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  • DC Power Supply

    Has anyone had an experience such as this, particularly with a Progressive Dynamics Intellipower 60-AMP unit? I think that the power supply in the console may have a loose connection somewhere. But here is what happened:</P>

    Our organ student and occassional assistant organist telephoned me last night at 10PM (I was so happy to hear from her--SIGH!) and told me that while she was playing the "console flashed" for a second and then went back to normal. I will spare you the details. From her description, it seems as though the DC power was lost for a second. The console is only a few years old and is well-maintained and kept clean, inside and out. It was fine on Sunday and fine on Monday night. I told her to turn the organ off for three minutes and then back on and to continue practicing and call me back in a half-hour.</P>

    The "flash" was the Peterson MSP-1000 control panel and also the indicator LEDs for the crescendo, tutti and signal. These always "flash" (so to speak, but not exactly) when the organ is turned on and off.</P>

    She called back and said that it was fine now. I will check for loose power connections; but I doubt that I will find any. What else should I look for? I am even thinking that perhaps a cricket somehow got in there and cause a momentary short; but probably not.</P>

    Is this particular unit known to do this now and then? By the way, the AC was on at all times, because the music rack and pedal lights kept steady.</P>

    Thank you!</P>


  • #2
    Re: DC Power Supply


    I'm primarily in the digital organ business, of course, but I'll speak up because you're such a fine guy and I would like to offer some encouragement. [8-|]</P>

    You should certainly check for any kind of imperfect connection in the DC system, and thump around on all the components in the power supply to see if anything you poke or wiggle can provoke an intermittent outage. Same with every link in the power chain from the breaker panel to the console itself. No telling what almost invisible imperfection in the power circuit momentarily lost contact, but maybe you can find it with careful prodding.</P>

    On the other hand, the fault might lie in the Peterson unit itself. If it's like most all modern electronic equipment, it will have at least a few socketed IC's and it may have dozens of crimped Molex connectors and push-on plugs of various types. In a digital system it's not uncommon for IC's to creep out of the sockets over time. One of the first steps I'll take (after doing all the tapping and poking described above) is to pull socketed chips, clean the chip legs (and sometimes even lightly lubricate them with Vaseline), make sure they are straight, and push them carefully back in, seating them firmly.</P>

    Same thing with the various push-on connectors. But the crimped connections inside the sockets and the ribbon cable connectors require some special examination. It may be quite difficult to spot a faulty connection in one of these, but if you flex them carefully while keeping an eye on the console for that "blink" you might find one. Or maybe not, if you're lucky. Because if you do find one, it will be tough to fix. But at least you will have identified a potential problem.</P>

    Good luck.</P>

    <P mce_keep="true"></P>
    *** 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!



    • #3
      Re: DC Power Supply

      Thank you, John; much appreciated!</P>

      Unfortunately, I got called to play a Mass this evening at the last minute and did not have time to look at the console. It will be interesting to see what happens during Mass; nothing, I hope.</P>

      Without going into details: I am virtually certain that it is not the AC power nor the Peterson MSP-1000 itself. It must be either a loose DC connection somewhere; or the power supply itself. I have a spare power supply at home that I use as my battery charger. Most organ folks may not know that this unit was originally designed to be a battery charger for the RV industry.</P>

      Thanks again!</P>


      • #4
        Re: DC Power Supply

        Hey JohnBird:</P>

        I had the organ running for about 90 minutes for the evening Mass and no problems appeared.</P>

        What are the odds that what I am describing might have been caused by someone accidentally pushing two pistons at the same time?</P>

        Just a thought . . .</P>


        • #5
          Re: DC Power Supply

          If there are any electonics inside the power supply, then a small dropout in the AC can cause the electronics to reset. Very normal and the right thing to do. So you might be looking at the wrong place. Aren't there any electronic clocks around that reset when this happens? My bedside radio clock is a very good indicator for these glitches.


          • #6
            Re: DC Power Supply

            Good point, Havoc; thank you!</P>

            The Progressive Dynamics Intellipowerunits are indeed electronically controlled switching power supplies. They are small, light-weight and run cooly and quietly (now that they have the variable cooling fans). (I love my "old-fashioned" Astron unit that I have at home and perhaps it may be more reliable; but that is off the subject.)</P>

            I think that you may have discovered the actual problem. After all, a faulty connection should be causing more trouble than just a momentary blink. The fluorescent music-rack and pedal lights did not flicker; and one has a tradtional ballast and the other a solid-state electronic ballast. But who knows? Could be that the "small dropout" was enough to "reset" the power supply without affecting the lights.</P>

            If the problem does not return; then I think we can assume it was a "dropout" rather than a faulty connection.</P>

            The unfortunate thing is that most organists I know (especially the lady who was practicing Monday night) are very ignorant of how an organ actually works as far as the electro-mechanical systems go - moreso anything electronic. Thus, the slightest glitch causes them to panic and then one never knows if one is actually hearing an accurate report of what happened. The curator's work is never done.</P>



            • #7
              Re: DC Power Supply

              The fluorescent music-rack and pedal lights did not flicker; and one has a tradtional ballast and the other a solid-state electronic ballast.
              Well, if it was only a few cycles missing, then you would not notice a traditional TL missing a few ignitions. and the electronic one might have had enough input capacitance to bridge the gap. But if a PSU of a few hundred watt shuts down and has to restart, that will be noticable as the slow start circuit can take a few hundred ms.

