DrumKat FSR repair (dead pad)

This post is about playing with a broken FSR on a DrumKat that was giving no response at all, at any setting, from one of its pads

After looking for solutions online, it seems most folks are giving up on dead pads and sending in their drumKat for the FSR to be replaced. I was getting set to do this with mine (I found my Pad 1 was dead when I turned it on), but then I noticed that a new FSR isn’t guaranteed if you do it yourself- so I wanted to see how hard it would be… ***note I was sure that the pad was dead, and it wasn’t just some bad settings in the software***

Now there are instructions for changing the FSR on the Alternate Mode site… but after getting the getting everything off and looking at the FSR, I couldn’t see what could go wrong with it-apart from a failed connector. Since I had already decided to send the DrumKat in, I hooked up the FSR to a multimeter to see if I could get a reading at all from the dead pad.

If you look at where the lines are going, the middle track is shared by all the pads (pin 6 is ground) and the other pins are for each of the pads (pins 1-5, 7-10). By stripping long enough  leads of test cable, right away I got a fluctuation in resistance on all the working pads, but Pad 1 wouldn’t move. Since I don’t have any tools to make a new connector, I next split the plastic with an x-acto knife enough that I could reach in with a test wire and touch Pad 1 somewhere along its path. I eventually found a spot that would read a fluctuation in resistance, but trying to solder to that spot was too ambitious. No matter how quick I was, it didn’t work and the plastic melted.

In the bottom corner (an inch down from where I had severed the connection) I glued the wire in with superglue and closed up the plastic with packing tape to give some integrity to the connection. I was worried about the width of the wire and wanted everything to still lay flat, so I ran the wire around the outside of the machine and back inside a little gap in the back panel. I secured all the corners with tape before closing up the front.

On the back I cut the Pad 1 lead (our green wire in the picture) and soldered it to the male end of pin 1. It totally worked! Pad 1 is alive and working again. If I were to try this same repair again, I would try more carefully to bypass the connector as close to the connector as possible to avoid having to run the wire around the other way (but I don’t feel like I had a lot of control over which layer of plastic I was in with the razor blade, so there maybe some chance in finding a good spot). ***also, when you are hooking things back together, you can leave the speaker (bottom left with a white connector) disconnected and never never hear it again