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Help/Advice Needed for a Baldwin 48C Organ with Crackling Sounds

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  • Help/Advice Needed for a Baldwin 48C Organ with Crackling Sounds

    We recently picked up a Baldwin organ that is a model 48C. I tried it out at the place where we picked it up from and it sounded great and seemed to work fine. Now that it's at our home it makes a crackling and static sound. Sometimes it does it and sometimes not. It crackles when you turn it on and will continue to have some crackling when on even without any stops turned on or notes being played. It makes more noise when the expression pedal is turned up.

    I'm wondering if this is something easy to fix or figure out? We got the organ for my daughter who is just starting to learn, so we didn't have to take her over to the church all the time to practice.

    I called a local organ company and they were not interested in working on it and didn't think it worth the effort - probably mostly because of their hourly rate and the expense that would rack up to find the problem?

    I didn't know if perhaps it would be something easier to figure out since its crackling before even using any notes or stops being on??

    I'd love any advice... I'd rather not go searching for another organ if I don't have to. And we are looking for something economical for her to practice on at home. Thanks.

  • #2
    Unless you have some electronic service experience and some basic tools (including a voltmeter), I would caution you about getting into the 48C. Give me your zip code and I will find a qualified tech. Use the Private Message feature.

    . . . Jan
    the OrganGrinder


    • #3
      Take Jan's advice. I have a Baldwin 48C, and really like it. It is worth fixing, and something might have come loose during the move. BTW Are there any electrical things near or behind the organ that might interfere with components inside the organ?

      Baldwin Church Organ Model 48C
      Baldwin Spinet 58R
      Lowrey Spinet SCL
      Wurlitzer 4100A
      Crown Pump Organ by Geo. P. Bent, Chicago, Illinois

      Organs I hope to obtain in the future:

      Conn Tube Minuet or Caprice even a transistor Caprice with the color coded tabs
      Gulbransen H3 or G3, or V.
      Wurlitzer 44, 4410, 4420, ES Reed Models, 4300, 4500, Transistor Models


      • #4
        Baldwins have internal volume controls located on the chassis at the top of the organ labeled stationary and rotor.
        Opening the lid or removing the back should reveal them. They may or may not have knobs. They can be the source of noise.
        Find them and note their position then try moving them back and forth through their entire range.
        You can do that with the power on and listen for the crackle. See if the noise goes away after 5-10 tries.

        Servicing electronic organs since 1969.


        • #5
          I too am thinking that an instrument that sounded ok on audition in the sellers location may have received some vibration in transport that is causing the present crackling. Unlike others I really don't think the instrument in question is worth the time and expertise of someone qualified to repair it. I don't know the details of the sale and it isn't any of my business but I will put it out there that IMO it is not a suitable instrument for a young organist starting out. If it cannot be returned or evaluated by the seller, it might be salvageable with contact cleaner in the volume components mentioned by another poster. It is, however, not a sufficient substitute, IMO, for regular exposure to a substantial instrument, whether electronic or pipe, that is equipped with pistons, independent expression pedals, and a more comprehensive specification to inspire a new student of the instrument. I'm very, very serious about this. I could have been an amazing organist if my parents had made the slightest effort to get me access to real instruments and lessons. I made do with the Hammond at home and the tiny Odell pipe organ at church and brute repetition in the absence of actual lessons. I made no real progress for decades although earning a substantial living as a church organist. The real irony is that access to million dollar pipe organs can be arranged with just a request and not a cent of actual money. While lessons and/or practice time are underway, a used computer ($100+), MIDI interface boards ($200+) and specialist software (free to ~$500) can turn that Baldwin into what is called a Virtual Pipe Organ which will perform very much like the real thing for a fraction of the cost.



          • #6
            Originally posted by Leisesturm View Post
            While lessons and/or practice time are underway, a used computer ($100+), MIDI interface boards ($200+) and specialist software (free to ~$500) can turn that Baldwin into what is called a Virtual Pipe Organ which will perform very much like the real thing for a fraction of the cost.

            Ther irony here is that J-Organ has a virtual Baldwin 48C. So one could MIDIfy a dead Baldwin 48 and still have a Baldwin 48. :->

            Servicing electronic organs since 1969.


            • #7
              Thanks everyone for the advice. I will look into the internal volume controls and see if that would help it -- and also look into interference. Would a wifi router cause troubles? its in the basement right under the room. Guess I will turn it off and see if it affects anything.

              Jan, I private messaged you with my zip code. (I do have family members that are electricians but they don't live close... Might have a voltmeter here somewhere...)

              And yes she is currently taking private organ lessons and we have access to practice at church. Was just hoping to have an instrument at home as well so she can practice more frequently.


              • #8
                Ok, so turning off the wifi router didn't help any. And I realized that the organ is sitting right above our house electric panel box and verizon fios box and right where the power comes in from the street! Do you think any of that matters as far as interference or scratchiness noises? Still have to open it up and find the volume controls.


                • #9
                  If any of that were to cause a problem, it would be a constant humming, not scratchy/crackly.
                  'Never ascribe to malice that which can be adequately explained by incompetence.' --N. Bonaparte

                  My friends call me Steve, won't you be my friend?
                  The cast, in order of appearance:
                  Kawai K5, Yamaha PSR-85, Thomas Trianon A-6820, Gulbransen 621-K, Conn 580 T-2, GEM WK1 ST
                  Hammond H-112, Ser. #16518, from 8/16/1971
                  Oh, and let's don't forget the Jaymar!


