Saturday, October 8, 2016

Arturia Beatstep Pro Sequencer USB Port Jack Easy DIY Repair

Any system is only as strong as its weakest link.

Enter the Arturia Beatstep Pro Sequencer, tons of user reviews boast solid construction seemingly built like a tank. On the first few uses I would be inclined to agree. However after about a dozen uses the USB port jack on mine has become intermittent. Symptoms include sudden power blackouts and reboots, even when not touching the USB cord. You don't have to play out live to a crowd to know, this is no bueno. I am careful and take care of my gear. I am especially careful with the USB port and its cord, however I run a bunch of other connections back there and the wires usually hang up with the USB cord. Why is this happening?

One condition could be contact fatigue. If you plug/remove the USB cord a lot, the little contacts could become worn away. You will frequently see this in older cell phones. But more likely as in my scenario, the lead-free solder on the USB ground pins disintegrated resulting in a faulty solder joint at the circuit board. It would be too easy to blame the RoHS standard for requiring lead-free solder, which is structurally deficient for such a use. But if I worked in a factory around solder all day long, lead-free is the way to be. What can be done about it?

If the item is still under warranty you could send it to the company and they can fix or repair the item. There may be a repair charge if the company deems the issue to be caused by negligence. And who's to say? Even if there is no charge, you could get your sequencer back and have the same thing happen again. I'm only mentioning all of this because if you choose to repair the USB port yourself, it WILL void your warranty. Also, if you're not careful and touch something electronically sensitive, you may accidentally damage something else. I'm not liable for anything you do, so be careful not to shock yourself. If you're not confident in doing these things, there's no shame in getting an electronics friend or service tech to help. You have been warned. Now let's fix this thing already.

1. Flip the sequencer over and remove all the black screws. Remove the metal back plate. This will expose the circuit board. Remove all the little screws holding the circuit board in place.

2. In this orientation, pull the circuit board away from you to dislodge the minijacks from the case. Then lift the edge closest to you up and away. If this isn't happening, check you have removed ALL the little screws, it may be easy to miss 1 or 2.

3. Flip the circuit board over and note the location of the USB jack near the power switch.

4. Using regular rosin core solder (I use 60/40 from Radio Shack), make new solder joints on the two GROUND pin locations at the locations shown by red arrows. Make sure the pins get soldered nicely to the circuit board contact pins here. I needed a magnifier to see the work area.

5. Put the circuit board back in and secure it to the case with the screws. This is the time to plug in and test it, making sure you DO NOT touch any of the electronic components inside while you do so. At this point you will be able to wiggle the USB cord lightly and make sure it does not blink the power. If so, you'll need to do it over. Or there may be something else going on. Hopefully this has been helpful, this is what I did to restore mine to working order. If everything is good, you can go ahead and put everything back together.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

do you know R26 value ? Picture isn't sharp enough to read it.