Hi, What is the general advice on how frequently to replace a battery in 80’s analog synths? (OBXA, Jupiter 8, Prophet 5, Wave 2.2) I’d like to avoid any battery leakage damage. All the synths are working well at this point…just want to be proactive.
This can depend a lot on the how the synth was engineered, some stuff may get more years of battery life than others even with the same type of battery. But generally 10 years is about the max lifespan you want to go with these batteries, but it wouldn’t hurt to check sooner than that. You can check the battery voltages with a multimeter and make sure they’re healthy at any time, just set the multimeter to voltage and measure across the battery. Different synths will have different batteries with different voltages so refer to service manuals as needed.
The battery leakage isn’t much to worry about unless the batteries are way past expired or submitted to extremes in temperatures. Mostly all you have to worry about is losing or corrupting preset memory.
Thanks for the info, Travis. That is helpful.
10 years sounds like a reasonable life to me, although I’ve had batteries last much longer. I think the battery in my SD-1 was around 30 years old before I got the message that the battery was low.
In every keyboard I’ve seen so far, you must remove the main board in order to replace the battery - even if it’s mounted into a battery holder. Not something I want to do unless it’s necessary. If I have the keyboard open for some reason, I’ll check the battery - if it’s reading less than half of its rated voltage I will replace it. It wouldn’t hurt to stick a label somewhere with the date of replacement for the next technician.
I’ve seen a number of videos on the web where people remove a battery from the board and replace it with a battery holder - typically taped to the side of the cabinet - in order to make the next replacement easier. I would not advise doing this. You are using a battery with different characteristics - which might not have the same lifespan - and you are running the risk of that battery holder coming loose in the cabinet on its way to the next gig.
Most synths thankfully use lithium batteries which seem very stable and don’t leak and if they do the damage is localised and usually minimal. I have seen plenty of 40 year old Rolands with the batteries practically full!! If you have a vintage synth it’s worth opening and inspecting this. The real worry are the ones that used rechargeable NiCad, Korg being most famous for this.