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Fragile knobs on Ultralite?

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Discussion related to installation, configuration and use of MOTU hardware such as MIDI interfaces, audio interfaces, etc. for Mac OSX

Fragile knobs on Ultralite?

Postby kshrieve » Tue Apr 25, 2006 9:13 pm

When I went to pick up the last Ultralite at a local store the sales guy had discovered that one of the knobs had broken off. The item looked a bit used so I chalked it up to mistreatment. They shipped another one from a nearby store, new, in an un-opened box, which I picked up last night.

Tonight, as I started working with the new one, the main volume knob was barely connected, and came off. Not off, as in sliding off a metal rod, but as in plastic broken near the base. Seems like a design flaw to me, and I have to decide whether to just replace it with another Ultralite or look for something with sturdier knobs.

Has nobody experienced problems with the Ultralite knobs?

Thanks,

Kevin
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Re: Fragile knobs on Ultralite?

Postby djencode » Wed Apr 26, 2006 12:25 am

kshrieve wrote:When I went to pick up the last Ultralite at a local store the sales guy had discovered that one of the knobs had broken off. The item looked a bit used so I chalked it up to mistreatment. They shipped another one from a nearby store, new, in an un-opened box, which I picked up last night.

Tonight, as I started working with the new one, the main volume knob was barely connected, and came off. Not off, as in sliding off a metal rod, but as in plastic broken near the base. Seems like a design flaw to me, and I have to decide whether to just replace it with another Ultralite or look for something with sturdier knobs.

Has nobody experienced problems with the Ultralite knobs?

Thanks,

Kevin


i have 2 ultralites and no issues with that, but i'll look into it when i get home :D
gott ist im khaos gestorben
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Postby chorga1 » Thu Apr 27, 2006 2:57 pm

No Problems here either...
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Postby kshrieve » Thu Apr 27, 2006 3:08 pm

OK, thanks for the info. They're thinking maybe they got "a bad batch" and will see about getting me one from another shipment.

Kevin
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Postby arth » Sun May 21, 2006 5:34 pm

I just had one of the knobs fall off on mine. I turned the headphone volume knob, and the Mic 2 knob fell off. Checking, it was a clean fracture straight across the knob, as if it had a molding fault. The UltraLite is in a position where nothing can bounce against it, and I barely brushed the Mic 2 knob when it happened (rather unavoidable considering the size of the knobs).

So yeah, I think there may be something fishy with a production run of the UltraLite knobs.

Regards,
--
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Postby arvidtp » Tue Apr 01, 2008 12:22 pm

:x I just had my ultralite's main volume knob (and on-off switch sadly) bust off of the other night. Just like 2 weeks after the warranty expired too.

So far I have fashioned a chopstick into a makeshift 'key' that will both turn the potentiometer and press in the switch of the rotary encoder. Not very elegant, but it works for now. I don't really want to pay the $79 for MOTU to fix it, but i guess I might if it gets too annoying.

Does anyone know what part the encoder is, or have an idea where I might find one? I've searched digikey and jameco fruitlessly.
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Successful Ultralite Knob Repair

Postby arvidtp » Mon Apr 21, 2008 5:35 pm

I successfully repaired my ultralite's broken main volume knob! Here's how I did it:

I found the part on mouser electronics. Oddly the manufacturer does not list on their website that they make the part, but mouser claimed to be selling it with all the right specs, so I took their word and ordered 2 (a spare in case this happens again). Here's the link:
http://www.mouser.com/Search/ProductDetail.aspx?qs=m0BA540hBPdRxVGZL8qeRw%3d%3d
Mouser Part #: 688-EC12E2424407
Manufacturer Part #: EC12E2424407
Manufacturer: ALPS
Description: Encoders 12mm 24 Res 24 Dtent 20mm op sectn w/ sw
They cost $2.66 a piece.
I'm sure some other encoders would work, but these were the only ones I could find that had exactly the same number of detents (24) and length and type of shaft as the original ultralite encoders. There really are not too many choices when you want the pushbutton feature also...

