Moog Satellite

Moog Satellite Synthesizer
Moog Satellite Synthesizer

The Moog Satellite is the Moog not even its own mother could love, Bob Moog’s least favorite Moog and mine as well.  It is a preset monosynth (!?) created in the early 1970s as an accessory for Thomas Organ Company home organs, at a time when boring middle class people all over the US were listening to Switched on Bach and were excited to get their own Moog and pronounce it “MOOOOg.”

This one was in bad shape and it wouldn’t have been worth it to anyone for me to work on it if the client hadn’t gotten it for free, meaning his budget for the repair was higher than it otherwise would have been.

wire repairs on Moog Satellite
as a result, I literally dream of wires

A large number of wires on the inside were missing a lot of their insulation and were shorting together in all kinds of ways, so there was a lot of splicing/replacing wires and heat-shrinking before I could even turn it on to troubleshoot the circuits. Even after the wire repairs it initially wasn’t working at all, as a lot of transistors had apparently been destroyed by the shorting wires.

This synth also has a Pratt-Read keyboard whose metal key stops seemed especially soft, bent and twisted and took an extra long time to balance.  This synth is not worth the trouble of a Pratt-Read keyboard.

Worst of all is the way it is put together.  It has this awkward, heavy frame with wires permanently affixed to everything and you end up with boards dangling and wires tearing off as you try to work on it, which requires flipping it over again and again.  I’ve never said this before but I might not be willing to work on one of these again unless the repair was very minor.

Work Done: Replaced all electrolytic capacitors.  Deconstructed and cleaned, lubricated sliders.  Replaced a whole wire harness, repaired a couple dozen other wires with stripped insulation.  Replaced a ton of bad transistors and failed oscillator tempco.  replaced bushings and balanced keyboard. Cleaned switches (many times!).  Tuned and calibrated to Moog specs.

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