What it costs to buy a working Rhodes Chroma Polaris

Discussions about anything analog, digital, MIDI, synth technology, techniques, theories and more.

What it costs to buy a working Rhodes Chroma Polaris

Postby justinvm » Tue Jul 15, 2008 8:31 am

Hello,

Here's a heads up for anyone wanting to buy a Chroma Polaris. I just put this tally together for the seller of the synth whom which I bought it from a week or so ago.

The synth was in fully functional condition before it left on a plane from JFK airport to Melbourne Australia. When it arrived at the airport I was unexpectedly slugged with import taxes because the seller mistakenly wrote that the value of the synths was $1000. They recommended that I contact a broker and get them to handle the paper work. I spent 3 hours at the airport filling out custom forms and researching a 10,000 page import taxes book. The overall additional tax was $173.00

The chroma polaris arrived home. And guess what? Yep the membrane switches were broken. The ribbon cable connecting the membrane to the switching board literallly shattered mid flight.

Luckily the repair wasn't as hopeless as I imagined. It took me 9 hours of painful brain surgery but I fixed them. (For anyone else wanting to do this, the membrane switches should be 100% salvageable, theres a method of soldering cables to the ribbon which restores conductivity.)

When the switches were fully working I was able to tune the synth. One of the oscillators on voice 1 was permanently detuned and modulating uncontrollably. The pitch bend and modulation leavers were also not working.

Turned out that there were faulty capacitors in the sample and hold section of voice 1. There was also a capacitor of incorrect value installed on the circuit board (causing the PWM). I can only assume this capacitor had been there since it left the factory as there was no evidence of repair.

The pitch bend and modulation leavers were faulty due to a loose solder joint connecting ribbon between 2 circuit boards.

Many thanks to Adamstan and Bob Weigel (Sound Doctrin) for helping with the repairs above.


------------------

Chroma timeline and cost estimation:

Before arriving airport (ebay cost including postage): $814.97 (AUD)

Customs charge: $173 (over $1000 tax threshold) + $33.00 (compulsory airport transit fee)
Spent 3 hours at the airport filling out forms.
Petrol: ( Paid a friend $50 to get me to the airport)

Arrived home chroma not working:

Spent 9 hours repairing membrane switches:
Membrane switches repaired.

Noticed leavers not working correctly and oscillator B on voice 1 out of tune and experiencing modulation problems.

Spent 4-5 days researching for oscillator fault. Locating parts. Testing components. Dismantling and reassembling the synth.
Approximately 6-8 hours a day.

Located incorrectly installed capacitor responsible for PWM on voice 1 (Seems as though the chroma was faulty before it left the factory floor in 1985)

Spent $20 on petrol locating capacitors parts locally (PWM).
$40.09 for special polypropylene capacitors used in the chroma polaris for oscillator PITCH.
$20.00 on additional items needed for repair, specialized desoldering wick, solder, specialized soldering iron tip.

Spent 5 hours today locating problem with leaver. Correcting problem.

Total hours spent on repair: 45.5 hours (average)

Finding a repair technician in australia would be expensensive and not reliable?

How much if I was paid to do this repair?
45.5 * $20 / hour = $900
Would probably take an experienced technician half the time to complete the repair. So we will say $450.


TOTAL COST =
814.97
173
33
50
20
60
450

= $1600 (AUD)
Ignoring fuel and redundant components purchased
$1600 - 70 - 20

Grand total:
1,476.31 USD (I have receipts for almost everything)

----

Tonight will be the first time I can actually play the synth properly. Although getting the factory presets back on there is proving a challenge!

I think my situation was the worst of the worst. Everything that could go wrong did.

I hate having to work for everything in my life (nothing ever comes easily).

I'm sure the sound will make up for this disaster over time.

