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  • My new-to-me Allen ADC-4900




    First off - thanks to everyone for contributing to this very informative forum. Lots of great information. I just received my new-to-me dream machine Monday morning and now that I have finished replacing the removed door trim I can lock
    my doors at night and sleep without a breeze blowing through the front room, I'm ready to enjoy. I'm setting it up
    as it was before and trying to avoid a service call at least initially
    until it works as well as it did at the church where I bought
    it. I have problems with capture
    card and AV card as well as back face card. I know this will all be
    worth it eventually. I'm learning the hard way more than I ever wanted to know about
    both organs and organ business politics. I'm sure I'll be needing lots of advice on making things work etc, but at least it's nice to look at. More later, but here's a pix:</p>


    best, </p>

    Dell
    </p>


    </p>

  • #2
    Re: My new-to-me Allen ADC-4900

    congratulations..that is a BEAUTIFUL organ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: My new-to-me Allen ADC-4900



      [quote user="NYCFarmboy"]congratulations..that is a BEAUTIFUL organ!!!!!!!!!!!!!![/quote]</p>

      Thanks for the kind words, especially from you! Really made my day. I'd been a little up &amp; down since delivery as I'm very anxious to start practicing again.</p>

      As far as I know, this was a one-church-owner organ. Interestingly, it had a twin! One of the selling church members told me that the donor actually purchased TWO (identical?) organs at the time it was new, one for the church and the other for his wife at home! Both people have apparently passed on and they had no idea what happened to the other organ. There is still a small memorial plaque on one side of the organ which I plan to leave in her honor.</p>

      Meanwhile, I apparently have managed to piss off the local dealer by daring to
      request service by another dealership's technician not able to fulfill
      his own prediction that I would regret buying this organ from a private
      party (rather than buying the newer working two manual MDS console he
      was selling for quadruple the price and my heart did not sing to.) I
      now have official Allen permission to do my own troubleshooting and
      scramble to find parts elsewhere.
      </p>

      Thanks again for your comment.
      best,</p>

      Dell
      </p>

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: My new-to-me Allen ADC-4900



        Congrats indeed! What a fantastic practice organ - I'm presently looking for an organ myself, and I know how exciting it was in the past to have a nice instrument at home. Quite an interesting story to go with it as well. You'll find a few very knowledgeable folks around here that will be able to offer you some valuable advice when it comes to repairs.
        </p>

        I can also relate with respect to your dilemma with the MDS organ and organ business politics. I had an offer made to me on an MDS organ for sale, but the price is much too high for my budget (and for the market right now). There seems to be some arrogance with respect to sales and pricing of organs, and sadly I think that drives people away from the instrument in the end. The current market is a real shake up because of this, as people are finally starting to realize that if there is no demand, the "value" of some of the really old instruments drop.
        </p>

        Best of luck with that beauty - I'm sure that I'm not the only one that would like to hear it once you've got it set up!
        </p>


        </p>
        Corey

        Allen MDS-41-S with MIDI-DIVISION-II
        Schulmerich Carillon Americana - 61 notes Flemish / Harp / Celesta / Quadra / Minor Tierce
        - MIDI Retrofit finally underway & Moller console in need of refurbishment
        Schulmerich Campanile Digital Carillon (Cast & Harp)

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: My new-to-me Allen ADC-4900



          Thanks CarillonBells, I truly hope you will find your practice organ as well. I'm sure it is out there somewhere patiently waiting for you.</p>

          Between the economy, temporarily (hopefully) changing musical tastes, and newer digital technology, I think you are probably correct. I know I never dreamed I would own a three manual of this caliber. Now to get it to make music. As for hearing it, I must warn all that I have not played in many years, but I will definitely post some audio when I can.</p>

          best,
          Dell
          </p>

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: My new-to-me Allen ADC-4900

            WOW! You lucky dog! LOL Have fun playing that baby!!

