Solton Programmer (Italo Disco synth)

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Jackdamery
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Solton Programmer (Italo Disco synth)

Post by Jackdamery » Sat Dec 07, 2013 4:51 pm

So today I got a partially functional Solton Programmer 24. It's a very interesting little synth, seemingly very rare and released in 1985, which can basically perform all the functions of italo disco - (drums, bass, strings/organ, lead synth). It features a sequencer, eeprom drums and ssm/cem filter ICs (CEM3350, SSM2044).

There appears to be a battery leak although it doesn't look too serious, so I don't know if it could be the cause of the problem. The drums don't seem to work, nor the lead synth.

Here are some photos:

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GrantB
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Post by GrantB » Sat Dec 07, 2013 6:20 pm

What part is non functioning?

You need to get that battery out of there and clean up that corrosion asap. It's always potentially serious if you can see it.

It's crazy how many socketed DIPs are in there. That makes it easy to swap parts but just like any connector they can oxidize and cause a bad connection. After checking the PS voltages, I'd start by reseating/Deoxit the headers, and then the chips in affected areas.

As always for a synth this old, it wouldn't hurt to replace electrolytics, at least in the PS.

That's a real cool synth, hope you can restore it.

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Post by GrantB » Sat Dec 07, 2013 6:32 pm

Also I wouldn't mind a recording of the individual drum sounds, don't have that in my sample library :hihi:

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Jackdamery
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Post by Jackdamery » Sat Dec 07, 2013 6:45 pm

GrantB wrote:What part is non functioning?

You need to get that battery out of there and clean up that corrosion asap. It's always potentially serious if you can see it.

It's crazy how many socketed DIPs are in there. That makes it easy to swap parts but just like any connector they can oxidize and cause a bad connection. After checking the PS voltages, I'd start by reseating/Deoxit the headers, and then the chips in affected areas.

As always for a synth this old, it wouldn't hurt to replace electrolytics, at least in the PS.

That's a real cool synth, hope you can restore it.
Hi Grant, thanks for your reply.

I checked the battery with a DMM and it's reading 2.65V, not sure what value it would need replacing with, but maybe its written on the underside. I don't really understand why synths of this era had to have their batteries soldered in.

In the past I managed to fix another Italian synth by desoldering the frequency divider ICs socket and replacing it with a modern one. When you say reseating the headers do you mean just pulling the IC out, cleaning the contacts somehow and replacing the IC? Any idea how one could clean the contacts of a socket? It seems like the 80s sockets are a bit crap in general, but it's best to avoid soldering the board too much right?

The power supply doesn't seem obviously at fault as the bass part and sequencer does work well. According to the manual you can manually trigger the drums from the keys by pressing 'manual drum' but this makes no sound. The strings were working earlier and now they're not, (they are actually barely audible if I turn the mixer right up) so I do slightly suspect poor connections on the IC sockets.The lead sound doesn't seem to work either.

Apparently this synth also contains TDA1022 BBD

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Post by GrantB » Sat Dec 07, 2013 10:09 pm

In synths with typical +5V digital sections I usually replace that sort of NiCad with Varta 3/V80H NiMH (3.6V). I usually look up the data sheet of the RAM chips and make sure this is an appropriate keep alive voltage, but it always is.

By "reseating the headers" I meant those white connectors between PCBs and wiring harness. I'd work on those before screwing with any IC sockets. Sometimes just removing and replacing those connectors scrapes off enough oxidation to get things working again. You could easily clean the male parts with a swab of contact cleaner while doing this. It's usually not possible to clean the female half of the header (or an old leaf style IC socket) without making a mess or damaging the connector, so I usually leave those be.

If you do pull some chips, be careful. Those legs are very fragile and you have some rare ones in there. Again, I would check voltages at the PS and all over the boards before I pulled any chips. See if you can figure out what's going on first.

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Post by flts » Sun Dec 08, 2013 4:01 am

why didn't i know about this keyboard before? i want one!
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Post by cleaninglady » Sun Dec 08, 2013 5:58 pm

That looks awesome :love: nice to know this exists , best of luck with it.

