Author Topic: Repair broken/failing mesh head triggers  (Read 463 times)

Offline VandalX

Repair broken/failing mesh head triggers
« on: April 12, 2018, 12:41:37 PM »
Some people have had issues with defective triggers, and I'm one of them (one person, many failures). After contacting Alesis to get warranty service (which consists of sending many replacements- a positive outcome, but they have no advice on fixing them), I decided to fix them all as they break. And so far I've had six failures (including the kick pad) across two kits. I sent the first kit back (bought through Amazon Prime), not knowing that this issue was endemic to the Alesis design DNA, and not because I had a lemon. Some folks don't seem to have any problems, but there are quite a few who do, and shame on Alesis for letting it persist. Enough about their horrible corporate culture. I bought this thing knowing its build quality was sketchy, so I'll just make them bend to my will.

I figured out what I needed to do with the 12" pads, and have fixed/upgraded them accordingly. I'm still tinkering with various connection options, wiring (I'm not great at soldering...yet) Just when I thought I had it all in hand, my kick failed. Started out as a muted response with no sensitivity or nuance, then failed altogether. Just like the 12" pads. So I took it apart and implemented the fix I use for the tom/snares.

It all worked just fine, and the only thing to be aware of is the trigger column with the piezo has some adhesive on the facing, so it's somewhat attached to the inside of the mesh head when you start to remove the head from the pad assembly. Just go slow, work it off with your fingers, and it will all separate just fine.

I have attached several pictures of the surgery for those who have had similar issues or were wondering what the elusive DM10 MKII Pro pad looks like. Very few people seem to own this model, so info on how to use them/fix them/hack them is rare. Even Alesis acknowledges this (a good link for illustration purposes: http://community.alesis.com/alesis/topics/struggling-with-new-dm10-mkii-pro-module) and ignores completely questions about MKII kits. They just regurgitate instructions for the original DM10 module/kit, which is in no way helpful. I'm pretty sure the Alesis customer service center has been farmed out to incarcerated individuals, or folks who work as political pollsters. To be fair, I've had very good service from them, though I think I might be in the minority looking at other players' experiences. What seems incredible to me is that they know about this problem, and are unwilling to address it. Their solution is to send out replacements instead of fixing the problem that affects all of their pads that utilize this mesh/trigger system. Perhaps this protects them from a lawsuit, as they would have to acknowledge a built-in failure that could have easily been fixed. I'm not a lawyer, but I've snacked on them at times, and they probably opted for silence and replacement instead of admitting a fault. Oops. I fell back into bitch mode.

Anyway, fixing these damn things isn't that hard. So far I haven't had any issues with cymbals (though I fully expect to), and the module works just fine. I moved to a VST (AD2), so I'm not concerned about the sounds coming out of the module. They were fun to play with at first while I got used to my setup, but I get much better sounds/playability from a VST.

Another caveat: I am new to all of this. I've been a hobbyist acoustic player for decades, and in that realm my main problem was getting good sound out of my set. I was always fighting tuning, tension, volume modulation, etc., so moving to an e-drum has provided both wonderful new options to play with, and new sets of issues to address. Mainly, lousy build quality. If you're at all handy and want to get to know your kit, Alesis has provided you with a template for this type of exploration. That's how I've approached this to preserve my sanity. Alesis has produced a great line of drum kits. Not finished drum PRODUCTS, but kits that you can finish building yourself.

So here's my attempt at building a "new" kick drum pad. I started with a DM10 MkII Pro kick pad, and I let it follow its natural tendency towards a resting state of zero output (read: broken). What follows is my visual evidence of the patient during the procedure. He's now resting comfortably at my feet, where I can kick him with abandon and he responds to my input accordingly. As it should be.
Alesis DM 10 MKII Pro (with Tama Iron Cobra double). Pearl Export acoustic. Fostex VF160EX Digital multitrack (16). Fostex monitors. Roland TR-626 drum machine. Roland Juno 106 Poly synth. Aria Knight Warrior. Peavy Fury. Digitech GNX3000. Digitech RP360. Tascam Porta 05 four track. MacBook Air.

