Norns: DIY encoder fix

PLEASE ONLY DO THIS IF YOU ARE EXPERIENCED AND CONFIDENT WITH SOLDERING

if your encoders replaced and cannot DIY, contact help@monome.org

symptom: encoder values are jumpy.

solution: replace the encoder. i’m still trying to identify what happened with our assembly house with certain batches, or if this is related to flaws in the actual OEM parts.

some people have requested information on fixing these, so i shot a video of how i do it:

you can get replacement parts incredibly cheaply:

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I believe I recognize this norns as my own (thanks again!). I would’ve gladly DIYed that if I had seen this video first…

I had this issue and sent my norns back to you since I’m not proficient in soldering myself. It came back and was fixed which I was very thankful for but I am now having the same issue again. Are there any other options for the encoders? I’d gladly pay more money for an option that might be more robust.

are they the same encoder position having trouble again? (ie, E3?)

i’ve been looking into other parts, though there’s no promise they’re better quality. i really can’t tell if it’s simply an issue of bournes having some badly manufactured batches out there, or if they were warehoused in poor conditions, or what.

e-mail help@monome.org and you can ship it in again.

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So far I’m noticing it pretty bad on encoder 2 again. Originally it was encoder 2 and 3 that I was having major issues with. Unfortunately for me Im up near the arctic circle working for the next few months so I won’t be able to send it in until I get home.

I did the DIY replacement this week and can confirm as a mildy experienced DIYer it was a tedius job. I think my soldering iron wasnt hot enough to be fast about it but it’s done now and the encoder jitters are gone. So that’s a win.

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Curious. The datasheet says hand soldering is not recommended. Why would it say that?

sensitivity to overheating, for one. get in get out quick

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Just to share my experience, I have modest experience with soldering (and probably a little too much confidence :wink: ) and I just replaced all three encoders on my Norns. The first encoder was a bit of a struggle, but after that it went quite smoothly. Some advice for the adventurous:

  • Gain some experience in desoldering before you start.
  • Start with E1, the encoder above the screen, if that needs replacement. It doesn’t have any other components nearby, so you’ll have some more space to practice (at least on the black PCB, this may be different for the green one).
  • This is very basic soldering advice, but make sure your soldering iron tip is tinned. If you have a somewhat decent soldering iron which gets hot, but for some reason the desoldering wick doesn’t seem to do its job, this may very well be the cause. For me it made all the difference between a long struggle and the smooth working flow from the video above.
  • If you have some solder stuck in the PCB holes, sometimes it helps to add a bit of solder. Then the wick can absorb everything in one go.
  • Sometimes I had a leg of the old encoder break off when trying to remove it. This resulted in a tiny piece of leg remaining stuck in the PCB. It was quite tricky to remove this, so try not to break it off. Alternatively you could maybe cut it in advance, so you have more grip on the remaining piece.

I did make a few light scratches on the PCB, so I hope that won’t give problems on the long run, but no components or electric lines were crossed, and I tried not to overheat the PCB too much. In the end I’m really happy to have them replaced. They were very jumpy before, also when rotating them slowly, and for a long while I just lived with the bits of chaos. But now the Norns feels super reliable and solid, reflecting the careful design that went into it!

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Idk if I should make a separate thread for this, but I’m having an issue w E3 locking up entirely. I can’t get it to move at all without using a pair of pliers, and I can’t think of anything that would have caused this. I took it apart and can’t find anything that could be a cause or symptom.
Should I hit it w some WD40? Or just wait until Monday to send it to Monome :confused:

email help@monome.org ! we will correct!

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