Jokeyman123

Keyboard mod DIY

27 posts in this topic

Just completed a minor mod to the XW-P1. This is a long post I'm taking a risk here. If you break your instrument I will have to go to another user group, so be careful! Took about 3 hours and a little finesse. If anyone has noticed how hard the keys bottom out on the XW-not much worse than many other spring-loaded budget and not so budget instruments-I managed to install some piano felt strips underneath the key contact points that hit bottom. I will detail this procedure here, you must be patient, careful and have a decent phillips screwdriver as well as some piano felt and double-sided sticky tape. I used a very thin type of tape I get at dollar stores.  I buy the felt by the square yard in the crafts section of the nearest W*****t (not an endorsement) Here I go........and remember this will I'm sure void your warranty and possibly crack the space/time continuum.

 

1) place keyboard upside down on soft surface-foam padding, even a mattress or old pillows will do. Keep away from small rodents and people with large, heavy things.

 

2) Take all screws out from underneath except the smaller ones holding small plastic panels directly under keyboard-these do nothing but expose the felt strip that acts as padding for the key's return on the upswing, this is not the point of impact I am addressing. Main screws are all same size and will almost completely dismantle the XW, with one exception see further on. Keep XW upside down until you....

 

3) Carefully turn it right side up while holding center panel in place, as the center section contains the brains of the XW  and will fall out if you lift the keyboard without keeping it in place once all screws are removed. All the connecting cables are based here and you could damage circuits or connectors, be careful

 

4) Once keyboard is face up, take center section up and out-carefully as there will be many attached ribbon cables-I simply rested this further back, now you will see the entire top of the keybed. You're almost there.

 

5) Now look for 4 screws holding left and right upper sections onto the main chassis (2 screws each side). These must be removed to get at the rest of the keyboard and are all that's left securing these 2 sections. The ipad dock is one piece and can be taken out completely and set aside. The control section is also one piece and can also be set aside-very nifty as you will be able to put everything back very easily.

 

6) Here is the trickiest part-taking the keys out to put the felt underneath. If I didn't describe it, its easy to figure out yourself but here it is....

 

Each octave consists of three pieces-the black keys which will stay put and two sections of white keys which are intertwined or staggered together. these can be removed by unscrewing 4 small screws at the top of the keys as you face the keyboard forward (for each octave, you will have to do this 4 more times). Careful, as there is am amazing amount of some kind of grease all over the key slots which I promptly slobbered all over everything before I even noticed. One key assembly rests on top of the other and both nest in between the black keys, you can't put these back wrong unless you use a sledgehammer, which shoudn't be anywhere near you, in case you are tempted. There are small nubs under the white keys-nudge the key assemblies out by ...gently bringing down, forward and up-if you are doing it right it will slide out easily-if you force, you will break the fragile nub underneath the key which is why you may have trouble at first. Each octave is exactly the same. Once you do one, the rest will be easy.

 

7) Now you see why the keys hit hard-there is only a thin white strip of felt where the key bottom hits-it isn't an aftertouch strip, the XW doesn't have aftertouch. Keys are velocity sensitive, but this is controlled by the gray rubber bumpers you will also see forward of the strip in question-don't touch these at all.

 

8) Last step-I cut thin felt strips (you may want to make one long strip, I did it in sections as it was a little easier to position under the keys) and matching double-sided foam stick tape-again, I used a thin type-if the foam is too thick, the key action will feel too "short"-this will defeat the purpose as I wanted to try to retain as much of the key action as I could. As it is, there will not be quite as much depth to the key throw, but it still feels better when hitting keys hard IMO. Line up your tape on top of the existing felt, keep it the same width for clearance. I used tweezers to help position these.. Also of course make sure the felt is at least as wide or slightly wider than your tape-keys will stick if not done right.

 

9) Done, put everything back together (unless you like it like this, it is always interesting to me to dissect these instruments but it will be harder to carry around) slap yourself on the back or whatever appropriate part of your anatomy you feel justified after you put it back together and it works.  Otherwise slap somebody else for lousing up your work..joke don't really do this.

 

After rolllcking through some mashed chord progressions, a few major/minor demented scales and arpeggios and trying some demonic pedalpoints it seems fine on my XW, and IMO is an improvement. I am a little hammer-handed so I can only imagine that these keys will not hold up too well over time with the small amount of padding underneath-I think this might help. Heck, Lizst supposedly broke strings on the grand pianos he played so hard (I've heard, wasn't there) so there you go. Now if only I could put in a new chip with a massive new sound rom and a new mini-Leslie speaker (built-in w/ portable speakers coming out the sides, back and bottom) and maybe built-in 20 GB sample memory, for 500 bucks. Ha-ha! Thanks for paying attention and good luck.

