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Looking to install a Rodgers 840 into a poor church

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  • Looking to install a Rodgers 840 into a poor church

    Good Afternoon everyone.

    I am looking for some advice. I think I can acquire a used Rodgers 840 at a good price, fully working (many speakers and a couple subwoofers).

    Here's my issue.

    The organ that is currently used in the church is a 100 year old pipe organ (Moller Opus 2022) in great shape. However the console is from 1961, so unable to do anything with it, and it is not in the best condition, (the pipe organ has been reduced to a 2/12, and is lacking in pedals).

    I am thinking as the church will celebrate the centennial of the pipe organ this yr (9-15), I'm considering installing this console and connect it to the pipes.

    Would it be worth it, and am I looking at a huge cost? (The church is located in So Cal, and is in no way "wealthy").

    Thanks for any advice


  • #2
    Rodgers 840 is of the serial keyed analog type with LED stop tabs (Hall effect sensing, so there are no actual switches), and may or may not have MIDI. Do you have a plan for connecting the pipes to this console? There really isn't anything in there that will easily interface with pipes, unless I'm mistaken. Perhaps someone has used such a console for this purpose and can give more info.

    This organ is in fact a pretty decent analog organ. If the church has excellent acoustics and there are suitable places to put the speaker cabinets, this organ might sound really good, good enough that people would accept it as a substitute for the Moller. It's not the largest spec ever from Rodgers, but it does have a considerable variety of solo stops, along with the usual principal and flute choruses on all divisions, and some very good pedal stops.

    Of course, just getting a solid console with excellent keyboards and sturdy pedalboard is worth a lot, and is a good start toward renovating the pipe organ. You would be salvaging a nice-looking piece of furniture that would cost a whole lot of money if you bought a similar console from a pipe organ supplier.

    But it won't be "pipe ready" in any sense. To being with, you still need some kind of stop action because the LED tabs don't do anything except signal the CPU to send serial data to the keyer boards. Even if the organ has MIDI, the outgoing data stream probably does not contain any stop control information that you could decode. And Rodgers certainly won't supply you with any kind of pipe interface for a console of that age. The "nine rank" pipe package that was optional with this organ was of course a highly-specialized contraption made to work with Rodgers organs of that era. Your existing 12 ranks of pipes would require extensive modification to work the way those pipes worked.

    So, you may need to have a custom stop system built and installed in the console so it can operate the pipes. That could run into a lot of money.

    Suggestion: You might find it easier to connect the pipes to an OLDER Rodgers console with moving tabs, such as an old 750 or 800 or even an old 660 or 990 with moving stops. If the console's capture action is intact, you could simply connect your pipe relay system to the switches built into the stop tabs or drawknobs, harness the key contacts of the Rodgers, and that would get you up and running.

    I hope someone who has actually done this will chime in though. I'm shooting from the hip.
    *** 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

      Thanks so much for your feedback, it did make a big difference. And I sincerely appreciate it.

      Hard to try to update this organ with limited knowledge on my part.

      Ok, back to the drawing board see what else I can come up with.