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Everything posted by Wilba

  1. sammichFM

    Click for full size view. More photos on Flickr. sammichFM Assembly video made by Siempre La Luna (featuring backing track by TK!) sammichFM sammichFM was designed to be the "no excuses" MIDIbox FM synthesizer kit - i.e. for all those people who want a MIDIbox FM but consider building it with modules too time-consuming, too newbie-unfriendly and/or too hard to design and construct a control surface. sammichFM therefore has the following design constraints/features, which support each other: looks a lot like sammichSID cheap (relative to fully modular MIDIbox FM with "pro-looking" control surface) small DIY newbie friendly minimal control surface single "walwart"/AC adapter supply, no bipolar PSU and mains power wiring! "sandwich-style" stacked PCB design, no wires! laser-cut 3mm acrylic case by Ponoko, customization possible industry standard 2x20 character LCD, customization possible common control surface parts used, customization possible available as a complete kit, including PCBs, components, case, hardware and new OPL3 chipset! MIDIbox FM Synthesizer features One Core module and one OPL3 module, fully integrated on one PCB with power supply. 4 simultaneous instruments of 6 voice polyphony each, plus drum kit. Each voice is a 4 operator waveform. Each instrument can be routed to one of four audio outputs, via two stereo 1/4" phono jacks. Five "BankStick" slots, so you can store 5 banks of 128 patches, 32 "Ensembles" and 16 "Drumsets" Minimal control surface with up/down arrow buttons for fast menu scrolling. 2x20 character LCD with support for low-power (25mA) or high-power (250mA) LED backlight. Potential for future upgrade to 32-bit microcontroller via an undocumented "daughterboard" header. BATCH #1 SHIPPED APRIL 1st 2011. I HAZ SPAREZ! BATCH #2 (50 kits) SCHEDULED TO SHIP MAY 1st 2011 Go here for more details: sammichFM Info
  2. Cherry Jammer blog