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: My new-to-me Allen ADC-4900



              Dell,</P>


              Great find! I was an Allen salesman back in the 80's and consider the ADC series just about the peak of Allen's development. The 4900 is a good one and you'll surely get years of playing pleasure from it.</P>


              Too bad your Allen dealer is not terribly helpful. IMHO, an Allen dealer should want every Allen in his area to be in perfect condition and giving the greatest happiness, whether or not he sold it. Perhaps he'll come around eventually and help you if you need him.</P>


              There are several of us on this forum who are in the organ service business, so post your questions and maybe we can help you from a distance in some ways. The first thing to do with that organ, though, is to verify all the power supply voltages. Remove the cage cover and test the supply in there, test the 12 volt unregulated supply in the floor of the console, if present. It may actually show 14 or 15 volts, and is not critical, just needs to be there. The delayed voltage that opens the amplifier mutes must also be present. You can test it at each amplifier where you'll see two terminals marked "mute" with + and - signs.There should be at least 10 volts present thereabout 5 or 6 seconds after you turn on the power switch. The capture action supply is harder to troubleshoot, but will probably either work or not work. Post if you have problems with capture.</P>


              Beyond checking the supplies, just be sure everything is hooked up and cables are all snug. The tiny pots in the cage may need to be tweaked in case they have developed dead spots where they have been sitting all these years. There should be a voicing chart in the console that will tell you what each pot does, in case you need to adjust some stop levels or tone color. Amplifier levels are probably marked with a red dot by the factory setup crew, though you may not want to run them that high in a home setting.</P>


              Anyway, let us know how it's going.</P>


              John</P>
              <P mce_keep="true"></P>
              John
              ----------
              *** Please post your questions about technical service or repair matters ON THE FORUM. Do not send your questions to me or another member by private message. Information shared is for the benefit of the entire organ community, but other folks will not be helped by information we exchange in private messages!

              https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: My new-to-me Allen ADC-4900




                [quote user="Tony Milwaukee"]WOW! You lucky dog! LOL Have fun playing that baby!![/quote]</p>



                Thanks! I really think I will.
                </p>



                [quote user="jbird604"]</p>



                Dell,</p>



                Great find! I was an Allen salesman back in the 80's and consider the ADC series just about the peak of Allen's development. ....</p>



                The tiny pots in the cage may need to be tweaked in case they have developed dead spots where they have been sitting all these years. There should be a voicing chart in the console that will tell you what each pot does, in case you need to adjust some stop levels or tone color. Amplifier levels are probably marked with a red dot by the factory setup crew, though you may not want to run them that high in a home setting.</p>



                Anyway, let us know how it's going.</p>




                [/quote]
                Hi John, I've pm'd you my email address etc.

                Yes, I think it is a wonderful instrument, I frankly feel humbled and unworthy of it, but one reason I chose this one was that I did not want to feel intimidated when or if I ever play on a big church organ. Even Allen Company agreed that it was well worth fixing up.

                I found a two page voicing chart I think, although it will take some study and I'm not sure it has settings for every adjustment, however it does list all the cage cards and I think it has numbers for every stop (providing I can correlate them to the physical hardware without pictures)

                As for sitting all these years, the organ played fine prior to the move. Only the capture action and alternate voice had problems. There's actually a video of it playing in the church here:

                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5PwyvQZSD0
                </p>



                I will attach images of the Alternate voice card (including corrosion extending to pins) later - have to run to work.</p>



                Thanks again for all the great advice and morale support!
                </p>



                Best,</p>



                Dell
                </p>

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: My new-to-me Allen ADC-4900



                  I'm just catching up on the thread. Congrats on the organ - the case looks BRAND NEW!</p>

                  Your situation with the dealer is perplexing, as they are supposed to support the organs whether or not they sold them. Surely when a dealer takes over another territory, he can't tell those churches he can't service their organs as the previous territory holder did? That being said, such behavior is probably a sad reflection of our times, troubled both economically and inter-personally. But I won't get on that soapbox. When I sold my MADC Allen I did tell the new owners to be wary of letting a repair person affiliated with an Allen dealer near it (they are an institutional owner and had been hounded a few years previously by dealers for both major manufacturers) lest some minor repair "magically" turn into a much more expensive repair. I told them to call me if they had a problem and of course, in 9 months, I haven't heard from them LOL. (I bought a new power supply for it as I was told that was the only thing likely to ever go bad)
                  </p>

                  Also your statement that Allen Ok'd you working on the organ is mystifying. Last time I checked they didn't supply any direct support on non-analog organs. That was the official, no-exceptions policy, as explained to me. Be careful, as John has posted elsewhere, if you screw something up beyond the confines of reason...like trying to swap an IC yourself...Allen will charge you a very high price for a new board instead of a more reasonable price for a board swap.</p>

                  There's a chance whatever problems it has are actually really minor and inexpensive to fix. I replaced some card reader bulbs on my former organ, an ADC-1140. Generally speaking, they are ridiculously over-engineered and as a result, very reliable. Good luck and welcome to organforum.</p>

