Roland PMA-5 Internal Battery Replacement

ROLAND PMA-5 PERSONAL MUSIC ASSISTANT

Roland PMA-5

About a month ago I bought a junked Roland PMA-5 Personal Music Assistant from a used music shop here in Nagano-city, Japan. The sales clerk said it worked but that it was placed in the junk area because they were selling it “as is” for $20 bucks. I figured I would try my luck as lately I’ve been scoring well with this particular shop. Well I brought it home and it said the battery was NG or No Good! I opened it up and noticed that the Sony 3V Internal Battery was the kind that was soldered to the PCB board. What was far more alarming was the fact that under the battery carriage that holds the six double A batteries was a “ton” of battery acid. Apparently the previous owner left batteries in the tray for a long time and they leaked. All three PCB boards inside the PMA-5 were pretty much toast as battery acid was all over them. Thus I had to call it a loss, but fortunately I could salvage the touch screen for parts.

Yesterday, I happened to be in the same used music shop and what did I find? Another Roland PMA-5 for $20 bucks sitting again in the Junk bin. Should I try again? Unlike the previous PMA-5 that I bought, this one had the Stylus Pen, Leather looking cover, power adapter, and Manuals. I thought since the Roland PMA-5 looked to be in better condition that I would give it a second chance. The note on the sales tag said it had a “Battery NG” error so it also looked like I would have to change that soldered battery inside.

I brought the Roland PMA-5 up to the counter and I noticed the same Japanese sales clerk approached to help me. He smiled and asked if I was successful with the previous Roland PM-5 that I bought last month. Interesting he remembered. I said “No, the last unit was completely covered with Battery acid on the inside.”. He seemed very alarmed by that and felt that even though he sold it to me “as is”, it was bad in that it potentially was dangerous to sell a product with battery acid problems. So in good faith, he opted to give me the second Roland PMA-5 for free! Amazing! He has sold me lots of gear in the past, so I figured he thought I was a good frequent customer. I very nice gesture I thought. I thanked him and graciously accepted the second Roland PMA-5.

I brought the Roland PMA-5 home and started it up. It worked!! The headphone jack was scratchy and cut out but that was easily fixed by soldering the dry joints that I found inside. Now the headphones work fantastic. I did get a “battery NG” message and noticed that the internal battery was just starting to leak battery acid, BUT, nothing had leaked onto the PCB board yet. I quickly de-soldered the battery which was actually quite easy to do. However, I am now having a problem replacing the battery.

The previous battery was a Sony 3V battery with 3 legs soldered to it. I am not sure how to solder a new battery holder to the PCB board. All the battery holders that I find have “two” legs and not three legs like the original. Does this mean I need to run two positive red wires from the PCB board holes to the one positive battery holder leg? Then run the one black wire to the one negative battery holder leg? I can’t seem to find battery holders with three legs so I’m not sure how I can solder a new battery holder into the Roland PMA-5. It doesn’t make sense to me. I am currently searching for info about this on the internet but it seems not many people have changed the internal battery on a Roland PMA-5 Personal Music Assistant yet…or at least have written about it.

I’ll update this post with my solution once I find it. For now the PMA-5 works fine without the battery. It just means I have to re-calibrate and initialize the unit each time I power it up. It also means I cannot save any styles or songs I create. This is ok for now as it’s quite useful as a “preset” backtrack player. It’s also very entertaining to play around with while I’m watching my kids do their Dancing and Swimming classes. It’s a fun little unit and actually sounds pretty decent. I also feel it would be difficult to program a song in with just the Stylus pen so perhaps it might eventually be ok not to replace the battery, however, it would be nice to have it fully operational at some point. We’ll see.

Stay tuned for updates shortly. – Jim

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16 thoughts on “Roland PMA-5 Internal Battery Replacement

  1. Hi Jim,….I’m trying to find the same answer. I probably have about 8 PMA-5’s,….and need to change the internal battery on one. I’m about to open it up but am wanting to find some info on it first. Your’s is the first one I’ve come across. I will let you know if I find anything useful and hope you can do the same for me,…thanks and good luck,…larry

    • Hello Larry!