    I posted in about what I was working on: So rather than clutter that thread, I'll start a new one. This is my stupid hacky experimental jammer keyboard using Cherry MX keyswitches. Inspiration is from here: http://musicscienceguy.vox.com/ You can read up about jammer keyboards, the Thummer, Wicki-Hayden layout, etc. This is intended to be a jammer with Wicki-Hayden layout, but you could make it do any other layout, like Janko. This is my first attempt. The more refined version uses a larger, U-shaped contact glued to the actuator, but is essentially the same. The contacts on the side of the switch are two pins from a female header. These are easily pulled out from the bottom and look like a two-pronged fork. I glue these to the side using superglue, then cut one prong off each and bend the other one down. They are placed lower than shown in the above photo, so after the bend, there's clearance between the tip and the cylindrical part of the keycap which goes onto the keyswitch actuator. The contact on the keyswitch actuator is made from the metal disc inside a typical 12mm tactile switch... it's slightly concave so when in the tactile switch, it's the part that acts as the switch spring and which makes the contact (shorts the switch pins). It's just the right thickness, thin enough not to interfere with the keycap, stiff enough to cut into a shape and not wear away. I cut the disc in half, then with the half-disc, first cut a notch to match the actuator, and then trim the other three sides. I gradually trim it to the exact size of the actuator - it's too small to do any kind of measuring and marking, so I do it by eye and then test fit it until it's right, or until I've cut too much away and have to start again. I then superglue it on the actuator, making sure you don't get any on the top, or up the actuator shaft. This is why I use a U shape now, instead of the thin strip in the first photo - the U shape means more surface area for the glue, and also makes it easier to align it when you're gluing it, i.e. the "perfect fit" means it won't slide out of position during gluing. What's important is getting it as big as possible, so the contacts have a place to touch it, yet it's not hanging over the edge of the actuator and rubbing against the hole (and getting pushed off during a depress). In case it isn't obvious, you do all that with the switch disassembled, wait until glue has fully dried, then put it all back together, make sure the keycap won't rub the two top contacts, do lots of tweaking until you get good contacts (test using a multimeter). The spring of the Cherry MX will push the actuator (and the metal contact) against the other two contacts, and since there's some slack in the actuator shaft, it will "touch" against both the top contacts sort of evenly. I'm not really explaining it right... basically it works, if you tweak the top contacts so they are the same height and a little bit lower than where the actuator wants to be when not pressed. It's not a very easy process, still at the experimental stage. There might be a better, easier way to do the same thing. This just happens to be the way I did it first, because it's what I had on hand, hundreds of tactile switches lying around, and a few female headers. It's not that cheap either, salvaging a bit of metal out of a 30 cent switch... but then maybe that's not too bad... Worst case guestimate, I've used 100 tactile switches for 96 keyswitches, so that's only $33. I'll pay that to add velocity to a keyboard. Anyone wanting to do the same thing needs to experiment and learn their own method of doing it, how much glue to use, where to position the bits, esp. how to cut the discs, since cutting is done by hand. I mean, I could write up how I do it, but then if you follow that process, it might not work for you. It works for me because I'm crazy and have good eyesight and can cut 0.1mm slivers off a tiny piece of thin metal that I hold down with a finger. You might be half blind with fat fingers and my process would be useless. DIY! It's not rocket science. In all likelihood, it would have been quicker and only marginally more expensive to buy an Axis-49, connect it to a Core32 and run my own firmware to get Wicki-Hayden layout, instead of requiring some PC software to remap the notes. That thing seems to have good travel, hex keys, velocity sensitivity, rubbery goodness. Why did I bother then? What I'm doing is a hacked together experiment... I mean, it will work, it will have velocity sensitivity, it will even have blinken blinken.. the experiment is more to do with the ergonomics... does an isomorphic (jammer) keyboard need hex keys or round keys? can you use computer keyboard keys? does having the actuation point half-way down the travel (instead of at the bottom) make a difference to playability? does familiarity with PC keyboards translate into a shorter learning curve? does using a computer keyboard keyswitch, preferred by typists that prefer not to "bottom out" when typing, result in some advantages when used in a music keyboard? I'll be happy when it's put together and works, I'm just not saying now that it's going to be anything special, or some great leap in keyboard design. It's just an experiment. At the very least, it will be something interesting to jam with and help me learn music without being held back by the classic piano keyboard layout.
  3. **edit** just skip to the good stuff starting here: Everything between this post and that post is all design blog and "me too" posts.  :) ---------------------- I am curious to know how many people would be interested in using an ultracore PCB with a custom-made MB-SEQ V3 control surface PCB and a matching custom-made, laser-cut, power coated, silk screened, sheet steel sloping keyboard/desktop style case, which could have optional wood endcheeks or optional rack mounting "ears" and alternate port cutouts on the base so it can be mounted in a 3U rack space (just like the Access Virus Desktop Ti).  At a 50 quantity order, this case would be cheaper than a 3U rack panel from Schaeffer/FPE. I can't give actual prices of the PCBs and case, my best guess would be that the PCB should be under US$50 and the case under $200. Other parts like encoders, knobs, switches, switch caps, LEDs, LCDs etc. would be typically priced (nothing too exotic and expensive and should be easy to acquire in stores or through bulk orders). So... this thread is to collect names of people interested in the idea. If it's at all relevant, the control surface layout is done and the PCB layout is done, I'm currently designing the case and getting a prototype made.... so it's not going to be a year wait before it's ready.
  4. I finally finished off my OPL3 module, using the OPL3 chipsets I got from the bulk order. Good news: They work, sort of. Bad news: They work, sort of. Here's the troubleshooting log so far. NB: I refer to parts by references on schematic PDF, actual part references on SmashTV's PCB and website are DIFFERENT! I uploaded the FM testtone app and only got the 1kHz tone on channels 1+2. Tested connectivity in the opamp stages and voltages, all seems OK. Swapped around opamp ICs to prove they all work fine. Took out IC5 and bridged between IC3:O3 and IC5:O3, got audio out of channel 4. Also bridged between IC3:O4 and IC5:O4, got audio out of channel 3. TL074 in IC6 seems to be good (and tracks between IC5->IC6). Probed with noise generator (aka. my finger attached to a resistor lead) at IC4:AOUT and get buzz on channels 3+4, otherwise it remains perfectly silent. Note probing on IC2:AOUT results in same kind of buzz on channels 1+2 mixed with the 1kHz testtone. Therefore, TL074 in IC5 seems to be good. I was fairly confident also that the YAC512 in IC4 must be good too, since it's taking in input at pin IC4:SWIN and outputting it to IC4:CH1 and IC4:CH2 into the opamps and making sound on channels 3+4. So... I cut the track going into IC4:DIN and connected IC4:DIN to IC1:DOAB.... in other words, make both YAC512 use the same output from the YMF262 - the "known good" 1kHz test tone signal.... and I get test tone on channels 3+4!!! Note also, if I leave IC4:DIN open (floating), it goes into insane noise mode as you would expect from garbage values going into a DAC and then amplified. Therefore, I am pretty certain that both YAC512 are perfectly fine, and that the problem is the YAC512 in IC4 just is not getting any test tone signal at all. I ran through possible problems between YMF and YAC512 and they are just not there. The connections are good. IC1:DOCD to IC4:DIN is good. All pins of IC4 in common with IC5 are good (and this is backed up with IC4 working and making sound if connected to IC1:DOAB) Connectivity between PIC and OPL3 is all good. (I doubt I would get any testtone at all if this connection was bad - the registers would be garbage). I was trying hard to pretend I only had one YMF262 (i.e. to help others in future who really only have one YMF262)... but I had run out of ideas and I really wanted to know if it was a broken YMF262. So I replaced the YMF262 with another brand new one, and the problem is the same! I am assured that I should expect the testtone on channel 3+4, but right now I can only start thinking up unlikely explanations such as, the YMF262 really is not outputting on channels 3+4, since the output on DOCD pin is 0.28V (effectively logic low all the time?) whereas DOAB is 2.24V (an average of logic low and high?) What else could I possibly do to work out what's wrong?
  5. sammichSID Prototype

