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Avantgrand N3 repair and regulation
#3000796 07/09/20 07:00 PM
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All of a sudden, three notes in my Yamaha Avantgrand N3 have started having problems (C#5, D#5, F#5). It's as if the hammer hits the string and doesn't drop back, so the sound is immediately damped.

This is the first problem I've had with this piano. It's odd that three notes in the same octave have problems all at the same time. I could understand if one note had problems. But three notes close together, suddenly having problems all at the same time, suggests some mechanical connection between the notes, and it's hard to imagine why. The keys feel exactly the same as usual, unlike a traditional piano, where I'd feel the hammer stuck on the string.

Has anyone had a problem with an Avantgrand? Do Avantgrands need repair or regulation?

I guess the next step is pretty obvious: find a technician in the area who can fix Avantgrands. (According to a quick search of the Yamaha website, the closest are 60-70 miles away.)

Is this something I can possibly do myself? Or it foolish to even consider that?

Does anyone have any thoughts to offer?

Actually I'm not sure whether I'm really asking for help. Maybe I'm just asking for sympathy and emotional support. frown


Yamaha Avantgrand N2, Bush & Lane upright grand (1920s), Steinway upright grand (1893)
Re: Avantgrand N3 repair and regulation
Eric NYC #3000803 07/09/20 07:19 PM
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You can try unplugging, resetting, quick recalibration. Search the posts here for tips.

There are Yamaha N3 service manuals in PDF via google.

This guy posted some pictures of N3 regulation

http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthreads.php/topics/1870915/re-n3-regulated-today.html#Post1870915

Re: Avantgrand N3 repair and regulation
Eric NYC #3000809 07/09/20 07:31 PM
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I sometimes get that damping issue. No scientific study but it appears when I try playing before completely turned on. I just turn off and turn back on and it always corrects itself (knock on wood.)


AG N2 | ES 110 | REFACE CP | GK MK & MP amps
Re: Avantgrand N3 repair and regulation
Eric NYC #3000819 07/09/20 07:53 PM
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It could certainly be an action regulation issue, or more likely, a sensor issue.

If it happens as 36251 describes, then it sounds like note playing is interfering with the power-on calibration, which may suggest something happening to the key-sensors (as opposed to the hammer sensors, which are momentary). Also, the key sensors being gradient sensors, I think they would be more susceptible to LED degredation than the hammer sensors. In any case, that would be something for Yamaha support to fix.


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Re: Avantgrand N3 repair and regulation
Eric NYC #3000868 07/09/20 10:46 PM
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Thanks for your comments. But guess what, folks. The problem solved itself! I returned to the piano a little later and the problem was gone. I'd probably turned off the piano in the meantime.

Although I have only a limited understanding of the details of how this piano works, it's hard to understand how this problem could so clearly mimic the infrequent but familiar experience of this on a traditional piano. Of course the designers could certainly build that functionality into the piano deliberately, but why would they? And so, how would an unusual effect like this occur in the first place??

Anyway, I'm apparently OK for now. But in keeping with my personality, I can't help ending on this pessimistic note: As the saying goes, things that go away by themselves can come back by themselves.


Yamaha Avantgrand N2, Bush & Lane upright grand (1920s), Steinway upright grand (1893)
Re: Avantgrand N3 repair and regulation
Eric NYC #3000881 07/09/20 11:37 PM
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Electronics need to be reset and powered down from time to time. The Avantgrand also has some self testing and calibration functions.

And we don't see a lot of Avantgrand issues posted here.

So don't worry and don't assume something is wrong with your Avantgrand.

Re: Avantgrand N3 repair and regulation
newer player #3000979 07/10/20 07:15 AM
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What? Why?
Originally Posted by newer player
Electronics need to be reset and powered down from time to time.
There are precious few reasons to reset equipment ... unless its defective.

Re: Avantgrand N3 repair and regulation
Eric NYC #3000990 07/10/20 07:53 AM
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On occasion, SW glitches or mains transients or dips may cause malunction. Rare but not impossible. I had a problem with an Epson printer a few days ago that was connected to mains but refused to power on through the ON/OFF button. After disconnecting from mains and reconnecting, resumed normal operation.

Last edited by EVC2017; 07/10/20 07:54 AM.

