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Roland CR-8000 Button Cleaning & Repair

Roland CR-8000 Button Cleaning & Repair

July 11th, 2010  |  Published in Roland CR-8000  |  16 Comments

The CR-8000 is rather infamous for its faulty buttons. They either don’t work at all or they require multiple presses in order to get a result. The good news is that it’s unlikely that the button is actually broken or needs replacement; it’s more likely that the contacts are dirty and in need of a good cleaning and a minor modification. The bad news is that these buttons are designed in a rather bone-headed way, which makes the cleaning/repair process a tedious and time-consuming task.

The following tutorial shows you how to repair the CR-8000′s buttons once and for all. The process involves gluing a small piece of copper to the original conductive pad that normally closes the switch. It’s kind of a headache but it’s worth it. If you happen to know of a faster/better method of repairing the buttons, please post your technique here! *Scroll down to the comments to see useful tips from other DIYers.

Here are the tools & supplies you’ll need:

  • • Soldering iron
  • • Solder sucker or solder braid
  • • DeoxIt or similar cleaning solution
  • • X-acto knife or similar tool
  • • Super glue or similar adhesive that bonds rubber and metal
  • • Copper foil (I use the 1181 copper foil tape from 3M)

How to clean & repair the buttons:

1) Remove the control board from the CR-8000′s case.

2) Remove all of the square button caps by carefully lifting them upwards. Toss ‘em in a bag or box and set them aside.

3) De-solder all of the buttons and remove them from the board. You don’t need to de-solder the Intro/Fill and Start/Stop buttons because they aren’t held in place by a metal brace like the others. Thanks to the metal braces, I can see no other option than to de-solder the buttons from the board without breaking them. This is because you have to pry the sides of each button’s case outward in order to take it apart, and the metal braces prevent you from doing that. There are 29 buttons that need to be de-soldered, each with four legs. That’s 116 points to de-solder. Sweet.

4) To disassemble a button, carefully pry outward on the plastic tabs located on both sides of the button’s case. I use an X-acto knife, but anything long and thin should do the job, like a miniature flat-head screwdriver. Don’t pry too hard. The plastic is pretty old and prone to cracking.

5) Disassemble the button by lifting the top part of the button case upward. Here’s what you’ll find inside:

6) It’s a good idea to clean the contacts inside the button case at this point. I use DeoxIt. If there’s a lot of oxidation or grime, you can very lightly scrape the contacts with a miniature flat-head screwdriver. Do this very carefully though, as you don’t want to damage the little raised bumps on either contact pad. You can also clean the black pad beneath the gray rubber plunger in preparation for the glue.

7) Cut a small piece of copper foil to about the size of the black pad on the rubber plunger (the black pad is what normally bridges the two pads inside the button case). You don’t want the piece of copper foil to be too large, or else it might not make proper contact once the button is re-assembled.

8 ) Glue the copper foil to the black pad on the rubber plunger. I use super glue, the kind that comes with a brush. Set aside and allow to dry/bond thoroughly. It wouldn’t hurt to clean the copper foil at this point to remove any residue from your greasy fingers.

9) Reassemble the button and test it with a multimeter before soldering it back in place.

10) Repeat steps 4 – 9 for each button, solder them back onto the board, reassemble the CR-8000, and make some beats.

Responses

  1. Don Komer says:

    August 18th, 2010at 12:39 pm(#)

    Thanks for this article. I could not figure out how to get the switches open. A couple of hints for you. M.E. Taylor Engineering Inc. sells a kit for repairing remote control rubber pads. I used this instead of the piece of copper for repair of the rubber pad part. I also used a small buffing pad to clean the oxidized silver contacts down inside the switch. This works well.
    Thanks again.

  2. gumi says:

    August 20th, 2010at 8:16 am(#)

    Thanks for the tip! Your method sounds a bit easier than using copper foil. I think this might be the repair kit you’re referring to? I’m gonna give this a try next go around.

    Glad I could help with getting the switches open. Thanks for the comment.

