I have been wanting a Korg Triton synthesizer since they were released in 1999. At that time I had a Korg Trinity which we used heavily, as you may have heard in our Multicast tracks. The Triton has a built in sampler and expansion available for MOSS functionality (Korg Prophecy engine), which I’m now on the market for!
I found a Triton on Craigslist but it had some issues. The price was right so I went ahead and took the challenge of hopefully being able to find the issue and then fix it. I know that Triton parts are getting hard to find since it was discontinued. It has the two memory cards and also the EXB-PCM04 Dance Extreme expansion board. So an awesome setup once I get it fixed!
More restoration stories can be found here…
Korg Triton as it was when I brought it home, you can see the issue with the one “E” key
Here is the sketchy power. The whole assembly was broken and the power button was gone.
The person I bought it from was a vet and this synth had seen the desert and likely many other places upon this earth! It likely brought joy to many, so the karma is good! The plastic buttons and modulation joystick assembly were all heavily discolored, likely due to sitting in intense sunlight for a long period of time. There is no way to fix the plastic discoloration issue without replacing all those pieces, which would be very expensive (if you could find the parts) and given that is cosmetic I’m not overly concerned. Part of the character of buying a used synthesizer!
Here were the problems that I diagnosed that needed fixed:
- Power assembly was completely broken, but still worked
- E Key was broken
- Something in the I/O boards were broken causing the touchscreen to now work properly
- Several screws were missing and/or were not seated properly (cosmetic)
The big issue was the touchscreen issue. You couldn’t choose the drop-down menu (upper right) which rendered the synth very unusable. Upon troubleshooting this I found that it was a slider issue. The likely culprit was the Value slider. I found a replacement slider online but I wasn’t sure it was just the slider. I cleaned the slider but it still didn’t work, so I assumed it was the slider but I wanted to find a replacement of the 2085 control board if possible.
I found all the parts for the power assembly new at Keyboard Kountry (check them out, they have a great stock of replacement parts for Tritons and other keyboards). I also bought a replacement set of screws since some were missing and others were slightly stripped. Nice that they offered this! They also had the “E” key for a great price.
The 2085 board was a different story…there were no boards available on the internet that I could find, except one I found in Austria on eBay. I’ve had mixed results buying used parts on eBay in the past, but the seller had a good feedback rating and said it was 100% working, so I took a chance and purchased the board. It took 2 weeks to arrive.
Here are the boards after I removed them. The upper right is the jack board, the upper center is the 2085 human interface board and the lower tray holds the CPUs.
The keyboard assembly, the bottom (with floppy drive attached) and main control board still attached to the chassis.
Reference photos showing the headphone jack connection (there are two small sockets on the jack board that are the same, so I wanted to be sure to remember what went where)
Reference photo showing the wiring of the jacks and wiring harnesses
Reference photo of the main motherboard wiring
The parts came in within a couple of weeks, and I started to do the repair and reassembly work. The power assembly was simple, two screws and a simple plug into the power supply PCB. That took 5 minutes and now works like a charm!
Power assembly showing the jack into the PCB. Simple replacement; nice to find a full assembly with button at Keyboard Kountry!
Power looks much better and is safe!
To replace the broken key, you have to remove the keyboard assembly entirely, which is a bit of effort! At the top of the keys there is a plastic clip that sits along the entire assembly. Sliding this off, you now have room to slide the key upwards and it will pop right out. Putting the new key in is the same, in reverse. Then re-position the clip and you’re good to go!
Most keyboards are similar to this, there is a plastic “clip” that sits on the back edge of the keyboard assembly, removing this provides a small amount of space that allows enough room to slide the keys back and they will pop out
This shows the broken key from the back, the plastic guides should be showing like the other white keys; those were busted off and the key needed replaced
If you are missing a key entirely, you MUST make sure you get that metal insert–this replacement key didn’t come with one so I got lucky that I already had it! Without this metal piece the key will not work properly. If you are replacing the key like I am, you transfer this metal to the new key. Notice the broken plastic guides that render the key useless
The most difficult part of the reassembly was the wiring. I noted this and added some tape with reference letters to help me remember where the harnesses attached to. Note that the wiring is “just long enough” to reach its destinations, so that also helps with reassembly, as does the different amounts of wires in the sockets/jacks–only a couple were the same size and coupled with the wire length being exact it made it easier to know what went where. But given there are a lot of wiring, reference shots and labeling as you disassemble are always a good idea!
There are two small audio connectors on this jack board. I highlighted here (in red) the headphones jack that runs to the front, lower left, of the unit.
Now the Korg Triton is fully functional! Awesome! The sounds are killer and I’m just starting to play with the synthesis engine! The unit was pretty dirty so i scrubbed it down and was able to pull off some of the grime; but unfortunately there are many scratches that are more than skin deep and again that is the “character” you get when buying synthesizers second hand!
Overall this restoration project consumed about 8 hours of time and parts cost a little over $100. Parts are getting difficult to find, however, and so even if the synth isn’t “vintage” it may still be a difficult restoration project…note to self! I got lucky on this one that I was able to procure all the parts immediately without having to put together repetitive web searches like I’ve done for other classic synthesizers in the past!
Here are some great resources for the Korg Triton: