One of the most common failures of the TB-303 and various other instruments, such as the Roland TR-606, TR-808, Jupiter 8 and the Korg Polysix, is the failing of the tactile switches. This can become very annoying during programming. The original switches are the Alps SKH-CAA (303 & 606) and the SKHCAB (the others). Over the years I have tried a lot (and I do mean a LOT) of equivalents from other manufacturers, but none of them came even close to the quality of the original Alps ones, which are quite hard to obtain in low quantities. The problems with these equivalents are the following:
-They never have the same size, so it is very hard, or even impossible without adjusting them, to put the buttons on them.
-They do not have the 'targeting studs'. These are 2 rigid cylindrical studs on the bottom which fit exactly in the targeting holes of the pcb. This way the switch is certain to have exactly the intended position. Without these the switches' position is only depending on the leads which can be bent.
-They simply don't last. Why: they have an open structure, so dust can enter the switch and become an obstacle between the contacting surfaces. The original Alps switches are also open ones, but they do last a lot longer than the cheap imitates. One to several years instead of a few months. In the past I used a plastic sheet between the switches and buttons to keep the dust out, but this only prolonged the lifetime for a few years.
Now I have found new extremely high quality switches, which not only have exactly the same dimensions as the original ones and also have the targeting studs, but they also have a completely closed design. There is a flexible seal in the switch which keeps out dust. The expected operational lifetime of these switches is an astonishing 10 million operations. That is over 19 years if you press that switch every minute. Trust me, this number is very impressive for an electro-mechanical component.
It is very likely that these switches will outlast you.
Please note that I might also be able to find comparable replacements for other instrument's tactile switches. Just contact me with your questions!
-Exactly the same dimensions as the original ones, will fit perfecly.
-Also have the targeting studs.
-Completely sealed, so no dust can enter.
-Expected operational lifetime of 10 million operations.
The price is 40 EUR for a set of 25. Shipping is 8 EUR, no matter where you live and how many you purchase.
If you are interested in purchasing some: send a mail to stating the quantity you are interested in and the payment method you wish to use.
Accepted methods of payment:
-Paypal (No extra fees!)
-Bank transfer (IBAN-BIC)
Preferred method is paypal. If you use paypal I work this way:
Shipping only to the address provided with paypal.
Picture of one of these new switches next to an original one. Click for bigger or here for biggest
Picture of both one of these new switches and one of the original ones opened. If you look closely you can see the flexible seal that keeps out dust of the new one. Click for bigger or here for biggest
Picture of a set of these swithces that I installed in a TB-303 (note the exact alignment of them). Click for bigger or here for biggest