Toy Keyboard Salvage

Scrap Keyboards
So I’ve been tinkering away in my workshop on a very cool new project I think you’ll enjoy, it is still a work in progress but I should have it finished up and online next week for you guys to check out. In the meantime though I wanted to share some keyboard salvage pictures I took while tearing apart some toy keyboards I had kicking around my shop.

As someone who compulsively buys cheap used electronics from thrift stores every so often I find the random chunks of plastic lying around my shop are starting to pile up and get in my way. When this happens my destructive tendencies get a chance to come out and play. I can spend some time reducing these large monstrosities to their small and easy to store component parts.

Further I know if you’re anything like me you want to see what’s inside every toy you encounter. I’m very much of the mind that the more photos of toys and devices opened up with their innards exposed there are out in the world the easier it will be for us as circuit benders to judge toys at thrift stores or garage sales without the weird looks you get when you start taking things apart in public. Today I have three keyboards I’m going to pull apart and let you have a look at.
Simba Super Concert

The first is a “Simba Super Concert Keyboard”  which works relatively well but I have had very little luck bending. The buttons on the face seem to have been poorly constructed and many are not working very well. When I trigger these buttons directly from the board the sounds are still there so it seems this is just a mechanical issue with the keys. This is reassuring as there are a number of interesting sound samples on the board (animal sounds and different instruments) which I may incorporate into a future build.

From the board you can see there is very little going on, the small vertical board holds a black blob IC and a pitch resistor but little else. The reverse of this board simply contains a large button matrix.

Chinese Keyboard
Next up is a cheap toy keyboard from China I picked up at a discount store. There is no brand printed on it but it appears to be made by Jinjiang Shengel Toys ltd. I have to admit I did not have high hopes for this one, it sounded foul and felt worse. The plastic was extremely lightweight and poorly constructed. My favorite feature was the USB port on the right side of this photo, which is to say the rectangular hole in the body labelled USB with no port or supporting electronics to be found.

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I did have one pleasant surprise when I opened this keyboard up though. It’s probably a bit hard to make from this photo but this is a fully functioning LM386 amplifier which was used in the keyboard. I was  pleased to find an LM386 as it is a chip I am fairly familiar with and one I have worked with in the past. With some simple modifications I should be able to add gain and a volume control to this amplifier and re-use it in a future project.

20170116_175907_HDR
Last up for this keyboard salvage session was a Kawasaki Pro-37 keyboard. Unfortunately this keyboard was in pretty rough shape. It was given to me used and the sound circuit had been essentially destroyed from battery corrosion. I didn’t get a picture of the inside for this reason but it was not a pretty sight. That being said I was still able to salvage some useful hardware from the toy.

Spoils
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So at the end of the day I walked away from these three keyboards with several large button matrices, Some small sound generating circuits, an LM386 amplifier, a few speakers (of varying quality), several battery compartments (cut out from the keyboard bodies), several sets of keys, a small pile of switches and buttons and most importantly some space on my shelf. Hope you guys enjoyed these keyboard salvage pictures. I should be back next week with an exciting new build.

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