Virus KB Won't Boot/Power Up (Resolved!)

  • Hello,
    My Virus KB no longer boots up. When I turn the power switch on the LFO 1&2 LED's light up and I have a blank green editing screen. I can hear a faint whistling sound coming from inside the case. Does anyone have any idea what this could be?


    I suspect it might be a power supply issue, but don't really know the true cause. The power supply looks like it would easy to replace. Does anyone know how to find a replacement power supply or it any of the other power components inside would be easy enough to replace.


    Please help. I miss my virus. ;(


    Thank you,
    Tony

  • Since 2 LED-s do light up I wouldn't think its a power supply issue. It looks like it is failing its bootup tests or something. I know you're not happy to hear that. You can try and put your unit in "recieve" mode and re-burn its OS (consult your manual). If that fails, try to take it to the nearest service center (list available on this site). If you would like to save a few bucks and feel adventurous you can first try and replace all the capacitors you can reach with their equivalents - they are usually the first ones to give and pretty cheap to replace.
    Good luck.

  • Thanks Flabberbob. There are only 2 authorized service centers in the US and they are thousands of miles away. I spoke with them and one of them was kind enough to advise that even if they could fix the issue that the KB would not likely survive being shipped back and forth without sustaining some damage - no matter how well I pack it. I really want to follow your suggestion and find someone here in Ft. Lauderdale who has the knowledge and skills to replace the capacitors. I hate to think that my $2000+ Virus has been turned to a useless tin can over the failure of $10 part! It still looks mint.


    Is there anyone out there near Ft Lauderdale who knows how to replace the capacitors? Please?


    Thanks,
    Tony

  • Thanks Flabberbob. There are only 2 authorized service centers in the US and they are thousands of miles away. I spoke with them and one of them was kind enough to advise that even if they could fix the issue that the KB would not likely survive being shipped back and forth without sustaining some damage - no matter how well I pack it. I really want to follow your suggestion and find someone here in Ft. Lauderdale who has the knowledge and skills to replace the capacitors. I hate to think that my $2000+ Virus has been turned to a useless tin can over the failure of $10 part! It still looks mint.


    Is there anyone out there near Ft Lauderdale who knows how to replace the capacitors? Please?


    Thanks,
    Tony


    please contact access support, if you haven't already. it is no problem at all to ship a keyboard (we do this all the time ...).
    marc

  • Hi Marc,
    Nice to see you are still around. :) I did contact Access Support, but they were not very helpful IMO. I was surprised to find out there are only 2 authorized service centers in the US. In addition to the problems with shipping, they also informed me that replacement parts for the Virus KB are now very rare. Jorg told me the keyboard is "quite old". I thought my KB would last much longer than this. It approximately 12 years old. I normally would not consider that to be quite old. At least it should be serviceable. It's hard to find anyone who can replace capacitors on a mainboard. Anyone who would fix it just wants a brand new mainboard to swap out, which I believe are out of supply. This KB has been kept at home the whole time in a safe place. I doubt it would have lasted as long if it was touring around. Disappointing because I love this synth so much.
    Thanks,
    Tony

  • With no local service center around and unable to find anyone who will actually service a motherboard i have decided to go it alone and try to repair the MB myself. There seems to be enough evidence around that capacitors from the period when the Virus KB was produced were problematic. The whining/whistling noise that occurs when the power is turned on seems to be be a sign of bad capacitors as well. I have been looking at a lot of YouTube videos that demonstrate how to replace capacitors on a MB and it seems straight forward, but also a bit scary due to the smallness of the parts and delicate nature of the MB. However, at present I am the proud owner of a $2200 tin can Virus KB, so what have I got to loose anyway?


    I reopened the Virus KB yesterday and removed the MB. I was hoping to find an obvious leaking capacitor, but that was not the case. They all visually look OK through the magnifying glass. I don't know if they can be tested while still attached to the MB? However, there is one capacitor in particular that draws attention to itself. It is the brown one right in front of the attached picture (there are 22 caps on the MB, this is the only brown one: 100MF/25V). This capacitor is the only one that is installed crooked - all the others are meticulously straight. At first I thought it might have just been installed this way, but now I am starting to suspect that perhaps instead of exploding from the top, that maybe that capacitor has slightly pushed itself out from the bottom and that could be a sign of failure. Also, the lettering seems faded due to heat and it is the only cap that seems to have it's lettering fading out of all 22 caps.


    Since i have no experience with this, the less I interact with the MB the better. I am going to try replacing this lone cap and see if it solves the problem. I'll practice on something else before trying the real procedure. It's a 91 cent part at Radio Shack and quite possibly it is what has brought the Virus down to it's knees.


    [Blocked Image: http://i970.photobucket.com/albums/ae181/amilon/DSCF1372.jpg]

  • You will need to remove the suspect capacitor from the PCB to check it, the PCB is double sided print too, so you will need a special soldering iron that sucks the solder off as it heats. This is a "bit of a skilled job" and be careful you dont rip off the PCB tracks by overheating, as this is usually what happens when a beginner tries this. I suggest you practice on an old scrap PCB first before delving straight into your virus and ruining it even more.


