My Installation Tips

Questions about installing the HAWK-800 kit and methods for testing and troubleshooting.
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Joined: Fri Feb 14, 2020 10:48 am

My Installation Tips

Post by mrex »

A number of things I did made this kit easier than I thought it would be. I also ran into some issues of my own making that I could have avoided if I had been a bit more carefull after the kit booted the first time. I'm going to share them to help anyone else building and installing the Hawk 800 kit.

1 -- Read the manual several times before you start. I did this, and I paid particular attention to the trouble shooting section.

Watch the video on how to solder in the Troubleshooting section: I've been soldering and building kits since I was a teenager, and I learned that I was using the wrong tip, couldn't spot a cold joint, and more. My biggest take away was to get a screwdriver or chisel tip -- this makes soldering ICs a lot easier and faster.

2 -- Make sure your Poly 800 works before you start. A lot of people sell the Poly cheap on eBay because they don't make any sound when turned on. This is because they soldered a button cell battery on the main board to keep the sound bank powered.

To get a dead Poly to play, you'll need to download a wav file and load it from a laptop using an audio cord. This video from the 8 Bit Keys channel on Youtube shows how to replace that battery and load the sounds from a laptop: The video is also a great way to see the insides before you open your synth up.

You can get the original wav file from the download section of the Hawk 800 site here: ... 208kHz.wav

3 -- Carefully check your soldering work before you reassemble the synth. I had a partially soldered pin on one of the ICs which I only discovered after I thought there was an electrical issue. There wasn't, but I'm glad I found the pin.

4 -- Take your time de-soldering the ICs. Read Step 7 carefully. Definitely follow the "10 seconds on, 20 seconds off" tip, and make sure you have a good vacuum de-soldering tool. The old rubber bulb tool I've had for years was no where near as good as the tube type with a plunger that you cock and then release. After the IC was out, I used de-soldering braid on the pads to make sure they were clean.

5 -- Don't be surprised if you don't see "11 P" after your first boot with the Hawk installed. As long as you see the boot sequence described in the instructions your soldering work is probably good. I got "11 1C" and immediately assumed I had an electrical issue. I then proceeded to load patches and try to play sounds, but got nothing.

After contacting I found out that the problem was in my bad work loading patches and playing with the settings before I had read the Owner's Manual completely. I had used Tools 3 without understanding what it does and set all the parameters to zero, including turning local keyboard control off.

6 -- Read the Owner's Manual after your fist boot. You won't have any patches loaded, so you'll have to download some from sysex files before you can hear anything. Also check the main Hawk 800 web site again and browse through the downloads at

I had a great time building the kit and installing it, and I love the results. The sounds are way beyond what the original circuitry was capable of! In particular Bank3.syx/Patch 26 just blew me away!

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