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Joined: Nov 2013
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lolatu Offline OP
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This thread is for documenting problems and fixes for Kawai Grand Feel key actions, which currently includes models CA65, CA95, CS7, CS10, and MP11.

Please feel free to contribute. I suggest the following template:

Title:
a title summarizing the problem
Symptoms:
detailed description, with video / pictures as relevant
Fix summary:
a sentence summarizing the fix, if known
Repair instructions:
detailed instructions, with video / pictures where possible

All repairs are attempted at your own risk!

Procedures documented here should not be taken as authoritative in any way, unless noted. I am not a technician, and in the absence of any documentation or input from Kawai themselves, they are derived from common sense and experimentation.

Contents:
Accessing key action on the CA95
Noisy front rail
Clicking balance rail
Scraping sounds coming from keys
Key volume different
Vibration sound in key stop rail
Sticky or slow keys
Odd key return noise
Clicky key tops
Sticking key (MP11)

Last edited by lolatu; 06/03/14 09:25 AM.
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lolatu Offline OP
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Accessing key action on the CA95

1. Remove the 12 screws on the back panel, and set the panel aside

2. Disconnect the top speakers. Free the cable from the cable ties

[Linked Image]

3. Slide the top section forward, and lift off. It's quite heavy

4. Remove key cover by loosening the two screws holding the pinions, and slide the pinions inwards, before lifting the cover away

[Linked Image]

5. Remove the key stop rail. Two screws on each end go into the wood and can be a bit tough; an electric or ratcheted screwdriver is handy. One screw in the middle. Disconnect the tweeters at the back, release black and blue wires from cable ties, and lift out the rail, taking care not to scratch the cabinetry!

[Linked Image]

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lolatu Offline OP
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Title:
Noisy front rail

Symptoms:
Some keys sound different to others when played loud. In particular, a plasticky clicking sound.


Fix summary:
Release and tighten screws on front rail

Repair instructions:
Equipment required: Phillips screwdriver, 4 thin cable ties, masking tape, soft work surface

1. Open the cabinet as described in post above. Check that the front rail is the source of the problem, by removing the key and surrounding keys, and tapping the felt.


2. Remove screws securing the keyboard assembly. 5 screws underneath the front of the keyboard (1), then remove the buffle board (2) to access the 6 screws along the back (3).

[Linked Image]

3. Lift out the 2 end keys and hammers, so that it is possible to grip the chassis on the sides.
note: It may be possible to do the following steps without removing the keyboard assembly from the case, by lifting the front and bringing the assembly forwards slightly, to avoid hitting the speaker connection board at the back. You'll probably need another person to hold the assembly at an angle while you work underneath.

4. Cut the cable ties on the green cable, and gently detach the connectors from the keyboard assembly (a small flat-head screwdriver might help lift them out)
[Linked Image]

5. Detach the small red connector on the right hand side

6. Put some masking tape or similar over the keys to hold them in place (otherwise they'll fall out when you turn the assembly upside down)

7. Pick the key assembly up by the sides of the metal chassis and place it upside down on a soft surface like a bed. You can now access the front rail screws.

[Linked Image]

8. Loosen and re-tighten all the screws holding the front rail against the metal. Note there is one, labelled "final boss screw" above, that isn't accessible unless you have an angled screwdriver, or you remove the front rail. This hopefully won't matter.

9. Turn the assembly over, and re-check the problem area of the front rail by tapping it. If the noise is gone, then re-assemble the piano by following the above steps in reverse.

Congraturation, problem fixed! laugh yippie

10. If the noise is not gone, you could try applying silicone sealant between the plastic rail and metal chassis. To do this you will need to:
-- remove all the keys and hammers shocked
-- remove screws holding the front part of the chassis in place
-- slide this off the main part of the chassis
[Linked Image]

-- the front rail can now be unscrewed and fully removed, and silicone applied.

In my case, I found that simply re-attaching the rail solved the problem, so it was not necessary to apply silicone, and fully removing the rail had probably not been necessary.

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lolatu Offline OP
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Title:
Clicking balance rail

Symptoms:
A sharp "snapping" sound when the key is depressed initially. Repeating the key does not result in further clicks, until adjacent keys are pressed.



Fix summary:
Loosen screws holding balance rail in place

Remove sticky strip from under balance rail
Apply silicone sealant underneath the balance rail

Note: Inititally I used silicone sealant on 3 octaves where there were problem keys. It seemed to work initially, but the problem returned. Then I tried glue ("Bostik extra-strong clear adhesive") which also worked temporarily, but the problem returned. Then I peeled away the glue and also swapped the balance rail assemblies on the top two octaves.

I finally concluded that it was the problem was caused by the balance rail being held too tightly against the metal, causing it to creak. I replaced the glue strips I'd peeled away with some double-sided adhesive tape, and made sure that the screws were only tightened enough not to be loose.

So it may be sufficient simply to loosen the balance rail screws (rail is held by the glue).


Repair instructions:

1. Open up piano to access action

2. Lift out the keys and hammers from the octave causing problems. Octaves go from C# to C.

3. Try wiggling the pins for the offending notes to check that they are indeed the problem. It's not the pins themselves, but the connection between the plastic rail and chassis (they don't click when the rail is removed).