  3. Jon says:

    December 16th, 2010at 6:14 am(#)

    Hi,

    I’m looking for a spare button with the contacts element to fix a CR8000 do you know of any place I can get one?

    Many thanks
    Jon

  4. gumi says:

    December 16th, 2010at 10:26 am(#)

    Sorry, I’m not sure where you can find a replacement button for the CR-8000. Someone was selling them on e-bay a couple years ago so you might check there from time to time. I have seen some similar looking buttons at Mouser, but I’m not sure if they’ll fit properly. I also saw that someone replaced the buttons with Omron tactile switches. They work well but they don’t look very nice, as you won’t be able to place the CR’s button caps on them.

  5. Matt says:

    January 23rd, 2011at 9:07 am(#)

    I have been unable to attach the foil and pensive about using super glue since it has destroyed projects in the past. I found the foil with the sticky tape on it, but that does not work. Any other adhesives you would recommend?

  6. gumi says:

    January 23rd, 2011at 11:26 am(#)

    I understand your hesitation about using super glue. I’m not sure what other adhesives might work though…maybe an epoxy of some sort? I’ve tried using conductive epoxy in other projects with limited results.

    For what it’s worth, I’ve used the super glue method on about 100 CR switches now and they’ve all been working perfectly. I don’t think you can really destroy anything using super glue if you’re careful (i.e. use small amounts). You should press and hold the foil to the plunger for about a minute when you glue it. Then let it cure for at least an hour before reassembling and using the switch. These steps help ensure there’s a solid bond.

    That said, if you want to avoid the foil method altogether, you might try the rubber keypad repair kit approach. This should work fine for repairing the switches, but I haven’t tried it yet. I’ve got some on order (seems like everyone is out of stock) and I’ll post the results once I try it out.

  7. Matt Normand says:

    August 2nd, 2011at 10:46 pm(#)

    I have conquered the CR8000. I replaced all of the buttons with the foil and reworked some wiring. Other repairs included cleaning the tempo button, and totally overhauling the plastic case with a combination of epoxy and plastic fastener bits cut off of other junk keyboards. My main objective was to fix this thing and sell it on eBay, if I failed, I’d circuit bend it. Messing around with it in actual working order, I decided to keep it. This thing was free, but I somehow managed to bring it back to life and it is VERY cool as is. Thank you for your postings — very insightful. I’d recommend a solder iron with the plunger at the end, it makes the button removing go a little faster. Totally worth the $40.

  8. Svein Welde says:

    September 2nd, 2011at 5:11 pm(#)

    Lots of great tips here!
    I got my CR-8000 today.
    All the push buttons work fine, but the turning knobs for Voice Levels are creating noise when turning them, and some of them fail to keep the desired levels.
    Same presidure with cleaning and re-soldering here as well?

  9. gumi says:

    September 2nd, 2011at 10:05 pm(#)

    Hey Svein. Luckily the voice level pots are a lot easier to clean than the switches. If you look at the back side of the pot you’ll see a small opening in the metal case. All you need to do is spray some contact cleaner in there (I use DeoxIT) and turn the knob a bunch of times to break up the grime. It sounds like your pots are pretty dirty so you might need to do this more then once. Once the pots are clean, you could spray them with a protecting cleaner like DeoxIT Gold to keep them working for a long time.

    Thanks for visiting, and good luck with your new CR.

  10. Svein Welde says:

    September 5th, 2011at 12:52 pm(#)

    Thanks for the tip, Gumi! It worked very well! I used contact cleaner as you said and now everything is perfect. No more noise. All the knobs works as they should!

  11. Michael Bronniche says:

    May 13th, 2012at 12:47 pm(#)

    Hello.
    All of the tactile switches on my CR 5000, were corroded so badly, that they were not functioning at all.
    I cleaned them with some isopropylic alcohol, both the conductive rubberpads and the contactpoints. Afterwards i gently buffed a shine the contactpoints, especially the “dimples” with a fibreglass brush. This really did the trick and now this baby is working like a charm, and behaving like brand-new.
    Cheers from Michael of Minilab Micromusic ™ Copenhagen.

