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  • Rodgers 940 w/ PR-300, first organ, help!

    Greetings!

    Brand new to the forum, and only an amateur organist, but have had what feels like an extraordinary opportunity to receive an organ. A local church approached my organ teacher about seeing if any students needed a practice organ since they are replacing theirs in a few weeks, and she mentioned my name. But I have never owned such a large instrument before and am super nervous about maintenance and longevity! It is a Rodgers 940 with a PR-300 MIDI, but I think the MIDI is no longer working, or works poorly, not sure. I am relatively handy, but not sure what sort of repairs or work is required for an electronic organ. I live in a rural area and don't make a whole lot, so I'm not sure how many regular technician visits I can get on it. I am also unsure of what I need to do in terms of placing my organ in my home (like can it be a foot away from baseboard heaters?), if I need to reinforce the floor or how it sits on the floor. Unfortunately the organist at the church has only been there a short time and knows very little about the organ to give me specific advice, and my organ teacher had hers installed and knows little of the technical stuff with that. Basically... I don't want to get this organ and accidentally ruin it!

    My ultimate dream would be to have some sort of Hauptwerk set-up, but I have no idea if that's possible in the context of older MIDI units. The console is beautiful in my opinion, and I couldn't have never imagined being gifted what feels like such a great instrument for my humble abode. Any and all advice would be greatly appreciated, both general and specific to the Rodgers 940 and MIDI system. Many thanks in advance.

  • #2
    The 940 is one of the "PDI" series -- Rodgers first-generation digital organs from the 1990's. The MIDI implementation should be very complete, so it would definitely work with Hauptwerk seamlessly, should you decide to do that.

    However, the basic sound of these large PDI models is very good, and you may not even feel the need to upgrade to Hauptwerk unless you just want to experience the sounds of great historic organs from around the world. The PDI system, while early, did a very good job of simulating pipes and is quite satisfying.

    The current malfunction of the MIDI system might be due to bad MIDI cables or some other easily fixed problem. The PR-300 is an old but usually reliable MIDI generator. It also has a sequencer function, but many users find the sequencer part of it frustrating, as do I when I've played around with it. But it's not a bad little sound generator for basic MIDI tones that gives you some orchestral, percussion, theaterish sounds if you want them.

    An old PDI organ like this could have a number of problems though that may need immediate attention. Unless the speakers have already been rebuilt, every cabinet (of which there are at least 8) will have a foam-surround woofer in it, and the foam nearly always deterioriates and crumbles. This issue has been widely discussed on the forum, and it's not impossible for even an amateur to repair or replace these speakers.

    Also, the early PDI models were built using a troublesome type of electrolytic capacitor in many of the power supplies (of which there are several in each console). This capacitor has a well-known history of leaking caustic liquid onto the circuit boards, causing serious damage in time, and occasionally causing a flame-up. These supplies are all enclosed in metal boxes, so there is no fire hazard from these flame-ups, but the organ will emit a horrible smell and will probably stop working, requiring a tech to get it repaired.

    But the good news is that most of these repairs, even the replacing of the caps and repairing minor board damage caused by them, can be done by a diligent tech, and expensive (and hard to find) replacement boards from Rodgers will probably not be required. That said, be aware that Rodgers has a dwindling supply of parts for organs this old, so the day could come when you'd be forced to do the Hauptwerk conversion, if the organ needed something that is no longer available from Rodgers or any other source.

    A huge organ for sure, but what a cool thing for a beginning organist to get such a massive and complete practice organ right at home!
    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


    • #3
      I've moved this to the correct section of the Forum, where it should get more views and responses. Although you have the organ at home, it's not a Home Organ!
      It's not what you play. It's not how you play. It's the fact that you're playing that counts.

      New website now live - www.andrew-gilbert.com

      Current instruments: Roland Atelier AT900 Platinum Edition, Yamaha Genos, Yamaha PSR-S970, Kawai K1m
      Retired Organs: Lots! Kawai SR6 x 2, Hammond L122, T402, T500 x 2, X5. Conn Martinique and 652. Gulbransen 2102 Pacemaker. Kimball Temptation.
      Retired Leslies, 147, 145 x 2, 760 x 2, 710, 415 x 2.
      Retired synths: Korg 700, Roland SH1000, Jen Superstringer, Kawai S100F, Kawai S100P, Kawai K1

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      • #4
        You have got a very nice organ to practice on. Congratulations. Hope to hear your progress in the near future.

