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