      I’ll tell you what I’ve done so far which may or may not help. I removed my original battery by cutting the three legs. I then turned over the PCB board and de-soldered the rest of the leg area and cleaned it up real nice. Compared to my other soldering projects, the desoldering process was rather easy. From there I am not sure what to do, but I did do the following. I bought a battery holder but it only had two legs, one for the positive and one for the negative. However, on the PMA-5 it looks like the positive side has “two” connections. So I soldered two red wires, one from each connection point on the PCB Board, to the one Battery leg of the holder. I then soldered a black wire from the remaining contact point to the second leg on the battery. I then put everything back together with a brand new CR2032 battery and started it up. I continued to get several messages. First I usually get a Battery NG. Then I get a Battery Low. Sometimes I get a Backup Now message. The battery I used is a Panasonic 3V battery to replace the Sony 3v. The only things I can think of that might be wrong are (1) I have the positive/negative polarities mixed up, (2) Bad Soldering Job, or (3) there is a particular way to solder the wires that I am not aware of. I’ve done the exact same sort of thing with several of my other older synths and never had any issues. There’s something I’m missing here with this battery operation and I can’t quite yet put my head around it. I look forward to hearing how your end turns out. Thanks!! – Jim

      • Any luck? I just found my old PMA-5 and it has low backup warning. I’d like to fix it if at all possible.

  2. Update would be useful guys…….I’ve just bought a PMA and am dreading in case I get the dreaded battery message……there MUST be a way to fix this……what’s the lastest ???

  3. Glad to find. Have 2. Wish I could of got them for $20. Paid a lot more than that. Got a soldering friend who fixed headphone and midi jacks for me. I’ll ask him about the battery?

  4. While we are talking ‘PMA 5′ – does anybody know og any (hopefully free) software that I can download to convert PMA5 Sysx files to MIDI, so I can import them into Sonar 5?

    • Roland has a Convert Tool program which should do this. Email them with your request and they will send it for free.

  5. iN MY CASE THE PMA 5 don’t function , Do you know how I may the servive manual of this equipment?

    Because , the battery is good and the power supply also.
    Thanks for advanced your attention about that !!!

  6. Howdy,
    For possible fixes, use a good magnifying glass to check for blown SMT caps in line with the battery.I had to replace two near the out jack, one blew clean off!
    You’re in Japan, any possibilities of getting the schematic (I doubt it had a service manual)?

  7. I have to say I was lucky to pick one up for $40 in absolute great condition. No scratches and it works great. The only thing missing was the manual but I was able to download one. I have to say this is a sweet little device and sounds great for a 1996 device. I love the fact that you can use your finger instead of the stylus. It’s like a Roland version of the ipad for music. I’ll definitely be taking care of this one.

    Hey Jim, I have to say I really like your blog. it’s definitely one of my favorites! Keep it up.

  8. HI~ I HAVE A ROLAND PMA-5 AND HAVE HAD IT SINCE 1997. I USED IT FOR AWHILE AND THEN PUT IT BACK INTO THE BOX W/O REMOVING THE BATTERIES. RECENTLY I WAS GOING THRU THE CLOSET AND CAME ACROSS IT. IT WORKED REALLY WELL AND THEN IT DIDN’T. I AM WONDERING IF I HAVE THE SAME PROBLEM…BATTERY ACID INSIDE THE UNIT. I TRIED PUTTING IN NEW BATTERIES AND THEN SAW THAT IT COULD ALSO RUN BY ELECTRICITY BUT I DON’T HAVE THE POWER SOURCE. WHERE CAN I FIND THE POWER SOURCE SO I CAN STILL SEE IF IT IS USEABLE.

    • Roland PMA5 can take a Boss PSA 120T power adapter or you can order a generic one online for cheaper. It’s a 9.6 volt with a 5.5mm barrel, Make sure the generic ones tip is “center negative”. I use a 9 volt one from my Boss drum machine and it seems to work fine.

  9. I have a PMA-5 which has remained unused due to the touch screen not working. It does not calibrate. Is it possible to replace the touch screen and make this work ?

    • HI folks. Not sure if this is what you want to hear, but just wondering, if the back-up battery is removed, should you not have a second cell connected before you disconnect it? Sort of what the mechanics have to do when they disconnect your car battery to save any radio/car-electronics stored data? Not an expert, but I need to change my pma battery, and am grateful for your entries. Cheers

  10. bought a pma-5 yesterday. battery seems to be fine, but the “position sensor”/Touchpanel is slightly cracked. couldnt find a spare one on the net. maybe on of you guys knows, where to get that ??

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