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Steps to Becoming an Organ Repair Tech?

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    Steps to Becoming an Organ Repair Tech?


    #2
    When I started i was already an electronics tech and I was expected to service multiple brands. Over the years I have probably serviced most brands. So I guess your asking about being just a Hammond organ tech. Would that include H-series, Concorde, Elegante, B-3000, Hammond Suzuki digitals?

    If so, you need a good grasp of electronic troubleshooting for both analog and digital. Analog including tubes, transistor and IC circuits. When my brother entered this field he took electronic courses at a junior college. He’s a good tech now.

    We have some guys around here who have very weak electronic knowledge and can’t solder. Let’s dont be one of those.

    If you plan on having your own business also learn how to run a business and how to enteract with customers. That seems to be a skill lacking in some around here.

    My mentor was trained in the Navy in electronics. (I was Army) he took college courses when he got out. He spent several years in TV repair before getting into organs. He took correspondence courses through the years. His attitude was to keep learning and not to think he knew it all. I try to have that attitude as well.

    I know the world is very different now than it was when I started. Perhaps one can learn from YouTube and a few books if you’re motivated. Us old skoolers went to school and worked with more experienced techs. You can’t learn experience from a book or the internet. So...get some experience in electronic repair.

    Good luck,

    Geo

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      #3
      To reinforce what Geo said, a solid understanding of electronics is the foundation. Knowing the principles that underlie the circuits is the difference between someone who can sit down and work out what's wrong in a few minutes and someone who spends months (I have seen this) prowling around various websites trying to get someone to help him figure out what should be a fairly simple problem.

      Too many "techs" do repairs by rote, meaning that if they see a symptom, they apply a fix without understanding either the underlying problem or why a repair works. Often, this starts out as someone fixing a problem by sheer luck and concluding on that basis that he's now an expert. I know of people working as techs who can't even do simple Ohm's Law calculations.

      It's easy to find information on basic electronics. Much of what's in my grandfather's 1930s Dawe's Electrical Engineering textbooks is still perfectly valid. It also tends to be what many people don't want to take time to learn.
      I'm David. 'Dave' is someone else's name.

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        #4
        At a time when so many organs are being given away and/or dumpstered,I`d look for another career.Tonewheel Hammonds are well represented in the mix,including increasingly, A100 series rigs being given away.

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          #5
          I would make recommendations in three broad areas --

          (1) DO YOUR HOMEWORK FIRST. Watch videos AND buy some basic electronics books. Become familiar with the workings of all the common electronic components. Read up on what all these things do and how they work: diodes, transistors, transformers, resistors, capacitors, potentiometers, switches, speakers, the various vacuum tube types, LEDs, batteries.

          Then do some research on all the common logic circuits and ICs, become familiar with op-amps, frequency dividers, CPU chips, RAM, ROM, EPROM, and other types of memory. Learn how basic power supply circuits function, how a power amp works, how various low-pass, high-pass, and band-pass circuits work, how to calculate speaker crossovers.

          In other words, get a solid basic understanding of all the component parts and all the standard circuits you'll find inside an organ or electronic keyboard.

          (2) GET WITH A PRO. Find a tech who will let you work with him/her. You should be willing to work cheap at the outset and do a lot of the "heavy lifting" as far as making life easier for your mentor while respectfully observing, learning how he/she approaches a problem instrument, the thought processes that go into diagnosing a fault.

          Also how to talk to customers, how to estimate the amount of time to do a job, how to pace a job, when to cut your losses and recommend replacement rather than repair. How to figure out what is wrong instead of taking the customer's word for it. (It's known throughout the repair industry that the customer almost never really knows what the problem is and his/her description of the trouble can often lead you far afield.)

          While working with your mentor, become familiar with how he/she gets parts and assemblies. Find out where to order things, how to use company websites, how to talk to service departments of the various companies, how to network with other techs in order to get obsolete parts and advice on puzzling problems.

          (3) KEEP ON LEARNING FOREVER. Don't just go through the motions, and never assume that a job is going to be just like the last one on the same instrument. When you are faced with a new instrument, a new brand, a new component or circuit that you haven't studied before, learn all you can about that particular thing. Be a lifelong student of the industry and of the products. Be curious. VERY curious.

