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Help me fix my Octave Kitten's keyboard switches
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bigtex



Joined: Mar 30, 2006
Posts: 321
Location: Cupertino, California

PostPosted: Tue Apr 11, 2006 12:06 am    Post subject: Help me fix my Octave Kitten's keyboard switches Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hello all,

I've got an Octave Kitten keyboard (which you can learn a bit about from this site). A few days ago I had the bright idea to clean the keyboard.

Previously, some of the keys would make squeaky sounds, which I assumed was caused by an intermittent contact. I opened it up and started cleaning off all of the keyboard contacts with some alcohol.

According to Blue Hell in this thread I started earlier today in the DIY forum, the keyboard contacts might be "Kimber Allen key contacts or lookalikes." Here is what they look like. (pardon the dark images... I was lighting the keyboard with a dynamo-powered flashlight... because my only good batteries were in the camera... d'oh!)

When I press a key on the keyboard, most of them make the same pitch. This happens when the lower wire of the key's wires touches the lower of the thicker, stationary wires (would these thicker wires be called bus bars, like in a circuit breaker box?). If the keys' upper wire touches the upper bus bar, the frequency goes up a seemingly uncontrollable ammount. If I wiggle the upper wire around it squeals and glitches.

How do these keyboard mechanisms work? I see a series of equal value resistors making a voltage divider which should provide a different voltage at each key. There are also some SIP capacitors (at least I think that's what they are... it looks to be ceramic) which I guess would be for debouncing? Maybe? I think that's all there is to it, so each key should have a different voltae.

Could it be that the lower wire is the gate and the upper wire is for the oscillator's control voltage?

Does anybody have any kind of advice?
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elektro80
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 11, 2006 3:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I should really know this. I have had these synths since they were new. Both the Kitten and the Cats are in storage but I know I have a stack of schematics and stuff for these somewhere. The keys are KA style thingies, that is correct. There was some kind of minor difference though, I cannot recall what that was.. but
I really don´t want to come up with advice unless I find the schematics and the "repair manual".
It is correct that you have one array for the CVs and a simple gate trigger. It should be quite easy to identify the lot. If you get the same note/ CV there is obviously something wrong, Very Happy

I found this site which has some of the schematics available.
http://www.tribalsmile.com/kitten/

There are some links there too.

Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.

This one is from the tribalsmile site.

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bigtex



Joined: Mar 30, 2006
Posts: 321
Location: Cupertino, California

PostPosted: Tue Apr 11, 2006 7:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

elektro80 wrote:
I found this site which has some of the schematics available.
http://www.tribalsmile.com/kitten/


Yeah, that's a great site. I've been looking over the tuning instructions, and I think it may have somehow gone way out of tune.

After a little experimentation with the keys, it looks like the keys that were all making the same pitch were only having the gate wire triggered. The ones that were making the incredibly high pitch were hitting the CV wire. As it turns out, the lowest keys actually are making a different pitch, it is just very very low, and the high keys are making a very very high note. I need to adjust they keys wires quite a bit more, but it looks like the scaling is just wwaaaay off now. Like half an octave, at least, per key.

So once I get all of the key wires back into place, I'll have to go through this lengthy tuning procedure. But that's good, because then I'll have a nicely tuned Kitten! Smile

What a great keyboard it is, too. Such a growly, evil sound!
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elektro80
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 11, 2006 7:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Both the Kitten and the Cat are great synths. Very Happy
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nonnyjt



Joined: Jun 26, 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 26, 2006 3:29 pm    Post subject: Kitten schematics
Subject description: Detuning synth
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I've had a kitten for many years which detunes after a few minutes play, does anyone have a good copy of the schematics as have been trying to get this beautiful sounding synth repaired for years? was interested to read the articles and have seen schematics photo on website, but resolutions too low to be of any real use. Or does anyone know anyone who might be able to fix kitten for sure, have wasted money in past trying to get fixed, but to no avail without said schematics
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elektro80
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 26, 2006 3:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

UK?

Try Tony Allgood. He is a legend. http://www.oakleysound.com

Telephone: 8-30am to 5-00pm Weekdays only (UK time) +044 (0) 1768 881934.

Mailing address: Tony Allgood, Oakley Sound Systems, Gamblesby, PENRITH, Cumbria, CA10 1HR

email is tony at oakleysound.com

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machinefunk



Joined: May 01, 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 26, 2006 11:47 pm    Post subject: Re: Kitten schematics
Subject description: Detuning synth
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nonnyjt wrote:
I've had a kitten for many years which detunes after a few minutes play


I hope this doesn't patronise but do you let it warm up before you start playing? Many analogues need to be switched on and left for 10 mins or more to warm up properly....
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nonnyjt



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PostPosted: Wed Jun 28, 2006 4:36 am    Post subject: warming up kitten Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

It doesn't matter how long the kitten is left on for she still detunes, sometimes it can stay in tune for a good while, others she just wails, a real shame, thanks for interest, Nonny
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elektro80
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 28, 2006 5:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Did you call Tony?
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Uncle Krunkus
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 28, 2006 7:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Tex,
The link for "this is what they look like" doesn't go anywhere, it just sits there for ages doing nothing. Just thought I'd let you know.

