The Korg 01/W Display

About the display
Dim display
  Replacing components
  LED lighting system
Dark display
Annoying whine
Lint/dust in display
Slow operation (cold)
Technical Details
  LCD module pin assignments
rev: 2012Nov18

The Display

Functional Description

Also called the LCD (Liquid Crystal Display), all 01/Ws and the 01R/W use the same 240 x 64 dot display.

The dots are grouped into cells (boxes). These cells are arranged as 8 rows with 8 columns. You select a cell by using the UP or DOWN buttons to choose a row (or line), then push a letter button to choose a column.

The number of cells on a line is limited to eight, but cells are often joined together to control a single thing. For example, when selecting an effect, the name of the effect spans the four left-most cells. That means buttons A, B, C, and D all select the same thing.

Internal Description

Open up the 01 and you'll see the "display" is a module made up of two sections: a display section (that includes the glass sandwich containing liquid crystals, a controller IC, SRAM, and other circuitry), and a backlight.

The display rarely goes bad - it's the backlight that may get dimmer over time. The module and backlight can be replaced separately. Replacing the module is much more expensive than replacing just the backlight. But replacing the backlight can be very tricky, and not for the inexperienced.


Dim Display

There are two typical reasons the display appears dim:

1. The viewing angle is not adjusted properly. Try changing the LCD Contrast setting.

2. The display (more specifically and more likely, the backlight) is getting old. Some backlights get dim as they age - the longer it is turned on, the dimmer it gets. (So don't leave your 01 turned on needlessly.)

Dark Display

If the LCD quit suddenly, you may have a loose wire or two. One user described removing his backlight, where he found the copper leads had broken at the plastic edge where the connector dangles. He melted the plastic, then re-soldered the leads, and everything worked okay.

Blank Display

The display is well lit, but there are no characters or dots or anything showing.

I can only guess the display module is bad and must be replaced.

Is the problem the Display or the Backlight?

The display (LCD Module) unit has two parts: the LCD and a backlight. It's far more likely that the problem is with the backlight, not the LCD itself.

You can test the display by shining a light on it:

If you can read anything, the display is probably good and just the backlight needs to be replaced.

If the display is dim, then the problem is probably just the backlight.

Replacing the entire display module (display and backlight) is more costly and is the approach repair shops may want to take.

To replace just the backlight, you have two choices: Replace the backlight with the same or similar part, or install a new kind of backlight.

Replacing the Module or Backlight

Several 01 owners have fixed their own displays, but it's a very time-consuming and possibly technical project. The average musician won't want to do it. The average tinker-type (or desperate, cash-free musician) would.

You may be able to save money by buying the parts yourself, then having a local technician to the work.

Note: I have no personal experience any company listed, so I can advise neither for nor against any of them.

Who can fix your display for you

For details on repairs and prices, visit their website.

In the U.S. In Europe

Telesis Used Gear
Web site:
First listed on this site on 2001Jan14.
You can ship the your entire 01 to them for repairs or remove the display youself and ship just that.

First listed on this site on 2006Dec15 (when backlights were 35).

Historical note from one 01er in 2002Mar22: "I paid $250.00 for my back lite plus labor....$80.00."

Where to buy just the LCD and/or backlight

Same-Part Replacement from Korg

The service manual specifies a part number of "DMF5005NS-EW1" and an internal Part Code of 313002500. The manufacturer of this display was Optrex Corp.

A Korg repair guy wrote: "the same backlights are used in different Keyboards like Roland W-30, Yamaha SY-77, Kurzweil K2000, Korg i3, T2, T3." [98Jun01Roy]

If you can find a scrap keyboard like those listed, you might be able to use that display and/or its backlight in your 01. Check the numbers on the scrap display to make sure it's the same as what was in your 01.

2002Apr12, UK. User reports "Korg UK cannot supply the back light only, as it is not made any more. However you can get the package (backlight & display) for 140:00 plus postage." [02Apr12mt]

2001Nov29: A user reports Korg has discontinued the part number for the module, which was selling at that time for $225 + $6 shipping. Korg said they were in the process of making a new replacement unit, but no time-frame was set. It may be worth a phone call.

2001Apr22, UK: A user reports Korg U.K. wants 150.00 to fix the display. [01Apr22ri]

2001Mar15, UK: User reported that Korg will sell you a backlight: "The cost is 141.60. The parts are in stock and can be ordered by fax on 01908 857199, or by post from:
Korg UK, 9 Newmarket Court, Kingston, Milton Keynes, MK10 0AU. E-mail:

1999Jul12: The cost to have Korg replace the LCDLCD module was reported to be $350 in 1999. A "fix-it" shop in Florida quoted a user $335.

1998: From Korg, the LCD section was selling for about $200, the backlight for about $50 ($US). A Korg repair station reported in 1998 that Korg has stopped supplying the backlight except as part of the LCD module.

