I was looking into purchasing one of the all-in-one MIDI keyboard, knob controller, drum pad jobbies. There are a few models out there, but the axiom 25 looked cool, and seemed right. I had read about their problem of the drum pads becoming unresponsive, but I took a chance.
I found one on ebay for really cheap. The description was that it did not communicate with a computer.
“A ha!” I thought “Probably a broken USB jack! easy fix…” Or the USB to serial circuit was fried. Well, I bid on it, and won it. Including shipping -$50!
I received it, plugged it in, and the computer saw it right away. Hmmm…
I started up MIDI-OX to see what was happening. Only a few of the keys were responsive, and only two pads were responsive. Uh-oh.
Seeing as I used to repair keyboards for a living, I opened it and and jumped in. The keyboard is pretty standard. No broken bits of plastic. I unscrewed the keyboard assembly to get at the key contacts.
Once I stripped them off their pegs, I wiped them down with rubbing alcohol. Then popped them back on using a toothpick to push the rubber tabs back in to the holes.There was a lot of dirt, hair and grime I cleaned of the bottom of the keys too. That can interfere with there operation too.
MIDI-OX reports that all the keys are functional now! Onto the pads.
The drum pads are resistive pads sandwiched between sheets of plastic. I could not see anything broken or damaged. However, I noticed that the flex ribbon cable looked dull. I disconnected it and felt the contacts. Its just paint – it rubs off! Very cheap, M-audio! Well, that could explain it. And, if there were any cracks in the paint, I doubt I could see them. But, the good news is, I know how to fix this!
More paint! Yes – paint, “copper paint” to be exact. Pray tell, where do you find copper paint at 7 o’clock at night? The answer is: an auto parts store! I bought this stuff: Permatex 15067 Quick Grid Rear Window Defogger Repair Kit at a CarQuest store. Most parts stores will carry defroster repair kits, but don’t go to O’reilly , they still sponsor Rush Limbaugh (hey, its my blog).
This stuff was $12.99 at the store I went to. Not the cheapest, I am sure. But, considering I can get it now, and its less than the $20 replacement part that you supposedly can order form M-audio, it was worth it. Another option would be going to Radio Shack and buying a circuit trace pen. But again, its $20.
What to do:
1) Shake up the vile really well.
2) get a tooth pick, or two.
3) DO NOT USE the brush that comes with it. It is not fine enough, and you get get paint all over.
4) Instead use the TIP of a toothpick to dip into the paint. It won’t do you any good to get the whole toothpick full of paint!
5) Dab the paint on the thicker part of each trace on the flex cable – just the top side.
6) LEt it dry 5-10 minutes. Check continuity between traces, or visually inspect for bridges of paint.
7) Push cable back into connector. This will be a little harder because of the friction of the paint, but it will go.
8) Fire up MIDI-Ox or some other MIDI monitor/ program. Make sure each pad has a different MIDI note number and that the same MIDI note number shows up in the NOTE ON / NOTE OFF category. I had a bridge between two of mine and it showed the numbers of the bridged pads interchanged.
In less than an hour you are done!