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A follow-up question about my Hammond Commodore organ

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  • A follow-up question about my Hammond Commodore organ

    As some of you know, I am a new member to this forum and I have submitted a few posts about my Hammond Commodore organ when it stopped playing. Several of you have been kind enough to send me information about things I need to check into since I cannot locate a Hammond repairmen in the greater Nashville area that is trained in the repair of the Commodore series.

    The Commodore has been sitting idle for a week now, so last night I thought I'd fool around with it and by chance it might start working again. I flipped the red rocker on/off switch several times, and when I did, I heard some very loud pops, but to my amazement, the organ actually did turn on so I took advantage of the situation and played it for a long time. It went off again, this time making even more loud popping noises. I would turn it off/on again, and with each one, it made loud noises, but would come on, play for a while, then stop playing.

    Could it be that the problem is in the on/off switch? If so, can someone please tell me how I go about changing it? Once again, please bear in mind that I know NOTHING WHATSOEVER about these fine old organs, and I am not the least bit 'handy' when it comes to tools, but if I thought the problem was in the on/off switch, I think I would try to replace it myself. Can someone please explain to me how it's done? Where do I find another new switch? Thank you for your help.

  • #2
    There is no easy fix for these. I sold these things when they were brand new, and this generation was not well liked by us salesmen due to their unreliability out of the box. While others will criticize me, and I mean you no ill will, but this series of transition organs between the end of the tonewheel organs, and the later more perfected instruments of the late '70s to the demise of the company, did not represent the fine old instruments they once produced. I humbly suggest that you not spend amounts of efforts and cash on this because it will have no appreciable value, and you will become frustrated in trying to keep an inherently flawed design working, only to have something else fail. Even if you were something of an amateur electronics engineer, this can be a big undertaking.

    That being said, there is nothing wrong with the power switch. If you are getting a period of useability, then the issue is likely a bad plug connection, at best, or a failing component that switches off when hot.

    You need to pull the plug, at the very least, and unplug all the connections at every circuit board, clean the contact strips with alcohol or electronics cleaner, and put them back together exactly as they were. There are some large molex connectors on the power supply that need special attention. Clean and reseat accordingly. Look at every circuit board for what appears to be dime sized notched wheels. These are potentiometers and should be sprayed and moved, but put back exactly to the same position.

    These steps may lead to making the organ playable for a while, perhaps a year or two, but will need to be done again.

    Sorry to be discouraging, but organs of this era can be problematic.
    Larry K

    Hammond A-3 System, Celviano for piano practice
    Retired: Hammond BV+22H+DR-20, Hammond L-102, M-3, S-6, H-112, B-2+21H+PR-40, B-3+21H, Hammond Aurora Custom, Colonnade.


    • #3
      Larry just gave you great advice in his post. I remember reading that you didm't want to move the organ, but you might want to have it in a location where you can easily access the insides, to do any troubleshooting, re-seating connectors, etc.
      I would suggest reading everything that you can about this model, who knows, maybe the problem is not too complicated. Re-seating / cleaning the connectors is a good idea. You will want to read about the safety of working on these things.
      The worst that can happen is that you don't fix it and have to find another organ. As far as I'm concerned it's really a buyer's market. People on the forum might advise you on reliable models. You said you might want a 32-note pedalboard, so I assume you're maybe into pipe organ repertoire? If so, in my humble opinion I think an organ with built-in reverb would be a must.
      Anyways, good luck and keep us informed.
      A100, X77, M3, M100, E100
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