A few weeks ago, the girls were playing Guitar Hero but the drummer kept on failing the band. We eventually discovered that the red snare drum was not working very well. Well, if you hit it REALLY hard, it registered. I started looking around for the receipt, but I couldn’t find it! This is the second thing that has gone wrong with the instruments – I have already had a faulty strum switch on the guitar.
I did a bit of Googling and found that many people have the same problem with the red snare drum. I guess it’s one of the drums that’s hit the most, so it’s one of the first to go. Without the receipt, I thought I was stuffed.
However, I found that Activision has released a Drum Tuning Kit that can be used to tune the sensitivity of the drums, through its MIDI input. To connect your PC to the drums, you need a MIDI connection and Activision will supply a USB to MIDI cable if you have the receipt. Great… no receipt. But I do have other MIDI PC equipment, so I tried using my M-Audio FireWire 410 audio interface and it worked!
Well, the software worked but no matter what setting I used, the red drum was still not working reliably. A soft or medium hit just would not register.
After a bit more googling, I found a discussions on fixing the drums yourself. Apparently, it’s usually the case of a bad wire connection to the sensor of the red drum. So, on the weekend, one of my projects was to fix the red drum.
Note that if you want to do this, you will most definitely void your warranty. These steps may or may not work for you and I take no responsibility for your success/failure!
First, turn the drums over. We’ll be taking the bottom (back) off the drum kit off. Get a screwdriver with a star head and unscrew everything in sight!
Be aware that some of the screws are slightly different from the others. I found that screws in A and B locations in the diagram below were different.
Be careful when unscrewing the screws that hold the control box to the drum kit. The drum control box will come apart.
Once all the screws have been removed, carefully lift off the cover (which is the back). You will see the guts of the drum kit.
The red snare drum is the one on the left. You can see a pair of wires running from the sensor to a small circuit board. The problem most people seem to have is that these wires don’t have good contact with the sensor.
Very very gently, I pulled the red wire to see how strongly it was held down. And unbelievably, the wire just pulled right off with hardly any effort! No wonder I was having a problem with the red drum.
So I cleaned off all the glue from the wire and the sensor. I stripped the red wire back about 5mm, got out the soldering iron and solder and joined it back to the sensor. Be careful not to make the red wire contact the centre part of the sensor.
I also took the opportunity to pull a bit of the red wire so that there’s more slack near the red drum kit area. It seemed a little “tight” there.
After I soldered it, I gently tapped on the sensor on the back and made sure it registered in Guitar Hero. (Tip: enter the Music Studio in Guitar Hero World Tour and lay down a new drum track – it’s the easy way to check whether the drums are working.) It worked like a charm! I didn’t need to fix the black wire at all.
Then it’s just a case of putting the back cover on again and screwing all the screws in.
No need to post the drums away and wait 2-6 weeks to get it back from Activision!
Here’s a few other links with step by step guides: