DIY Repair: Replace Broken Kontrol S4 Channel Faders - DJ TechTools


DIY Repair: Replace Broken Kontrol S4 Channel Faders We’ve heard from a number of DJs who have aging or heavily used Kontrol S4s with issues on their channel faders who no longer have a warranty on the unit and want it to be useable again. Today we’ve got a tutorial from guest contributor and pro audio service engineer, James Oliver, on how to open up a Kontrol S4 MK2 and switch out the faders. Please note: as with any DIY repair or modification, opening up your unit will void any warranty it carries. DJTT and the author are not responsible for any damage you do to your S4 in the process of following this article and replacing the faders. A lot of DJs who have put a lot of hours in on their Kontrol S4 (of either generation) have reported seeing some issues with their faders. There’s nothing wrong with the design, but after heavy use, these faders occasionally eventually start to develop issues. We’ve seen MIDI ghosting, dead faders, and of course the classic environmental damage of dust/dirt/drink. Native Instruments is helpful for warranty repairs, but beyond that they’ll charge you for repairing any damage out of warranty – this includes if you’ve voided the warranty due to your own damage. So if you’ve got an S4 that needs some love, this guide will help you get to those faders. Please note you’ll need to have (very basic) soldering skills! Equipment Needed: Soldering Iron Solder Replacement Channel Fader Phillips screwdrivers of various sizes A small dish/container to keep the screws from disappearing The screwholes on the underside of the S4 are pretty easy to find First flip the unit onto its front (we recommend placing DJ gear piece of foam if you invert it to prevent accidental damage) and remove all the screws from the bottom using a standard medium-sized Phillips screw driver. There should be about 21 screws in total – and note that one of them is slightly obscured by a rubber pad. Then evenly lift off the bottom panel away from the rest of the unit. This panel should come off easily. If not, double-check that all the screws were removed – it’s easy to miss one! Once the panel is off you’ll see this: At the front middle, there is a PCB board which the faders are mounted on. This is what we need to remove, but before that we have to remove the board above it (that houses the headphones port and knobs). This is quite easy when you know how. The fader board with the headphone board blocking it in the bottom left First disconnect the black cable which should just pull out from its socket: Next, remove the silver screw as indicated below with the red screwdriver. This will need to be a smaller Phillips screwdriver than the one used for the bottom: Remove the black knobs by simply pulling them off: Next, remove the nut that secures the headphones socket in place. Use a pair of pliers to first un-tighten the nut then simply unscrew it with your fingers. Now the board is ready to be removed, however take note that there is a connector at one end of the board next to where the silver locating screw was, shown here: Gently lift up the board at the connector and it will unplug and lift away, taking the black plastic spacer with it. Note that there are guides that the spacer will fit into when you put this board back – no cause for alarm. Once lifted up, you should easily be able to remove the headphone board out of the way. When you put it back later, you can reconnect the black cable first (the cable with the coloured wires that we unplugged first), then locate the headphones socket into its hole, and then lower the board back into place, making sure you line up the black plastic spacer and then lastly the holes for the connector to fit into on the main PCB below. If you line everything up, you shouldn’t need to force anything, so just take your time. Next we need to unscrew the earthing strap on the channel fader PCB. Do so at one end, as indicated with the red screwdriver here: Then remove all the channel fader caps on the top of the Kontrol S4. These just pull off, but you could use a flat bladed screwdriver at the bottom of the fader and twist it gently if they are a bit tight, but be careful not to scratch or damage the plastic as it marks very easily. DJTT protip: if you have issues removing faders or knob caps and don’t want to use a screwdriver, use dental floss! Wrap it around the base of the fader/knob and pull the cap vertically (not laterally) and it should come off. Next, remove all the black screws from the channel fader PCB. There are eight in total, and have a little screw symbol next to them. Note that there are two holes that have no screw symbols in which should be left empty. These are two of the holes used to attach the rear panel, so remember to only put screws in the holes with a screw symbol next to them! It should then lift out like this, but don’t lift it all the way out as it is still attached to a few wires: Remove the blue wire,…

Learn how to replace/repair broken Kontrol S4 channel faders in this step-by-step tutorial from a music gear service engineer.

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