  12. Raphaël says:

    September 30th, 2014at 12:08 am(#)

    I’ve ordered the MG Chemicals 8339 Rubber Keypad Repair Kit but had no luck with it. On the other hand the aluminium foil works great for now and it’s WAY faster AND easier : with the repair kit it’s hard to create and evenly flat surface with the super glue, and then it’s equally hard to have the graphite layer flat too – which you must let dry for 24 hours, damn.
    Also, the kit cost me 60 $CAN (about 30 + 30 for shipping), and I’m afraid it’s money down the drain.
    I can’t speak about the durability of the graphite kit vs aluminium foil, or aluminium vs copper foil, but for now it feels rock solid.
    Btw, is there a reason why you choose this rather thick copper foil over the usual aluminium foil?
    What happens when the copper oxidise?

  13. Geir Helgi Birgisson says:

    November 4th, 2014at 5:32 pm(#)

    Hey hey Gumi and CR-8000 fans!
    This site is super helpful for repairing the CR-8000 :)

    Me and my friend just finished restoring a CR-8000 (this evening! Woohoo)
    ALL the buttons were out, desoldered them, took them apart and went with the Rubber-Keypad-Carbon-Repair kit route (from “Chemtek” or something).
    Mixed the carbon chemicals correctly, brushed a nice layer on top of the little carbon-pad inside the rubber-”tit”, gently brushed the contacts in the switch with a fiber-pen/brush, sprayed it with a contact cleaner and cleaned the oxidation/dirt with some earpins.

    Then we put together the switches (I found out that it’s nice to use a screwdriver to gently even out the edges of the rubber-titties so they lay completely flat; i.e. all edges are parallel to the plastic surrounding it inside the switch) snapping them in place (it’s easy to take it apart with your fingernails ;) ) and then they tested fine, soldered the bunch back in, finished the restoration and now it’s working like brand-spanking new!!!

    Highly recommend the Carbon-Paint (not Silver conductive paint because it’s not flexible enough for the rubber-pad)*

    *I’ll post the name of the product I used when I get back to the workshop.

    Peace!
    Over & out,

    -Geir Helgi

  14. John says:

    November 28th, 2014at 11:26 am(#)

    Hello and thanks for the info.

    I cleaned my CR-800 switches about 25 years ago and although they all worked, they were never perfect.

    I was pleased to see the method for repairing the switches but didn’t fancy working with tiny bits of copper. I looked at conductive ink and the little conductive pads you can buy for replacing the carbon rubber tip inside the switch, and then it hit me! I have an unused universal TV remote full of these little pads. So I dismantled it and cut the contact tips from the keypad with a craft knife. I checked the resistance and found them all to be between 80 and 120 ohms depending how hard I pressed the probes onto them. Using your method of repair, I have used those instead of copper. The switches are now working as new. Thanks for the great idea.

    Best regards,

    John.

  15. Scott says:

    April 4th, 2015at 11:27 am(#)

    Very useful website for frustrated CR8000 owners.
    Thanks for the info.
    I have a couple of buttons that don’t work, including the stop/start button, which of course makes it inoperable! However, when I attempt to open the button up as described, it will just not come apart. The button seems sealed. No matter how I prise, it just will not open up. I don’t think this repair is as easy as the successes here imply.
    I’d be grateful if anyone can point me in the direction of someone who can repair CR8000s. I’m in Derbyshire, UK.

  16. gumi says:

    April 4th, 2015at 11:34 am(#)

    Hi Scott,

    I’m curious about the problem you’re having with the button case not opening. Can you send me a picture? E-mail me through the contact page if so and I’ll get back to you.

    I’ve refurbished hundreds of these buttons and haven’t come across any that wouldn’t open, except for one instance where the button cases were glued together from a prior repair. Is it possible the button you have has been glued?

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