Offline Freightshaker

Re: Repair broken/failing mesh head triggers
« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2018, 10:27:40 PM »
That was my project last weekend.  I ordered a new soldering kit off Amazon so it will be waiting for use once I get home in a month, my kick seemed to be dying again.  I didn't replace the wire all the way back to the 1/4" connection (I should've) so maybe I'll do that once it completely dies.
Simple does not equal easy.

Offline VandalX

Re: Repair broken/failing mesh head triggers
« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2018, 10:39:02 PM »
Yeah, I did the same with the understanding that I wasn't being as thorough as I should have been. But considering I'm still working out the steps and materials as the other pads die, I opted to patch into the existing wires. Fix one thing, test. Fix another. Test. And so on. Hopefully the pig tails I left connected to the pcb are sufficiently out of harm's way. Plus, my soldering iron isn't optimal for tiny electronics work, and my skills are such that I need every possible advantage! Just a matter of practicing with some of my bad triggers. Once I replace all of the wiring with more robust leads, I plan on using wire connects so I can easily replace piezos down the road. Despite shoring up many of the Alesis' drums weaknesses, I have little faith in the veracity of inexpensive transducers. So I just plan on replacing them as I move forward.

Alesis DM 10 MKII Pro (with Tama Iron Cobra double). Pearl Export acoustic. Fostex VF160EX Digital multitrack (16). Fostex monitors. Roland TR-626 drum machine. Roland Juno 106 Poly synth. Aria Knight Warrior. Peavy Fury. Digitech GNX3000. Digitech RP360. Tascam Porta 05 four track. MacBook Air.

Offline ignotus

Re: Repair broken/failing mesh head triggers
« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2018, 04:22:20 AM »
Try this. Much more reliable and long-lasting than brittle solder joints. All you need is copper tape and duct tape, no soldering involved.

Offline VandalX

Re: Repair broken/failing mesh head triggers
« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2018, 10:07:00 AM »
Thanks, Ignotus! I love the simplicity of that technique. Considering the fleeting lifespan of drum pad internals, this is a nice quick solution. I'll be playing with this concept. Have you had any success using the conductive copper tape on circuit boards?
Alesis DM 10 MKII Pro (with Tama Iron Cobra double). Pearl Export acoustic. Fostex VF160EX Digital multitrack (16). Fostex monitors. Roland TR-626 drum machine. Roland Juno 106 Poly synth. Aria Knight Warrior. Peavy Fury. Digitech GNX3000. Digitech RP360. Tascam Porta 05 four track. MacBook Air.

Offline ignotus

Re: Repair broken/failing mesh head triggers
« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2018, 11:06:15 AM »
I've used it mainly to make multi-zone cymbal pads and piezos like the one above with great results. You can check out the cymbal construction here. I haven't used it on circuit boards, but it's easy to solder on and will work in any application to link a series of points with conductivity.

Offline VandalX

Re: Repair broken/failing mesh head triggers
« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2018, 11:46:50 AM »
Love the DIY cymbal thread! Now I know what to do when my Alesis all fail. But I'll be optimistic- they probably won't fail today!

Yeah, my new skill training will be desoldering the crap wire from the piezo contacts on the volume/velocity pcb and replacing it with a better lead. Or I can just replace the resistor with a new one. I do much better with soldering a new connection than repair and replace on such a small pcb. I blame my fingers and vision (have to use a jewelers loupe for those small items).

This copper tape is going to help my project move along, however, so thank you for the tips!
Alesis DM 10 MKII Pro (with Tama Iron Cobra double). Pearl Export acoustic. Fostex VF160EX Digital multitrack (16). Fostex monitors. Roland TR-626 drum machine. Roland Juno 106 Poly synth. Aria Knight Warrior. Peavy Fury. Digitech GNX3000. Digitech RP360. Tascam Porta 05 four track. MacBook Air.