Parts sources other than Korg

Be aware that backlights come in different colors, like bluish and greenish. If color is important to you, make sure you specify color when ordering.

In the U.S. In Europe
Web site:
First listed on this site: 2011Jan26.

Instrumental Parts
Web site:
First listed on this site: 2011Jan26.
This site lists replacement backlights and keys for the 01

I received positive comments about this company but their website was gone as of 2011Jan27.

Web site:
First listed on this site: 2006Nov.

Video instructions are offered but are reported to mention the 01 briefly in a Word document with a photo of just the removed display. The new backlight is said to be installed over the old, which need not be removed. However, this could be a problem if there is too much adhesive.

Web site:
First listed on this site: 2002Mar24.

A user reported that new display modules (LCD and backlight) may be available here. Digi-Key is a general source of electronic parts and supplies - it's not related to synths at all. If you know exactly the part you're looking for - display, voltage regulator, capacitor, etc. - they might have it.

Website:, or
more specifically: First listed on this site: 2011Jan26.

First listed on this site: 2006Nov. Recommended by one user.

Alternate backlight approaches


User Ed Edwards replaced his own display. He bought the module (manufacturer: AND, model: 4021ST-EO) for US$49.00 from Timeline. (Ed later warned 01ers to avoid this company saying he received used parts that were not advertised as used. His module lasted just four months and the company did not reply to his queries. Ed's notes on using the AND module, however, can still be useful.)

Regarding the AND display: "It is the same circuitry, and the identical physical size. You won't need to make any sort of adapters, you'll just have to pull off a male connector from the board and replace it with the bare end of your ribbon cable. Likewise, you'll have to remove the power supply leads from the old one and solder them to the new. [01May09ee]

... "It comes with a connector on it which you will have to remove by de-soldering. Then you'll have to de-solder the ribbon connector from the old board and solder it to the new one." [01Apr22ee]

Regarding that experience he wrote: "You have to take almost every single screw out of the thing to do this, and it's not fun. And the module has an ugly connector on it that must be removed. And you must de-solder the end of the ribbon cable from the old module... etc." [01Apr21ee]

EL foil backlight

A user submitted the following information:

MIDI-Rakete (small company located in Germany) sells EL-type backlights for various instruments.
Foil Type 4: Korg 01 W EUR 29,00
Postage Europe: EUR 5, Postage International: EUR 10
{2003 July 03}

New Lighting System

Given the expense and scarcity of backlights, resourceful starving artists have devised a different way to provide back-lighting. It takes time and someone handy with electronics.

The LCD needs light behind it in order to be visible. The original backlight was a rectangular high-voltage electrolumescent (EL) panel. One user reports he was able to install yellow LEDs around the edge of the LCD, which emitted enough light to do the job. You can use any LEDs of color, it's just a matter of how bright you want it. LEDs require a much lower voltage than an EL panel, but draws a bit more current. Current shouldn't be a problem if you wire the LEDs to the 5-volt supply.

However, one user casts doubt on installing LEDs, writing: "There was a post by someone a while back who said he had LEDs installed along the edge of the display. I find this hard to believe because the display is surrounded by a metal frame that is opaque. To make this idea work, some VERY dangerous operations have to be done to that big LCD matrix." [01Apr21ee]

Fortunately (for me), I haven't had to go through this repair, so I can't tell you any details about mounting the LEDs or where exactly to pick up power. But a friend with a moderate electronics background should be able to help you out (5 volts can be easy to find).

There are other, less available, possibilities that may work, like woven fiber-optic panels.

Fixing it yourself

I highly recommend watching a video (uploaded 2012 Nov.) showing how to replace the display and backlight at

If you want to work on the display, you must disassemble your 01. Different models seem to be more or less difficult to get into, but assume it will be a chore. Patience and organization are required. For tips, see the Disassembly Page of this site.

Don't confuse the time it takes to get at the display with time estimates for cleaning the keys. One user said it took him about 40 minutes just to get at the display. I don't know which 01 he had.

There are pictures and instructions about the display in a Korg Wavestation that may be helpful for working on the 01. Visit for a PDF file, then look towards the end of that document.

Exchanges about replacing backlights are at a Korg Forums page.

Fixing the LCD unit

The LCD glass connects to the PC board through conductive plastic strips (called Zebra Strips). The glass must be precisely aligned over corresponding traces on the PC board or the system won't work.

Instructions for putting the LCD back on the PC board were kindly provided by "Paul M." on 2010Mar30 (paraphrased below):

Take the LCD apart again. Reseat the zebra strips, ensuring that the black stripe is perpendicular to the display glass and PCB. (Lay the circuit board flat on a table; the black stripe down the center of the zebra strip should now be visible on the top of the strip, not the sides).

