Synth doctor part 2: Acetonement

Welcome back to the synth surgery. To reset the scene: my Juno 106S has been in the wars of late. Late last year one of its voice chips miserably petered out, meaning that every sixth note played was dead. After various explorations involving isopropyl alcohol and a lot of soldering scrutiny, I had opted to order in a ‘new old stock’ voice chip to replace the silent one.

The chip arrived, and so I trekked through the snow once again to deliver that and the disembodied voice board to Conor in Wembley. I then became pretty hands off, jetting off to Florida for a couple of weeks whilst Conor put his solder skills to use.

As mentioned previously, emailing with Conor is the best thing that’s ever happened to my inbox:

Screen Shot 2018-04-24 at 09.45.54

Translation: Conor removed the suspect voice module from the voice board by desoldering it. When he looked at it closely, he noticed that some of the black resin which tends to cause issues was still attached to the module, so he soaked the chip in acetone for a few days, and scraped off the remaining resin. He also fitted a socket for the voice chip, which means the voice chip slots in and out without the need for any more soldering.

Or you can choose to believe Conor’s version. Life’s more fun that way.

In either case, the eureka moment when the Juno came back to life was so very sweet. Take a look!

The upshot is that I didn’t even need the new old stock voice chip – the problem lay simply in the resin coating. So the new old stock is now stashed away for a rainy day.

Putting Humpty together again

One afterthought before I sign off – once it was fixed, reassembling the Juno was a whole lot harder than it needed to be, thanks to a combination of fallible memory and non-existent tracking of how I’d taken it apart.

The jigsaw lover in me relished the chance to match these screws back to their original homes…


…the efficient time keeper in me did not.

So next time I will be getting super anal on documenting every step with phone and notebook. It’s a simple lesson learned over 2 hours with a screwdriver and my very best collection of swearwords.

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