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  • Rodgers Insignia 557 Advice

    I have the possibility of acquiring a used Rodgers Insignia 557 organ for free (plus the cost of moving it) The organ has been sitting at a church unused for several years and it is isn't working right now. (Lights come on, but display stays blank and pistons/keys don't do anything). I also know the pedalboard needs some TLC, but I'm less worried about that part. My wife and I would love to have a home organ, and have been watching out for a decent inexpensive one in the local classifieds. We also like the keyboard feel and the sound based on the one or two videos I've found of similar models.

    That said, we're trying to decide whether it is worth taking the organ as is and then try to figure out what it will take to fix it, or try and line up a technician to come look at it with the possibility that someone else picks it up before we can line up a technician.

    It is a new enough organ that for the price I'm kind of leaning towards getting it now and sorting out the repair later, but I don't have any idea how likely we are to get stuck with a broken, unrepairable(or overly expensive to repair) organ that we paid to move, and then end up having to to also pay to get rid of.

    I also know my way around electronics in general, so I'm not above trying to fix it myself, but I don't know my way around organs enough to be confident that I could figure out and fix the problem on my own.

    Anyone have any experience or thoughts on our situation? Thanks!

  • #2
    Bendr,

    Welcome to the Forum! I'm sure our Rodgers experts will weigh in soon.

    Until they do, I would suggest you exercise patience, as certain Rodgers tend to be problematic, and parts are not available for all older models.

    Toodles & John, would it make sense to create a sticky outlining the Rodgers models/technologies and the repair issues each technology might experience? I know the Cheetah consoles have some issues, PDI technology has unique considerations, as well as dripping glue from the keyboards. OTOH, if one finds a model without potential issues, they are great instruments to own.

    Would I be wrong to say Rodgers analog organs should no longer be considered? If so, that's too bad, because I REALLY liked them.

    Michael

    P.S. Would Larry's Saville in Colorado be a consideration?
    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

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    • #3
      That's a pretty darn modern organ to be getting for free! I'd sure take it, as long as the moving isn't going to cost an exorbitant amount. That model was built from 2001-2007, so while not the latest thing, it is from the modern era and should provide great sound and a good feature set when restored.

      Until about a year ago my home organ was a Rodgers 677, which is identical to the 557 except for having drawknobs instead of tabs and having the USA built pedals and other hardware, so I'm very familiar with the sounds of this series and with the operating system, which provides easy on-board note by note voicing for all stops. Quite an amazing organ, and one that I could've lived with for a long time had someone not come along wanting to buy it, as has been my lot over the years!

      You should probably count on having to call in a qualified Rodgers tech to fix it though, and that could easily cost you some hundreds of dollars, depending on how far the tech has to travel and what kind of problems are found. It could be as simple as a fuse in the power supply, but could also be a more difficult problem requiring a board exchange from Rodgers parts.

      Even if it costs a thousand dollars to get it fixed, you'd have yourself a very nice and modern organ, far and away more flexible and with more realistic sound than you're likely to get from a typical used organ, especially a free one!
      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

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      • #4
        Michael, we were posting at the same time, but in response to your post, I'd say that a Rodgers this new is far less of a risk. Parts are readily available for this series, unlike the situation with older models. And the keyboards are standard Fatar units, not the old Roland keyboards with dripping glue. As you may recall, I was quite happy with the sound of my 677, and this one will have the same tone generation system in it.
        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

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        • myorgan
          myorgan commented
          Editing a comment
          John,

          Thank you for weighing in. I remembered you really liked your Rodgers, but couldn't remember which technologies may potentially have issues.

          What are your thoughts on a sticky about desirable Rodgers models/technologies?