          This is a lot of advice to roll into a post, and I certainly don't want to discourage you. More talented techs are needed. We hear all the time about techs retiring or passing away, leaving sometimes whole states without a qualified and experienced organ servicer. The field is changing, as a lot of products become throw-aways. But guys who are willing to learn a wide range of products and to cover a large territory can certainly find a lot of work to do and make a good living.
          John
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          *** 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

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            #6
            I'm going to echo what to me is by far the most important point mentioned....Get some electronics education first...any way you can. Hammond tonewheel organs for example, contain lethal voltages! If you don't understand what you have your fingers into, you may be putting yourself at risk....also when you claim to be a tech specializing in something exotic like electic/electronic organs, customers are trusting and relying that you are proficient at your job....that's a big responsibility which brings with it potential liability as well.
            Hammond B3 (55), B3 (70), B3 (72), B2 (51) conversion, A100 (61) chop, A100 (62), A105 (75), Northern BC (39) empty.
            Pile of Leslies of various flavours, Minimoog, ARP Odyssey, MaxiKorg, Hohner D6, Rhodes 54, Rhodes 73, Wurlitzer A200, Wurlitzer A203W

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              #7

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                #8
                Here's a great little book that doesn't cost much, is very easy to read, has great illustrations. By a fantastic author whose works brought up several generations of electronics hobbyists:

                https://www.amazon.com/Getting-Start.../dp/0945053282

                Back in the day, Forrest Mims created a series of little books sold in RadioShack stores that went into great detail about all the various electronic components and offered simple circuits you could build with cheap parts to demonstrate how they worked. I don't know if you can still find those, but this larger book is an excellent way to learn the basics, whether you have any prior knowledge or not.
                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

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                  #9
                  One thing you won't find a whole lot of detail about in most basics electronics books is how tubes work. If you ever really want to try to understand how a tube works, I would strongly recommend reading the Radiotron Designer's Handbook (1954 edition.) https://archive.org/details/bitsaver...r1954_94958503

                  It's kinda heavy, so not something you want to pick up first-thing. Maybe read it as a follow-up to a few basic electronics books first.

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                    #10
                    Originally posted by muckelroy View Post
                    ... I would strongly recommend reading the Radiotron Designer's Handbook (1954 edition.) https://archive.org/details/bitsaver...r1954_94958503

                    It's kinda heavy, so not something you want to pick up first-thing. Maybe read it as a follow-up to a few basic electronics books first.
                    That reminds me... I threw all my tube course notes out years ago (didn't think I'd ever need them again) but I did keep the Radiotron Handbook (hardcover version).

                    Edit:
                    Also in the '60s I subscribed to Popular Electronics. Radio TV Experimenter, Electronics Illustrator, Radio Electronics. This was before the internet and was my intro into electronics. Later I went to college to get a formal electronic education and electronic career.

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                      #11
                      This all reminds me of what a nerd I was growing up. I was the kid who went to the public library and checked out books on vacuum tubes. I read that Radiotron book from cover to cover several times and when I was younger I could rattle off lists of all the available triodes, pentodes, and so on, and tell you why one was better for a certain application. And I was 12.

                      I would get myself one of those magazines too whenever I could come up with 50 cents to buy one, kept them and treasured them for years. It must be harder today for kids to learn electronics, with the dearth of really fine hands-on magazines. You tube videos are not a good substitute for magazines that you can read late at night in your bed with a flashlight!
                      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


                        #12
                        Richard H. Dorf's Electronic Musical Instruments is a good primer on the functioning of analog organs in general, and includes a chapter that describes the Hammond tonewheel organs. It is out of print but used copies are almost always availalble on sites that sell used books. Look for the 3rd edition.

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                          #13
                          Back in the 70's I bought some books to get into organ design ideas;
                          "The Electronic Musical Instrument Manual" by Alan Douglas
                          "Electronic Music Production" by Alan Douglas
                          "Electronic Organs - Vol 2" by Norman Crowhurst

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                            #14
                            Originally posted by toodles View Post
                            Richard H. Dorf's Electronic Musical Instruments is a good primer on the functioning of analog organs in general, and includes a chapter that describes the Hammond tonewheel organs. It is out of print but used copies are almost always availalble on sites that sell used books. Look for the 3rd edition.
                            Just looked at the table of contents of 2nd and 3rd editions, and the 2nd edition (1959) has much more on Hammond Organs: 21 pages on Hammond organs, 9 pages on the Hammond Solovox, 11 pages on the Hammond chord organ.

                            In contrast, the 3rd edition (1968) has 23 pages on "Hammond organs."

                            I don't have either edition, just thought I'd look them up, but the 3rd edition does seem to be more oriented toward solid state organs.

                            Just thought I'd share that info. Might pick up the 2nd edition as a reference for my M-3.
                            1962 Hammond A102

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                              #15
                              Forrest Mimms...Now there is a name I have not heard in eons. I owned several of those little Radio Shack books. I'd forgotten all about them. I learned a lot from that guy.

                              - - - Updated - - -

                              jbird -- whoo, boy, does that sound familiar! Except instead of tubes, it was TTL ICs for me...I wonder if I still have any of my Radio Electronics, Electronics Today, Elektor, etc, collection..

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