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  • Replacing old Allen keyboards with something new

    I another post, I explained how I was able, with the advice of others, to get my Allen ADC 2110 working again. New question--I would love to replace the keyboards (which have a stiff, spongy action) with something new, maybe Fatars. Has anyone done this before? It sounds like a big job; I have an electrical engineering background, but I'd like to hear people's realistic take on whether this is feasible. It's certainly cheaper than buying a new organ. Thanks.

  • #2
    I have an ADC-220 and I would not describe the manuals as stiff or spongy. Do you know it's history? Was it used much? I have played Fatars on a Johonnus which I did not like personally. They were cheap feeling, not solid if that makes sense. Also they wear out faster than Allen. After 7 years of Sunday/Wednesday use then sitting another 5, the key stops were failing and many keys, esp on the great, would annoyingly "click" and a few would sound, then stop when you hold it down at the bottom of the key bed. That said, Fatars are much cheaper than Allen pricewise as well. On new Allens, you have to pay another $2.5K per manual to upgrade from Fatar and I remeber trying both in the showroom and thinking the Allen manuals were worth it. Do all the keys feel that way or are the more common keys worse? I can say that Allens are very easy to work on and the feel of the manuals is extremely important so I think it's a very worth while looking into. Do the keys feel like they want to bounce back with too much force--that is not right. Just a thought: does it look like the manuals are seated properly? A couple screws are holding them in place and they swing open for access. How do the springs look, are they rusty? I just can't help but think there is something wrong that might just need a simple fix.

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    • #3
      I haven't opened it up to look at the keyboard yet, but all the keys feel the same. For comparison, at my local churches I play an Allen MDS and an Allen Protoge, both of which have much nicer feeling keyboards--much easier actions. I'm sad to hear the Fatar keyboards are so poorly built.

      Comment


      • #4
        Fatar makes a range of keyboards. The higher priced Classic ones are better constructed than the home models. Still, I'd be reluctant to replace those Allen wood core keys with Fatars. You might want to look into to replacing the springs. Spending $500 / manual even for the cheap Fatars seems a questionalble investment to me considering the total value of the organ.
        -Admin

        Allen 965
        Zuma Group Midi Keyboard Encoder
        Zuma Group DM Midi Stop Controller
        Hauptwerk 4.2

        Comment


        • #5
          These are probably the best third party keyboard$ you can buy.
          UHT fertigt Holztastaturen für elektronische Sakralorgeln, HAUPTWERK und elektrische Spieltische für Pfeifenorgeln.
          Last edited by Admin; 06-29-2020, 12:12 PM.
          -Admin

          Allen 965
          Zuma Group Midi Keyboard Encoder
          Zuma Group DM Midi Stop Controller
          Hauptwerk 4.2

          Comment


          • jbird604
            jbird604 commented
            Editing a comment
            In my mature years, it has become hard for me to play a keyboard unless the sharp keys are on the narrow side and tapered quite noticeably. Allen's keyboards work for me, but some other brands don't. The issue is that my fingers have some arthritis in the last joint, which makes the fingertips a little offset from the rest of the finger and also makes it easy for my fingers to get hung up between two sharp keys. These UHT keyboards appear to have sharps with less tapered sides, so they probably wouldn't work for me or someone else with this type of finger joint problem. I have played UHT's deluxe keyboards (before my fingers got bad) and remember how wonderfully smooth they felt. I'd sure enjoy them if I could.

        • #6
          It is possible that the felts in the key sticks may have swelled (no pun intended). There is a posting on the forum about how to remedy that if that is the case. What you can try is press the key down and when pressing it down push it to the left and on the next stroke push it to the right. Do that several times and see if that key feels better. I do agree about the quality of the Fatar keyboards.

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          • #7
            Lubricate the red felt bushings on both the front rail guide pins and the center balance rails with pure lanolin, available at drug stores. It works wonders for the feel of an Allen keyboard that has become sluggish or sloppy feeling.
            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


            • #8
              I took the back off and looked at the keys. The culprit is the springs, in my mind. I don't think anything is wrong with the keys, just that they are designed to be harder to press than more modern keyboards I use. I'm going to replace them with lighter springs and see how it feels.

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              • #9
                You might not have to replace the springs. The tension can be adjusted by turning a nylon nut on top of the keys. Turn the nut counter clockwise to loosen the tension and turn the nut clockwise to tighten the tension. You should have some kind of weight to get the tension even across the keyboards.

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                • Organkeys Jones
                  Organkeys Jones commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Doesn't that nylon nut adjust height of the keys?

              • #10
                The height adjustment is under the key toward the front of the key. It is a nylon nut just like the one to adjust the tension. you would nee do to lift the keyboards to get to them.

                Comment


                • #11
                  I saw those nuts but didn't make the connection--that's super helpful, thanks!

                  Comment


                • #12
                  Sraevsky,

                  Check this thread on the topic of key weight. Some specifics are discussed there: https://organforum.com/forums/forum/...eyboard-weight.

                  Michael
                  Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
                  • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
                  • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
                  • 9 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 6 Pianos

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                  • #13
                    Very interesting posts on key weight. I downloaded the AGO spec sheet, which says the key weight should be between 3.25 and 3.75 ounces. I ran out of quarters but determined that my keys are well over over 4 ounces, which might explain why they have been annoying me.

                    Comment


                    • myorgan
                      myorgan commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Well, now you know how to adjust them, if you've looked at the photos from the other thread I linked, showing the nylon nuts and describing how to adjust them.

                      Michael

                  • #14
                    I'm wondering how the keyboard got adjusted to a weight well over 4 ounces! That is quite heavy. My old MOS Allen's keys go down with just 3 ounces and feel too light to me, but tightening the spring tension nuts didn't make enough difference to bring them up to specs.

                    My advice still stands to apply lanolin to the felt bushings. You won't believe how much smoother the action feels after you do that. And if your excess tension is in fact due to the keys dragging on the guide pins, the lanolin will fix that. Once you have the keys traveling without friction, then you can adjust the tension to suit you.

                    Of course if your bushings are smooth and are not causing any drag, the lanolin may have little or no effect. But it's cheap and the job is easy.

                    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


                    • you795a
                      you795a commented
                      Editing a comment
                      I am wondering the same thing as to how the tension is over 4 ounces. I am thinking the same thing you are, the felts. The only time we adjusted keys to 4 ounce was per request and that wasn't very often. The lanolin would be much easier to try first. If that wouldn't work then I'd try to readjust the tension.

                  • #15
                    jbird - you mentioned lubricate the red felt bushings on both the front rail guide pins and the center balance rails with lanolin. I'm having a hard time visualizing this. Why would one lubricate felt instead of metal? I need to open the organ back up and try and figure out what you mean.

                    Comment


                    • myorgan
                      myorgan commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Sraevsky,

                      You lubricate the felt because it is more porous than the metal. Lanolin is the lubricant to use. John should weigh in soon, as he's the expert on that subject.

                      Michael

                      P.S. Oops, I see John already weighed in.
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