                  • #10
                    Jan's advice to hire a qualified tech involves $$$. It costs money to run a car, pay an accountant, keep a cell phone, a parts inventory, and liability insurance. Usually about $55 to $100 an hour charge is necessary, usually a 2 hour minimum in cities, more minimum charge in remote locations. This organ isn't worth that. Most techs wouldn't drive out on it, they know that 80% of the time they will make an estimate and the owner will decide to buy something else.
                    So fixiing it yourself, or moving it out and buying something else, are the economic options, unless you are in a second world or third world country. If so, go to a bar, ask who fixes the PA sysem, hire him for a few hours. Watch your repairman, one reason for the liability insurance is that an organ repairman in our state was charged with theft by the absent homeowner who left a key for him.
                    Step one to fixiing yourself is learn how to not kill yourself electrically. Read the safety sticky thread. If it is not available, complain to Admin until it is. This organ shows as transistor divider so most of the lethal voltages are in the power amp, but in the other areas you could still burn your finger off through your ring or set your eyebrows on fire.
                    After that, realize crackling is often 1 a loose contact, oxidized by decades of exposure to the air. One variety of oxidized contact is the wiper in potentiometers, that Dave told you about. Another is pin and socket connectors located throughout most old organs. These need to be removed and replaced, with the power off. RCA jacks and plugs, headphone plugs with an internal switch, and 1/4 phone plugs and jacks are particularly subject to oxidation. RCA plugs are subject to the ring being bent too big, although mostly this causes hum.
                    2. A bad solder joint - this could have been sensitized by the shaking of the wiring as the organ was moved. My legendary Hammond H100 had a totally unsoldered joint, from the factory in 1967, that was missed until I found it. Other joints can actually have solder, but be open internally. You find these by poking around with a wood stick with the power on.
                    3. The higher voltages in the power amp can jump across a thick coat of dust/pet/human dander. this can cause a carbon track, that makes the pop more frequent. I found one of these in my 1961 preamp, that only popped in humid conditions, by turning the lights off and looking at the circuit board in the dark. Do not touch anything in the dark. Cleaning of high voltage areas with a pick towel and alcohol solution can remove dust, but check for lethal voltages and discharge any before touching any metal with a pick.
                    4. Certain components, particularly electrolytic caps and high value (over 91 kohms) resistors can break down over time. I address this in my old consumer product purchasess by changing all the electrolytic caps soon after purchase, and measuring high value resistors. I do not find measureing wet electrolytic caps productive, although most of the pro techs on here love to use their cap meter. E-caps are tall cans with circles squares and triangles for the different sections, or aluminum tubes covered in cardboard with a plus on one end, or NP after the voltage rating, or peanut M&M blobs with a tiny plus near one lead, or rice grain cylinders with a red end. The 48C came out in 68 Jan's list says, abuot the height of e-cap use. 3 of the 4 tantalum e-caps had been replaced in my 1967 organ, in three different years, and these can pop when they fail, so suspect those especially. When replacing, I use long life (>3000 service hours) electrolytic capacitors so I don't have to do it again, as I have replaced the e-caps 3 time in my power amp in 44 years with the **** service life caps from the TV repair shop. When I replace resistors I use metal film ones over 2 watts, not carbon comp ones that break down in time due to paint failure.
                    Also some transistor brands and types were known to pop internally, but I don't belive Baldwin's are famous for containing any of those brands of transistor. This problem was mostly over by 1968 in the USA, but was a real problem in 1965. japanese organs later than that.
                    So, have fun with it. I view this sort of puzzle as a great way to spend a winter day, especially if it rains or snows. Others would rather watch televisiion or surf the net. It is your choice. You won't receive any financial reward for doing this, the organ is worth zero before or after, but it is one that is repairable by ordinary mortals without factory parts (now discontinued and pricey if even available) or more than $100 in test equipment, so I like to fool with this age of organ/hifi/radio.
                    If you want some education buy and read "Electronic Devices, the electron flow version" by Thomas Floyd, an obsolete textbook on meter use and transistor basics used by a trade school near here. Your local trade school may have obsoleted some other text just as good.
                    The ultimate pro way to find pops is buy a scope or analog AC voltmeter. NOT a DVM, they average the signal over 4 seconds. Find the midpoint of the device under test. Attach the probes and look at the device while waiting for a pop to occur. If you didn't see it your setup is bad, or the cause is after your midpoint, You may calibrate your method by looking for the pop on the speaker (on the 25 V scale). if you did see the pop, the problem is before that. Find another midpoint in the bad half. Do the same. Keep cutting the problem in two until you isolate the component/connection at fault. Circuit cool spray or a hair dryer may help speed up this process, but the first is quite expensive and not for sale in my area.
                    Last edited by indianajo; 12-04-2014, 04:15 AM.
                    city Hammond H-182 organ (2 ea),A100,10-82 TC, Wurlitzer 4500, Schober Recital Organ, Steinway 40" console , Sohmer 39" pianos, Ensoniq EPS, ; country Hammond H112