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Fuzzy Kimball Organ Sound

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  • Fuzzy Kimball Organ Sound

    Hello! I've made a post about this organ before and whether or not I should get it. I was finally able to get myself a free Kimball Temptation! But there's a catch. When I first played the instrument I noticed that playing the Special Effects sounds would cause the speaker to make a loud static sound. As the kind of person who loves taking things apart, I took the back off of it and lifted the lid and attempted to dust some of the insides using an air compressor and the air wasn't terribly strong. I used the air compressor because I was afraid of using a cloth on such rough and delicate electronics. For a minute or two after putting the instrument together and playing it, it did actually solve the issue, but now the static occurs when I play all components of the instrument, excluding the rhythms. The static doesn't only happen while I'm playing the instrument, but a good 10-20 seconds after I have played a note.
    I figure since I blew so much dust around, the dust may be the issue, but I figured I would consult you guys before continuing to mess with it. If I can't fix it, it's fine as it was a free instrument, but other than the static really I like it! So if anyone has any tips or thoughts of "oh my god, I can't believe she did that to her instrument, she's lost her mind," after reading this post, please share because I would love to be able to play it without the fuzz! I have NO experience repairing organs, so please speak in layman's terms and I'll try my best to follow!
    P.S. This organ laid dormant in a garage for a very long time and is currently in my garage until I can fix the static/pops/crackles.

    Below are the photos of the back post dusting (as you can see, I wasn't very thorough just out of the sheer difficulty of it). I also used the air compressor on the boards that were on the top of the instrument, but I do not have pictures of that.

    Click image for larger version  Name:	20201015_190129[1].jpg Views:	0 Size:	321.5 KB ID:	744815Click image for larger version  Name:	20201015_190134[1].jpg Views:	0 Size:	351.0 KB ID:	744816Click image for larger version  Name:	20201015_190146[2].jpg Views:	0 Size:	340.0 KB ID:	744818Click image for larger version  Name:	20201015_190204[1].jpg Views:	0 Size:	370.9 KB ID:	744817
    Last edited by Ashley Frye; 10-15-2020, 06:10 PM.

  • #2
    First thing is to locate the amplifiers. They are located on the right of the second picture. They will have a cable going to it. Unplug the cable and that will expose the contacts on the circuit board. I clean those contacts with a small eraser. Then, I take a very small screwdriver or other pointy thing and carefully bend the contacts in the plug that was removed lifting them up so they make stronger contact with the circuit board when replaced. This is a common area of noise etc. Having said that, all the circuit boards with these type plugs should be cleaned as well.



    • #3
      Dust is not an problem on these older organs, just an inconvenience.

      Try moving the slide volume controls while holding down a key. If they make a static noise then try exercising them back and forth several times. If that doesn't work they will need some chemical help.
      Do not use Deoxit D5 on the slide volume controls. Use D100 or Fader Lube F5, both from Caig Labs.

      Another common problem with Kimballs is the circuit board edge connectors. First, disconnect power from the organ. Pull the plug! The boards should be unplugged one at a time and both sides of the edge connectors should be given a light spray of Caig Deoxit D5.

      Kimball used a squelch circuit that disconnects the audio into the pre-amp about 15 seconds after the last key is played. Since the static stops at that point then the pre-amp and power amps are not the problem.
      Also take a close look at the top part of the speaker in the first photo. There appears to be a tear in the black part just below the silver frame. I'm avoiding the proper terms here to avoid confusion.



      • #4
        I went out and cleaned the contacts under each of the connectors on the instrument using an eraser since none of my local hardware stores do not have Deoxit D5 in stock. I think it did help, but there is still a bit of a crackle. I ordered the Deoxit on Amazon and that will be coming in in about a week so I'm hoping that using that will get rid of the residual fuzz. There is a static noise when moving most volume sliders. I tried putting CRC QD contact cleaner in the electronics behind the switches and sliders because of the advice of a different website and it didn't break anything, but it definitely didn't fix anything. I read some other websites that said absolutely do not use the product on instruments so I'm little bit concerned about that, but nothing has broken yet because of it.

        I did not bend any contacts out of fear of doing it wrong and breaking something. All of the pins on the inside of the plugs were so perfectly aligned I could see myself putting a screwdriver in one and snapping it right off while trying to bend it or making it worse, but I am willing to try if the Deoxit fix the rest of the static.

        As for the tear in the speaker, I took a closer look and it all seemed to be intact so that must have been an optical illusion in the photo. I forgot to take a photo of the inside so you'll just have to take my word for it.

        Also, is there any diagram that I could be led to that tells me which part is which? I would like to learn some of the lingo so things are a little less confusing on both ends. Would my best bet for learning the terms just be looking at the original schematics for the instrument?

        The tibia sounds are pretty quiet as well compared to the string and brass sounds, is that normal?


        • #5
          Update: After a few hours of messing around with the organ, I can say with confidence that almost all of the hissing sound is gone in all of the sounds except for the special effects sounds, which still has extreme fuzz for 15 seconds after whenever any of its few switches are activated or the volume slider for them is moved. I have also found that all of the Syntha II sounds do not play at all, there isn't even static when they are activated, though the clarinet sound works great! I've made sure that all of the connectors are plugged in properly so I'm not quite sure what could be causing that issue.