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Need help identifying model and potential repairs

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  • Need help identifying model and potential repairs

    Hello fellow organ Sevants,

    I recently have started a new position as music director here at a church near Oklahoma City and it has an older model 3- ManualRogers organ. The organ hasn’t been played in about 6 years (and it shows) and any information regarding the model, repairs, technicians, specs, etc. seems to be lost. I am needing your help. I work in organ repair, but only on pipe organs and i am at a loss with this electric! Attached you will find photos of the instrument, and i have a few questions regarding the instrument and potential repairs.

    1.What is the model of the Rodgers instrument?
    2. What information is there on this model or what are some things I should know? Is it analog or digital?

    The instrument has quite a few issues when playing.
    • A-flat 2-4 on all manuals is “out of tune” or at least temperament
    • Various general pistons do not work or do not set
    • Various transposition keys stick and will play while another transposition is also stuck
    • various couplers do not light up
    With the knowledge of SOME of the issues it brings me to my next set of questions:

    3. Does anyone have any contacts for Rodgers technicians or electric organ repairmen in the Oklahoma City area?
    4. Out of the listed issues, is there anything that seems possible to fix or at least attend to on my own? Maybe an easy fix like wiping some dust off or tightening something, etc..

    If you can answer ANY of the questions, your help would be appreciated. Also, any other information i may need please feel free to chime in. Thank you all for your time and help!

  • #2
    Welcome to the Forum, Mr. Foster!

    Because of the tuning issues, I suspect the organ is analog rather than digital. In that case, the repair would need to be completed by opening the back of the organ. That said, I'll defer to those who have more experience with Rodgers organs.

    For a local technician, I would recommend checking this link: https://www.mitatechs.org/Service-Locator/

    I hope that helps get you started, but I believe you'll probably get better advice here rather than playing a technician, potentially traveling from afar. It's a good time to get the organ repaired, though, because Christmas is coming, so perhaps technician trips to your area could be paired together.

    Is it a few or ALL of the pistons that won't reset or work? Most probably it is a battery that either hasn't charged, or has gone dead. That's an easy replacement–usually.

    Again, welcome to the Forum!

    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)
    • 11 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 7 Pianos


    • Bryson Foster
      Bryson Foster commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks for the welcome and all of the help!

      I’m with you and believing its an analog. And it is just a few of the pistons, not all. I will definitely check out the back of it and continue to see what help i can find on here. Thanks again, this is a good start.

  • #3
    Did you look under the keybed for the model number?

    Could it be a 330 from the late 1970's? That mechanical "digital" clock is something I have not seen built into an organ.
    If it is a 330 then it is analog tone generation using time shared keying and magnetic core memory.



    • Bryson Foster
      Bryson Foster commented
      Editing a comment

      I looked under the key bed for a model number the first time i visited the instrument but i will double check to make sure I didn’t miss it. The mechanical clock (you guessed it) doesn’t work, but it is pretty interesting! I’m leaning towards analog as well.

    • Organkeys Jones
      Organkeys Jones commented
      Editing a comment
      I looked at the photos before reading the post and immediately knew it was Rodgers due to the clock. Definitely analog from many years ago.

  • #4
    I second the likelihood it's a 330 based on the pictures. Decent sounding analog from the mid to late 70s. Mag core piston memory doesn't require any batteries but is sensitive to power supply issues, especially failing electrolytic capacitors.

    --- Tom
    Rodgers 660 with additional analog rack sets (practice), 36D/C in digital conversion, Yamaha CVP-107


    • #5
      I would like to see a long shot of the installation. From your two photos it doesn't look good. Those old Rodgers need about 5 feet behind them for service access.



      • #6
        If the couplers work, but don't light up, it's likely that it's just the bulbs that have blown, they're little wire-leaded bulbs in twist-in holders similar to dashboard lights in cars. My Rodgers has similar tabs for all the stops, and all the commonly used ones are burned out.
        The piston rails also look similar to mine, I had issues with the wiring to the pistons coming unglued from the back of the rail and being snagged by the keys. Might be broken wires if it's just one or two of the pistons not working.
        Allen MDC-42, 301-C, 124, ADC-3100.
        Wurlitzer Omni 6000, Rodgers C-445, Baldwin D-912


        • #7
          Bad news and then a hint of good news......

          We service an identical old Rodgers in a nearby city. While the 330 (or this might be an extended 990) was a technical tour de force 50 years ago, it really shows it age in many ways. For example, the magnetic core memory system was a marvel in 1958 or whenever they introduced it, but proper functioning depends upon very tight regulation of the several voltages required. The circuitry designed to regulate those voltages worked well for a decade or two or three, but nowadays when I see an old core system there are always some stops or some pistons that will not set correctly any more, if the system even works at all. Just the stray magnetic field of the earth itself has probably corrupted some of the cores and there isn't much you can do to bring them back to life.

          A couple years ago we spent several days on site trying to bring one of these up to snuff because the church where it is, like many other formerly grand churches, is in decline and not in a position to spend the money for a suitable replacement. But we did not bring the entire instrument back to life, in spite of all the magic and incantations we could find in our books. Electronic parts from the 1960's are often well past their expiration dates, and wholesale replacement of hundreds, if not thousands, of transistors, diodes, capacitors, potentiometers, and other aging parts can quickly add up to far more money that such an old organ is worth by any measure.

          Not saying it's hopeless, but your situation is perilous because (1) organ technicians of any kind are getting to be as scarce as hen's teeth -- I'm 69 and longing for full retirement, and (2) what few younger techs there are coming up today are rarely interested in learning the intricate details of such ancient technology, especially since such instruments are few and far between, and there is absolutely NO help of any kind from the manufacturers any more. It's hard enough to find factory support for any organ over 20 years old (other than an Allen), and there isn't a living person at the typical organ company who knows a thing about something his company built 50 to 60 years ago.

          OTOH -- Having some pipe organ background though, you MIGHT be able to figure out enough to get this one into better playing condition. Tuning, for example, is simple. It will have only two or three "ranks" of oscillators, rather clearly marked, residing on large swing-out panels. Rotating the top section ONLY of each iron induction unit will tune a particular pitch. (Be sure not to twist the LOWER part of the iron as it is glued and soldered to the chassis!) You only need to figure out by trial and error which rank applies to each stop.

          Voicing and leveling are fairly straightforward too, and it will help if one of the guys here can supply you with a service manual. (My manual is a generic one that covers multiple old Rodgers analogs, but there is a specific one for the 330, if that's what you have.) And you can always look around for broken wires, bad solder joints, pots that need cleaning and exercising, etc., and check power supply voltages with a meter.

          Good luck!
          *** 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!



          • Bryson Foster
            Bryson Foster commented
            Editing a comment
            Thank you Jbird! This was extremely helpful and informative.