        Michael

        Comment


        • #5
          Thank you so much, everyone and especially jbird604. That gives me greater insight into what I am getting myself into. The church is giving me 6 external speakers with it I believe, but I don't know if that's what you are referring too. I did read about the foam issue on here when searching for this model and other Rodgers. I really appreciate the tips so that I can ensure I do right by this organ.

          Comment


          • #6
            Measure, Measure, Measure. Those big old Rodgers cabinets may not fit through your standard 36'' front door. My Rodgers 990 which is 10 years older than the 940, and has a different electronics design, is 48'' from front to back, and weighs 860 pounds. Fortunately I was able to remove a giant picture window in the room where it now lives in the home, The organ entered through the window opening. I have no worries about the weight since my home is built on a slab. You might be able to get much of this information on line, but it is something you need to be aware of.
            Until The Next Dimension,
            Admiral Coluch.

            -1929 Wangerin Pipe Organ Historian
            -Owner 1982 Rogers Specification 990

            Comment


            • myorgan
              myorgan commented
              Editing a comment
              Would the organ fit through a patio door if the doors are lifted off their tracks and temporarily removed?

              Michael

          • #7
            Originally posted by dikanogisdodi View Post
            Greetings!

            Brand new to the forum, and only an amateur organist, but have had what feels like an extraordinary opportunity to receive an organ. A local church approached my organ teacher about seeing if any students needed a practice organ since they are replacing theirs in a few weeks, and she mentioned my name. But I have never owned such a large instrument before and am super nervous about maintenance and longevity! It is a Rodgers 940 with a PR-300 MIDI, but I think the MIDI is no longer working, or works poorly, not sure. I am relatively handy, but not sure what sort of repairs or work is required for an electronic organ. I live in a rural area and don't make a whole lot, so I'm not sure how many regular technician visits I can get on it. I am also unsure of what I need to do in terms of placing my organ in my home (like can it be a foot away from baseboard heaters?), if I need to reinforce the floor or how it sits on the floor. Unfortunately the organist at the church has only been there a short time and knows very little about the organ to give me specific advice, and my organ teacher had hers installed and knows little of the technical stuff with that. Basically... I don't want to get this organ and accidentally ruin it!

            My ultimate dream would be to have some sort of Hauptwerk set-up, but I have no idea if that's possible in the context of older MIDI units. The console is beautiful in my opinion, and I couldn't have never imagined being gifted what feels like such a great instrument for my humble abode. Any and all advice would be greatly appreciated, both general and specific to the Rodgers 940 and MIDI system. Many thanks in advance.
            Interesting story,and congrats on your organ as well. I have a similar story about an organ that was given to me back in April of this year,...and that organ is ALSO a Rodgers. However,mine is a late 1980's analog model,...Essex 640 with built-in speakers. I'll share my story with you although the other guys on here have already heard it. Like you,...I'm an amateur organist. The Methodist church I am member of originally purchased the organ new back in the late 1980's. Up until two years ago,they had no one to play it so it sat unused and unplayed,...and was of no value to them anymore. It was GOING to be shipped to a church in Haiti,...but that never took place. Mind you,...I've always leaned towards Allen up until I was offered this Rodgers,...and for nearly three years was on an organ search as my PREVIOUS organ,...a 1962 Hammond A-100,....gave out on me. I was wanting an Allen ADC-1140,or similar organ. Well,...God had OTHER plans,...God didn't want me to have that Allen ADC-1140 I was wanting,...he had this Rodgers organ in mind for me all along,...and I didn't know it. I was contacted by my pastor one morning asking me if this is something I'd like to have in my home,...I said "Yes". The organ had been sitting in a warehouse in town on a shipping pallet all wrapped up,and protected. They called around,and the organ was still sitting here in Bluffton,IN. Two weeks later,that Rodgers organ was delivered to my home. Talk about an unexpected blessing!
            Late 1980's Rodgers Essex 640

            Comment


            • #8
              myorgan
              #6.1

              myorgan commented
              Today, 08:07 AM


              Would the organ fit through a patio door if the doors are lifted off their tracks and temporarily removed?

              Michael
              That is an excellent idea if you have a set of those patio glass sliding doors! If the OP has those they should be all set to get just about any size organ into their home! :)
              Until The Next Dimension,
              Admiral Coluch.

              -1929 Wangerin Pipe Organ Historian
              -Owner 1982 Rogers Specification 990

              Comment

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