          Michael

        • jbird604
          jbird604 commented
          Editing a comment
          Might be possible, but then again, could be controversial. Though I've written off just about every Cheetah model, as well as the few PDI models with drippy glue, there are people now saying they can handily fix it. And my experiences looking for parts for the older models might be worse than other techs with better connections to Rodgers. And there are in fact a lot of Rodgers organs of every vintage still in regular use here and around the country, so it might be presumptuous to list any of them as totally undesirable. If you find one and it's still working, it might well play for another 50 years.

          But what WOULD be good is a nice listing of the Rodgers model numbers, pairing each model with its technology and approximate date of build. I'd volunteer to make a start, but I'm already behind on my earlier promise to provide a listing of the Allen MDS models and their technologies.

      • #5
        Thanks for weighing in. That was my instinct as well. It seems like a heck of an organ for the price even if we have to put some money into getting it fixed.

        I think I'm going to jump on it, and if we're lucky it will be an easy fix. My old organ teacher works at a local Rodgers dealer and should be able to help us get in touch with someone who can work on it.

        Comment


        • jbird604
          jbird604 commented
          Editing a comment
          A local Rodgers dealer should be able to set you up with a qualified tech. Good luck! Post photos and let us know how it all turns out.

      • #6
        Just got the organ moved yesterday! Here's a picture showing the organ in its new home.

        Click image for larger version

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        We wiped the dust off everything and the organ looks a lot nicer now. I'm glad we decided to get it when we did. The guy we worked with to get the organ told me that shortly after I told him we'd take it, someone else reached out and said they'd take it too. Thankfully we were first, so we got it! They let us have the platform it was on too, which will make it way easier to move around.

        I'm working on getting a tech to come take a look at it, but in the meantime I managed to come across a copy of the service notes so I'm trying to do a little troubleshooting of my own to see what I can find.

        Thus far, all I've checked is power:

        I disconnected CN7 on the Power Supply Board (Supplies the Audio Board, then the main board through the audio board). At CN7 I read within 0.05 V of +5V, +12V, and -12V on the appropriate rails. (+/-12 V measured to AGND, and +5V measured to DGND) I get the same result with CN2007 on the main board disconnected, measured at the CN2007 connector.

        With everything connected, testing voltages at CN2007, where they enter the main board both 12V rails still look great, but the +5V rail drops to about 4.85V. This seems reasonable from my experience with 5V electronics, but I wanted to verify that tighter tolerances are not required for the organ?

        At this point, while I might be somewhat jumping to conclusions, my instinct says the issue is likely somewhere within the main board since it is the only board in common with the display, stop tabs, etc. From looking at the architecture, I would anticipate that if the issue were elsewhere the mainboard would at least display something and likely give some sort of error. That said, I came across another thread on the 805B where you talked about faulty auxiliary boards causing the cpu to hang and not be able to boot, and a troubleshooting method of disconnecting boards until the organ successfully boots. I recognize that the 805B is a slightly older Rodgers designed model, with a lot more socketed parts, and potentially a totally different architecture, while the 557 is a newer Roland heavy model. but it got me wondering if something similar is still a possibility with the 557.

        I took a video showing what happens on the display when I turn the organ on. I posted it to youtube here: https://youtu.be/ApPWJeFdn38

        If the organ has been turned off for sufficiently long(at least minutes, but not sure how long), there are a few lines that show up towards the top of the screen for a split second then disappear (In the slow motion it actually looks like they fade away). If it has been recently turned on, the lines don't show and it goes straight to the blank screen. Also, the speaker relays do click on within a second or two of turning it on, but I managed to stop recording right before it happens. I've also tried to use diagnostic mode by holding Tutti while turning it on, but nothing changes when I do that.

        Is there anything else I can check with this? or does this all point to needing a tech to dig in more? I don't mind bringing a tech out, but admittedly this is scratching a problem solving/troubleshooting itch for me. And I'd love to get this organ up and going sooner. Maybe I can at least save the tech a second trip for parts.