              OTOH AC powered equipment should be able to bridge 20ms drops (one or other standard). Most of these supplies also monitor the input for "undervoltage" because if the voltage is too low they have to switch far more current to sustain the output.

              Get a cheap old clock-radio...they are the worst offenders when this happens. They reset to some value and some have their digits blinking to let you know the power went off. I you have such one, put it on the same supply as the organ and see if it goes haywire.


              • #8
                Re: DC Power Supply

                Thanks again, Havoc!</P>

                If the organist accidentally pushed two pistons simultaneously; could this have confused the power supply enough to cause trouble; or am I on the wrong track with this idea?</P>

                Many thanks!</P>


                • #9
                  Re: DC Power Supply

                  [quote user="MenchenStimme"]If the organist accidentally pushed two pistons simultaneously; could this have confused the power supply enough to cause trouble; or am I on the wrong track with this idea?[/quote]I don't think this would be the source of the problem. You mentioned that the organist was playing at the time; it is kind of hard to press two pistons simultaneously while playing! Two pistons can be pressed (maybe a thumb and toe?) but I think mostmodern power supplieswould be ableto handle that.</P>

                  Perhaps this was due to a power surge, rather than a dropout? The "flash" would seem to indicate a surge, whereas a "blink" would seem to be a drop.</P>

                  [quote user="MenchenStimme"]I am even thinking that perhaps a cricket somehow got in there and cause a momentary short; but probably not[/quote]Did you look for atoasted cricket? []</P>


                  • #10
                    Re: DC Power Supply

                    Thanks, SB32 --</P>

                    This console has sensitive pistons and thus it would actually be possible (albeit very improbable) to accidentally hit two pistons simultaneously while playing.</P>

                    It was definitely some kind of dropout rather than a surge. The LEDs on the organ always flash when the organ is turned on and/or off. Thus, a dropout would cause these to flash. At the same time, the Peterson MSP-1000 panel would go dark for a moment and then come back on. Either way, this in NOT good for the organ no matter how it happened.</P>

                    And yes, I am planning on looking for a toasted cricket; if I can ever find the time to check this out properly. Seems like the church is always busy when I am not busy, etc.</P>

                    It is a sad coincidence that these things always happen to this particular organist. They rarely happen to our main organist/music director and almost never happen to me.</P>

                    DOUBLE SIGH !!</P>


                    • #11
                      Re: DC Power Supply

                      I would hope that the organelectronics can handle anything a human being can do, without blowing up. For example, drawing all stops and couplers and resting your arms on every key on one manual. It might sound horrible but nothing should break because of it. Ditto with pressing multiple presets at the same time. Some stops may not know whether to turn on or off, but the last preset to be released should be the one that has the final say. Things might chatter, but nothing should be destructive.</P>

                      Many power supplies have over-voltage protection circuits in them. If the output voltage goes too high, the supply shorts its own output, hopefully blowing a fuse if the problem remains. This may be self-resetting, so the supply could come back to life in a second or two. This kind of protection is usually necessary in any linear (i.e. Astron) supply since the regulating circuit usually fails by shorting out, thereby making the supply put out over 20 volts. Switching supplies usually don't fail this way and don't often have these crow-bar protection circuits in them. They might have other means of self-preservation however.</P>

                      Larger power supplies sometimes have two DC POWER terminals and two SENSE terminals. The sense terminals can be connected to low-current wires that sense the DC voltage at the load, rather than at the power supply. Thus the supply can overcome the losses in the wires running to the load and provide better voltage regulation. Sometimes these sense and power terminals are connected directly together at the power supply, thus defeating the advantage of the sense terminals.</P>

                      Bob M.</P>


                      • #12
                        Re: DC Power Supply

                        Thank you, Bob M. !</P>

                        I still have not been able to check for a loose connection or a toasted cricket; but I am becoming more convinced that this was probably a rare glitch in the power, either DC or perhaps even AC. The two-pistons-at-once idea is unlikely in the extreme; I only proposed it because this particular organist seems to be accident prone. I will be playing for a few weekday evening Masses over the next seven days and thus will see if the consolemalfunctions for me or not. I am actually rather confident that it will not do so.</P>

                        FYI: The Astron is on my residence organ. The church organ has a total of three Progressive Dynamics Intellipower units; one in each console and one for the keying and stop actions.</P>

                        Thanks again!</P>


                        • #13
                          Re: DC Power Supply

                          Hi Menchen....Few comments from my own experience with Peterson MSP 1000 units.</P>