    Click for full size view. More photos on Flickr. Full documentation can be found here: http://www.midibox.org/dokuwiki/sammichsid sammichSID was designed to be the "no excuses" MIDIbox SID synthesizer kit - i.e. for all those people who want a MIDIbox SID but consider building it with modules too time-consuming, too newbie-unfriendly and/or too hard to design and construct a control surface, and where MB-6582 is too expensive, too daunting and/or too hard to source all the parts. sammichSID therefore has the following design constraints/features, which support each other: cheap small DIY newbie friendly minimal control surface single "walwart"/AC adapter supply, no C64 PSU brick! stereo SID, optimized for 8580/6582A, 6581 optionally supported "sandwich-style" stacked PCB design, no wires! laser-cut 3mm acrylic case by Ponoko, customization possible industry standard 2x20 character LCD with low-power LED backlight, customization possible common control surface parts used, customization possible To be available as a complete kit, including PCBs, components, case, hardware and (optionally) two 6582A SIDs! MIDIbox SID Synthesizer V2 features One Core module and one stereo SID module, fully integrated on one PCB with power supply. Five "BankStick" slots, so you can store 4 banks of 128 patches, plus 128 "Ensembles" (engine and patch configurations) Jumpers to configure the power supply, allowing a regulated 12V input to power 6581, or unregulated AC/DC input to power 8580/6582A. Minimal control surface with three user-customizable buttons and LED matrix for maximum bling. 2x20 character LCD with support for low-power (25mA) or high-power (250mA) LED backlight. Potential for future upgrade to MIDIbox SID Synthesizer V3 using add-on board Buying a kit Details about pre-ordering a kit can be found here: http://www.midibox.org/dokuwiki/sammichsid
  6. MB-6582 in Ponoko case

    Was I gone?
  7. MB-6582 in Ponoko case

    That painted engraving is awesome! Even though I promoted the technique of painted engraving on Ponoko panels, I still can't get a great finish every time (which is why I got some Lexan overlays made for the current batch of sammichSID and will sell the spares to past builders very soon, sort of an apology for such a messy DIY process). Can you share how you defined the engraving as Ponoko-compatible? i.e. is this "three-stroke" vector like sammichSID, or raster only, or raster plus vector outline? And did you paint with backing paper still attached to the panel (like is done with sammichSID) or just really carefully and with lots of cleaning up afterwards? P.S. to all: the "easy" way to get the panel cutouts/engraving into Ponoko-compatible SVG is via the published DXF files of the panels, imported into Inkscape. I've been using this technique lately, design in Solidworks, create drawing of all panels, export to DXF, input into Inkscape, combine paths, set strokes, send SVG to Ponoko.
  8. understanding Wilba's panel pcb

    My MB-SEQ PCB is basically a combined switch/LED matrix for all the LEDs and switches (1x 74HC165 for inputs, 74HC595 for LED outputs, 74HC595 for matrix "column" sinks), plus dedicated 74HC165 for the encoders, since MIOS doesn't (didn't?) support encoders in a switch matrix, and even if they did, the routing would have been insane... it is actually a lot neater by having the 74HC165 close to the four encoders it is handling.
  9. sammichSID Final Batch!

    sammichSID Final Batch! No, seriously, I mean it this time! Yes, I know I said this when I'd sold 350 kits, but I kept getting orders and kept making kits, because I hate saying no to people. Now the total is 500 550 kits sold, and I have got to the end of the waiting list, and I really, really must stop sometime and do something else! There will be a final batch of 50 kits in January 2012 (or when I get 50 orders). There are still plenty of kits available in the final batch, and any extra pre-orders I receive will go on the waiting list, just in case I change my mind and do another one-off batch next year. Like last time, I fully agree this is some shameless self-promotion to boost sales so I can finish with my routine 50 kit batch and sell off all the PCBs and parts I have in stock. If you're interested in getting a sammichSID, or want to find out WTF this thing is, all the information is here: http://www.midibox.org/dokuwiki/sammichsid Regards, Wilba
  10. sammichSID Final Batch!