The hard part was removing and replacing the PC Board with the encoders. Its like a 3D puzzle! And the desoldering in that tight layout was not easy - the encoders are practically on top of one another. It required a number of tools: a VERY HOT soldering iron, tiny wire cutters, solder-pullit, screwdrivers, tiny needlenose pliers, etc.
    -Opening the unit is easy (2 large screws on top)
    -Then you have to disconnect the ribbon cables to the faceplate PCB - note that the ribbon cable that detaches at the faceplate has a pair of unused holes at the top. Also mark the two single wires that connect so you will know which goes on top. (Took photos too)
    -Remove screws that hold PCB to faceplate
    -Remove screw on front near XLR connector
    -Remove screws that hold main PCB to the chasis it still will not come out - something is still holding it in... not sure what, but its OK.
    -I was then able to gently lift the front PCB/front plate to get the front plate out of its groove on the bottom. The main PCB needs to flex a tiny bit, which is why we took the screws out.
    -Flex the front plate (not the PCB, just the metal plate!) by pulling the middle toward you until the right side (where the main vol knob is) comes out of the groove. The frontplate will not come off, but it will come off track enough.
    -Now the hard part - you have to jockey the front PCB, LCD PCB and frontplate so that the front PCB (the one with the encoders on it) comes out. I'm not exactly sure how i did it, but it did take a while.
    -Now remove the broken encoder from the front PCB. I used a combination of solder pull-it and just clipping the pins of the broken encoder. Then I cleared the holes of solder and added my new encoder (the easy part). Some of the pins needed a LOT of heat to re-melt the solder.
    -TEST IT NOW! no need to put it back together - just connect the cables and make sure it works (it was a relief when mine did)
    -It is nearly as hard to put the front PCB, LCD PCB and front plate back in as it is to get them out. I taped the plastic insert with the numbers around the LCD to the frontplate so i would not have to worry about it moving around when putting it back together. I had a friend hold the LCD PCB 'up' in place while I jockeyed things around (it wants to fall down into a slot until you have everything settled).
    -Then replace screws and ribbon cables and put the top back on, test again, and celebrate that you just saved about $76! Except the hour or more it took you for the labor... oh well!

It was sorta fun to figure out. Seems like MOTU must be crazy though to make the thing so hard to get into and fix... Hope this is of use to somebody!
Last edited by arvidtp on Mon Apr 21, 2008 5:48 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby chorga1 » Mon Apr 21, 2008 5:41 pm

Excellent post. Thanks for the DIY angle!
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photos of ultralite guts

Postby arvidtp » Wed Apr 23, 2008 7:42 am

Here are some photos of the inside of the ultralite my friend took so you can get an idea what i'm talking about

http://picasaweb.google.com/arvidtp/MotuUltraliteGuts
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Postby blaze » Fri May 09, 2008 8:31 pm

so, arvidtp...

any idea how i would replace the led backlighting on my ultralite?

i thought it might be an easy task but looking at those pictures i can see it's probably not as easy as i thought.

ps: thanks for uploading the pictures :)
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Postby arvidtp » Sat May 10, 2008 3:49 pm

blaze wrote:any idea how i would replace the led backlighting on my ultralite?

I dunno - sounds tough. Ususally those LCD displays are one integrated, standardized piece with the PCB attached - so it would be easier to just replace the whole LCD assembly probably. They're not that expensive, but you have to find the right one and solder any custom connectors onto it that MOTU added. Unless maybe MOTU has these ones custom built. Then you are probably out of luck. If you want to look at it, open the case (two big screws on the top), its really easy to put back as long as you don't start trying to pull circuit boards out. No one at MOTU will ever know - in case you later want to get it fixed by them.

Now that I think about it, if just the backlight is dead - it may be one of the two single wires that connect to the back of the LCD unit has come off or is making a bad connection. I would suspect that one of those is backlight power and the other is LCD contrast... but I have not tested it.
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Re: Fragile knobs on Ultralite?

Postby opard » Mon Nov 30, 2009 4:12 pm

Very useful for me. Thanks!
Unfortunately I also missed a cap from this knob.
Any suggestions where to find exact cap except motu service?
Thanks.
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Re: Fragile knobs on Ultralite?

Postby arvidtp » Fri Feb 12, 2010 11:00 pm

can't help you with the caps. I still had mine form the old knobs. May I suggest you put some rad old-school knob on it that looks really out of place? That could be cool…
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