Just picked up a Siel Opera 6... and it has issues :(

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Just picked up a Siel Opera 6... and it has issues :(

Postby Purity_Control » Mon Jul 30, 2007 10:13 pm

I'm well miffed.

I just got a Siel Opera 6 through today that i bought on Ebay from a guy in Germany (i'm in the UK)... it was sold as 'always worked perfectly' but 'without any warrenties'...

...there's some sort of issue with the potentiometer values... both the lfo speed and depth controls and the noise volume don't track properly, so once you've turned the noise amount on, you can't totally turn it off again, and the minimum lfo depth values and speeds are too high to be usable for most things... without knowing what a perfect Opera 6 should play like, it's hard to say about some of the other knobs...

...can anyone who knows this synth better tell me if this is a common problem with siel operas? I'm wondering if maybe he's ballsed up something inside when he changed the battery, like maybe knocking some trimpots off or something, or if the potentiometers themselves have actually changed value?

...need to figure out what to do about this too... i paid with paypal, so i suppose that if i could find someone who can repair it, i could always copy the bill to them, if they're prepared to enforce... dunno... never had this kind of trouble before...

ideas anyone?
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Postby micahjonhughes » Mon Jul 30, 2007 10:54 pm

If it helps the Service Manual can be found here http://home.tiscali.nl/~smeyer/siel/
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Postby Maschinengeist » Mon Jul 30, 2007 11:13 pm

I'm an experienced synth tech. And I've worked on countless synths. Not every models ever made though but a good bunch.

The first thing to do is to clean your potentiometers with contact cleaner. Spray some inside (not mendatory to go nuts) and twist the knobs a few minutes. Usually, that solve the problem. Sometimes not. They might need deeper cleaning: you need to unsolder them and pop them open and clean them. If it's too much trouble, just change the pots by new ones.

It's surely a case of heavy dirt. I wouldn't worry.
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Postby Purity_Control » Tue Jul 31, 2007 12:35 am

thanks. i feel a bit better for knowing that... will try that when i can pick up some contact cleaner later in the week.
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Postby Purity_Control » Tue Jul 31, 2007 2:34 pm

ok, i tried giving the pots a really good clean out... it hasn't made any difference at all :(

checking against the operations manual too... the filter pots are obviously out as the filter won't self oscillate, and i think the ADSR pots are out of range too... the max. attack time should be around 5.8 seconds, but it's about 1...

...looks like i'm gonna have to find someone to take a serious look at this :(
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Postby bigfoot-studios » Tue Jul 31, 2007 10:07 pm

It's generally not a good idea to spray stuff into pots. You usually end up overspraying onto the board and components which can cause problems. Also where do you think all the hair, dirt, and other gunk goes when you spray something in there? The spray can also remove the lubrication needed to keep the pot feeling smooth as well depending on what spray your using.

Been a while since I've opened up one of these but I think they used an internal Nicad battery which are prone to leaking and eating up circuit traces and components. This could be the cause of the problems.
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Postby WhinyLittleRunt » Tue Jul 31, 2007 11:05 pm

Call it luck, but I hosed down my Moog MG-1 mainboard with contact cleaner (kinda by accident) and it worked perfectly.

just make sure whatever you do with contact cleaner you let it sit for a day or two before you re-assemble it. It doesn't exactly dry like i expected it to.
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Postby Maschinengeist » Wed Aug 01, 2007 12:33 am

bigfoot-studios wrote:It's generally not a good idea to spray stuff into pots.


Wrong. MG Chemicals + Deoxit with zero residue are perfect. Many other will get the job done, trust me. And they are especially made for the job. Buy the right one (there more than one kind of contact cleaner you know) and bingo. I clean thousands of pots every years. That's my job. One doesn't need to put a large amount. You just have to know the trick.

Now we know that the pots themselves might not be the problem. Next step, a peek inside to see if there's perceptible damages. Like the mentioned battery leak. You can't miss it.

Warning: if you don't know exactly what you're doing, it's preferable to see someone with experience to avoid that you cause more damage than good.
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Postby bigfoot-studios » Wed Aug 01, 2007 2:32 am

Maschinengeist wrote:
bigfoot-studios wrote:It's generally not a good idea to spray stuff into pots.


