Monday, February 25, 2008

If You Break It, Can We Buy a Real One?

George here. So, owning my own stuff has awoken a handyman inside me, that was apparently sleeping while I was between the ages of say, 0-21. Now, if there is something in our house that is malfunctioning, it just doesn't get much sympathy from me. Oh, these devices, large and small, silently offer up all kinds of excuses for why I shouldn't just get out my screwdriver and tear them apart:

  • But I still perform several useful functions! What if you break me?
  • Aren't you afraid of voiding the warranty?
  • You clearly don't have the proper tools to take me apart.
  • Can't you read the various warning labels on me? Do phrases like "not to be serviced by consumer", "Warning: potential for electric shock", and "TOXIC GASES INSIDE - DO NOT OPEN!" mean nothing to you?
Ok, I'm not actually insane, but there is a certain satisfaction to be had from at least trying to fix something that you have no understanding initially of how it works. This Saturday's project was our digital piano. It is a really nice one, actually, that my parents found for us at a garage sale a few years back. The problem is that for the last couple years, a few notes have been getting harder and harder to play. And not some obscure key down in the Russian bass registers, the main culprit here is actually middle C. So, I decided to open it up. I did find some interesting things inside: paper clips, game pieces, a quarter, what looks like an old coffee stain, and a dead cockroach. None of these provided much of a reason for the particular keys that were not working, so I kept taking it apart.

The guts of the piano after removing some screws on the bottom.

The keyboard part, completely disassembled.

The circuit board that sits beneath the keys. Each of those circles is a rubber cylinder that a key makes contact with.

The middle C key. The silver part there is my hoped-for-solution. That's where the key makes contact with a rubber cylinder on the circuit board. I found a piece of plastic to add some height to it, and attached it with duct tape.

The keyboard part with just middle C reattached.

All the keys back on. Middle C works! And so does the other key that was giving me problems (F#4) also worked using the same fix.


Shanna said...

That is so cool. And even more cool you get it back together and working again. Congradulations. Im impressed.

Harry & Linda said...

I didn't fully comprehend how really "apart" the gizmo was when you told us about it. I too am impressed with your success - even your courage to try it. I start stacking stuff around here that doesn't work so that you can take them apart.

Debbie, Lee, Rachele and Kenny said...

Do you make house calls? We have an organ Lee's parents gave us that has a few things that don't work. Lee said we we get our house maybe he'll look at it but I really don't see that happening. Any who excellent job. Maybe he'll call on you when he gets to it.

Jennifer said...

Wow! I'm seriously impressed! Mike will be disappointed that he missed out on all the fun. He would have enjoyed watching you disesemble the piano.