3a. Loosen and tighten the screws so that they are only just holding the rail in place, i.e. not tight. The glue will do the main work of holding the rail, but there needs to be a small amount of flexibility possible to prevent creaking. This should solve the problem. If not, you can try the following steps.

4. Undo the 5 screws on the balance rail section. The rail is stuck on with 2 sticky strips. Carefully pull the rail up from the its back edge, to lift the rail out. Be careful not to lose any of the paper spacers on the pins, if there are any.

[Linked Image]
^ Interestingly, not all the pins were completely vertical (same on octave to the left). Doesn't seem to have any negative effect.

5. Remove the sticky strips stuck to the metal and plastic, and dispose.

Previous solution (that didn't really work):
Apply glue/silicone sealant to the base where it will touch the metal. I could perhaps have been a little more generous with the sealant than I was in the picture below, but you don't need much.
[Linked Image]


6. Screw the rail back down firmly loosely, and put keys hand hammers back. If you used glue/silicone, it may be best not to re-assemble the piano until the silicone has cured (a few hours), since it releases acetic acid fumes which are best ventilated away.

[Linked Image]

7. Check that the pins are no longer clicking, and re-assemble the piano.

Last edited by lolatu; 06/03/14 09:00 AM.
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lolatu Offline OP
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Title:
Scraping sounds coming from keys

Symptoms:
There's a kind of squelchy scraping side when depressing the key, especially if the pressure is over to one side.



Fix summary:
Remove splinter or rough edge

Repair instructions:
1. Access key action as in post above.

2. Look for splinters. Here's the tiny culprit in this case:

[Linked Image]

3. Pull off the splinter; sand down key edge if necessary


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All those repairs! Is your piano still under warranty?

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It's interesting to see Kawai fans improving their instruments in this way. It's similar in many respects to the bespoke enhancements that Ravenscroft/Ravenswork are making to the VPC1.

Originally Posted by MacMacMac
Is your piano still under warranty?


I believe lolatu purchased his CA95 second hand, so the warranty will have no longer been valid.

Cheers,
James
x


Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
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lolatu Offline OP
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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
All those repairs! Is your piano still under warranty?

Nope. Kawai's warranty is 1 year in the UK (3 yrs parts), non-transferable. But maybe it's for the best. I bet there are a whole bunch of people out there suffering with such easily fixable ailments but too scared to whip out the screwdriver for fear of invalidating their warranty. I'd rather do it myself than have to wait for ages for a technician who may or may not have a clue what he's doing (*cough* iceporky *cough*).

Although I've seen several reports of noisy keys, I haven't found any reports of fixes, so that's where this thread comes in. Maybe it'll enable a few more of these to be fixed rather than replacing the whole unit under warranty.


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It`d be interesting to know how many dealers would even acknowledge such problems; most likely response "We couldn`t hind anything wrong . . " or "That`s considered normal on an instrument of this kind . . "

But ONE YEAR guarantee on such an expensive item? Not good, is it?


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I hope, Kawai would demonstrate their gratitude to lolatu, for pinpointing and solving some of their production / QA problems in a very positive way.

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Kawai James wrote:

"Great mod lolatu, and well documented too!
It's really interesting to see Kawai fans improving their instruments in this way."

With all due respect to Kawai James, I don't see these as "mods" that Kawai owners should consider doing (risking their warranties) to "improve their instruments" ... but rather as ... quality control issues that Kawai needs to address before instruments reach their customers.

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Originally Posted by MiguelAngel07
Kawai James wrote:

"Great mod lolatu, and well documented too!
It's really interesting to see Kawai fans improving their instruments in this way."

With all due respect to Kawai James, I don't see these as "mods" that Kawai owners should consider doing (risking their warranties) to "improve their instruments" ... but rather as ... quality control issues that Kawai needs to address before instruments reach their customers.


Well, I do think that every person's level of what they feel is "quality control" differs. I have not encountered the issues described here in my MP11 (yet). The OP's instrument was purchased used and no longer under warranty, and so it is hard to say if it was like this off the shelf or if this is a natural degrading over time. I think the latter is to be expected in any instrument, don't you?


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Originally Posted by Morodiene
Originally Posted by MiguelAngel07
Kawai James wrote:

"Great mod lolatu, and well documented too!
It's really interesting to see Kawai fans improving their instruments in this way."

With all due respect to Kawai James, I don't see these as "mods" that Kawai owners should consider doing (risking their warranties) to "improve their instruments" ... but rather as ... quality control issues that Kawai needs to address before instruments reach their customers.


Well, I do think that every person's level of what they feel is "quality control" differs. I have not encountered the issues described here in my MP11 (yet). The OP's instrument was purchased used and no longer under warranty, and so it is hard to say if it was like this off the shelf or if this is a natural degrading over time. I think the latter is to be expected in any instrument, don't you?


I am glad you are not having issues with your MP11, but that certainly does not mean that others may or may not have them. The MP11 just came out, so it's still too early to know if the Grand Feel issues reported above are "outliers" and not statistically significant problems to worry about.