                  </p>

                  </p>

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: My new-to-me Allen ADC-4900




                    Hi Circa,</p>



                    I don't want this discussion to be a soapbox about
                    the politics of organs, but I would like to correct any incorrect
                    impression someone may have gotten from reading my posts.</p>



                    [quote user="circa1949"]</p>



                    I'm just catching up on the thread. Congrats on the organ - the case looks BRAND NEW!</p>



                    [/quote]</p>



                    Thanks, and Yes, it is beautiful woodwork and even smells nice, but beware the 'ebay' phenomenon - photographs always look better than in person. There are a few nicks and rub spots here and there.</p>



                    [quote user="circa1949"]</p>



                    Your situation with the dealer is perplexing, as they are supposed to support the organs whether or not they sold them.
                    </p>



                    [/quote]</p>



                    I don't blame the dealer really (unless it was his influence on the company that made Allen's policy more restrictive). We got along fine I thought. But see below for my concerns.
                    </p>



                    [quote user="circa1949"]
                    </p>



                    When I sold my MADC Allen I did tell the new owners to be wary of letting a repair person affiliated with an Allen dealer near it (they are an institutional owner and had been hounded a few years previously by dealers for both major manufacturers) lest some minor repair "magically" turn into a much more expensive repair. </p>



                    [/quote]</p>



                    Exactly my point! </p>



                    [quote user="circa1949"]
                    </p>



                    Also your statement that Allen Ok'd you working on the organ is mystifying. Last time I checked they didn't supply any direct support on non-analog organs. That was the official, no-exceptions policy, as explained to me. </p>



                    [/quote]</p>



                    I don't think they want me to me either. But what can they do? Put an armed guard over my organ in the house? Initially, at my initial email contact with the factory I think they were just being nice to me because I asked and received the TC-3 manual for an organ I was considering. I then mentioned I had found an ADC-4900 in need of repairs that I was considering. The person I communicated with there was more knowledgeable than anyone I have talked to since, and frankly, much more flattering of the ADC-4900 than my local dealer.
                    </p>



                    [quote user="circa1949"]
                    </p>



                    Be careful, as John has posted elsewhere, if you screw something up beyond the confines of reason...like trying to swap an IC yourself...Allen will charge you a very high price for a new board instead of a more reasonable price for a board swap.</p>



                    [/quote]</p>



                    I'm not sure what you mean by high price nor what alternatives there are to replacing a new board (I don't plan to replace individual chips myself, nor do I have any interest in the micro-schematics of individual boards). I was told my corroded cards would have no trade in value anyway if damaged by battery leakage.
                    </p>



                    I was told by my local dealer for example that a cage rebuild was a flat "$5000, factory policy, no exceptions." By chance, I discovered that this was not the case, it might be either higher or lower, depending on what was wrong etc.</p>



                    All I was looking for was a reasonable priced place to buy replacement
                    cards to swap in and out, as well as a source of a service manual so I
                    could understand a bit better how things worked and how to adjust the
                    sound best for my own home over time, rather than in one expensive
                    service call. I like to do my own thing, but I like to do it "right" not jury-rigged, rube-goldbergian mess.
                    </p>



                    [quote user="circa1949"]
                    </p>



                    There's a chance whatever problems it has are actually really minor and inexpensive to fix. I replaced some card reader bulbs on my former organ, an ADC-1140. Generally speaking, they are ridiculously over-engineered and as a result, very reliable. Good luck and welcome to organforum.</p>



                    [/quote]</p>



                    I certainly hope so, although I know for a fact that I have to replace at least my USCP-2, USAV-1, and back face cards. The first has already been ordered, the latter will be if I can. I was left to my own devices to find an alternative source of parts and advice other than my local dealer.
                    </p>



                    To be clear: It was I who wished to at least have a choice in where I obtained service and parts. I have had had no previous service or financial dealings with the local dealer, so I have no history of complaints whatsoever. I have not even talked to anyone who has. Ignoring any possible personality issues or the patronizing attitude that probably comes from knowing that you are the ONLY person who can sell parts for Allen organs within a 400 mile radius, what really gave me huge negative vibes was the fact that there was more than a potential incentive for the dealer to want to make my "20 year old technology, 8-bit, outdated, small stop selection, only-one-alternate-voice, unsatisfying, poor investment that I predict you will regret whether you admit it to me or not" organ way too expensive to repair so the dealer can sell me a much newer 2-manual one, regardless of my emotional attraction to the three-manual organ pictured above. That attitude along with the 'principle' of the lack of choice, anti-competitive lock-in to a particular dealer and the complete lack of any factory set prices on parts was a perfect set up for him to fulfill the prediction of regretting my outside purchase of this organ!</p>



