26, 2013 5:03 pm

Thanks for the reply. As far as I can tell there is
no tracking control the only knobs control balance
between keys and chords,reverb and pitch(which speeds
up the disk). Would dirty contacts or dirty rubber
contact strip cause this type of poping?
If so does any one know where I can purchase a new
conductive rubber strip for under the contacts?
Thanks again for your reply
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Re: Optigan help

Postby Esus » Mon Aug 26, 2013 6:54 pm

IIRC, there's a guy named Pea Hicks who is a maven at all things Optigan. Maybe Google the name and see if you can't link up with him.
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Re: Optigan help

Postby pworks » Mon Aug 26, 2013 8:35 pm

Thanks for the reply. I've sighed up at optigan.com which is his
website but haven't received any response just yet.
I was able to track down the schematic but my knowledge is limited as
far as what exactly to look for.
Thanks again for your reply. Any other information
would be greatly appreciated.
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Re: Optigan help

Postby rhino » Tue Aug 27, 2013 12:20 am

Please describe to noise to me:

1) crackle/hiss
2) repeating ticks
3) other notes in the background
4) buzz

Does the volume pedal change the noise?
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Re: Optigan help

Postby Esus » Tue Aug 27, 2013 12:32 am

As an aside, this thread has jogged my memory about the time I spent in retail MI.
I remember a keyboard called a Talentmaker, and I believe that a company called Chilton was the manufacturer.
Not to hijack things, but I wonder if anyone out there has one, and if discs are still available...
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Re: Optigan help

Postby pworks » Tue Aug 27, 2013 12:45 am

rhino wrote:Please describe to noise to me:

1) crackle/hiss
2) repeating ticks
3) other notes in the background
4) buzz

Does the volume pedal change the noise?


I would describe the sound as a pop crackle/static
so #1 would be most fitting. The volume just seems
to amplifiy the sound but doesn't change it.
Thank you rhino I definatly appreciate the help.
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Re: Optigan help

Postby pworks » Tue Aug 27, 2013 12:50 am

Esus wrote:As an aside, this thread has jogged my memory about the time I spent in retail MI.
I remember a keyboard called a Talentmaker, and I believe that a company called Chilton was the manufacturer.
Not to hijack things, but I wonder if anyone out there has one, and if discs are still available...



In my research of all things optigan I have found that
the talent maker does exist. The discs are obviously no longer
made by the manufacturer but some enthusists are remaking them
although they are decently expensive. The original disks appear to
be more rare than the optigan ones and demand more money.
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Re: Optigan help

Postby smeatto » Fri Jul 25, 2014 8:47 pm

Hi,
I recently acquired one locally and same thing happened to mine.
Only a few of the chord buttons worked when I got it...obviously dirty contacts on the chord buttons & tabs.
Keyboard played just fine.

I decided to take the lazy route and spray a bunch of contact cleaner on the chord buttons & 'special effects' buttons (dumb).
Now the chord buttons work better but the chord array hums loudly when my hand gets close and ALL the keys now make a pop when pressed (pop is quieter when another key is depressed?).

Did you find a solution to your problem that you could pass on?

It sounds like a grounding/electrical problem?
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Re: Optigan help

Postby pworks » Sat Jul 26, 2014 4:56 pm

No solution unfortunately. I cleaned all key contacts and checked all the resistors and caps, and the problem still persists. Any advice on how to fix/check for a grounding problem would be appreciated. As far as reaching and cleaning the chord key contacts the whole organ needs to be disassembled which isn't very fun. I haven't given up on the poor old thing just yet.
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Re: Optigan help

Postby schmidtc » Sun Jul 27, 2014 7:37 am

Got a link to the schematic? I've also got a busted one in my basement that I'd like to fix up soon and was considering buying a photocopy of the service manual. I plan on adding an audio output as well: http://optigan.com/pdfs/OptiOutMod.pdf
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Re: Optigan help

Postby pworks » Sun Jul 27, 2014 3:28 pm

Sorry unfortunately the schematics I had were a hard copy that I no longer have access to (I should have made copies).
If you make any progress with your optigan please let me know. Like I said I still haven't given up on mine.
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Re: Optigan help

Postby smeatto » Sun Jul 27, 2014 8:26 pm

Thanks for the reply.
Magically ( and maybe due to the mysterious inner-workings of these quirky instruments) the key clicking/popping went away on its own and and the hum is much less on the chord buttons? Maybe the cleaner was still wet in there when I was using it?

I got a posted reply on the Optigan facebook page from a guy who has refurbished a few different ones and he basically told me NEVER to use contact cleaner on the optigan. Whoops.
Lesson learned.

When I get some time I am intending on opening it up and cleaning the contacts properly.

Sorry...I know zilch about electronics/grounding so hopefully it stays the way it is now.
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Re: Optigan help

Postby smeatto » Mon Aug 04, 2014 5:04 pm

I recently took the optigan apart this past week to clean the contact buttons and was able to solve the excessive hum problem. One of the black wires (from the power chord) has a metal loop that attaches right be the mechanism that spins the disk & holds the lamp. That lug was loose and it was humming loudly when it was not properly connected. All I did was tighten the screw down so it fit securely on the lug. Simple as that.
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