This past weekend I received a free Roland XP-80 workstation that powered up just fine but with no sound. The reason was that under the keys, a gooey substance was oozing from under the keys which had them stuck together. After careful review, I found that it was an epoxy of sorts that was breaking down and under hot humid temperatures would change to a red or pink gooey substance. Many of the weights for the keys had already fallen down and some of the epoxy was seeping into the other areas of the keyboard. Fortunately, the Roland XP-80 did power up and for the most part, the epoxy was confined only to the key areas. Thus I feel a successful repair of the key bed on the Roland XP-80 is possible.
Another lucky find, (from a used sales shop I frequent in Japan), was that the sales clerk neglected to check for expansion boards. So in addition to a free Roland XP-80, I also received for free an SR-JV80-10 Bass & Drums board, SR-JV80-11 Techno board, and an SR-JV80-03 Piano expansion board. Amazing!
Update #1: So far I have removed all of the black and white keys. I cleaned them with a special cleaner in Japan which I can’t decipher the name of. Cleaning the keys was tedious but ultimately the cleaner worked. I found that my black keys all had weights, however, I am missing eight weights for the white keys. I read that someone was able to use 10g fishing weights as a replacement. I weighed the metal piece under the key and indeed the weights are 10g. ( without key attached ). Putting the keys back together should be the easy part. Currently I am cleaning the metal chassis and should hopefully have the Roland XP-80 ready for testing by Thanksgiving.
I probably could have called Roland in Japan and asked about a replacement key bed, but I originally thought someone had spilled liquor or some sort of candy substance on the keys. So I had already started to take apart the keys before I realized it was the notorious red epoxy problem. I still may have to in the near future remove the keys again and try to remove the weights on keys that still have the red epoxy in them, but for now I am aiming to test the overall operation of the Roland XP-80. We’re heading into the Winter, so perhaps this spring I’ll have time to properly remove the leftover affected weights.
The sales clerk understandably had no idea about the problem. As long as the Roland XP-80 had power I felt I could at least connect via midi so I accepted the big bundle of epoxy mess. The Roland XP-80 is now looking very clean and in excellent condition, so I’m feeling pretty good now about getting the keyboard back on it’s feet. I’ll update this article shortly as I progress.
Note that to the best of my knowledge, the red epoxy problem also applies to the Roland D-70 and JD-800 keyboards. I’m not sure if any others are but if I find additional info, I’ll update my post. Anyone else out there have any experience with red epoxy oozing from their Roland keyboard?
Update #2: I have now fully restored the Roland XP-80. It works beautifully now with no issues at all. While restoring the XP-80 I noticed the following things that may help others.
1. When replacing the keys, I found I had to also replace the green felt to prevent keys from sticking. This was easy to do.
2. After removing the plastic strips to remove the black and white keys, I used double sided sticky tape to place the plastic back into place.
3. I used 10g fishing weights to replace missing key weights.
4. DeoxIT was used to clean the contacts of the expansion boards and sockets. After cleaning I got no sample output distortion. Previously some of the expansion boards were not detected, but all that was cleared up by vigorously cleaning the contacts.
5. I also had to “generously” clean the carbon key contacts both on the PCB board and the Silicon strips in order to revive dead or weak sounding keys. This took a few times but ultimately all keys were brought back to life and the XP-80 sounds great.
6. I also bought a few tubes of cement to shut close the weights inside the keys to ensure they both don’t fall out or that any remaining epoxy doesn’t leak out.
The Roland XP-80 sliders, knobs, jog wheel, LCD Display, and Floppy Disk drive all work excellent. The Roland XP-80 is a fun keyboard and I’m glad I could get it back into playing shape. Hope this info helps others with the epoxy or other problem.
UPDATE: I have the Roland XP-80 up and running in perfect working order now. Here is a clip I recorded using the Jazzy Rhodes in the 60′s and 70′s keys expansion board.