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Kimball Organ Paradise Repair

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  • Kimball Organ Paradise Repair

    I have recently bought off ebay a Kimball"Syntha Swinger"Paradise organ, and am having some medium sort of issues,</P>

    The lower manual works fine and is at a acceptiable volume, but it occasionallycuts out, as if there is a loose connection.</P>

    The upper manual is horrible; abouttwo thirds of the keys dont work for most voices, andthe volume is whisper-quiet, even with volume and expression pedal on full.</P>

    To make matters worse,once switched on the organhas an extremely loud background noise, like the static of a TV. It washes out everything and makes diagnosing the keyboard problems a bigissue.</P>

    There is evidence ofmice having lived in it, and some spots on the circuit boards where some sort of grainy substance has formed.</P>

    This is a beautiful organ, with heaps of voices,four speakers, and an inbuilt Leslie, bought for $50; it would be great to get it working!</P>

  • #2
    Re: Kimball Organ Paradise Repair

    Reading what you've said anout the condition of the organ, I'm very tempted to say that you should cut your losses and take it to the tip, sorry. $50 for a non-working 30-year old organ is not a good deal.

    However, it was indeed a good looking organ, with plenty of voices and features, and it would be nice to hear it working again. Opinions to its quality of sound etc are subjective and personal. Some liked Kimball, others didn't. Its quality of construction is also debatable. It's often said that later instruments were pretty dire.

    OK. You have multiple problems, and the first thing that I'd do is get the service manual. You should be able to find this on line and there are a few companies in the US that might supply it. Now, give the organ a total clean out. Start with those boards with the grainy substance. Is this just something on the surface that will come off or has it corroded or damaged the boards? If the boards are damaged, you're looking at taking the organ to the tip, or getting another identical organ to cannibalise for parts. Let's say it's just surface 'mould'. Clean it off carefully without damaging anything.

    Next, let's think about the rodents. Have they eaten through any wires or looms? If so, can they be easily fixed? If no, take the organ to the tip. If yes, fix them.

    Now let's go through every single contact and connector in the organ and clean them with something like Caig De-Oxit. Unplug, clean and reseat every connector you can find. This often cures static and thunder.

    Now assess the condition of the organ (in fact you shoudl do this at every stage). Does it work OK yet? If yes, then play it. If no, and you still have the static, you may be looking at rebuilding or repairing the amp or power supply. Old PSU's like this should probably have their smoothing capacitors changed as a matter or course if you've got the organ in bits anyway.

    A lot of work? Certainly. Expensive? Depends on what you find. A can of De-Oxit and a lot of work is sometimes all you need. If you need parts, then it could be very expensive unless you can find a donor organ. In fact, it may be impossible if you can't.

    Is it ultimately worth it? I can't answer that for you. Financially, no it isn't, as you can buy a fully working spinet organ for peanuts or pick them up free in many cases. However, it may be that you want the challenge of taking something that has seen better days and restoring it. That's admirable if you do! Just remember that, unlike restoring something like a classic car, the organ will still have almost zero monetary value when restored. Mind you, by then it will have a lot of personal value in terms of satisfaction and pride in what you've done.

    I'll give my usual advice to potential buyers who may be reading this. If it's not working, walk away unless it's a true vintage instrument and you're prepared to do a lot of work and possibly spend a lot. If you just want an organ to play, there are lots of working ones out there.

    Best of luck with things, let us know what you do. We're always happy to help anyone who takes on these tasks and there are plenty of electronics gurus on here.

    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 -

    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


    • #3
      Re: Kimball Organ Paradise Repair

      Once upon a time, I felt sorry for a 1973 Kimball 1080 spinet. A local church warden and organist had purchased it as a practice instrument from an ebaY seller and picked it up from a storage unit in the southeast Texas heat and humidity. After he got it home, it was quickly relegated to a store room as junk and an early 1980s Wurlitzer console took its intended place. Before it went to the curb for trash day, I decided to take a look at it. It was a beautiful little organ in "Italian Provincial." In a fit of OAD,we loaded the little beast into my truck and brought it home. The brightly colored tabs and rhythm buttons brought back memories from childhood. As a kid, I was always drawn to the Kimballs in the music store, thinking that the Hammonds and Baldwins looked sort of dull in comparison.</P>

      Time, unfortunately, had not been kind to the little Kimball. Time and heat. Most of the keys stuck to the rubber key bushings, as the heat had made the rubber sticky. I ended up spraying each one with WD40 to cure that. An electrolytic cap on the Leslie channel amplifier had literally exploded, causing that channel to emit nothing but a loud hissing. Nothing but sine wave based voices worked, indicating tone generator problems. The pedals didn't work at all. Lots of faults in the automatic chord/rhythm section.</P>

