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Thread: Wulitzer funmaker custom with orbit iii

  1. #1

    Wulitzer funmaker custom with orbit iii

    Hello, first post, just got a Wurlitzer funmaker custom organ with the orbit iii synthesizer, love the fat sounds on that orbit. Some of my bass pedals are either sticking or realy dirty as I have to put a lot of pressure on them before they activate, what's the best thing to clean the contacts with? I have some deoxit spray but I think I read somewhere that something in that stuff can ruin old capacitors so I'm unsure of what to use on it. Also the tibia(others work fine) panel switches don't seem to work, everything else works great, even has built in Leslie speaker witch works with no squeeks or other nasty mechanical noises. I also want to know how many and what kind of tone generators are in it, whats the maximum polyphony on the organ? I know the orbit is a monosynth with single note poly. Is it tunable, I need just temperment for the music I do in Indian scale. Can the volume on the expression pedal go lower, it doesn't seem to go low enough for late night practice unless there's a line out then that would be a workaround, just run thru my stereo.

    Thanks for any info.

  2. #2
    Moderator andyg's Avatar
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    What model Funmaker is it? There will be a maker's plate on it somewhere, probably underneath the keyboard, so it's time to get down on your knees! If it's analogue, which I'm sure it will be, then there's no limit on polyphony. The Orbit is what it is, an early monophonic synth. No bells or whistles like temperaments. How about using the headphones socket as an output, suitably padded down if required. Is the organ standing on carpet? If it's thick pile stuff then that can cause such problems with the pedals?

    I'll let our resident Wurli experts tell you about the contacts, generators etc.
    It's not what you play. It's not how you play. It's the fact that you're playing that counts.

    New website now live - www.andrew-gilbert.com



    Current organ: Kawai SR6 + Leslie 760 Walnut, plus Kawai K1m synth module loaded with my custom sounds.
    Retired Organs: Lots! Hammond T402, T500 x 2, X5. Conn Martinique and 652. Gulbransen 2102 Pacemaker. Kimball something-or-other.
    Retired Leslies, 147, 145, 760, 710, 415 x 2.

  3. #3

    OK... I got my organ home today, its a Wurlitzer funmaker custom model 555D, it needs some work, tone generators are a lil off, orbit works great except the bottom 3 white keys and 2 black keys on the orbit pruduce a higher tone when they should be lower, all the rest on the orbit are fine, on the organ section, plays fine but any kind of polyphony results in some distortion. I can fix it all and restore it all with my background in electronics, but first things first, I removed the back and found some black widow spiders have been busy, cleaned some of the webs out and ended up gatting away quick when I found a live one. What's the best way to get rid of those considering there living inside an electeonic device? I seriously don't need a bite from one of those. I ain't doing anything til those suckers are gone.

  4. #4
    Senior Member indianajo's Avatar
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    Spray kerosene/diesel fuel kills insects and won't short out your circuits. Used to Raid was kerosene based but NYC made them go to a water base, so no good in electronics. Purchase your own atomizer, as this is a fire trap device and should not be used with the power on or near open flame or pilot lights. Don't turn the electricity on or off within 10 m for an hour or so afterwards, either.
    I wouldn't go tuning the oscillators until I had replaced the electrolytic capacitors in the power supplies first. Tuning slugs are sintered metal and can break easily. Whereas your electrolytic capacitors are pre-broken. They are aluminum cans full of water, sealed with rubber. After 40 years, the seal is - well, look at your old bike tires for a condition of old rubber as a seal. Electrolytics have a plus on one end, so don't go changing just any capacitor, as the film and disc ones are long life designs. See this thread about how to install radial lead electrolytic capacitors for the tall cans that are no longer available. http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/tubes...ube-amp-3.html
    Polyphony causing distortion could be the loading down of the dried up power supply capacitors causing the voltage to collapse. You can check the power supply voltages with a meter directly, both quiet and with several rolls of coins on several keys at once.
    Don't know where you are. Morelock's organ service in rienzi Mississippi has the service manuals for these and the best parts stock. They can be reached through mitatechs.org.
    My Wurli 4500 pedal unit had connectors on it. I would start by pulling the connectors, erasing them, cleaning them with alcohol, and reinstalling. You may have to pry on them with a small screwdriver, they may be pretty stuck and the cover is not all that firmly fixed to the base of the connector. If that doesn't help the scratchyness, I would check the reed switches with an ohmmeter through the connector. Reed switches are medium life devices, not as durable as the hard contacts in the manuals in my opinion.
    I put 71 e-capacitors in my tube based Hammond H100 and am thrilled with the result. A transistorized Wurli from the seventies will have that many e-capacitors, which may be even further deteriorated. My 4500 hardly makes a sound. However, since the rubber is good in your roto-sonic, maybe somebody has been in it and done some work already. Look for dates of YYWW where the year is 19YY, and don't replace the ones made after 1990 first. Oriental brand capacitors don't have 2 digit years, but original Wurli installed caps should be mallory, sprague, goodall, aerovox brands mostly.
    city Hammond H-182 organ (2 ea),A100,10-82 TC,Steinway 40" console piano, Sohmer 39" piano, Ensoniq EPS, Wurlitzer 4500, Dynakit ST120, ST70 amps, Herald Ra88 Mixer, Peavey SP2XT speakers,BIC turntable; country Hammond H112.

