Korg Maxi-Korg 800DV / Univox K3 part 2: Unpacking and Assessment

Covid-19 has slowed the delivery providers to somewhat of a crawl, but I think FedEx is handling it better than the others. The Maxi-Korg was delivered only a few days later than was initially estimated. I didn’t take any pictures unpacking it – looked just like the auction photos. Was poorly packed, but somehow made it with only one of the rubber feet poking its way out of the box. I can live with that.

When I spend more than a few hundred dollars on something I tend to dig right in to see what I am up against. The sliders and pots were really sticky and hard to move so I opted not to turn it on, but rather save that fingers-crossed moment for after replacing all the electrolytic and tantalum capacitors. No sense in risking too much electricity getting through a shorted open capacitor and taking out a transistor.

I think this picture conveys the state of this synth well. This was the first time I encountered dead fully grown roaches in a synth. Nothing a good vacuuming can’t handle. See those light blue/violet capacitors? They are way past their expiration date. If they work now, great, but they are sure to start failing with some power cycling.

This is where I am reminded I need to take more pictures when doing these rebuilds. My order of operations I like to follow when redoing a synth is below. Try not to start any of these if you don’t have a good place to work where you can leave things apart for a few days to weeks if needed, and don’t underestimate how long any of these steps will take.

Take it apart and see what needs doing – especially noting any knobs, slider caps, sliders, pots or screws that are missing or that I should replace

Take apart and clean the keybed

Make a list of electrolytic and tantalum capacitors – I replace all in something I plan on keeping

Vacuum it out

Check for broken wires in connectors or where wires are soldered to boards and fix any I find

Order any parts and capacitors I don’t have in my stock

Replace capacitors

Repair, clean and lubricate and controls

Refinish if possible or replace any wood from the cabinet that needs it

Put it together and test it

Do any calibration it may need

It took 45 minutes to get this thing all apart so I could work on it. Wood cheeks took 3 screws each to remove. Wood blocks at either end of the keyboard had two each. Fascia is held on by a bunch of screws, all fought being removed mostly because I didn’t have a perfectly suitable screwdriver for their particular size of philips cross, but of course finally came off. All the controls are mounted to a sheet metal panel and that panel is on a frame that mounts with 4 screws in the sides of the big sheet metal enclosure. Keybed is held in place by some screws you have to remove from the underside. These are M6 I think, and they were big enough that even though they were pretty well stuck, they came off quickly since there was a good grip from the screw driver.

There it is, without the cover holding the key down it popped up as much as it could. Lots more dust bunnies and roaches to vacuum out.
Keys are easy to remove and remove them you must if you want to clean them up thoroughly. I didn’t get a picture of the process, but all keys were removed, soaked in dish soapy water over night and then individually scrubbed clean.
Yay – I found the pieces! The part that is broken off here is the stop against which the spring works. I think what happens is a key gets caught on something when moving the synth and it breaks this hook off. Couple dabs of that super glue and you would never know it was broken… until it breaks again or if you record it in a blog.
I put the repaired E key at the treble end of the bed. I’m not a “searing leads” sort of guy so I’m less likely to use it as much up here.

Up next: Part 3: replacing capacitors

Part 1 here

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