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mosc
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 28, 2006 10:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Nobody has used it yet, but the new gallery allows for each user to have their own album - with sub-albums AFAIK. Any member is welcome to use it.
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bigtex



Joined: Mar 30, 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 28, 2006 12:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Uncle Krunkus wrote:
Tex,
The link for "this is what they look like" doesn't go anywhere, it just sits there for ages doing nothing. Just thought I'd let you know.


Huh. It's a link to pictures on Flickr, and it worked for me just now. Strange.
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elektro80
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 28, 2006 12:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

These??

Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.


Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.


Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.

Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.

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Uncle Krunkus
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 28, 2006 5:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Just as I thought, the 'busbars' are almost identical to the ones in my CV/Gate keyboard which I modified from an old Baleani organ.
It should be fairly easy to extract the busbars from those white formers. Then shine them very carefully with some 1200 wet&dry. Don't go too hard, just enough to brighten them, they are nickel plated (which you don't want to remove or they'll rust) It's quite hard and makes a good contact, but after 10 or 20 years they get a kind of tarnish on them. After I did mine they are now spot on reliable.
While they are out wipe each contact finger with a bit of isopropyl alchohol on a cotton pad as well.

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nonnyjt



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PostPosted: Thu Jun 29, 2006 4:19 am    Post subject: kitten Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

elektro80 wrote:
Did you call Tony?

been in touch and hopefully he's gonna have a look in a couple of weeks, thanks
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Jabberwalky



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PostPosted: Thu Jun 17, 2010 3:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I understand this is an extremely old thread, but I have acquired an Octave Kitten with the same problem. Every key plays the same pitch. After reading this thread, it appears that it was never solved. Unfortunately the link to those schematics is dead and I can't find them anywhere.

Does anyone have any new updates on this? Thanks
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mosc
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 17, 2010 5:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Jabberwalky welcome to electro-music.com

I hope some can help...

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Jabberwalky



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PostPosted: Thu Jun 17, 2010 6:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Thanks, glad to be here!
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bigtex



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PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2010 2:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Jabberwalky wrote:
I have acquired an Octave Kitten with the same problem. Every key plays the same pitch.


On mine, what was happening is that the GATE contact was being made, but the CV contact was not. So the Kitten would know I was hitting a key (GATE) but not which one (CV).

The trick is to thoroughly clean all of the metal contacts with alcohol. If that doesn't get all of the keys working right, you may need to bend the metal contacts carefully so that they hit the bars when the keys are pressed.

Take the bottom off and try manually making the contacts, you'll quickly figure out which is for the GATE and which is for CV.

If they still all make the same note, even when both contacts are made, then the thing is waaaay out of calibration and you'll need to calibrate it. I'll dig through my old files and see if I kept a copy of the calibration procedure document.
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Jabberwalky



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PostPosted: Mon Mar 28, 2011 5:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Still no luck with it. I've tried all the great suggestions here, with no working solution I'm attempting to replace the op amps I can find on Mouser. There were 4-5 that weren't available. Still no sign of the schematics anywhere on the net. This is maddening. There has to be a tech out there somewhere with these...

p.s. sorry for the thread gravedigging
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mosc
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2011 7:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Jabberwalky wrote:
p.s. sorry for the thread gravedigging


No problem. We don't mind.

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glemlyn



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PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2011 8:18 am    Post subject: Me too!
Subject description: Octave Kitten - no keyboard control
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Simply to say my Kitten II has also developed this exact same problem - so I'm keeping a close eye on this thread for any solutions! I've tried cleaning, tracing etc... but still just the one note..!

On the other hand I DO have the manual with schematics if that helps anyone?
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glemlyn



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PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2011 8:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

One thing though - my Kitten has only one wire per key for connection with the bar. (see pic) Worked perfectly well for 25 years!


DSCN0771.JPG
 Description:
Inside of Octave-Plateau Kitten II Synthesizer showing keyboard contacts.
 Filesize:  4.11 MB
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DSCN0771.JPG


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glemlyn



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PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2011 10:26 pm    Post subject:
Subject description: More info on Kitten...
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After a little research it seems I have the Kitten II - an updated version circa 1982 with modified boards etc... This is why it has just one bar and one wire per key... I have found by plugging in a jack lead into the EXTERNAL CV/GATE IN and touching the end of the lead I can trigger the Kitten - though of course still not the pitch.

I have checked continuity on as many of the traces as I can and it all seems fine. I have cleaned the bar and the wires and checked the multipin lead that connects the keyboard to the PCB and all is well... Touching the keys gives the same affect as touching the end of the jack in the Ext. CV/Gate i.e. triggers the ADSR but no pitch change.

One thing is this: The Keyboard Control switch on the VCO panel seems a little stiff and almost feels like it has three positions instead of the two it should have. The "new" central position for the switch changes the pitch but still the keyboard itself will not control it. Is it worth me removing/replacing this switch?

Any advice would be very welcome.
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Jabberwalky



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PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2011 8:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I have also found the schematics as well, but had to pay $30 for them!!!

Well, that keyboard switch was the first thing I tried to replace, so I simply jumped the whole thing to the on position. It had no affect. My friend Shawn has been looking at it on and off for a while now, and he's also tested lots of it. One suggestion he has is to replace most of the cmos chips. I guess I'll try that once I discern the right ones. He tested the keyboard voltage, and it is producing the correct voltages coming from the bus bars. Arggh

This synth is so undocumented, its really quite frustrating knowing how great this thing sounds and seeing it sit on someones bench for a year.
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