Introduction: Repairing an Electronic Organ

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Our unit at college found this Organ for free on Craigslist. After the sheer amazement over the fact we actually went out and got this thing wore off, I noticed that it really did not work all that well.

Some of the keys stuck, or didn't play, or played badly. I blamed the spring contacts behind the keys, so I immediately set about tearing the thing apart.

Step 1: General Warning

I'm not responsible for irreversible damage to your organ, organs, or domicile. So follow the general rule of life and don't be dumb.

Step 2: Digging In

Picture of Digging In

The first effort was just to make the tremolo work again.

The tremolo is a speaker set behind a rotating foam wheel with a large slot cut out to make the sound wobble in that particular way that pipe organs do.

Our wheel didn't spin. To make it do so, we spun it manually, dislodged the nut placed on the rope, and that was all it took.

Step 3: The Keyboard.

Picture of The Keyboard.

The keyboard requires a bit more work.

First, the wood covering on the top has to be removed and the situation assessed.

Our top rank had a series of spring contacts which were moved by the wires protruding from the back of the wooden keys. The contacts were arranged with one, two, or three springs per key; and each set had a spring and two runners that all needed cleaned.
Meaning: I had a lot of contacts to clean.

Step 4: Cleaning

Picture of Cleaning

To clean the contacts, the best tool I found was a pencil eraser. (Unfortunately, I used up three erasers in the course of this project) Just rub the spring and runners until they look roughly shiny again, and be sure to blow away the eraser crumbs.

Step 5: And Cleaning..

Picture of And Cleaning..

Remove the top deck and keep going. I suspended mine by para-cord from my lofted bed.

Be sure not to break any wires, or there's no telling what will happen.

Step 6: And Fixing

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These are the return springs that pull the key back up and turn off the note.

One had come off and needed fixing. Unfortunately, it was on the bottom rank and needed to be fixed blind.

Step 7: Reassembly

Picture of Reassembly

Now, put it back together. All the screws, all the keys, exactly as they were.

Thread the springs through the correct holes in the plastic movers and put the key wire back on the plastic strip as well.

Step 8: Hope and Test

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Did you do it right?
Was that screw you found you left out critical?

No way to tell except to put it together, plug it in, and play every key to test it.

If a key still does not work, bend the wire on the back of the key up a little to get better contact between the spring and runner.

If no keys work, good luck. It's probably dead.


ConnieG49 (author)2017-03-05

I picked up a CONN serenade but it has no power.... can anyone help me out with it..

Zeke1458 (author)2016-11-30

I have a Baldwin Model 127w organ. It gives no response when I try to turn it on. Is there a quick fix such as a fuse that is bad or etc.? Need help. Is it something I can fix?

AmosC5 (author)2016-05-23

The church I attend has an old Technics E66 organ that is in need of repair. I am in search of someone with knowledge about organs

Missljohn (author)2016-02-12

I have a baldwin organ fun machine. About 30 yeats old. Anybody know about. Only the drum beats are working now

SpadeLad (author)2009-10-18

The unit is actually called a Leslie speaker. Although not a true one like the fridge units that were sold with the rotating speaker on top and a standard speaker on the bottom, it follows exactly the same principle. I recently pulled one almost exactly the same out of an old and now defunct organ but it needs hooking up to a power supply. Have you ever worked with turning these into a standalone speaker setup?

flounderbob (author)SpadeLad2014-12-28

ever see another one ill buy it...

flounderbob (author)2014-12-28

this the one i have!!! wow i need the tremlo repair man too it out 50yrs ago. i would like it fixed if possiable. then ill sell it...please anyone help me...

-Syrus- (author)2010-05-19

 You could add a Direct Injection, this way it is leveled for using it with "normal" guitar effectes, like a TS808 or TS9 or a flanger/phaser/delay/chorus for extra spacey effects.

I did this to an old organ that I got, chopped it up and use it with effects and all !
Sounds fantastic !

Bigev (author)2009-08-25

You did say erasers. Thank you again!

StrangeRover (author)2009-08-24

This is a Gulbransen organ. I had one of these and liked it well, but ended up selling it. I did, however, steal the Leslie speaker out of it before letting it go. You can run a guitar amp's speaker output into this and get a pretty good Leslie sound, even without having the horn section of the Leslie.

bustedit (author)StrangeRover2009-08-25

strangerover, i picked up a kimball organ from Freecycle, but dont really plays keys, and the wife doesnt think it matches our white wicker on the front porch. it has a BIG speaker, and a volume pedal like a wah wah. i can solder a bit, and do some circuit bending, but only on battery powered junk. i also have a new guitar and only a plastic Fender practice amp. would i be able to (somewhat easily) turn the speaker into a guitar amp? is there an amp already in the organ, do you know? it has a hefty transformer, but no tubes or anything cool.

Bigev (author)StrangeRover2009-08-24

Is Gulbransen a brand? This one says Lowrey on the front.

bustedit (author)2009-08-25

the best kind of erasers are grey and stiff, and sometimes have a lil grit to them, they may be ink erasers. my father used one for cleaning his H.O. train rails when i was younger, and i used the same exact eraser to clean my Tyco slot cars & tracks they last quite a bit longer than the pinkies.

SinAmos (author)2009-08-25

Good work.

gmoon (author)2009-08-24

The "tremolo" you're referring to is a Leslie speaker effect (although competitors couldn't call it a "Leslie"...) StrangeRover below mentions it in passing.

They have a cool whooshing, phase-shifting sound, caused by rotating that funky baffle (pictured in step 2.)

Bigev (author)gmoon2009-08-24

Huh. I thought it was a brand name when I saw it on the back of the unit.

daulef (author)2009-08-24

great, been meaning to do this for a while now, you can barely give these 'generic' organs away over here (australia), check the free section of your local rag, theres normally at least one!

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