MIDI Hardware Tips

This is a random collection of MIDI hardware tips and techniques that I thought might be of interest to others.

Roland SC-880 Battery Replacement

The Roland SC-880 is probably the best Sound Canvas they ever made and still a great sounding and solid piece of gear. I got mine on closeout years ago at Guitar Center. The memory backup battery went bad and needed replacement. It's easy to fix and here's how to do it.

You need a #2 Phillips screwdriver, a small straight screwdriver and one 2032 battery.

1. Remove the unit from your 19" rack.

2. Remove the three machine screws on the back. Note the center screw is smaller!

3. Remove four screws and the rack ears on each side of the unit.

4. Gently pry up the top gently from the back of the unit.

5. Remove the old battery with a small, flat screwdriver or a small knife.

6. Slide in a new 2032 battery. The battery is shown in the photograph.

7. Reassemble and enjoy for another several years.

Korg Volca Power Supply

The Korg Volca series, released in 2014, are very cool little synths at a great price. Battery operation is not practical for studio operation nor is one wall wart for each unit. The easy solution, use one regulated 9 V dc power supply and wire up a bunch of power cords, one for each unit.

The power connector is a 1.7mm x 4.75mm plug. I used Philmore part number is TC275, which has the power connector and a six foot cord. Note that the center pin is + and the outer part is -. Make sure you connect the correct voltage and polarity! I found a Symbol 9 Vdc 2A surplus power supply for $5 and it works great.

They synths do not require much power, the Volca Bass and Keys draws 9 mA each. A Korg Monotribe (which uses the same power setup) only draws 4 mA. I don't own the Volca Beats drum module.

Guitar Pedal Power Supplies

Just a quick note, the usual wall wart power supply for guitar pedals are 9 Vdc. The polarity is the center pin is - and the outer part is +. This is the opposite of Korg and many other small synths. Be careful with polarity and check with a meter if you are in doubt. The standard power connector for guitar pedals is a 2.1mm plug. A few pedals use a higher voltage, such as 18 volts.