        Thanks again!
        Ben
        Attached Files
         

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        • myorgan
          myorgan commented
          Editing a comment
          My unprofessional observation (if I'm hearing it right) is that the first click is turning on the organ, and when the display line appears, some sort of switch inside the console is tripping off. At least, that's what I'd check first. It feels like a power supply issue from what you're describing and what I heard.

          Michael

        • bendr
          bendr commented
          Editing a comment
          Just to clarify the audio, there is a sound before I flip the switch(probably me shifting on the bench), but the click concurrent with the display lighting is the sound of me flipping the switch. I might try to take another video that demonstrates it better.

        • bendr
          bendr commented
          Editing a comment
          And I did dig into the power a bit. From what I can tell the voltages going to the main board appear reasonable to me, unless that voltage drop on the +5V line that I mentioned is more than normal for these organs. I haven't checked power going other places, but it seems like the main board would be the most critical for making something happen on the display.

          Are there other places I should be checking?
          Last edited by bendr; 02-19-2021, 12:58 PM.

      • #7
        I don't think a drop to 4.85 volts on the +5 indicates any power supply trouble. If the supply were at fault, the drop would probably be much more severe. It's possible that there is a fault on the CPU board that pulls the voltage down a bit, or that could even be the normal voltage when the system is running.

        You might make a discovery if you gently poke around on the main board while the organ is powered up, with someone else watching the display. You need to remove the top lid and the rolltop to do this. As long as nothing is smoking or burning or making a noise, it should be safe to leave it on for a couple minutes while you press VERY GENTLY on various chips and connectors and other components. If you find that pressure on any part suddenly makes the display show something, you may have a clue.

        Make sure that you have checked every cable and connector within the console for a firm fit. Almost anything being a bit loose could cause a fault that would result in the system not booting up.

        Also be sure that the console is thoroughly clean inside and free of any debris. Metallic debris such as a foil wrapper can sometimes make its way into a console, and if it falls somewhere and causes an electrical short, it could keep the system down.

        Other than that, I don't know what you can do other than find a tech who is associated with a Rodgers dealer. He might even be able to come with a replacement main board on hand, to save the cost of a second trip if that's what it needs.

        This organ probably cost over $20,000 when it was new, and the equivalent new one today would be over $30K. So it's well worth investing in a new main board, though that could well cost a thousand dollars by itself, if not more, given the tendency of organ companies to raise the prices of replacement parts in recent years.
        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


        • bendr
          bendr commented
          Editing a comment
          Thanks for the tips. I couldn't find any loose connectors among the ones that I could easily access, but I'll definitely try to clean up any debris. We tried to get what we could off the wood with a microfiber cloth, but I wasn't going to use a cloth on the actual PCBs, so I'm sure there is still plenty of dust in there and my impression is that last time they used the organ it worked, but it has been sitting unused for a few years, so I could easily see dust/debris causing problems.

          Any recommendations for best ways to get the loose debris on/under the boards themselves? I'd guess compressed air? I'm always nervous about ESD with things like this.

          I might poke around a bit like you suggested. There is a metal plate covering the main board, but it looks pretty simple to remove. And I've been able to access the everything through the back with the roll-top mostly open so I might not need to remove it, though I imagine it would make things more accessible.

        • jbird604
          jbird604 commented
          Editing a comment
          I'd use a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment to gently clean the inside. Make sure to have the humidity boosted by boiling water or something to minimize the risk of static damage from the vacuum. Don't wipe boards with a cloth of course. Keep in mind that surface mount components are a little fragile, so touch them gently.

      • #8
        I would look more carefully at the +5v setting. If it is 4.85v at the supply, it's probably less once it gets on the cpu board. If there is a 5v test pin on the cpu, check the voltage there.
        When I worked on commercial electronics, we would set 5v to 5.07 on the backplane or on the board where the power entered. The acceptable range for most chips is 5.125v to 4.875v. Low +5v can cause lots of erratic issues. Another thought is to make sure all the power supply connections are tight.
        Ed Kennedy
        Current Organ - Conn 645 Theater

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