                    I had no idea there were still any major companies in America that could or would force you to deal with one and only one person dealer if you wanted to work with them. I thought this was illegal. Only one I can think of was the big IBM computers of the 60's. Even then, I'll bet a company could request a different rep. Now you can go to any Mercedes dealer you want. You can go to any Toyota dealer you want. You can buy official service manuals from the dealer for each of these. I know, I have done all of the above. I always shop for value and patronize honesty, reasonable prices, and respectful treatment. A monopoly leads to complacence and inflated prices due to lack of competition for my business. </p>



                    So I asked for a change of venue. Initially I was told I could not. Even now, I cannot work with anyone except a dealer authorized technician. I do not have 'permission' to work on my own organ, nor do I need it. All I needed was permission to purchase the parts, which has been completely denied any independent technicians ('to protect the customer') and I am not even able to obtain a service manual. </p>



                    End of rant. I'm not so interested in the politics of the organ business the end product and the music it makes possible. Any further issues on my own website or blog, but frankly, I don't have time or energy to want to try and change corporate policy.
                    </p>



                    I started posting a blog about my adventures in organ land here: http=organquest.blogspot.com</p>



                    Here's a picture of my USAV-1 card if any one want to weep for me (notice the corrosion on the contacts meaning I have to change the back face as well):
                    </p>

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: My new-to-me Allen ADC-4900



                      I agree wholeheartedly with your statements above, and I do find the inability to purchase parts directly a bit puzzling. I'm an electrical engineer, and furthermore have always been fond of the satisfaction of doing something myself, knowing that I will take the time to do it right.</p>

                      This is in stark contrast to Schulmerich Bells, who has bent
                      over backwards and gives their schematics on request - I have a big
                      interest in these carillons, and the build quality is really second to
                      none (instruments from the 60's and earlier are still functional).
                      Allen's policies are really a bit unfriendly, and that is sad and
                      unusual for a company built on quality and satisfaction. Yes, there is
                      some limit to what most people could do on their own, but self-made
                      people are usually your best advertising...
                      </p>

                      Putting that aside, I would hesitate to write off any boards that have battery corrosion as non-repairable or a total loss. I have worked on boards with integrated batteries in the past, that have ruptured and left really nasty marks. The best thing to do is remove the batteries and clean the corrosion with alcohol.</p>

                      I see a few of the edge contacts look nasty, but honestly they may clean up well enough to make decent contact. Gold can be fairly resilient. Also, I can't see the markings on the chips, but being from the 80's there are likely to be a lot of off the shelf ICs that are inexpensive. There are a few custom ROM chips, with stickers on them, but rarely are those failed unless there was massive overvoltage (such as lightning).</p>

                      In the past, I have shotgun replaced an entire board's parts, simply because it is cheap and faster than trying to troubleshoot. This is also easier for someone that doesn't have the equipment or knowledge to trace the circuit. I'm sure schematics are totally unavailable for these boards, too, which is a shame, but doesn't make repair impossible.
                      </p>

                      Hopefully you can get the organ going without too much trouble, or expense. After all, I understand your end goal. I just want to be able to sit down and PLAY. [:)]
                      </p>
                      Corey

                      Allen MDS-41-S with MIDI-DIVISION-II
                      Schulmerich Carillon Americana - 61 notes Flemish / Harp / Celesta / Quadra / Minor Tierce
                      - MIDI Retrofit finally underway & Moller console in need of refurbishment
                      Schulmerich Campanile Digital Carillon (Cast & Harp)

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: My new-to-me Allen ADC-4900

                        This is a beautiful organ. Congratulations. I would love to have one just like it!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: My new-to-me Allen ADC-4900



                          [quote user="DellAnderson"] I have problems with capture card and AV card as well as back face card.[/quote]</P>


                          Dell,</P>


                          First of all, let me say [:@][:@][:@][:@]Grrrrrrrrrrr![8o|] I wish I had been able to pick that one up, but I guess I'll have to settle for the 3 I already have. I prefer a drawknob, but thetab version should be a slightly smaller profile, though.</P>