- J[/b]
justinvm
Junior Member
Junior Member
 
Posts: 209
Joined: Sat Jul 07, 2007 12:03 pm

Advertisement:

Postby minime123 » Tue Jul 15, 2008 1:33 pm

$20 an hour for tech work?

any $20/hour techs wanna come work for me?! ;)

you said the synth was "fully functional" when it left from JFK but found faults that couldn't have been caused by shipping. in fact, are you sure the ribbon cable "shattered mid flight" or might it have been like this before it was sent? remember, we're talking about EBAY here - land of misrepresented (broken) synths. :(
VINTAGE SYNTH DEALER
- Buy / Sell / Trade
- We Buy Broken Gear & Parts Too...
- Huge Selection, Dependable Service
- http://www.123synthland.com (redirects)
User avatar
minime123
Senior Member
Senior Member
 
Posts: 928
Joined: Wed Jul 20, 2005 1:44 pm
Location: USA

Postby blueknob » Tue Jul 15, 2008 4:52 pm

This to me is no big deal when everything is taken into consideration. Any box of delicate old electronics is likely to suffer damage in transit be it in a 747 or bicycle. Also the auction system is not perfect, I have bought what has been described as a genuine artical only to find there is some nagging fault with the item. So you have to keep in mind the auction site is a gamble.

When I buy from there I expect that the item will need a good check over, electronic repairs of some sort being highly likely. To my mind you had a good overall experience. You learned about the synth, you and it are now bonded! Better still you fixed it without incurring any serious charges.

So get your cleaning cloths out, give it a nice brush up and start learning it's sound textures, how to program it, what famous records use it, who uses etc.

Sounds like you got everthing right! :D
blueknob
Newbie
Newbie
 
Posts: 41
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2008 12:30 pm

Postby Yoozer » Tue Jul 15, 2008 5:40 pm

At least you can repair this thing yourself. I've got a Poly61 I still have to fix and some of the traces on the oscillator circuit board have disappeared, and the on-line scans of the schematics are of such a bad quality that they don't help that much either :(.
"Part of an instrument is what it can do, and part of it is what you do to it" - Suzanne Ciani, 197x.
User avatar
Yoozer
Expert Member
Expert Member
 
Posts: 1436
Joined: Sun Oct 09, 2005 1:31 pm
Location: The Netherlands

Postby minime123 » Tue Jul 15, 2008 9:27 pm

"This to me is no big deal when everything is taken into consideration."

i find it quite the opposite.

"Any box of delicate old electronics is likely to suffer damage in transit be it in a 747 or bicycle."

this is simply untrue. ive shipped hundreds of big fragile vintage synths like this and can count the number of items damaged in transit on 1 hand. almost 2 years ago when we had an item damaged by the carrier and after dealing with all the hassle associated w an insurance claim, i decided we would pack things so well that it wouldnt happen again. and here we are 2 years later without any more damaged items. :) most people arent going to pack things well and will risk damaging their item. this is especially troubling when its a vintage item.

"Also the auction system is not perfect, I have bought what has been described as a genuine artical only to find there is some nagging fault with the item. So you have to keep in mind the auction site is a gamble."

i totally agree that its a gamble but it really shouldnt be. when we sell items on ebay, its not. im sure the same could be said of other knowledgeable / reputable sellers, but sadly many other sellers get away with murder (selling junk thats gonna need hundreds of dollars in repairs). expect the worst on ebay.

"When I buy from there I expect that the item will need a good check over, electronic repairs of some sort being highly likely."

these are realistic expectations but it shouldnt be that way. items should be described accurately.

"To my mind you had a good overall experience. You learned about the synth, you and it are now bonded! Better still you fixed it without incurring any serious charges."

few people can perform repairs like this on their own, so in this case, he was lucky. if he had to find a pro vintage synth repair tech to do the job it simply wouldnt have been worth repairing it.

:(

mini
VINTAGE SYNTH DEALER
- Buy / Sell / Trade
- We Buy Broken Gear & Parts Too...
- Huge Selection, Dependable Service
- http://www.123synthland.com (redirects)
User avatar
minime123
Senior Member
Senior Member
 
Posts: 928
Joined: Wed Jul 20, 2005 1:44 pm
Location: USA

Postby waveterm » Tue Jul 15, 2008 10:27 pm

+1

What you really should do is ask for a refund from the seller.

WT
Just a guy with a bunch of blue things.......now, move on !
User avatar
waveterm
Active Member
Active Member
 
Posts: 320
Joined: Sun Mar 05, 2006 1:07 am
Location: Arctic
Gear: A lot more than you

Postby nadafarms » Tue Jul 15, 2008 11:41 pm

Minime is right %100 most sellers on ebay will risk the expensive vintage items completely just to save a couple bucks on shipping.

People are vastly delusional about the actual cost of shipping, I would rather get overcharged for shipping it makes me nervous when a heavy synth is listed at $40-50 shipping.

