Roland D-20 Crash and reset

Hello to fellow synth enthusiasts,

I have a question about a Roland D-20 synth. I bought it from a dealer up north almost four years ago (I’m in Texas) and have really enjoyed it, although I’ve probably put less than 24 hours worth of playing on it in that time. It’s been working great until just yesterday when it started acting weird. I powered it off and powered it on to reset it, and when it powered on, the top row of characters in the display were all solid rectangles and the synth didn’t make any sound or otherwise respond. I powered it off and on again and got the same result. To say I was frustrated is an understatement.

The story does have a happy ending. I looked online and found a couple of postings stating that the synth needed to be opened up and either the battery removed and changed and/or the voice ROMs removed and replaced. I gingerly opened the synth up, popped out one of the ROMs, carefully put it back in place, slid the battery out of its holder (I wish all my synths had a battery holder like this), replaced it, replaced the bottom cover, powered the synth on and it’s been working find since then (all of 3 hours, but I’m cautiously optimistic).

My question is - what’s going on with the synth? What causes it to freeze up, and how did my surgical procedure appear to fix it? The ROMs were well seated, but something about them looked like they might have been removed before, possibly for the same issue. Any information that can be shared by the collective wisdom would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

After a while the contacts between the chips and the sockets gain a thin layer of oxidation and lose a little bit of conductivity. I recently repaired a Roland d10 where the processor needed to be pulled out and the contacts cleaned with isoalcohol. All worked well again.

Regard Darren.