Internal Battery Replacement
What’s an internal battery?
‘Tis the small long-lasting battery hidden inside your favorite synths and drum machines and is responsible for powering the chip that stores your sequence data, instrument set-ups, user presets, everything in it but the lousy presets. So when you unplug your machine from the wall, the internal battery kicks in to remember where you left off.
When the battery dies, you’re gonna lose all your data. Most of the time you can still use your device as normal, but its just not going to store any data. You could use an external sequencer instead of the device’s internal memory. However, some machines need the internal battery to function at all. Sometimes when it dies, the battery will corrode and leak, this too is bad. Some machines also warn you that the internal battery is going, others will just surprise you.
How do i protect my data when i change the battery?
MIDI dump! This is an operation where you transfer all your data to another sequencer or computer for backup. If it goes corrupt or something, you can re-import it back to your synth/sequencer, good as new. It’s not that difficult to figure out, check your device’s owner’s manual for details. Sometimes its called a MIDI Bulk Dump.
A Tape Dump is similar, but instead of midi data, it uses audio to encode the data. Despite the name, you don’t need to use a cassette tape, any audio recorder will work. Most devices that do tape dumps will let you save, verify, and restore your data to/from the “tape.”
It’s a good idea to do regular backups of your data, especially if you’re using 10 or 20-year-old equipment.
How do i change the battery?
Well it will depend on the machine and its age. All companies have their own standards for these things, though they don’t always stick to ‘em and battery technology has advanced a bit over the past 20 years too.
Basically, open your machine, find the battery, yank it out (desoldering may be necessary), find a new one of the same type/voltage, solder it in, close it up and you’re golden.
Got any examples?
Let’s start with the Yamaha QY10.
I haven’t had to change mine just yet, but it’s come up a bit in our blog, so i’ll summarize that info here.
The internal battery is on the main circuit board.
QY10 main PCB
It’s the copper cylinder near the power switch.
QY10 barrel battery
It’s a 3 volt Lithium barrel, or cylindrical battery and it’s spot welded in place. You’ll need your solering iron to remove it. Check the battery for a parts number, bk2600 blogger Gom found a Ucar 2L76 battery in his QY10, the current equivalent of this is a Duracell DL 1/3N, other equivalents are the Kodak K 58L, Philips CR 1/3/N, & Varta CR 1/3 N. There’s probably others too, just make sure you use a 3V Li, and you should be ok. These batteries are hard to find in stores, but available online. One blogger paid £10 from UK tech support, I just found one for US $5 at a battery specialist store.
If you can’t find one of these old original batteries, you can use a different kind. You could probably stack two 1.5V regular watch-type batteries in the holder, but I’m not sure they would fit precisely in place of the larger barrel. Radiosmack sells lots of flat disc-shaped batteries that would be perfect too. Just make sure your voltage is right and that you install it safely.
Here’s some photos of a disc type battery soldered to where the original battery was in a QY10.
Mahoney put a small 100uF capacitor in series with his battery leads, he says it prevents the battery from quickly draining. I’m not 100% sure as to why this would be nececssary though.
all taped up
You don’t want your new battery to touch any other components inside your QY10, so be sure to cover all the exposed metals with tape or something non-coductive.
Yamaha QY20 appears to use the same internal battery too.
These basic principals can be applied to other machines too. I’m sure we’ll get details for other machines up here soon enough.. Justin recently replaced his Alesis HR batteries too.
Hopefully this info will help keep a few old machines out there working. If you’ve got any comments, other good info, or need help or anything, go ahead and comment below.