for some people customer service and sustainable (aka repairable) design is a significant aspect in purchasing decisions. Some companies are known to be, despite their very nice products, lacking in that department. I am looking at you Teenage Engineering. I also kind of lock at you Elektron. Maybe not that hard as I look at TE.
If these aspects are important to you be assured of this: Monome excels here. The customer service is nothing short of perfect. I had two issues with my Norns (display was losing brightness and I had some weird noise at high gain levels through the headphone output).
Let me tell you how that went. I posted in the forum on a saturday. Within hours Brian @tehn replied to the post and recommended to contact customer support, which of course I did (under email@example.com just for reference). Dan @dan_derks offered to send me a new display and with my recent issue a completely pristine new main board of the norns via DHL express along with a video manual how to disassemble the norns and replace parts. He even asked if this way of handling the issue is fine with me. It was. In under a week (sic!) the issue was resolved including sending the replacement parts to Berlin/Germany. Obviously my Norns and me were both happy campers again.
To those who may be afraid to open up their Norns and change components like the display or the rpi module or the board… Don’t be. The Norns is super-self-servicable. You need a small philips screwdriver and - if you don’t want to fumble with pliers to remove the washers that fix the encoders to the case - a size 10 socket nut (german size). The screws are all the same size so no issue with mixing those up. Another big plus in my humble opinion.
Some tipps that may help you along the way.
- As I already said. Get a socket nut to loosen and tighten the washers that hold the encoders. It makes your live way easier when opening up your norns.
- If you want to test your norns before re-assembling put something non-conductive under it. Otherwise pressing KB2 or KB3 will push down the reset button. Not a problem as such but you might be startled by your norns powering down forcefully
- When repositiong the encoder knobs be aware of orientation. If turning an encoder feels “weird” with some slight resistance when turning at some point, pull off the soft knob and check the orientation of the knob and the encoder. Try to be as precise as possible. There… Issue resolved.
- Work savely using antistatic protection if you can.
- Disconnect the battery connector when working.
- When putting in the board with the soft buttons attached be aware that you might push button 1 and thereby accidentally power up your norns.
- When changing the ribbon cable be aware to seat it back tightly. Same with changing the rpi module. (D’oh!)
- When changing the display, don’t force the scews too much. At least I was afraid to overtighten the screws.
- When assembling the norns be aware of your battery cable. Don’t get it caught between the enclosure and the encoder base. Push it out of the way before seating the main board pcb. If you can see the battery cable through the enclosure holes of the encoders don’t tighten the washers. (D’oh again).
Ok… I think that’s about it.
Thank you, Monome. You rock!
PS: Did I mention the components like the display and the battery are available comparably easily. Nothing arcane made of unobtanium that you only get at one specific place on the internet. Not that you need to, I guess. I assume the people at momome have you covered there anyway or can point you to the adequate Mouser page. I am positively unafraid of my battery weakening one day. Also. all markings of all parts are visible. No obscured IC markings or glued components or anything. A subtle but nice touch. There are a number of measuring points, too. So if you are really tech savvy you might even break out your multimeter to check and report voltages. Nice!
PPS: Blabla not affiliated to Monome or any other blablasomethingsomething. Just a customer who is very happy and feels like he definitely threw his money in the right direction.