Ensoniq VFX-SD keybed connector repair

Sometimes I really love old gear. And in this case, it´s old Ensoniq-stuff.

Common problems - the connector inside the keybed

In all old Ensoniq synthesizers there is an issue with one simple connector inside the Fatar keybed. This applies to at least ESQ-1, SQ-80 and the VFX-series, probably also SD-1. This will cause the synthesizer to fail (e.g. freezes, system error 144, failed calibration of the keybed and so on). Grab a cup of coffe and/or tea. Maybe a cinnamon bun also!

  • To get to the keybed, just remove the four screws in top to flip up the lid.
  • Remove the screws seen from the underside holding the keybed.
  • Unhook the ribboncable from the main board and carefully lift out the keybed.

This is a picture of the keybed with just four keys removed, giving you enough space to work on the connector. You can see the bottom of the connector. The connector is failing after years of oxide and sitting still. Such connectors should not be used unless were you can easily pull it apart now and then to remove oxide.


A close up of the connector. 


To remove the keys, simply use a flat screwdriver to pull the small flap just a little bit and slide the key of the holders. Please do note that you do not need a lot of force, otherwise the flap will be broken and you very sad.


Then, simply solder some lines across. All done. The picture below is maybe an example of a quick and dirty solution. However, it works very well. smiley