Grant Muller

Inside The Korg DW-8000: Don’t Put Solder on a Battery

DW-8000-1 Recently a friend asked how hard it was to replace the CMOS battery in Korg DW-8000 keyboard. I assumed it couldn’t be that hard, looked up what kind of battery it accepted (CR2032) and said “yeah, 5 minute job”. I failed to take into account early 80s circuit construction. Sure, its no Maestro PS-1B, but I certainly discovered some “opportunities” upon cracking open the case…

Getting it open is easy enough. As with any device built before the iPod age there are far too many screws… 2 in each corner, several straight up the middle, a bunch to hold the rather flimsy keyboard tray in place. etc. NOTE: To open this thing, you need to turn it upside down, make sure you support the bottom right corner so the joystick doesn’t get smashed.

Once open, you’re probably presented with a ton of dust and 3 filthy circuit boards populated with far-from-RoHS compliant components. Dead center in the 2nd board is the battery…

DW-8000-3

 

 

which is soldered to the board.

 

 

 

 

DW-8000-7 This probably only sounds ridiculous to me, but really, who solders a consumable part directly to the board. Honestly, this kind of thing calls into question the entire circuit design. I got the dead little bastard freed from its pinholes and went to grab another battery holder. I was pretty certain I wouldn’t be able to find a holder with the same pin out, so I opted to get whatever CR2032 battery holder I could find and shoehorn it in there.

 

I found some suggestions on the internet for doing this, one involved adding some extra wires to the pins of the holder and running them under the new holder. After examining the board I decided a more stable replacement would be to drill another hole inline with the positive lead circuit trace. This is better explained with pictures:

DW-8000-11

 

Grab the tools you need. The battery holder (RS #270-009), a couple of reamers, and a tiny drill bit. You can go with just the drill bit, but if you need to widen any holes I like these little reamers.

 

 

 

 DW-8000-10

 

Look for a spot around the battery circle that is still sitting on the positive lead on the reverse side of the board. Its easy to see through the board to spot the lead, and for me the hole was right next to the T in “BATT”. In this picture the hole has already been drilled.

 

 

 DW-8000-12

 

 

 

Start drilling on the reverse side, at least enough so that the lead won’t tear when you drill through on the other side.

 

 

 

DW-8000-13

 

 

Mount and solder the battery holder (making sure that the polarity is correct), then insert the battery. Done.

 

 

 

No sweat, but certainly not a 5 minute job. The moral of this story? If you’re designing a circuit with a replaceable part (like a battery), please don’t solder it directly to the board. The amateur that has to repair it in 25 years will never thank you, but they’ll still appreciate it.

23 comments

  1. Dear Sir, I have a DW-8000 that has lost its memory. I have reset the keyboard (by pressing buttons 5 & 6 when you switch on) and tried loading back the data via the tape input. I’ve also replaced the on board memory battery. Please what am I doing wrong and please can you help me. Do I needed to reprogram my synth completely via the midi port using ‘Midi-Ox’. Also when the synth was working the occasional note would ‘hold on’ for some reason this may be related. Do I need a new CPU board. I have sent a similar to other DW-8000 users and have not replied to my query. I would be most grateful if you treat this note with great concern. I am writing to various specialists to see if they can help me with my problem. Maybe I should set up a blog. Perhaps that may help as well.

    Many thanks

    Pete Simmons

    1. I would need to know the details. Do the patches “disappear” after restarting the synth? The problem with notes “holding on” is usually just a bad contact on the keyboard, not necessarily the CPU board. If you’re SURE that the battery replacement was done correctly and that the battery you installed is not dead, than the problem may be the EEProm. I don’t think you’ll be able to replace this chip in the unit, but to be honest I’m not an expert. You might want to check here:

      http://www.pallium.com/bryan/dw8000.php

  2. Oh aye, I’ve seen one or two of these batteries in things & wondered about them. I’m also almost certain I saw CR2xxx sold with pins pre-soldered in RS Components catalog, but that was around 1990…

    Also.. a nitpick which might be wrong: if it needs a battery (esp. lithium) wouldn’t it be CMOS RAM & not EEPROM? I vaguely remember EEPROM not being readily available at the end of the ’80s too; not certain about that.

