More TD-12 and TD-20 replacement screens

Brazil’s Freedom Studios, which has been supplying replacement screens for Roland TD-12 and TD-20 modules for the past 18 months, has released some second-generation screens.

One of the new options, according to founder Netto Scaff, is a version that retains the black-on-green style of the original Roland display. This version, he admits, is fairly challenging to install since it uses the original backlight board from the user’s existing display. The board needs to be desoldered from the display and used with a new screen which can be easily obtained from AliExpress.

Scaff suggests that this replacement should be done by a trained technician, but Freedom Studios does provide step-by-step video instructions.

Responding to customer feedback since the start of screen sales, Scaff says displays on TD-12 modules have been very easy to install without any modification.

Like its competitor, Freedom initially produced a single replacement screen board which can be used for both the TD-12 and the TD-20. However, he notes that the displays can be fiddly to install in TD-20 modules because the aftermarket backlit screens are a couple of millimetres wider than the original and can encroach on the adjacent boards in some cases. To date, Freedom has supplied spacers for TD-20 replacements to help achieve a comfortable fit and to prevent breakage of the display. (These are not required for TD-12 modules.)

Scaff says that using the original backlight board overcomes this challenge.

Meanwhile, Freedom is also supplying “bare” boards for users who would like to purchase their own LCD screens via AliExpress. Based on his  original design, the new PCB TD-120 offers users the choice of blue text on a white screen or white text on a blue screen.

Scaff insists that adding the LCD display to the board is straightforward and his company provides detailed instructions.

Freedom and its American competitor, WotTech, developed replacement screens for the ageing modules after Roland ran out of replacement screens some years ago.

When the TD-120 display was released, Scaff explained that he reverse-engineered the existing display “and, after a lot of fighting with the old display protocol, I managed to create the replacement”.

Faced with growing demand, Scaff outsourced production to Kameda Corp, an electronics specialist in China run by a Brazilian colleague.

The replacement screens are being sold directly via the Freedom Studios website.

  • Disclaimer: digitalDrummer acts as a commercial reseller for Freedom Studio replacement screens, particularly in Australia, where high shipping costs add  significantly to the price of replacement units.