When I’m not playing with Linux things, I am often noodling around with other machines, appliances or electronics. I have developed this delight in fixing things which has turned into this sense of, “I can fix it” attitude toward just about anything.
I only wish I had a magic hammer…
Recently, a neighbor was telling me that within a few hours of her eldest son unwrapping a birthday gift of a long sought after musical instrument, some horseplay rendered it inoperable. I told her, “I can [probably] fix it.” Grabbed my little electronics tool box and moseyed my way over to her house.
This Synthesizer is a 61-key, Casio CTK2400. The back of this machine had only two ports, a 1/4″ (6.35mm) and a USB Type-B receptacle. No Midi or separate line out. Looking inside the jack, there were the remains of A TRS 1/4″ to 1/8″ headphone jack adapter which broke off inside of the keyboard. It broke off in such a way that the portion inside could not be easily removed. The tip of the jack was stuck inside of the socket which deactivated the internal speakers. My observation of the portion that had broken off of the adapter made very apparent that it was poorly manufactured as the ring detached itself from the sleeve. I tried a few “of course it won’t work” action to remove the tip, then decided it was time to open the keyboard up. After removing several screws to expose the main board, I discovered that the headphone socket was enclosed on the board so I could not push anything out from the inside.
I was expecting to see something open and exposed so I could just, knock out the bits similar to what is pictured on the inside of the keyboard but was greeted, instead, with a plastic, closed off box that looked to be sonic welded shut. The keyboard was then reassembled.
Swing and a miss…..
I took a very small slotted screwdriver, generally used for working on small electronics, put a glob of superglue on the end and pushed it carefully against the remaining jammed bit inside the keyboard and held it firmly in place. I waited for a few minutes and slowly, carefully pulled out the 1/4″ tip.
I plugged in the keyboard to make sure it worked after all the probing, digging and tugging. Sure enough, it worked just fine, I noodled around with it a bit and thought, “What a nice little synthesizer.” Regrettably, I have buried that musical talent many years ago.
I returned the keyboard, now in proper working order to its owner. It was great to see a the expression of joy come over that kid’s face as he could once again play his brand new instrument.
The Curiosity Bug Bit Me
I had to learn about this keyboard, what was that USB port for and is it something Linux friendly. I downloaded the manual on the machine where I learned that this is some form of USB MIDI interface. Doing some further search where I landed on the Arch Wiki and it had a lot of good information on it. That is, unfortunately as far as I will go with it as it is not my machine to mess with. I was very encouraged that, although not often in the Linux spotlight, there looks to be a lot of effort in this area of the arts.
Fixing electronics and appliances, even basic issues brings about quite a bit of satisfaction. Restoring happiness to a kid on his birthday is just the best. I am grateful that the internet has empowered and made it easier to fix things, you know, when you get into a bind.
Music creation on Linux is a thing and I hope to see it continue to be an area of active development. Perhaps, one day, I might be able to dust off what little musical talent I have and dovetail it into my Linux hobby.