Peter, BobbyS and BradMZ like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Can you please post some pictures or a video about this? You did pictures right?  :unsure:

And tell me, is it now better for dynamic playing? I have trouble playing the XW like I play my pianino, so I usually just turn off key velocity. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That white grease on the keys is what keeps new keys from clacking against the key guides. As these boards age and are played,the grease slowly drys out and wears away.  At that point the slightest side to side slide across the keys will cause a clacky noise.  I've tried and tried to find what kind of grease that is that they use so I could re fresh the grease on my MZ-2000.  Still no official answers to this day.

Scott Hamlin likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That white grease on the keys is what keeps new keys from clacking against the key guides. As these boards age and are played,the grease slowly drys out and wears away.  I've tried and tried to find what kind of grease that is that they use so I could re fresh the grease on my MZ-2000.  Still no definite answers to this day.

 

Maybe teflon grease. Something safe for plastics.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To double D...Didn't have camera handy and having trouble getting around (broken foot) thus the detailed description instead. If you have experience taking keyboards apart this will be pretty easy, but i wanted to be detailed anyway. f you haven't had experience at this, I would leave it alone as it is fairly involved mechanically as you can read. And yes, it will change the velocity sensitivity somewhat-have to hit a little harder to get a sound, it decreases the velocity sensitivity. that's why I kept the tape and felt on the thinner side, have to use your own judgement there. I am a piano player, so I tend to hit a little harder but the benefit of preventing keys from breaking over time was worth it to me at least. If you are a more delicate player, i wouldn't think this mod is necessary. i did it because the hard key clunk at the bottom of thre key travel  was pretty uncomfortable to me. The springy feel will of course be the same, if you do it right.  As far as the grease, its a white type, very slick and believe me, there's still plenty of it in there!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks guys.  Plastic safe grease was what I came up with as well.  I tried some silicone grease but it wears away too quickly.

 

 As far as the grease, its a white type, very slick and believe me, there's still plenty of it in there!

 

Maybe that's the trick.  Use plenty of it.  But, the silicone grease I found was clear and not white.  It doesn't seem as thick and sticky as the white stuff.  Maybe the teflon grease Bobby mentioned is it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmmm, maybe some judiciously applied silicone grease would help with a few of the keys on my P1 that are a little noisy sometimes. Only a few specific keys make the noise and only sometimes. I keep telling myself this is a low-cost keyboard so I shouldn't let it bother me...but it does a little. :mellow:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jokeyman123:

 

Well thanks anyway for the detailed steps, and no, I would not dare to do all that stuff all by myself. I just wanted to see naked pics of XW  :ph34r:

Hope your foot gets better soon !

MigthyThor likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Might post pics in a week or so, just have to take all screws off bottom again, comes apart easy-but I have to do the work sitting for now, that's why no pics. Hard to get good shots that way, but I'll get to it! Was actually fun in a demented way, I'm a tech masochist who has spent weeks trying to retore obsolete stuff with non-existent parts my specialty.  So this was relatively easy. Playing it a second day-definitely worth it, feels much better. Touch sensitivity is now pretty much the same, as the tape and felt has "broken in" by my playing and pressing keys down where where sensitivity was not as good. I used fairly thin foam type double stick tape and normal thickness common felt. Definitely do not try this with any kind of glue, you are only asking for trouble. And Scott, that's quite a nice keyboard you've got there. told you to keep it away from rodents and people with large heavy things (I'm a little large and heavy and speak from experience). Is this in eBay what is called "non-working or for parts  only?" Looks like it was recovered from Pompeii, or from one of thr burned-down clubs I used to play in, same thing.

Scott Hamlin likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Might post pics in a week or so, just have to take all screws off bottom again, comes apart easy-but I have to do the work sitting for now, that's why no pics. Hard to get good shots that way, but I'll get to it! Was actually fun in a demented way, I'm a tech masochist who has spent weeks trying to retore obsolete stuff with non-existent parts my specialty.  So this was relatively easy. Playing it a second day-definitely worth it, feels much better. Touch sensitivity is now pretty much the same, as the tape and felt has "broken in" by my playing and pressing keys down where where sensitivity was not as good. I used fairly thin foam type double stick tape and normal thickness common felt. Definitely do not try this with any kind of glue, you are only asking for trouble. And Scott, that's quite a nice keyboard you've got there. told you to keep it away from rodents and people with large heavy things (I'm a little large and heavy and speak from experience). Is this in eBay what is called "non-working or for parts  only?" Looks like it was recovered from Pompeii, or from one of thr burned-down clubs I used to play in, same thing.