                          The Progressive Dynamics power supply is one of the very few power supplies that will work on the MSP 1000. Reason, as explained to me by Peterson is....the unit is designed for a slow build up to full power in the inital turn on stage. If you hook up your Astron rectifier to the unit, it will immediately blow the MSP 1000s input fuse. The Astron, as well as most of the other rectifiers used in the computer generation organs, comes on too quickly for the Peterson unit.</P>

                          As for the console music rack and pedal lights to continue to run without a flash, are you sure that all units are on the same circuit, or console 125 volt switching system? I have one organ (not MSP combo action) that is run by a low volt switching transformer. Occasionally, this church has a momentary power drop out which causes the low volt system to think that the console on/off switch has been turned off, and it shuts down the motor starter relay, and the rectifier. Yet the 125 volt circuits within the console control box still remain on, as they are plugged into the service outlets that are labeled "unswitched".</P>

                          Regards the initial flashing of indicator lights, when you turn the organ on...I have three organs with MSP 1000s. Of these, only one does that. When you first turn on the blower switch, the Tutti, Crescendo, and Power lights all flash for about 1/10 a second. I've complained with Peterson about that several times, but no amount of hunting has resolved the problem. It does not flash when the organ is turned off.....only when turned on. Peterson has offered two possible scenarios. 1. They seem to think it has something to do with the relay, at the blower switch. Yet we've tested the circuit with one of those expensive meters that is supposed to detect such a "bleep", and the circuit is fine, all the way up to the rectifier. 2. Peterson suggests there may be some sort of "resonance" in the power line from the rectifier. That would have required another expensive "bleep" detecting meter, and we just can't spend that kind of money, running down a gremlin. No smoke, no frying sounds, no hot wire smells....we've just given up on finding a solution.</P>

                          From my own experience, (not that that's the final word), I'd suspect that you had a momentary power drop out, and when the power resumed, it was enough to make the MSP do it's flashing thing.</P>


                          • #14
                            Re: DC Power Supply

                            Hi Jay,</P>

                            Glad to hear that you are familiar with the Peterson MSP-1000. I checked for loose power connections (and toasted crickets) and found none. I even had my brother watch the console display and lights while I jiggled wires, etc. All was well. That was good; but then things got worse.</P>

                            When the music director turned the organ on this (Sunday) morning, the crescendo light and both tutti lights came on and remained on and so did just about every stop on the organ. All pistons were dead, including Cancel. He turned the organ off and called me. When I arrived, we turned it back on again. This time the MSP-1000 was completely dead, no display, no lights, no pistons, etc. However, the console was fully and normally functional when operated manually; i.e., you could turn the stops on and off and play, etc., but no pistons. We powered down and waited several minutes. Then we powered up again. This time the MSP-1000 came back on as so did the crescendo and both Tutti lights. But this time about half the stops on the console came on physically, as though someone had pushed a piston; but they made no sense, it was not like a real piston had been pushed, just random stops. And the Cancel would not cancel. We powered down and manually cancelled all of the stops. Then, after a few minutes,we powered up again. This time the MSP-1000 was complete back to normal and functioned perfectly as though nothing was ever wrong.</P>

                            Okay:What is the likelihood that the Progressive Dynamics unit is "freaking out" and causing all of this? What isthe alternative likelihood that the MSP-1000 is what is freaking out instead, for whatever reason?</P>

                            By the way, we have two consoles and they both have alwaysdone the power-up flash thing. And yes, the music rack and pedal lights are on the samePeterson AC switcher and are inSWITCHED outlets so that themusic lights come on and off with the organ itself. Thus, I doubt that any of this is an AC problem, but rather a DC problem. Pleasekeep in mind that the loft console is not affected, only the chancel console; and they are both on the sameAC power grid.</P>

                            I should also tell you that in both consoles, we have removedwhat I call the "Peterson insert." This is that little cube that plugs into theProgressive Dyamics unit near the fuses andboosts the power from about13 volts to about 14 volts. We have not been using it because we find the 13 volts to be quite sufficient. Could this perhaps be contributing to the problem? Please keep in mind thatboth consoleshave been up and running for a few years now and that theloft consolehas not had any of these problems that the chancel console is having. Same MSP-1000, same Progressive Dynamics unit, etc. Both consoles are kept clean inside andneither are exposed to any environmental extremes.</P>

                            So there it is Jay: I eagerly anticipate your reading this and responding.Your knowledge and experience are much appreciated.</P>

                            Many thanks!</P>


                            EDIT-ADDENDUM: This is no longer merely a "flash" but is progressing into something worse. SIGH!</P>

                            EDIT-ADDENDUM:Hi Jay! I forgot to mention that the "check system" indicator decimal point after the crescendo level number is NOT present. This should be good news, theoretically. DOUBLE SIGH!!</P>


                            • #15
                              Re: DC Power Supply

                              Via private message, we are working on this glitch.