Still, even if something is packed amazingly some UPS jackass is going to drop kick it and throw it around like a red headed step child. FYI All the smashed packages I have received have been from UPS and we are talking in the last 6 months: Three CS series synths, chroma polaris and just yesterday an akai mfc-42, they were all poorly packed but I still hold a grudge against UPS and think they more expensive.

Good thing the chroma polaris sound awesome, I like it better than a jupiter 6 or prophet 600 and now you have one on the other side of the world.

yeah I guarantee those ribbons were already broken.
for sale/trade: EML-101
User avatar
nadafarms
Supporting Member!
Supporting Member!
 
Posts: 1066
Joined: Thu Jun 01, 2006 7:33 am
Location: NorCal

Postby blueknob » Wed Jul 16, 2008 8:42 am

I started with.. "Any box of delicate old electronics is likely to suffer damage in transit be it in a 747 or bicycle."

The reply was.. "this is simply untrue...." followed by.. ".. most people arent going to pack things well and will risk damaging their item. this is especially troubling when its a vintage item. "

Thank you, exactly my point!! :D
blueknob
Newbie
Newbie
 
Posts: 41
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2008 12:30 pm

Re: What it costs to buy a working Rhodes Chroma Polaris

Postby pricklyrobot » Wed Jul 16, 2008 3:05 pm

justinvm wrote:For anyone else wanting to do this, the membrane switches should be 100% salvageable, theres a method of soldering cables to the ribbon which restores conductivity.


So this can be done? Good to know. I've seen Polaris's come up for sale at reasonable prices a few times but never went after one due to the fear of failing membranes and the lack of replacements.

Perhaps you could put together a membrane repair tutorial and post it somewhere. After you've had a nice long break playing your finally functional instrument, that is. :wink:
Nord Mod G1 -- Arturia MiniBrute -- Sammich SID -- E-mu MP-7 -- Roland V-Synth, JV-1080 -- Korg ER-1 -- Thingamagoop -- 8 modules (and counting) o' Eurocrack
User avatar
pricklyrobot
Synth Explorer
Synth Explorer
 
Posts: 1733
Joined: Sun Feb 19, 2006 6:37 am
Location: Austin, TX

Postby nadafarms » Thu Jul 17, 2008 11:27 pm

Cough... I have a polaris I'll sell that has had the membranes fixed. PM me if anyone is interested.
for sale/trade: EML-101
User avatar
nadafarms
Supporting Member!
Supporting Member!
 
Posts: 1066
Joined: Thu Jun 01, 2006 7:33 am
Location: NorCal

Postby pricklyrobot » Fri Jul 18, 2008 12:40 am

nadafarms wrote:Cough... I have a polaris I'll sell that has had the membranes fixed. PM me if anyone is interested.


I was thinking more of the one I saw on my local craigslist a few months ago for $400-something. :wink:
Nord Mod G1 -- Arturia MiniBrute -- Sammich SID -- E-mu MP-7 -- Roland V-Synth, JV-1080 -- Korg ER-1 -- Thingamagoop -- 8 modules (and counting) o' Eurocrack
User avatar
pricklyrobot
Synth Explorer
Synth Explorer
 
Posts: 1733
Joined: Sun Feb 19, 2006 6:37 am
Location: Austin, TX

Postby minime123 » Fri Jul 18, 2008 1:07 am

"Minime is right %100 most sellers on ebay will risk the expensive vintage items completely just to save a couple bucks on shipping. "

this is partially ebays fault and the average buyers fault in many cases. now ebay asks buyers to rate sellers on shipping costs. not surprisingly, i think last i checked we had an average of 4.2 out of 5 for this rating even though the customers know what we charge before bidding - no surprises. and even though what we charge is based on ONLY on our actual cost for new materials (to pack that gear RIGHT!) and what the carrier charges, without any hidden profit. (its not always exact cause its estimated based on size and weight, but we often lose money on shipping at the end of the day). we're not a charity - youd think people would understand the costs of packing and transporting a big fragile item would be significant, but i guess all people see are dollar signs.... and compare them to the cost of either shipping smaller, less valuable items, or whatever the other seller who dumpster dove to get that 2 sheets of 1/2 popped bubblewrap and a coffee stained box charged them for packing (if anything).
the majority of buyers are just looking for the cheapest option, even if it means putting another vintage synth in danger :(

"I would rather get overcharged for shipping it makes me nervous when a heavy synth is listed at $40-50 shipping. "

our cost to pack a 5 octave synth is usually in the $15-25 range. thats for materials, not time (which we havent charged for to date). shipping close by can be really cheap, but across the country it can get pricey. sure, you could use a small box to save money but that wouldnt allow enough packing material to ensure a safe trip.