    Once the capacitor is off the pcb, measure it using either a capacitance meter or a DVM that has one built in. If it is short circuit it will read a very low resistance across its 2 pins. I would change them all if you are able too, as you are brob correct that the whistling noise is caused by a faulty/leaky capacitor. These are switched mode power supplies and run at a high frequency that is usually not noticeable to the human ear, only when the capacitor fails in the oscillator part does it alter this frequency and thus you can hear it, which also means an incorrect voltage being supplied to the Virus main board, thus not powering up.


    You need a circuit diagram really to diagnose & repair to manufacturers specs, but well done for having a go... Read and learn and save cash! 8)


    Good luck.

  • Thanks for your response Muzikman. I'll keep all that in mind! Now that the MB is out of the KB it's obviously a lot simpler to ship it somewhere where it can be repaired. So I am also looking to see if i can find a reputable place that performs this kind of work since it's so delicate.


    I am also wondering - if I bought a Virus B desktop model (or even a Virus C for that matter) would I be able to swap the motherboard into my KB? I think the MB should be the same, except of course the motherboard on the KB has a connector for the key bed. I wonder if the Virus B desktop model also has this connector already attached to the MB?

  • Chances are that for the sake of not investing money in creating a new board layout and a new board production line, the board is the same between the two, BUT the command to install the header/socket for the keyboard on top of the PCB can be removed from the assembly stage. Another problem you may face is the "board ID", that may come in the shape of a ROM chip, DIP switches or jumpers, and may cause the board to continue behaving like a desktop in spite of the keyboard being connected.

  • Hi shiek,
    before thinking of a power supply problem have you tried with a system reset procedure?


    I owned a KB for many years (before go on a TI2 desktop) and I remember that one time I do that.


    To perform the reset you must press and hold down both LFO shape buttons while powering the Virus.
    After a while on the display will appear (I hope.... ;) ) "Initializing Edit buffers"


    Max

  • Hi Max,
    I did try the system reset procedure, but no luck with that. Thanks.


    Flabberbob,
    I have a feeling you are right. Putting a desktop board inside the KB probably would cause compatibility issues like you've described.



    I would be happy to pay for a replacement KB motherboard, but the service center said they are not available from Access anymore.
    Thanks,
    Tony

  • I found someone who routinely replaces capacitors on MB's and sent him my MB for repair. He has replaced all 22 caps on the board. His note to me said that the +12 to +5 converter stage was not running and those caps were shot. He is 100% confident the MB is repaired. The MB is in the mail on the way back to me. My fingers are crossed that it will power up the way it used to when all was well and that there are no other problems with it. I do miss my Virus KB. I'll post the results soon.

  • I found someone who routinely replaces capacitors on MB's and sent him my MB for repair. He has replaced all 22 caps on the board. His note to me said that the +12 to +5 converter stage was not running and those caps were shot. He is 100% confident the MB is repaired. The MB is in the mail on the way back to me. My fingers are crossed that it will power up the way it used to when all was well and that there are no other problems with it. I do miss my Virus KB. I'll post the results soon.

    Please make sure to post follow-up of (hopefully joyful) results! I have a KB and a KC, and I find it strange that a service center would call a 12 year old instrument "quite old". I am playing catch-up in the setting up of home synth based studio as a recently disabled US Military Veteran and I have happily been a "bottom feeder of technology", using mostly instruments from the 90's and within first decade of 2000. So many people are ditching/selling hardware to go total vst based and I happen to like hardware and real knobby interfaces but am not adverse to technology. Perhaps that service tech you spoke with was looking from the perspective of how vastly fast technology is growing by leaps and bounds? All well and good but nobody considers the environmental/resources we are squandering on our Earth by people that are slaves to consumerism and marketing and "HAVE TO" have the next new iphone or i-that because they are ld to believe that after a year it is obsolete---it makes me wonder if the build-quality and angineers actually take this predicted behavior in count in a seemingly more "throw-away society"! Seeing how there analog synths from the 1970's still operating, what is considered "quite old" is entirely relative to one's mind-set, rather than chronology! I would hope my Virus KB will last for a long time and reason I take note wih repair issues such as you noted. FYI--there's only same number of official service centers for Waldorf in USA as well, also German made. Merry Christmas!

  • Flabberbob, how did you know I like that song? :P


    Yes, it was definitely a roller-coaster ride. Thanks for recognizing that! What was particularly frustrating is that replacement motherboards are no longer available. If you hear your Virus whistling from inside it's case, now you know what you need to do. I hope this lasts!


    If this didn't work I was getting ready to figure out a way to hang up the KB on the wall of my music room like a piece of modern art. :!:

  • hi, i bought a dead virus b desktop
    the former owner attempted repair (capacitors and regulators) but I think it has done more harm ... My repairman has fixed the power but still does not work, does not turn on... only lfo's led are lit.