Reassemble the LCD:

  1. Lay the black metal frame face down (so that the tabs point upwards).
  2. Place the glass LCD panel face down into the frame.
  3. Align the zebra strips along the ridges on the sides of the glass panel.
  4. Place the LCD circuit board onto the frame, ensuring it is the right way up and the right way round.
  5. Bend the metal tabs on the back of the PCB to ensure the frame fits tighlty.

Try the display. If it doesn't work, remove the circuit board again, rotate it 180 degrees and refit it. If it still doesn't work (you've been unlucky) you'll have to replace the display.

Other Display-related Problems

"Annoying Whine"

Some users have reported that their display emits an "annoying whine". (Be careful not to confuse this with another reported whine that can come from the power supply.) One user reports he stopped this whine by reversing the polarity of the backlight on the LCD.

How to reverse the polarity (thanks to Mike Werning, who wrote:)

"You don't have to disconnect any circuit boards, just remove the bottom panel on the 01 to get to the insides.

The connector is located right next to the main board on the power supply board. It is a 4-pin connector with only the two outside pins populated. I believe its designator is CN16 (01W/fd) on the power supply board. Since the connector is keyed, you cannot simply unplug the connector rotate it 180 degrees and re-plug it in. You must disconnect the connector, pull out the pin receptacles on the connector and swap the positions.

It's simple to do. Just use a jewelers screwdriver to depress the lock tabs on each pin to release them. Once you have swapped the pins and reinserted them into the connector housing, plug it back in to the main board. That's it."

To get at the LCD for these procedures you will have to dis-assemble your 01. For instructions on dis-assembly and re-assembly, see my disassembly page.

Note: To remove the display you must remove the CPU card and keyboard. Those who have done it say it's not that complicated, but it is tedious and requires time and organization.


The display is protected by a flat, mostly clear plastic piece (I'll call it a "bezel") that also fits over the VALUE, CURSOR, Letter, and PAGE buttons. Lint, dust, and other junk may accumulate between the display and the bezel.

Officially, the only to get at this lint is to take apart the entire 01, working from the bottom to the top. This is a huge job.

Unofficially, 01 owners report that the bezel is held in place with 2-sided tape. You can remove the bezel from the outside by using a pointed object/tool (like a pin or craft/Xacto knife point) to penetrate the side (edge) of the bezel and lift it out. I assume they mean the along the top of the bezel (towards the back of the 01) where it protrudes a bit more above the metal chassis.

If you decide to try this, I suggest caution and patience (unless your 01 is so road-worn you don't mind additional scratches). In theory, this looks valid, so I guess it's worth a try. Although some 01 users re-used the old tape, you might want to look for some fresh 2-sided tape to replace the old as long as you have it open.

Slow Operation

It is normal for the display to operate more slowly the colder it is. Mine gets visibly slow when the temperature drops below 60 degrees F. This doesn't harm the display.

The manual doesn't specify any operating or shipping temperatures. However, the LCD Module shows the storage temperature range shoule be between -20 and +60 C (-4 and 140 F). This is important! If you store or transport your 01 where the temperature getss outside this range the display may be damaged!

Users in northern Europe have reported shipping their 01s in the holds of commercial planes (extreme cold) with no damage.

It's a good idea to let your 01 warm up to room temperature before turning it on, just to keep from stressing things too much.

Technical Details

Temperature Range
Operating: +10° to +40° C
Storage: -20° to +60° C / -4° to 140° F. (This is important! Do not store or transport your 01 where the temperature is outside this range or the display may be damaged!)

LCD Module Pin Assignments (connector CN9A)

DMF 5005N Series Interface and Pin Layout
Description Name Pin Pin Name Description
Ground (signal ground) VSS
2 1 FG
Frame Ground (connected to metal holder)
Power supply (LCD)
"CONT" is an analog signal originating from IC55 digital-to-analog port pin 67 through op amp IC54 buffer circuit, exiting through R147 (100 ohm) to the display.
4 3 Vcc
Power supply (logic, LCD drive)
Read data RD-
6 5 WR-
Write data
Command (high)/Data (low) C/D-
8 7 CE-
Chip Enable
Reset controller Reset-
10 9 nc no connection
D1 12 11 D0 Data bit 0 (LSB)
D3 14 13 D2
D5 16 15 D4
Data bit 7 (MSB) D7 18 17 D6
no connection nc 20 19 FS
Font Size
(H=Vcc=6x8 dots, L=8x8)

LCD Module 01 signal names and functions are shown on the top of the cell
01 connections are shown under the LCD signal name and description when different.

About the Backlight Power Supply

The backlight has its own inverter power circuit and connector (CN16). Although the connector is a 4-pin connector, only two pins are used: pins 1 (ground) and 4 (power). Pins 2 and 3 are not connected. The input voltage to the inverter circuit is 5 volts. The inverter output voltage is not shown on the schematic (I can't figure it out, and haven't seen it specified anywhere.)