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Repair keyboards with conductive rubber key mats

Building organ consoles for use with Hauptwerk, adding MIDI to existing consoles, obtaining parts, ...

Repair keyboards with conductive rubber key mats

Postby engrssc » Thu Sep 27, 2018 8:53 pm

https://www.ebay.com/itm/MUSIC-KEYBOARD-SYNTH-REPAIR-CONDUCTIVE-RUBBER-KEYPAD-FIX-BUTTONS-SWITCHES/181662188354?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649

Repairs conductive rubber key contacts and buttons in music keyboards
10ml bottle - enough to repair 400+ contacts

Over time the conductive coating on the rubber pads wears out and the switches fail. By the time this happens your unit is "last year's model" and a new conductive rubber keymat from the manufacturer is either unavailable or very expensive. Other problems can cause non-functioning keys, of course, but if the keyboard plays over MIDI some of the less frequently used switches or keys still work, there's a good chance that it can be repaired by just restoring the conductive coating to the rubber pads. Remote Restore is a specially formulated coating that restores conductivity to the worn switches and gets them working again. 8)

Essentially all you are doing is re-coating the rubber keymat contacts with a new conductive layer. The hardest part is often working out how to dismantle the keyboard to fix it! :wink:

Rgds,
Ed
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Re: Repair keyboards with conductive rubber key mats

Postby organtechnology » Thu Sep 27, 2018 9:21 pm

engrssc wrote:https://www.ebay.com/itm/MUSIC-KEYBOARD-SYNTH-REPAIR-CONDUCTIVE-RUBBER-KEYPAD-FIX-BUTTONS-SWITCHES/181662188354?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649

Repairs conductive rubber key contacts and buttons in music keyboards
10ml bottle - enough to repair 400+ contacts

Over time the conductive coating on the rubber pads wears out and the switches fail. By the time this happens your unit is "last year's model" and a new conductive rubber keymat from the manufacturer is either unavailable or very expensive. Other problems can cause non-functioning keys, of course, but if the keyboard plays over MIDI some of the less frequently used switches or keys still work, there's a good chance that it can be repaired by just restoring the conductive coating to the rubber pads. Remote Restore is a specially formulated coating that restores conductivity to the worn switches and gets them working again. 8)

Essentially all you are doing is re-coating the rubber keymat contacts with a new conductive layer. The hardest part is often working out how to dismantle the keyboard to fix it! :wink:

Rgds,
Ed


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Re: Repair keyboards with conductive rubber key mats

Postby engrssc » Thu Sep 27, 2018 9:35 pm

Double posted
Last edited by engrssc on Thu Sep 27, 2018 9:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Repair keyboards with conductive rubber key mats

Postby engrssc » Thu Sep 27, 2018 9:38 pm

Yes - big deal, make sure you let it dry thoroughly. I left mine dry 36 or so hours. An old Fatar with half the keys not playing. After 6 months, they all play like new. Great product. Something like $18+ change USD is worth it versus pitching an otherwise good keyboard. Says 400 contacts can be repaired. After one repair job, I can't see the level in the bottle has gone down at all.

Cleaned the copper traces on the pcb with alcohol after removing the rubber key mats.

Applied the product with an eye dropper in a clean, dust free environment.

It does require a steady hand. You don't want the stuff it get in the wrong places. Don't rush it. I use a head worn magnifier and a bright, fairly small LED desk lamp I bought from Walmart for $18.

As the saying goes "A little dab will do ya' :wink:

I plan to use the product on some older keyboards I have as P/M (preventative maintenance) even tho they presently are still working after 8 or more years.

Rgds,
Ed
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Re: Repair keyboards with conductive rubber key mats

Postby GrahamH » Tue Oct 02, 2018 7:52 am

Having just had occasion to remove a keyboard printed circuit board, peel back the rubber strip, and remove the slightest speck of dust (or whatever) from a key contact that had been unreliable for some time, I am prompted to add my two penn'orth to this thread.
A few years ago I was asked to build a keyboard stack using some old-school Fatar keyboards (with steel key-beds) that had been pulled from a console and offered on eBay by a well-known and supposedly reputable supplier of organ consoles. The seller was presumably aware that there was some kind of "issue" with the keyboards because he included a few new rubber contact strips.
When I got my hands on them I found that a couple of notes on one keyboard, and a single note on another were not playing.
So I cleaned the rubber "bubbles" and also the tracks on the printed circuit boards with a cotton-bud and iso-propyl alcohol, and I installed the new strips over the areas where the defective notes were located - and I naively thought I'd fixed the problem. However, a couple of days later, the same notes were not playing again.
On closer inspection I noticed that, whereas the key-contact copper traces on the pcb were covered with some kind of black material, in the case of the notes that weren't sounding, the black material had worn away and the copper trace was exposed. Cleaning these exposed copper traces would effect a temporary cure, but within a day or two, the copper would oxidise and the conductive rubber "bubbles" could no longer close the circuit to play a note.
I tried to do a repair using electro-conductive paint that supposedly worked with TV remote controls, but without success. I couldn't apply a fine enough layer to the copper traces.
I ended up retro-fitting reed switch contacts which served for a couple of years, but were not entirely satisfactory. More recently I fitted photo-interrupters (opto-switches) and it yet remains to be seen how successful they will be, long-term...
The worn-out pcb's have long-since been thrown away - but I am wondering whether the "Remote Restore" that Ed has just brought to our attention material would have worked in this scenario - if I could have applied it finely enough...

Graham
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Re: Repair keyboards with conductive rubber key mats

Postby engrssc » Tue Nov 20, 2018 12:33 am

Came across a new, unexpected problem from a would be repair using the above conductive chemical to restore key contacts. On a Fatar keyboard, the procedures were followed to coat the conductive contacts of the rubber contact strip The problem was revealed when after reassembly, some of keys responded to touch response and others didn't. After some head scratching noticed there was some sort of liquid on the PCB. Possibly contact cleaner used by the organ owner or someone else. But that wasn't really the problem.

The problem was that when the rubber contact strips were replaced after coating them with the conductive fluid etc, some of the contact strips were installed in reverse (front to back) order.

See this clip where this is explained. BTW, I don't suggest using the cleaning method mentioned.for the rubber strips. Or the handling of them.

https://youtu.be/DweG2Ebo1_k?t=205

We (gently) cleaned the PCB's and reassembled the rubber contact strips with the correct orientation. All is well now.

Rgds,
Ed
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