Kawai ES8, Roland RD2000, Yamaha AG06 mixer, Presonus Eris E5 monitors, Sennheiser HD598SR phones.
Re: Avantgrand N3 repair and regulation
Eric NYC #3001040 07/10/20 10:56 AM
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I own an N3 I bought used less than a year ago. Initially I had 2 serious problems with it that required 2 in-home visits by a Yamaha trained tech to fix. So don't assume that these things are bullet proof. And according to the tech that fixed my 2 issues, he had come across an N3 owned by a church that was used so much that it went out of regulation. Yet they didn't bother fixing it and kept using it until the being out of regulation caused some damage that required him to be called in for repair. He said that had they kept it maintained by regulating it when needed, it wouldn't have been broken the way it was, requiring much more expensive repairs. I think when regulation is needed depends on how much the N3 gets played. I'd imagine that an N3 owned by a church gets used a lot often than one owned by an individual. By the way, it so happened that the used N3 I bought was just regulated by the same tech for the previous owner before it was put on the market and bought by me. He's the only tech in our metropolitan area so he knows all the AGs in the area because he's the only one servicing them. The previous owner of my N3 was a professional musician so he must have played it to the point of needing a regulation before he sold it.

Now to quickly explain the 2 issues I had. Luckily the store I bought it from offered their own warranty when I bought it, because the factory warranty is not transferable from owner to owner, so I was able to get a Yamaha trained tech to fix it.

The first issue I had was that about an octave in the lower key notes did not sound loud enough no matter how hard I strike them. The tech had to replace the circuit board for the hammer sensors to fix it.

The second issue was that several notes spanning a couple of octaves around the middle C don't consistently get triggered into a sound if I strike them softly enough, even though they should make a soft sound. For this, the tech replaced the circuit board for the key velocity sensors and also recalibrated the sensors by turning the screws on each key and listening to debugging tones that tell him when the keys are within calibration. That fixed this issue, but when I asked him so what it was that fixed the issue, the velocity sensor circuit board replacement or the manual calibration on each key that he did, and he said he's not sure, he just did both to get it fix and wasn't concerned about the true culprit of the issue. I originally asked him if maybe this issue meant the action needed regulation and he said no, because he knows the previous owner of this N3 and he just re-regulated this N3 for the previous owner before it was traded in at the store.

I also asked him if the velocity sensor circuit board (or the hammer sensor circuit board) goes bad, why didn't it fail altogether but only intermittently on some keys? He said that it's possible that the LEDs driven by those circuit boards get weaker over time, hence the intermittent problem on some keys itself. But it seems like the MO for Yamaha is to recommend their techs to try to replace the circuit boards first before trying to debug anything else.

He also told me that some N3 action parts use real wood so they're much more expensive than N3X action parts, because some of those parts had been changed to plastic for the N3X. But luckily these parts are interchangeable between the N3 and N3X, so for the N3 at that church that he was talking about, he was able to use the cheaper N3X parts to replace the more expensive N3 parts with. It surprised me a little bit that being out of regulation can eventually leads to action part failure like that. I thought it'd just affect the sound only. But apparently not so.

Last edited by Volusiano; 07/10/20 11:04 AM.
Re: Avantgrand N3 repair and regulation
Volusiano #3001061 07/10/20 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Volusiano
He said that had they kept it maintained by regulating it when needed, it wouldn't have been broken the way it was, requiring much more expensive repairs. I think when regulation is needed depends on how much the N3 gets played. I'd imagine that an N3 owned by a church gets used a lot often than one owned by an individual.

The above statement concerns me for 2 reasons. Number one, church pianos never get played as much as a piano in the home of an actual pianist. I've served as a pastor for over 20 years in three different churches and our pianos usually get played around 1 hour a week.

Number two, if regulation was a prerequisite for proper function (like an oil change on a car) then it should be mentioned in the manual, but it's not.

Quote
For this, the tech replaced the circuit board for the key velocity sensors and also recalibrated the sensors by turning the screws on each key and listening to debugging tones that tell him when the keys are within calibration. That fixed this issue, but when I asked him so what it was that fixed the issue, the velocity sensor circuit board replacement or the manual calibration on each key that he did, and he said he's not sure, he just did both to get it fix and wasn't concerned about the true culprit of the issue. I originally asked him if maybe this issue meant the action needed regulation and he said no, because he knows the previous owner of this N3 and he just re-regulated this N3 for the previous owner before it was traded in at the store.

It seems regulation or lack thereof was not the cure or cause of your problems. I'm happy to regulate my N1X, but there seems to be no evidence that regulating is required for proper maintenance. If it was I'd like to know what was required so I could do it.