    1. Good catch Ethan, I feel like a dolt for not thinking that through. I assumed that it must be the EPROM battery because the EPROM was located right next to it…which doesn’t make any sense considering an EPROM requires no power to maintain state. EEPROMs weren’t readily available by the end of the 80’s either, EPROMS were. Too many damned E’s. These are in fact CMOS batteries, and I’ve updated the post to reflect that. Thanks for pointing that out.

  3. While I wait for the battery holder to show up and have set a new battery into the board temporarily perhaps you can advise on reloading the original programs from Korg tapes. One is marked DATA sides A&B and the other Programs sides A&B both on cassettes. Having taken a sidebar to get my dual cassette unit up and running I now have a question on the actual tape feed in to and?or out of the tape deck into the DW. The tapes were never used from new and the manual seems to lack info on the basic programs. The unit was shelved years ago when the Dealer said it was scrap. Guess they either wanted to sell me a new one or didn’t know about the battery. At present the keyboard is active and all keys work in some sort of random selection process but the basic program is missing to due the dead battery. Any advise with please and thanks.

    1. To be honest I have no idea how to reload the patches on this guy from tape, but it looks like its just doing a sysEx dump via MIDI. You may be able to hook it up to a computer and load the factory patches via an editor on your machine, here is a link I found on the subject:

      http://www.deaf-eddie.net/ex8000/ex8000.html

      That link contains the factory patches in SysEX format as far as I can tell as well. I did the repair for a friend and I don’t actually know much about the DW-8000, and I don’t have one around to test this on either. Let us know if you’re able to do it via a patch editor…

  4. Hi,

    I decided to try to repair my dw8000 myself. It was having some problems with the keyboard not triggering and the data slider sticking. So I opened it up and took it apart. when I got the pc boards off the bottom tray I saw a lot of rust and corrosion, so I am treating the rust as well. I thought the key trigger problem might be with the contacts on the board buss, but when I took it apart it looked really clean. I realized that there is a lot o wiring in his baby, I downloaded the schematics, but can’t tell from them what goes where. Can you help me? Would it be possibly to show some pictures from a board that has been opened up so I could label the wiring? can you perhaps figure out what board is connected to what? I can see the power supply where it goes but I’m not so sure if the keyboard buss goes into the control surface or do they both go into the pc boards? If you don’t know I will try to reassemble trial and error.

    1. Yeah. The battery is there to keep the internal sound bank active. When the battery dies, the sounds are lost. You have to replace the battery then reflash the internal storage (via the tape/sysex mechanism) from what I understand.

  5. I’ve decided to solder wires to that battery location on the board instead. I routed the wires through the leftmost slot of the heat vent so that the ends can be reached outside. For now I’ve taped a new battery outside the lower casing half.

    Would you know of any mod to the DW-8000?

    Thanks.

  6. Thanks for sharing this, Grant.  I did the mod based on your blog and Bryan Ressler’s website and restored my DW-8000 to working order.  I made a video overview of the process too:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IrzfMNjXvDQ  

  7. can you please tell me if there is an internal battery on korg pa 60???  im having some problems not booting all the way.. and i want to see if thats the reazon…. thansk … sincely.. frank!!!!

  8. pleas help my korg dw-8000 synt, there are  some keys are not working, all dead keys have a pattern, hope some1 will help.

  9. Thank you so much for this howto! I am wondering if the DW-8000 will work without the battery at all, if I load the patches in every time I use it with the AC?

    1. I’m getting ready for the day my battery gives out. If I can just load the patches every time I use it with the AC, I may opt to just do that instead of replacing the battery. I occasionally go on tour with this so I’m worried the battery will die on tour. I have my patches that I recorded and verified on an MP3 so the patches are super easy to load.

  10. Did you just use a regular CR2032, the manual states that the keyboard has “built-in rechargeable backup battery power supply”

  11. Old post, but I’m currently working on my 4th DW. I’d like to ask, what’s wrong with a dab of silicone to hold the holder. I suppose if you have drilled a hole in a board, you have experience. But I wouldn’t recommend the first time driller to try this. You could cut traces, crack the board breaking traces, and all depending if the holder he has is the same as this. Just trying to help. Also it’s good to tell newbies to not only have a soldering iron, but a de-soldering iron. I just replaced all 22 switches in a DW in about an hour. It’s good to suck the old solder off, and the pieces go right in and put new clean solder joint on there.

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