 

 

I'm curious as to whether the thicker foam tape would work by itself without the felt. What would you think?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Any tape adhesive must be kept clear of the plastic key tabs that hit bottom. If you use double-sided adhesive foam tape and leave the non-stick covering on top, it will work its way off and stick your keys badly. If you can find single-sided foam tape, I'd still put felt on top with double-sided tape since the sticky part underneath will come through as you compress the foam. It won't cushion as much and the felt prevents tape residue from coming through. I've restored 2 larger and more difficult keyboards like this including a Fatar-action digital piano and an Ensoniq KS-32 with piano action and several years later, still no problems.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am glad I found this thread!

 

I am in the process of refurbing my PX-330 and addressing a few things. Some things seem to be common to this thread, others to most hammer action key beds.

 

1) When I press a key, the 'bottoming out' has been killing my fingers. I am replacing the upper felt/foam strip with 2 layers of 3/8" weatherstripping and reusing the original felt (adhered to weatherstrip). Test samples feel really good. I hope to install the new strip today or tomorrow.

 

2) I am fixing the sound heard when the hammers fall back to the rest. I see two issues here: one is that there is hardly any foam under the (wearing) felt, and the other is that there is hardly any rigidity to the thin plastic case bottom. Again I'm addressing with the 3/8" weatherstripping to absorb some of the shock. I removed the thin wide plastic piece that the felt is adhered to and removed the felt. Weather stripping is attached in place of the felt, and I have clear double-sided tape for re-installation. The tape only needs to keep the piece from shifting as once the keyboard is assembled, the plastic piece will be pinned between the keybed and the case.

 

My other consideration is lining the inside bottom case with a vibration damping material wherever I can (could cover exterior bottom but prefer not to at this point). Last, I may build a stand or bench top that supports the middle of the case to keep it from flexing. If you put your hand on the bottom of the case under the hammers, you can feel the bottom bounce. The more expensive keyboards use either MDF or metal cases to reduce the rebound and associated noise.

 

3) The side-to-side movement in the keys is also being addressed. My approach here (which I am in the middle of doing right now) is to pull off the rubber key guides on the front of the piano. I've got the plastic frame under the rubber guides cleaned off with rubbing alcohol and a piece of clear tape on either side where the support meets the rubber guide. The tape shims the rubber guide making it slightly wider and filling the space between the key and the guide. Right now I've got one piece of tape and it seems like 1 more should do the trick. The key feels are feeling pretty good. 

 

My guess about the grease is same as stated above: a white grease for plastic gears. I have some that I use on electronic servo gears, and I purchased it at a model train shop. It is the same color and texture. Mine is the Labelle 106 Multi-Puprose Grease with PTFE:

http://www.modeltrainstuff.com/Labelle-106-1-2-fl-oz-Multi-Purpose-Grease-with-PT-p/lab-106.htm

 

I can't think of anything else I wanted to address. I think this keyboard (PX330) is going to be a real treat once the extra noise and movement are addressed. I've been pretty happy with the sound through my stereo speakers, am looking forward to a set of JBL monitors for Chrismas, and maybe even the iGrand app.

 

I'll try to post some pics when I'm done.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sounds good, hope some of my comments encouraged you although it sounds like you didn't need it! In my haste, I forgot that there are rolls of this type of self-stick piano felt available for purchase on different websites such as e*** and A***zon which makes it alot easier than cutting from sheets of piano felt. Really makes the XW feel much more playable even for my crab-claw fingers. And the noise has been quite noticeable to me on even the best piano-action instruments when compared to how quiet a true acoustic piano is.

BobbyS likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Any tape adhesive must be kept clear of the plastic key tabs that hit bottom. If you use double-sided adhesive foam tape and leave the non-stick covering on top, it will work its way off and stick your keys badly. If you can find single-sided foam tape, I'd still put felt on top with double-sided tape since the sticky part underneath will come through as you compress the foam. It won't cushion as much and the felt prevents tape residue from coming through. I've restored 2 larger and more difficult keyboards like this including a Fatar-action digital piano and an Ensoniq KS-32 with piano action and several years later, still no problems.

Sounds like you need draught excluder tape.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I added weights to my XW-P1 keys to give it a semi-weighted feel, but I've been wondering if you could add a Force Sensitive Resistor strip under the keys and patch it into one of the knob controllers (or add a switch to turn the knob on and off).  If done right you would add aftertouch (actually, pressure sensitivity...which is better) to the keybed.  I'm tempted to try it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I added weights to my XW-P1 keys to give it a semi-weighted feel, but I've been wondering if you could add a Force Sensitive Resistor strip under the keys and patch it into one of the knob controllers (or add a switch to turn the knob on and off).  If done right you would add aftertouch (actually, pressure sensitivity...which is better) to the keybed.  I'm tempted to try it.

 

Sounds good, let us know how it works out!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I once read about an early circuit bending mod where someone removed the guts of an XW-P1 and inserted them into a custom case turning the keyboard into a standalone module.

 

I can't seem to find the link any longer.

 

If anyone here has a link to such a mod I'd be glad to read it again.

 

Gary ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now