  5. #5

    I removed the spiders, no chemicals were involved. I suspected bad capacitors, its got a few new ones in it already that somebody replaced, but the majority of them are those old red blobs and they don't look good at all. Will definately be replacing those. Mallory seems to be the brand of choice here. I read that wurlitzer used 2 different roter speaker in these units, a SpectraTone and a Leslie, my controls are labeled Leslie as well as the speaker unit itself. Was there any differences between the two? Mine is in good working order, spins up with no noise or difficulty.
    Thanks for all the info and help. You guys are very knowledgeable, I'm glad I found this forum, there seems to be a big black hole when it comes to information on old organs out in the web. Type hammond b3 or tonewheel into a search engine and you get information overload, same with pipe organs, anything else is just "for sale" and not much real information.

  6. #6
    Senior Member indianajo's Avatar
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    The red capacitors on the frequency generator board are film. Not usually a short life product. Debug individually with a scope or sound probe before you replace one of those. Probably have more Wurli transistors fail than film caps. Electrolytics have a plus on one end, or are tall cans with squares triangles and moons for the plus terminals, or modern e-caps have a minus in balls in a stripe pointing to one lead. On an old electronic device with problems and e-caps, I replace them all before I start doing any serious debugging with schematic and scope. My Wurli did use a few non-polar e-caps on the speakers, marked "xxx volts N.P." Those are electrolytic, will cause tinnyness or boominess on your sound.
    Rotosonic was two 4" dia circular speakers on a counter-weighted arm with a mercury coupler at the center to let the electricity in. About 18" square, 8" deep, motor faces back of organ on mine. I've never seen the inside of a Leslie but I hear they are either two paper cones on a turntable above an upward facing Jensen speaker, or a vertical rotating wood drum with slots with a fixed speaker inside.
    city Hammond H-182 organ (2 ea),A100,10-82 TC,Steinway 40" console piano, Sohmer 39" piano, Ensoniq EPS, Wurlitzer 4500, Dynakit ST120, ST70 amps, Herald Ra88 Mixer, Peavey SP2XT speakers,BIC turntable; country Hammond H112.

  7. #7
    Moderator andyg's Avatar
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    Wurli's Spectratone (I know Indie meant to say that rather than Rotosonic!) is as described, and was Wurli's rotary speaker for generations of organs. However in the early 70's, they switched to an OEM Leslie unit in all organs. The 555 was one of the first (perhaps the first) to have this. I suspect that the Spectratone unit was getting expensive compared to off the shelf leslie units, or kits. The Leslie unit should be an 8" speaker firing into a styrofoam rotor. For this era of organ, that rotor should be on a fairly hefty metal bracket, perhaps built into a detachable wooden unit.

    The Rotosonic is a different Leslie design, with one (occasionally two for specialist applications) 6x9" speaker built into a rotating drum. The whole thing revolved, producing more of a theatrical throbbing tremolo. Only built into a few organs, usually consoles rather than spinets.

    There won't be any stock post-1990 caps in the organ, as it was built in 1976. If anything's been replaced since then, it's a sign that the organ's had an overhaul at some point (pretty unlikely, though) so you can leave these parts alone until you've sorted the old ones.
    It's not what you play. It's not how you play. It's the fact that you're playing that counts.

    New website now live - www.andrew-gilbert.com



    Current organ: Kawai SR6 + Leslie 760 Walnut, plus Kawai K1m synth module loaded with my custom sounds.
    Retired Organs: Lots! Hammond T402, T500 x 2, X5. Conn Martinique and 652. Gulbransen 2102 Pacemaker. Kimball something-or-other.
    Retired Leslies, 147, 145, 760, 710, 415 x 2.

  8. #8
    Senior Member indianajo's Avatar
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    Andy's right, I actually have "spectra-tone" written on some tabs on my 4500. Says lower on one tab and upper on the other, there is only one motor driven unit with little 4" speakers, wonder what they meant by that. "Cathedral" is obvious, that is when the rotor runs slow.
    city Hammond H-182 organ (2 ea),A100,10-82 TC,Steinway 40" console piano, Sohmer 39" piano, Ensoniq EPS, Wurlitzer 4500, Dynakit ST120, ST70 amps, Herald Ra88 Mixer, Peavey SP2XT speakers,BIC turntable; country Hammond H112.

  9. #9
    Moderator andyg's Avatar
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    Upper switches the upper manual's sounds from the straight speaker to he Spectratone, Lower does the same for the sounds of the lower manual.
    It's not what you play. It's not how you play. It's the fact that you're playing that counts.

    New website now live - www.andrew-gilbert.com



    Current organ: Kawai SR6 + Leslie 760 Walnut, plus Kawai K1m synth module loaded with my custom sounds.
    Retired Organs: Lots! Hammond T402, T500 x 2, X5. Conn Martinique and 652. Gulbransen 2102 Pacemaker. Kimball something-or-other.
    Retired Leslies, 147, 145, 760, 710, 415 x 2.

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