God Bless,
David


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Re: Avantgrand N3 repair and regulation
Eric NYC #3001073 07/10/20 11:55 AM
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Just in case it's relevant, you should ensure you or nothing else are touching or resting on the keys during the power on cycle. That can cause unexpected results.

Re: Avantgrand N3 repair and regulation
Volusiano #3001082 07/10/20 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Volusiano
He also told me that some N3 action parts use real wood so they're much more expensive than N3X action parts, because some of those parts had been changed to plastic for the N3X. But luckily these parts are interchangeable between the N3 and N3X, so for the N3 at that church that he was talking about, he was able to use the cheaper N3X parts to replace the more expensive N3 parts with.

This is the first I've heard of the cost, but it makes sense and corroborates what we've seen with the N3X/N1X (replacement of some action parts with plastic). I assume it actually is the case that the parts are truly interchangeable, but honestly I would be a bit off-put if I had an issue and some wooden parts were replaced with plastic (I know it's not exactly the same, but imagine if your NWX keys were replaced with GH3 keys)...kind of a live-by-the-sword position for makers that heavily promote/market the benefit of "real wood" in their actions/keys? smile

Originally Posted by Volusiano
It surprised me a little bit that being out of regulation can eventually leads to action part failure like that. I thought it'd just affect the sound only. But apparently not so.
At some point, "out of regulation" means "out of operating spec." If you have mechanical parts that are too loose or too tight or aligned incorrectly, it's reasonable to assume that could eventually lead to damage.


Yamaha P-85, P-105, CP50, Kawai MP11 || Kawai NV-10
Re: Avantgrand N3 repair and regulation
David B #3001086 07/10/20 12:36 PM
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Originally Posted by David B
Originally Posted by Volusiano
He said that had they kept it maintained by regulating it when needed, it wouldn't have been broken the way it was, requiring much more expensive repairs. I think when regulation is needed depends on how much the N3 gets played. I'd imagine that an N3 owned by a church gets used a lot often than one owned by an individual.

The above statement concerns me for 2 reasons. Number one, church pianos never get played as much as a piano in the home of an actual pianist. I've served as a pastor for over 20 years in three different churches and our pianos usually get played around 1 hour a week.

Number two, if regulation was a prerequisite for proper function (like an oil change on a car) then it should be mentioned in the manual, but it's not.

Quote
For this, the tech replaced the circuit board for the key velocity sensors and also recalibrated the sensors by turning the screws on each key and listening to debugging tones that tell him when the keys are within calibration. That fixed this issue, but when I asked him so what it was that fixed the issue, the velocity sensor circuit board replacement or the manual calibration on each key that he did, and he said he's not sure, he just did both to get it fix and wasn't concerned about the true culprit of the issue. I originally asked him if maybe this issue meant the action needed regulation and he said no, because he knows the previous owner of this N3 and he just re-regulated this N3 for the previous owner before it was traded in at the store.

It seems regulation or lack thereof was not the cure or cause of your problems. I'm happy to regulate my N1X, but there seems to be no evidence that regulating is required for proper maintenance. If it was I'd like to know what was required so I could do it.

God Bless,
David

I guess what you said makes sense about churches' pianos not used so much except once or twice a week during service. I know for a fact that I play the N3 at home a few hours almost every day, so it's much more often than once or twice a week like at a church. So I take my comment back about churches' pianos getting used a lot. I wonder if this N3 at the church is maybe in a community room or something for practice, instead of in the worship area, where it may be more prone to over use. Who knows...

And yes, the tech did tell me that my 2 issues were not due to lack of regulation. But he only ruled it out because he said he knew he already regulated that N3 himself recently just before it was sold. Why the previous owner had him come in to regulate the N3 in the first place, I have no idea. I don't know if he felt that it was needed and paid for it out of pocket, or if it was covered as part of some other issue while still under warranty, I have no idea.

I sure would like to know myself when regulation is needed. It's probably not part of a regular maintenance program per se. But I guess when a problem appears, you'd have to try to get it fixed anyway, and if it's due to being out-of-regulation, the tech would tell you. My tech did say that the problem of the N3 at that church was due to being out of regulation, and they never bother trying to fix it until a small problem became bad enough that part of the action became broken.

Last edited by Volusiano; 07/10/20 12:42 PM.
Re: Avantgrand N3 repair and regulation
Eric NYC #3001088 07/10/20 12:36 PM
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So the N3X uses ‘cheaper’ parts/components than the N3?

You know, they also saved some money by getting rid of the short stick, and despite the cheaper N1X having an audio interface, the N3X does not. And no, I don’t accept the excuse that the N3X’s sound system is more complex because it turns out that the N3X is also more expensive and skipping on this ‘great’ feature is unforgivable.

