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Friday, February 23, 2018

Beogram 4000: Restoration of the Keypad Cluster

After replacing the electrolytic capacitors and restoring the AC motor of the Beogram 4000 that I am currently restoring, it was time to rebuild the keypad cluster. The PCBs below the keypad house the control center of the Beogram, which is a unique early digital control system based on TTL logic chips. This logic system comes to its operational conclusions largely based on inputs caused by the many mechanical switches throughout the turntable. The keypad contains 8 of them enabling user interaction with the Beogram.
The keypad is held in place by a single screw, which was missing in this Beogram:
An indication that 'human interaction' had taken place earlier (which was confirmed once I looked at the switches on the PCBs - see below). I took the pad out and opened it up:
The upper board contains some of the logic chips and the light bulbs that illuminate the position indicator and the RPM trimmers. The lower PCB is populated with the eight switches for the keypad and one more logic IC. As usual, the switch terminals were heavily corroded:
I removed the board from the keypad, which is necessary for extracting the switch terminals:
This shows the side of the board that houses the switch actuators. The small green, white and grey 'plungers' are actuated by the keys on the keypad, which pushes the switch terminals on the other side of the board making or breaking the associated contact. Note the location of the single grey plunger top left. This is the wrong location for this particular one. It needs to be in the center of the bottom row, since this particular switch is a break switch. This incorrect installation immediately explained the malfunction of the arm lowering circuit that I noticed after the restoration of the main PCB. The green plungers are longer, and therefore this switch, which is responsible for lowering the arm, was permanently open (actuated). This shows the three switch types in comparison:
The grey one is the shortest. It is used for break switches. The green one is used for make switches and the white one is for two-pole make/break switches (the << and >> keys, which have slow and fast functionality, depending on how hard the keys are pressed).
I removed the switch terminals:
After removal of the oxide layer with 2000 grit sand paper, I coated the terminals with a gold layer:
and then soldered them back into place:
The final step was to replace the light bulbs with LEDs. The position indicator scale lights were replaced with custom designed LED boards (available to other B&O enthusiasts), each containing two red-green LEDs tuned to yield an incandescent-like sheen. The RPM trimmer back light bulbs were replaced with standard red LEDs and current limiting resistors:
This shows the LEDs in action after installation:
After that it was time to put the keypad back together. Unfortunately, the center key was not attached to the keypad, i.e. I needed to reinsert it. This can be difficult and there is a danger to scratch the other keys while doing it. For this reason I used 3D printed tools that I developed earlier, which make this process much easier. They allow pre-bending of the spring that holds the pad in place and that allows it to bounce back after pressing it:
Once the spring is bent up, it is fairly easy to get the pad on it. Careful removal of the printed taps releases the spring holding the key in place. And this shows the pad installed:
A test revealed that all keys are now working properly. On to gold coating the remaining switches below the carriage and in the arm lowering mechanism.

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