      Cleaning did help some, but LOTS of electrical components in this one had failed. I got the Leslie channel amp working and passed it alongfor someone else to enjoy - fast. Organ Service Corp. should have the service manual for your Paradise. I happened to find the 1080's servicemanual on ebay. There is a Kimball Organ group on Yahoo, but there's rarely any discussion.</P></P>

      Best of luck with your Paradise.</P>


      • #4
        Re: Kimball Organ Paradise Repair

        [quote user="Kimball Paradise L200"]

        I have recently bought off ebay a Kimball"Syntha Swinger"Paradise for $50; it would be great to get it working![/quote]</P>


        I see from your profile that you're from the same part of the world as myself. Your L100 Paradise was realeased here in 1979 with a retail price of AUD$5595 and the instrument that replaced it in 1982 was part of the last Kimball range imported into Australia, and US production of Kimball ceased in 1984.</P>

        Obtaining a service manual in this country will prove impossible, your only hope is the one suggested by Bluetantra. Depending on your location, requiring the services of a tech could prove extremely costly.</P>

        Unless a labour of love is your thing, and for many it can be, frankly the next stop for this instrument should be the local tip.</P>

        If when considering Ebay to purchase it is not possible to road test an instrument first, may I suggest sticking with one of the brands known for their reliability, eg.. Yamaha and/or Technics.</P>


        <P mce_keep="true"></P>
        Hammond X77GT & Leslie 77P
        Lowrey C500 & Leslie 720/540
        Hammond T524 & Leslie 710
        Gulbransen Theatrum & Leslie 700
        Yamaha EL90T


        • #5
          Re: Kimball Organ Paradise Repair

          Hey guys thanks for the comments,Since posting this request, i have fixed a lot of issues with this organ,</p>

          Firstly the static background noise was caused by a loose wire and i have fixed the problem of that, I have also dusted and cleaned the organ quite a lot, I'm not finished yet but I have got quite a lot done, Would methylated spirits be ok for cleaning the contacts and so on? The upper manual presets work perfectly and the lower manual works great, the main voices for the solo keyboard are a bit on the quite side, But the strings and the reeds are hearable, I found out that one of the amplifier circuits was a bit messed up, and my theory is that the two speakers are slit into left and right channel and I'm only getting on channel- The one that has the special effects and accompanying keyboard voices, it says in the manual that that is the case, I also have the facility's to possibly remake the stuffed amp circuit. thanks for telling me about the service manual, i shall have to look into that. The mice haven't damaged any wires but im defiantly not taking this to the tip. Yet</p>

          I have a good knowledge of electronics so, if any body sends schematics it would be great. I have checked all the circuits and have seen nothing that looks blown or melted, and im sure with the right cleaning equipment i can get this working, i have only used a cloth and vacuum cleaner so far to clean so it might be a cleaning issue, Thanks for all the replys guys, i thought that it would be a couple of months before i got a reply so this is great. If you reackon posting photos would help</p>


          Tell me and I will do so</p>


          Cheers Guys</p>



          • #6
            Re: Kimball Organ Paradise Repair

            btw. I am certinally willing to put as much work as is required to get this organ working, </p>

            I will appreciate it much much more, :D</p>

            i know that all the tabs work, even the ones that have hardly any sound</p>

            Tomorrow i will begin a full cleaning procedure</p>




            • #7
              I just bought the same organ.... everything works ok but I keep hearing a humming like sound and when I hold a specific key (doesn't play it's note either) on the board the noise stops completely and one of the other keys would stick.... how would I go about fixing it? PLZ Help


              • #8
                When I clean pc board edge connectors I do two things. First, I use a typewriter eraser to polish the pc board connectors. Second, I use a small screwdriver to gently bend each contact up so it will have more tension against the pc board. I used to use a lot of contact cleaners but in recent years have preferred keeping them dry. Cleaning and tension seems to last longer.



                • #9
                  On my Kimball it was mainly 2 things. First of all, the key contacts are just little pieces of something like guitar string that you can bend and adjust so they contact the busbar properly. Also the busbar itself was not adjusted well on mine, it was hitting an adjacent busbar.

                  After that, I was still having weird problems with the lower manual and it ended up being one of the divider chips on the huge keyer circuit board. Like a needle in a haystack I was able to find an identical but extremely weathered Kimball on the side of the road during spring cleanup, so I picked it up and gutted it for parts. The divider chip I needed was good and so now everything works.

                  Good luck with yours.
                  1970 Hammond T422 (for me)
                  1966 Hammond L112 (for my daughter)
                  1980 Kimball M75 Temptation (parts only), 1980 Kimball M70 Temptation (parts only)
                  1965 Hammond L112 (probably for parts), Magnus Chord Organ (for kicks)