Re: Avantgrand N3 repair and regulation
Eric NYC #3001095 07/10/20 01:03 PM
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While we're on the topic of N3 repair, I had another N3 (that now goes to my son) bought around 2009. Shortly after it went out of its warranty, one of the transducers that gives the action the vibrating feel went bad. It made this buzzing noise when the action was being played. Luckily I was able to order a new transducer from Yamaha in CA and replace it myself, because it's on the outside underneath the N3 covered by a metal box. The transducer part alone was nearly $200. Luckily the Yamaha service lady felt bad that it went bad just after the 5 year warranty expired, so she didn't charge me for the part cost.

My daughter also has an N3 of her own just over 5 years now. That one did not have any issue so far. But I don't think she plays with it a lot due to being very busy with work.

Re: Avantgrand N3 repair and regulation
MacMacMac #3001119 07/10/20 02:00 PM
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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
What? Why?
Originally Posted by newer player
Electronics need to be reset and powered down from time to time.
There are precious few reasons to reset equipment ... unless its defective.
No electronic instrument is 100% reliable. Even the venerable Casio watch and HP calculator will glitch, although this is rare and highly unlikely on your watch.

Source: professor buddy who designed and built supercomputers. And performed large-scale studies on electronics reliability.

Re: Avantgrand N3 repair and regulation
Eric NYC #3001237 07/10/20 05:14 PM
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It's also interesting to note that the design of the N3 is such that replacing the velocity sensor circuit board requires removing all 88 keys of the keybed to take off a metal rail to access this circuit board under the key bed. You would think that they should factor this in to their design to make replacing this circuit board a lot easier. At one time the tech had all 88 of my key actions all over my floor to get to the board.

But replacing the hammer sensor circuit board is easier because it's situated above the key bed. No need for keybed removal.

Having watched him do both replacements, and even though I'd like to think I'm a mechanically inclined guy, I would not want to attempt to do any of this repair myself. Despite arming himself with online service manuals on his phone, he still from time to time needed to call in to Yamaha corporate tech support to confer about this and that. Especially during the calibration part.

He's the only AvantGrand tech in AZ. He came from an acoustic background and primarily does tuning and regulation of acoustic pianos before getting roped into servicing the AG for Yamaha at some point because they didn't have anybody in AZ that does this. At least that's what he told me.

Last edited by Volusiano; 07/10/20 05:19 PM.
Re: Avantgrand N3 repair and regulation
newer player #3001242 07/10/20 05:30 PM
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Originally Posted by newer player
Originally Posted by MacMacMac
What? Why?
Originally Posted by newer player
Electronics need to be reset and powered down from time to time.
There are precious few reasons to reset equipment ... unless its defective.
No electronic instrument is 100% reliable. Even the venerable Casio watch and HP calculator will glitch, although this is rare and highly unlikely on your watch.

Source: professor buddy who designed and built supercomputers. And performed large-scale studies on electronics reliability.

Just because electronics fail it doesn't mean they are all built with the same reliability / durability. That's one of the problems, for my taste, with DP/hybrids and why I am not willing to pay "much" for them (i.e. NV10 levels).

You get a good acoustic piano, you know you are paying for decades of a good instrument. With a DP?

Re: Avantgrand N3 repair and regulation
Eric NYC #3001243 07/10/20 05:30 PM
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Does anybody know how to do a software reset on the N3X? I pressed keys during startup, and I noticed that at some points it sounded that the damper pedal was slightly pressed, without pressing it. Currently, the piano does not switch off automatically anymore. I assume a software glitch, but unfortunately the manual does not say anything about resetting the software.


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Re: Avantgrand N3 repair and regulation
Eric NYC #3001249 07/10/20 05:43 PM
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Since we're on the subject (Avantgrands, not Avanantgrand repair), I wonder if anyone has any thoughts on another issue....

When I'm playing a chord, and then press the sostenuto pedal while the chord is still playing, the sound becomes noticeably louder. I imagine this was part of the original design, and the purpose to simulate the richer resonance from the sympathetic vibrations of the other notes (strings) on a traditional piano. However, on a traditional piano, this is a subtle change in the sound quality, and definitely does not increase the volume of the sound.

Has anyone else experienced the same thing? It's very different from a traditional piano, and I don't like it. Can it be fixed?


Yamaha Avantgrand N2, Bush & Lane upright grand (1920s), Steinway upright grand (1893)
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