                          Not sure if your AV card will be salvageable, but you won't know until you remove the current batteries (they appear to be the originals), remove the corrosion, and connect replacement batteries. Then if it holds the setting with the organ off, you'll know.</P>


                          On the capture action, I had to replace the capture action board of the ADC-7000 [correction--I later found out I have an ADC-6000.[:$] Imagine my surprise! Brain fart.], and it came with flash memory for the pistons (YAY! No batteries needed!). The board was less than $1,000 through my local Allen repair man. I echo others' sentiments, however. You should check your questions on this Forum first before giving too much credence to what the local sales person tells you. The techs on this Forum (and some non-techs) give excellent advice and assistance.</P>


                          Best of luck in your endeavor, and I look forward to hearingrecordings of your instrument in the months and years to come. Having been in your shoes, I do (and to some extent, do not) envy the position you are in.</P>


                          Michael</P>
                          Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
                          • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
                          • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
                          • 11 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 7 Pianos

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: My new-to-me Allen ADC-4900



                            I think I've finally met someone who can be more verbose than me...I hope we don't crash the organforum LOL. </p>

                            All kidding aside, a few minor things to correct or comment:</p>

                            "would force you to deal with one and only one person dealer if you wanted to work with them" - actually, the forcing is of the dealers, and you just feel a side effect, so to speak. In fact it is all the other Allen dealers who signed an agreement only to service or sell to their own area. This is why, years ago when I almost bought an MDS-16 in another part of the country, the then-Allen dealer was agonizing "Now, you're not going to tell anyone I sold you this organ right?" So that is why the local dealer you are having the misfortune of dealing with knows, or thinks, he has you by the you-know-whats.</p>

                            "I'm not sure what you mean by high price nor what alternatives there are to replacing a new board" as John has explained before and would probably be happy to do again, Allen will "swap" a board that has merely gone bad due to aging, as yours has. If the end user screws up a board trying to do something brazen with it, they will charge you a price representative of a brand new, custom made board containing many vintage microchips - in other words a small fortune!</p>

                            "That attitude along with the 'principle' of the lack of choice,
                            anti-competitive lock-in to a particular dealer and the complete lack
                            of any factory set prices on parts was a perfect set up for him to
                            fulfill the prediction of regretting my outside purchase of this organ!"</p>

                            Yeah, well, you get to the heart of the matter here. As I said in my private message to you, I think it's not unreasonable that Allen considers the support of 20+ year old technology a privilege, and not a right. After all the Apple Lisa was $9000+ when it came out, but they'd laugh in your face if you asked them to support it now. And more of them probably sold than all ADC era Allen digitals. There's not much more to say on the matter I'm afraid...they have business reasons for not wanting to become a company focused on supporting their 20 year old organs in the second-owner market...but business reasons for not wanting to seem like complete jerks either. If the factory is going to assist you getting the part either from your dealer or from another dealer, it sounds like they are trying to strike a balance there.</p>

                            As for that board...hmmmmm...I'm not sure of your experience level but I'd bet if you took that to a hard-core, old-timer in electronics (EDIT: having now read CarillionBell's post, I think he might be one them LOL...are you near Wisconsin!?) - wherever those are to be found anymore - it could be fixed. Firstly most of the corrosion looks to be affecting the battery charging section, which won't be needed. If a trace is really badly damaged, it could be jumpered. If Allen is going to charge you the brand-new price, I'd at least experiment with fixing it. Of course, again, this is not the arena for an amateur and you'd want to make sure you don't cause a short that would damage the backplane, other boards, or power supply.</p>

                            If you are going to get the MIDI board for the organ...a case could be made for just disabling the alterable section. The voices on a non-MADC, ADC organ aren't particularly realistic (I finally had a chance to experiment with one in a local church...the MADC voices, which were stored on microchips in the organ, were definitely better)...and after all you only have one of them. Use a sampler of whatever kind, controlled by the midi, for additional voices. I'd say that's a better investment than trying to get one alterable voice going.</p>

                            </p>

                            </p>

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: My new-to-me Allen ADC-4900



                              BTW - I was cleaning an old NAD amp someone gave me, and DOW scrubbing bubbles for cleaning the bathroom, are amazing at removing corrosion (with an old toothbrush - then rinse in distilled water). Similar but a little stronger is gunk engine-brite cleaner. Obviously, both are water based and you should allow the PCB to dry, preferably for several days.</p>

                              And I think the bad pads could be carefully re-silvered with a high quality eutetic solder.</p>

                              </p>

                              </p>

                              Comment

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