Regarding your statement about instruments naturally degrading over time, I would expect that to occur over the very long haul, but certainly not after only a few years of usage.


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I do not expect much degrading over time in this price class.
What lolatu is documenting looks more like lapses in quality control.
Disturbing noise inside a keyboard mechanism, which is (advertised as) extra quiet,
is a serious issue and IMO not picky-ness.
Besides the price class of approx +2000 Euros for DPs with GF action.

But so far I am very positive about it, as Kawai seems to have a very friendly and prompt customer service.
Extending to "3 years full warranty" would be another hint to the customer, that he would be offered a quality product.



Last edited by lophiomys; 05/07/14 10:17 AM. Reason: typo1 paren
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Originally Posted by Morodiene
..... The OP's instrument was purchased used and no longer under warranty, and so it is hard to say if it was like this off the shelf or if this is a natural degrading over time. I think the latter is to be expected in any instrument, don't you?


Fair enough, except that the fixes mentioned are things like removal of wood splinters and cushioning of a noisy mechanism. These don't sound like 'natural degrading problems' really. In any case, this piano can't be much older than about 18 months (the CA65 is still part of the newest series, right?). I think most people would expect a digital piano to have a longer life in perfect working order than 2 years - even if they are considered 'consumer products' rather than true musical instruments by some people.

Perhaps I'm an optimist (or in need of a reality check smile ) but I was rather hoping my piano would never need replacing in the foreseeable future.....maybe that's unrealistic (?)


::::::::::::edit:::::

....though on reflection, I quite agree that some people are far more demanding than others, and slight irregularities or extraneous noises may be considered serious faults by some, inconsequential irregularities by others and marks of character by others, still. So 'modding' is maybe a fair description of what lolatu is doing here.

Last edited by toddy; 05/07/14 09:34 AM.

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Consequently every piano technician for an acoustic piano would be a modder now?! Jesus.
IMO and in general, a piano action has to be even and free of irregularities especially in this price class.
Disturbing noises because of loose parts in a new music instrument do no add any kind of character.

"only a fool is fooled"
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Last edited by lophiomys; 05/07/14 10:23 AM.
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Originally Posted by lophiomys
.....a piano action has to be even and free of irregularities especially in this price class.
Disturbing noises because of loose parts in a new music instrument do no add any kind of character.


I'm talking about extremely minor levels of noise. Ones that most people wouldn't even notice. But I remember when I first heard a recording of Helmut Walcha playing chorale preludes with a new, high quality 'hyper-elliptical' stylus. For the first time you could hear some of the mechanism of the organ. Rather than spoiling the experience, I quite liked these 'extraneous' noises - they added to the experience.

It is foolish, in a sense, I agree. Bach did not write any such bellows noises into his scores (he didn't write any performance directions, really, did he?). However, there was a feeling of being there by the organist, I suppose, that was agreeable.

As in some other matters, Glenn Gould took this principle too far. But he's still wonderful and so are his recording.

And I'd prefer to have no key noises at all, certainly, but below a certain level, I think it's expected and acceptable in a quality control sense....it's just a matter of reasonable tolerance.

Last edited by toddy; 05/07/14 10:41 AM.

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Originally Posted by lophiomys
Consequently every piano technician for an acoustic piano would be a modder now?! Jesus.
IMO and in general, a piano action has to be even and free of irregularities especially in this price class.
Disturbing noises because of loose parts in a new music instrument do no add any kind of character.

"only a fool is fooled"
SCNR


And yet, technicians exist for a reason. They sometimes work on $50k+ pianos that have issues that happen. I just paid $1500 for work done on my Petrof and there are still some issues and these are new parts. As things settle, things that are fine "out of the factory" can become an issue, or something that exists but isn't an issue can become more of one over time and use.

Since we are dealing with wood, humidity changes can cause problems, and also wear and tear on felt can create issues over time, and sometimes not a lot of time. I consider what the OP here is doing is maintenance.


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"I consider what the OP here is doing is maintenance. . . "

It`s not, over this time scale. He`s doing a quality audit and the company is found wanting. Badly, imo. Good job Kawai don`t do submarines . . .

"Down down, deeper and down . . . .." Status Quo . .



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Originally Posted by peterws
"I consider what the OP here is doing is maintenance. . . "

It`s not, over this time scale. He`s doing a quality audit and the company is found wanting. Badly, imo. Good job Kawai don`t do submarines . . .

"Down down, deeper and down . . . .." Status Quo . .



I think the things I noted above are to be expected from a digital piano who has wooden keys and are trying to make it authentic. There are benefits to that and drawbacks. The benefits are the feel, but the drawback may be that there's more maintenance than an all plastic and metal DP. This is somewhat uncharted territory for DPs, but from what I know of humidity effects on APs, it certainly could be a cause for the OPs issues.

We'll see if other people have issues over time. Up until now, my MP11 has been in an air-conditioned environment with relatively stable humidity. Now I'm in WI where the humidity will fluctuate quite a bit once we get into summer. I'm curious to see if I notice the kind of changes my APs go through with the swing.


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