"Still, even if something is packed amazingly some UPS jackass is going to drop kick it and throw it around like a red headed step child. FYI All the smashed packages I have received have been from UPS and we are talking in the last 6 months: Three CS series synths, chroma polaris and just yesterday an akai mfc-42, they were all poorly packed but I still hold a grudge against UPS and think they more expensive. "

we have had 0 damage via ups in the last couple of years because we now pack items to withstand abuse. any buyer/lover of vintage synths should make sure whoever they buy from packs properly or they shouldnt buy from that seller. cause todays average seller hardly knows how to power a synth up let alone pack it for whats often a rough ride.

"I started with.. "Any box of delicate old electronics is likely to suffer damage in transit be it in a 747 or bicycle."

The reply was.. "this is simply untrue...." followed by.. ".. most people arent going to pack things well and will risk damaging their item. this is especially troubling when its a vintage item. "

Thank you, exactly my point!! "

well the way i read it, it seemed as though you werent acknowledging the fact that its usually the sellers fault for poorly packing that item. any seller worth dealing with will not underpack an item and risk damaging it.

" Cough... I have a polaris I'll sell that has had the membranes fixed. PM me if anyone is interested."

contact sound doctrin about this, he bought our last broken one and fixed it up when our tech didnt want to deal with it.

mini
VINTAGE SYNTH DEALER
- Buy / Sell / Trade
- We Buy Broken Gear & Parts Too...
- Huge Selection, Dependable Service
- http://www.123synthland.com (redirects)
User avatar
minime123
Senior Member
Senior Member
 
Posts: 928
Joined: Wed Jul 20, 2005 1:44 pm
Location: USA

Postby nadafarms » Wed Jul 23, 2008 7:02 am

regarding shipping...

since this thread I have now received two destoyed akai mfc-42 analog filters. Both on ebay sent to me poorly packed. One guy is happy to refund me and the other is acting like oh it worked fine when I sent it.

Of course I told him about the recent mfc42 I received broken so he would do a good job packing but nope, it was floating around in the box with a light piece of bubble wrap not even taped to it. this thing is toast and I'm going to have to be the asshole... and start a dispute with paypal and make him accept a return on HIS broke ass filter and refund me. It's so frustrating I'm so god damn sick of ebay and the piles of broken gear I receive.

RIP Akai mfc-42 I'm never gonna order one again no matter what.
for sale/trade: EML-101
User avatar
nadafarms
Supporting Member!
Supporting Member!
 
Posts: 1066
Joined: Thu Jun 01, 2006 7:33 am
Location: NorCal

Postby synthesizerist » Wed Jul 23, 2008 3:25 pm

What I've started doing is making free shipping, but really it's just how much I want plus shipping charges. Of course, this only works for fixed price auctions...

As for shipping synths, I've shipped quite a few, probably the largest an OB-8, and I've never once had anything break in shipment. If you package it right, even UPS has a hard time hurting it (yes, I've had the same experience with UPS- FedEx and USPS deliver your package, UPS plays dodgeball with it in the warehouse and then delivers it). But I've received synths with newspaper taped TO the synth and thrown in a box full of peanuts...
synthesizerist
Junior Member
Junior Member
 
Posts: 153
Joined: Mon Jul 14, 2008 9:38 pm
Location: Cum-blow-us, Ohio

Postby MrFrodo » Wed Jul 23, 2008 4:42 pm

waveterm wrote:+1

What you really should do is ask for a refund from the seller.

WT


Or maybe, a refund and a refusal to return the instrument.
The greatest thing we ever have is the will to survive.

Rest in peace, Dr. Robert Moog.

http://www.ericbenjamingordon.com
http://cdbaby.com/cd/ebgordon
http://www.myspace.com/ericbenjamingordon
MrFrodo
Expert Member
Expert Member
 
Posts: 1052
Joined: Sun Oct 09, 2005 9:29 pm
Location: New York, NY, USA
Real name: Eric

Next

Return to General Synthesizers

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: calaverasgrande and 3 guests