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Post by cleaninglady » Sun Dec 08, 2013 6:01 pm

Wan't soooo bad.....

[video][/video]
Last edited by cleaninglady on Sun Dec 08, 2013 6:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Jackdamery
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Post by Jackdamery » Sun Dec 08, 2013 6:01 pm

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thorncore
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Post by thorncore » Sun Dec 08, 2013 6:26 pm

wow excellent find...good luck with getting it working.
what an amazing machine.
some genius should do a clone...I want that drum mixing section so bad. :tu:

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Post by mOBiTh » Sun Dec 08, 2013 8:18 pm

oh bugger, another synth i need to hunt down... :confused:

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Post by GrantB » Sun Dec 08, 2013 10:26 pm

Interesting 4.8V battery on that scheme. 6116 only needs 2V for keep alive though.

M112 chip looks cool, wouldn't mind having a couple of those to play with.

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Jackdamery
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Post by Jackdamery » Mon Dec 09, 2013 8:38 am

Yeh it seems like too much when the 6116 lists 3v max for keep-alive.

I'd like to fix it, but I don't have masses of time and I'm ok but hardly an expert at vintage electronics. What price would one of these fetch on the open market in partially working state?

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Post by Jackdamery » Mon Dec 09, 2013 8:54 am

Here is the datasheet for the M112

http://www.milton.arachsys.com/nj71/pdf/m112.pdf
Last edited by Jackdamery on Mon Dec 09, 2013 8:56 am, edited 1 time in total.

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thorncore
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Post by thorncore » Mon Dec 09, 2013 8:55 am

had a quick look about yesterday and a few working ones have been sold on Ebay for about 300 quid on average,non in the UK,only US and europe...

Defo gonna keep an eye out...
fixing this one up would be way beyond me...

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Post by oberkorn » Wed Dec 18, 2013 6:24 am

The Solton Programmer 24 is all over this track:
[video][/video]
you have to pay for the music but the noise is free

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Post by Jackdamery » Wed Dec 18, 2013 7:22 am

oberkorn wrote:The Solton Programmer 24 is all over this track:
I'm not sure actually, this song was released in 1984 and the Solton 1985.

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Post by GrantB » Wed Dec 18, 2013 8:01 am

wow I've heard the song before but never seen the video

that's a wicked italomullet, you almost can't see the festa in the back

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Post by sneak-thief » Wed Dec 18, 2013 9:26 am

FWIW, the CEM3350 is only used as a low-pass filter on the toms and congos.

I used the Solton Programmer 24 to make a few tracks.

On this one, the Solton did the bassline, most of the drums, the synth stabs, the filtered synth melody and the organ pads:

[video][/video]
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Post by xerox » Wed Feb 12, 2014 6:32 am

I found the solton programmer 24s manual :
http://monopong.com/category/links/
But there must be a : SOLTON PROGRAMMER-24S Service Manual & SOLTON PROGRAMMER-24S Schematics as well.
any idea where to find ?

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Jackdamery
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Post by Jackdamery » Wed Feb 12, 2014 7:22 am

xerox wrote:I found the solton programmer 24s manual :
http://monopong.com/category/links/
But there must be a : SOLTON PROGRAMMER-24S Service Manual & SOLTON PROGRAMMER-24S Schematics as well.
any idea where to find ?
Uhh yeah...I posted it on page 1 of this thread.

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xerox
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Post by xerox » Wed Feb 12, 2014 9:04 am

yes, i have seen it, but i just was to lazy to copy the jpg's and thought about if there is a pdf-file available ! ?

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Post by mOBiTh » Wed Feb 12, 2014 9:11 am

please can you just sell it to me please 8_)

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flo
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Post by flo » Wed Feb 12, 2014 9:43 am

Fuck what a cool synth :love: Why is it that always when I think I have all synths I need, I find a thread like this? :bang:

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Jackdamery
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Post by Jackdamery » Wed Feb 12, 2014 11:50 am

mOBiTh wrote:please can you just sell it to me please 8_)
Yes, if you like. I am selling it at the moment as spares/repairs.

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