How do you tell if a piezo trigger is broken?

I have a roland pd7 pad that works when it wants to. How can I test to see if the piezo is bad?


Piezo's are crystals that impart a small voltage when the pressure on them changes. As a rule, the crystal itself won't be intermittent - it either works or it doesn't.

If your drum pads are working intermittently, I would bet a silk pajama that somewhere between the crystal and the jack, there is a - literally - loose connection. Some wire that isn't properly soldered, or maybe the connector to the piezo, or (most likely) the actual jack itself. In my 20+ years of electronic experience, intermittent faults are almost always the connector. Give the jack a good look-see and see if it's dirty or corroded and the plug (which should also be clean) is fitting in nice and snug.

I haven't taken apart many electronic drum heads (okay, none actually), but I bet they're a batch to get open without destroying them. However, if you *could* get one open, just tie an LED across the crystal and give the drum a good whack and it should light up. (might wanna turn the lights down so you can see it better)

Oh, it should also have a pretty high resistance, so put an ohmmeter across it and see if you get a short. You might have some condensation or something inside the drum head, say if, someone thought it looked like a really nifty coaster for their ice-cold beer... ;)

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