Wrong. MG Chemicals + Deoxit with zero residue are perfect. Many other will


Wrong. They are temporary fixes. Just ask Kevin Lightner and Phil Cirocco, two of the best synth techs around. You won't catch them using the stuff.
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Postby Maschinengeist » Wed Aug 01, 2007 3:14 am

I know Kevin Lightner and I keep communication wih him.

I know Phil's work but don't know the guy personally and never talked to him.

What are we talking about here? High-Tech restoration or fixing a problem? Do you personally diassemble your pots on your synths? And what do you do with the sealed ones?

Instead of name-pitching, do this synth community a favour and expose their method. Look, I'm not after you and I appreciate when someone come up with real knowledge. I don't doubt a second that you know how to clean them b the rule of the art, but helping is spreading the knowledge and you are not doing so here.
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Postby Purity_Control » Wed Aug 01, 2007 9:04 pm

the problem does appear to be on the main board where the battery is, the seller said it had been replaced recently, but i can see corrosion from the old one, had a chat to a synth repair dude about it and he said it's prob. damaged part of the system that scans the pot values.

no idea how the seller could have thought this was 'always perfectly working' :? i've emailed him but not had a reply back yet :(
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Postby Maschinengeist » Wed Aug 01, 2007 9:32 pm

We're making progress. This is also a possibility. Depending on the corrosion damage, maybe buses (or traces) are damages. Could be an easy fix or a time-consuming one. Depends. My recommendation, if you want to keep it, see a tech. Replacing the affected *shouldn't* be a problem either. But we're getting far from "perfectly working here" and a tech will charge you at the very least 1 hour of labour.

Just a note: about 75% of my customers come from eBay, where they bought from a seller telling them it was in perfect condition, never a glitch... and my custumer and I receive some mind-numbling synths with a mile long of problems. That's the beauty of eBay.

My latest one bought a Korg VC-10 "from a church sale" (according to seller... a vocoder in a church? What a funky priest!) and everything you can think of is wrong. From the transformer to missing pot (!) to regulation to modules, etc. I also extracted 87 blown electrolytic capacitors!!! Everything!!! The buyer is a VSE member too. Many eBay sellers fool their customers to make a sell. And we techs are given "The Eye" when we discuss the state of "perfectly working, with minor defect", easy fix" thing with the customer. That's sad but that's it. Maybe they think the customer won't notice.
Last edited by Maschinengeist on Wed Aug 01, 2007 9:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Bitexion » Wed Aug 01, 2007 9:41 pm

Maybe the seller isn't a synth user at all, and just sells it because he found it on the loft of his dad's house. That's how I got the MS-10. The ad actually said Korg MS-20, so I phoned him but it was actually and MS-10. Guy said it worked and there was sound, so I bought it.

Proved he had no single clue, there was no connection between the keyboard and oscillator, so I couldn't get pitch on the synth whatsoever. Only noise and the filter would output anything. Kind of bummer. Sent it to a synth tech, who found several cables hanging loose inside.
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Postby Purity_Control » Wed Aug 01, 2007 10:18 pm

the tech i spoke to said the repair cost could come in at £150 (i paid £250 for the synth) if it's tricky.

i checked the listing again and the seller claims to have owned this synth for 7 years.

does anyone know if it would mess things up with my paypal claim if i sent it straight to the tech? would they be likely to be ok with me claiming for a refund for the repair amount if i had the tech's invoice to say that it was very faulty?

edit: i just took another look at my seller's feedback. it looked pretty impressive with 1400+ at 99.9%, but when you look closer, he has 16 mutual retractions :(
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Postby Purity_Control » Tue Aug 14, 2007 6:01 pm

Update time.

Heard back from the synth tech today, he's had a go at replacing a lot of the parts that look corroded and it's still up the spout... he going to have another go this week but if that fails, i've just paid a lot for a very pretty doorstop :(

Have also filed a claim with paypal today, seriously want to nail up the seller for this stunt... not so much a scammer as a plain lying b*stard...
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