FR-8X Surgury

June 21, 2019

As mentioned briefly in my previous posting, the battery on my 8X is dying and I am in the process of addressing that.  More seriously is that for some unknown reason the accordion completely stopped working, and even plugging it in to the AC power, it did not work at all.  A fast research online and it seems that some people had similar issues that required the MAIN board to be replaced.

On Wednesday (June 19), I called Roland Canada and their best educated guess was that indeed I was having the issue of a defective MAIN board.  Price: $680+tax… ouch.  I asked if they had the part in stock, and they verified that indeed, it was on the premises.

Well, it needed to be fixed, and so I looked at my schedule.  The closest date I could do it was yesterday (Thursday June 20), so I decided to make the 1,150km round trip to Toronto and back all within the same day and I also invited my mom to come and share the adventure with me.  Wednesday night I tried to get to bed early, but of course, could not fall asleep, and finally just got up at midnight and packed everything in the car.  My mom packed us some snacks and coffee, and off we went!

Toronto is a horrible place from the point of view of the traffic.  Everything went well until Oshawa, where 5:00AM traffic was already crawling along at a brisk 12kph.  Ugh!  Anytime you pass through Toronto, don’t forget to take along a huge supply of spare time and massive doses of patience.

After passing through the gauntlet that is east end of Toronto, we made it in to the Richmond Hills area and easily found the location of the Roland Repair Center, and were even there a bit early!  We were both a little beat, but wanted to be the first people the techs saw that day, so we both leaned our seats back and snoozed for a short while.  When the people from Roland opened shop, we were ready and waiting.  I had the chance to meet a couple of super nice gentlemen, one of which would be diagnosing my accordion.  We filled out the requisite paperwork and then left to find a place for breakfast.

Challenge #2… there were TONS of restaurants in the area, with a huge display of Chinese, Thai, Japanese, vegan and the list went on and on… but no breakfast places.  I searched on the GPS, found nothing, searched on the smartphone and googled it, but the closest one was like 22km away… ridiculous.  Finally with no other choice, we went to a Tim Horton’s.  They make great coffee and donuts, but other than that, their food is pretty bad, as we found out.  Bland and tasteless, at least we were not hungry.

We made it back to Roland after breakfast and spoke to Kaz, our technician, who had more bad news for me.  Yes, the main board was toast, as was the Jack board, and the motor that was controlling the amount of air that the bellows used was also not functioning.  He said he would need more time to diagnose and that he would call me back on my cell within a couple of hours with more info.  I saw that my Visa card was going to be used heavily today… but was committed to getting it fixed, and to be honest, at that point, I did not care what the cost was, as long as we could somehow get it fixed that same day.  The other gent realized that we were from out of town and suggested that we check out a local music store, and then piqued my curiosity when he said that it was the largest music store in Canada and how interesting it was.  Well, I had to see that, and the fact that it was only 10 minutes away by car… off we went!

The place was called COSMO MUSIC, and long story short, we spent an easy 3 hours looking around, talking to people and ogling their massive collection of guitars, pianos, brass, string and electronic instruments.  I was in techno-heaven in their “audio garage” section!  Before someone asks… no, 3 hours was nowhere near enough to see everything in there (the store is a massive 56,000 square feet in size!), but we saw many really interesting parts of the store, like their onsite 375 seat auditorium, 30+ music classrooms and had the pleasure of speaking to a wonderful man that had been mopping the floors there who shared with us some inside stories about the company, its owners and the people that worked there and how the business model was implemented… it was like having a private tour and our ambassador was a very cool gent!

While in the “Audio Garage” section, my cell rang and it was Kaz.  “Here comes the bad news”, I thought.  Well, he basically told me that the accordion was completely fixed… and that there was some good news he needed to share with me when I came in to pick it up.  Off we went back to the Roland Repair Center!
Arriving there, I noticed that the accordion was all packed up, and Kaz told us that its completely functional again.  I was ecstatic, and asked if I could try it out.  I pulled out the accordion, it booted up and right away I noticed that the firmware had been updated to the latest v.2.51, and mentioned it.  I also noticed that all of my custom programming was gone, to which I was told that yes, as it was located on the main board and it is now in 100% “new from the factory” condition.  No problem, I had a backup of everything except one registration, which was easy to recreate.  I played it, and it responded perfectly.

“So… how much do I owe you”, I asked Kaz.  His response was indeed a surprise… there was no charge for the parts, as they were recognized as having some obscure factory defect, and since I had a Canadian bought accordion with warranty, I was good (they had made photocopies of my receipts, invoices, etc…).  I then kind of frowned and said that I was the 2nd owner and indeed well past the warranty period, to which he waved it away and said, that all I needed to pay was $80+tax for the labor.  Again, I frowned and said… “but you were working on it the last 4 hours!”, to which he again waved it away with a smile.

Wow, I mean… WOW.

I paid the man, thanked everyone repeatedly and packed things back in the car.

The drive back was as expected.  Afternoon traffic through Toronto all the way until around Port Hope was atrocious, even to the point where some old Asian man in a Lexus SUV almost ran me off the road (amazing that this guy is alive today, he was a HORRIBLE driver!).  From Port Hope all the way to the Ontario/Quebec border was uneventful except for the 3-4 times we hit construction that slowed us down some, and from there, it was smooth sailing all the way right to my driveway… we both were very tired, but happy!

So, that was the end of it.  What a great little adventure!  The accordion was fixed for the price of getting to Toronto and back (gas and food), and under $100 for the labor.  We found an amazing music store and within some incredible people inside, and I then later shook the hand of the man that fixed my 8X for pretty much nothing… what an amazing 21 hours!