Mattel Synsonic drums (model 5281)

Synsonics Drums by Mattel, analog electronic drum machine made in USA in 1981-1982 It has toms, kick & snare sounds and tone/pitch control.

Synsonic in Silent Hill

I had this a long time ago, but sold it during the "I will sample everything". I went to buy a broken Ensoniq SD1 in the jollyfull town of CARPIANO near Milan (Italy) it was quite a journey similar to SILENT HILL for the deep mist around. The road was narrow with ditches on both side.

Once arrived (nearly) safe and sound the seller was quite a nice chap, but the Ensoniq was dead as hell. But ok, that's part of the job. Just before leaving, I noticed the plastic corner of a Synsonic in the middle of a lot of old broken arrangers (fancy stuff like solton and elka omb). I asked for the price and quite kindly, the seller just said to get it away for free.
I left Silent hill and got back home to check out the Mattel, the Ensoniq will have to wait.

What's wrong with it?

GOSH! a mess, a total mess of corrosion battery leakage everywhere. The springs were totally eaten by the years.  I do hate that kind of job, especially at that point. Lucky enough, the main board seems not to have any damages and look in pretty good shape, including capacitors and IC.

Ok first thing to do: plastic gloves and remove that MAZDA battery from Reagan era. There are 8 screws on the back of the drum: 4 longs + 4 shorter. The rest is pretty easy: the battery slot pops out with no problem. Just desolder the  positive and negative wires to begin cleaning the whole slot with iron brush and  isopropylic alcohol. 

UPPER  - Quite gross, but someone has to to the job. Iron brush it your tool to remove the big amount of dried leakage.

Using sandpaper for finish... The result is not bad , just soldering new springs to the board, one especially is totally gone. Quick testing with multimeter and continuity is there. Now it's time to test!

Reassembling and testing

Quickly testing the Synsonic hooking 9VDC to the battery pole (if you use a PSU, remember it's positive central and it uses a 1.5mm connector) with 500 mA and it switched on without a hitch.

The sound are actually pretty good as far as I remember, with nice deep low tom, not much control on them but ok. Now I'd like to figure out how to add some kind of trigger control, but I don't like much the idea to drill original machine, so I will just keep it a 80' funny drum.

If you need it, here's the english MANUAL

and here the SERVICE MANUAL

Download service manual

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