How to fix a MIDI keyboard with a pencil

Whether just one or two keys, or all of them, if you have dead keys on your keyboard it can be highly frustrating, but is often repairable. The problem is, even if you can find someone to fix your keyboard, what is it going to cost? £50? £100? For some cheaper keyboards it is more cost effective to just throw the keyboard away than pay for repairs. But what if you could fix it yourself?

There are several possible reasons your keyboard keys may have died and of course some that would need replacement parts or some ‘expert’ electronics knowledge, but I have recently come across a couple of simple ones (and one a tiny bit more involved) that are relatively easy to fix on your own. Opening up your keyboard is not for the fainthearted but if you have come to the conclusion that you may as well throw it away anyway – why not give this a try first?

The first video shows someone working on their Edirol PCR-30 MIDI keyboard where the contacts on most of the keys had stopped working. A pencil was used to add a conductive layer of graphite to the contacts – and with a bit of colouring in later the keyboard was fully working again!

In the second video featuring a Roland A-30 MIDI mother keyboard the owner discusses how he had checked the contacts and found they were all fine, but had then noticed that the two particular keys that didn’t work were connected to each other on the circuit board and there was a small break in the track connecting them. All he needed to do was bridge those two points with a little bit of wire to get it all working perfectly again.

The third video featuring an M-Audio KeyStudio 49 (ML03-00295) turned out to be easiest fix of all when the owner opened it up – a lead had come loose and needed to be plugged in again.

Most keyboards will work in similar ways once you get into them and with potential reasons being as simple as these it may be worth opening things up and having a go before totally giving up on the keyboard you used to love.  You may even be able to cheaply improve your studio setup by buying or salvaging ‘broken’ keyboards to repair and revive. Good luck!


3 Responses to “How to fix a MIDI keyboard with a pencil

  • Thanks for info. Much appreciated. Fixed my edirol

  • I attempted this, but sadly my keyboard just got some extras dead keys. Before, one key wasn’t playing, but then, some 4 more started not playing. Now I can see the input of some, but they don’t release and doesn’t make sounds.

  • Cool tip thanks. I have an Akai Advance 49 right now and it has the best feeling keyboard I’ve ever felt other than say a $4000 Kurzweil or something, but better than Roland or Korg IMO.

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