    Hi all, After receiving many emails about sammichSID since the "final batch" finished, I decided to do two more batches. One batch I am doing right now and trying hard to get in the post so they arrive before Christmas. There are still kits from this batch available. The 2nd batch will probably happen next year sometime after I get close to 50 more pre-orders. So if you read this message, just contact me via my email address (not PM) and I'll either a) have a kit to sell immediately or b) put you on a waiting list.
  11. Extremely low output from my 6581's

    T1L is definitely mounted wrong. That would explain left channel not working. There is no issue with European vs. American transistors... T1L and T1R are specified as BC547, and that's what I put in the kit. They should be mounted with the flat side matching the silkscreen. As for the other channel not working, it could be due to bad solder joints. For example, the pins of C3L,C3R,C4L,C4R. I also don't know what that pale looking stuff is on both sides of the board... is it flux residue? Did you attack it with a heat gun and burn the solder mask? FWIW nearly all issues people have with sammichSID are due to poor soldering (esp. ground plane pads), or killing transistors by heating them too much.
  12. 6581 Rev1 PCB.

    I've updated the wiki. Look here: and here: They are quite easy to fix with a cut resistor lead or wire between pins.
  13. mb-6582 rev1 pcb

    I've fixed the broken forum links in the wiki.
  14. [SOLVED] sammichSID LCD screen issue.

    The LCDs I supply are high-current, they can take up to 250mA but look good at around 100mA (brightness pot at half-way). Since 100mA is a lot of extra current to go through the 5V regulator, the JBL header allows sourcing this current from the unregulated input power, i.e. around 12V. But for some reason, a lot of builders have trouble with this - either the BC337 burns out, or the backlight. I'm not exactly sure why, as I've not had this problem myself. I may have to change my recommendation, perhaps JBL should be set to 5V and let the 5V regulator run a bit hotter, and lessen the chance of burning out the BC337 or the backlight. If you are having LCD issues, please email me directly and I will send you whatever replacement parts you need to get it working.
  15. The ICs being in backwards should not have caused T1 to blow. That usually happens if the current going through T1 is too high, due to the brightness pot being faulty, or if it's at max. and the backlight voltage (when it's set to JBL=12V) is too high (when using unregulated input power). I'd recommend testing the backlight pot as well as replacing T1. If you need more help (or replacement parts), just email me.
  16. sammichSID Final Batch!

    I've been very busy lately and I have not replied to recent emails, sorry. Batch #23/#24 will be posted this week. Batch #25/#26 (potentially the absolute final batch ever) has 30 confirmed orders, and 20 empty places. It will be arranged soon. If you've emailed a pre-order recently, I'll reply ASAP. Sorry for the long delay.
  17. You may have continuity along all the pads connecting the switches with "blue dots" - this just means your soldering is good and the switches all work. The issue can still be a short between ANY pad along those tracks and something else. Perhaps you should desolder the wires going into JD1-JD5 and use a wire to touch pins on JD5 and pins on JD8 at the same time, to simulate switch presses. Observe which ones work or not while MB-SID is running. This might be tedious and boring but you must discover somehow whether the problems are on the CS PCB or on the base PCB. Or at least know for sure that the base PCB and the 74HC165 are all working as expected. Perhaps it's easier to desolder the wires from the CS PCB first, and have them poke out the bottom, so you can test them while the case is closed... i.e. you probably still want the LEDs to work so you can see the effects of simulating button presses. You could perhaps download some of the other troubleshooting apps (or simple apps) that use DIN modules and test just the inputs of the 74HC165... those apps will not use a switch matrix so you should bridge pins/pads to ground, not to the pins of JD8.
  18. Green Bar of Death sammichSID

    Easy fix: I will send replacements. FWIW, I buy those exact LCDs from that supplier for the kits. They are good and cheap but about 1 in 50 don't pass my QA due to imperfections with the LCD substrate or whatever... they have some bright green spots around the active area. I test every LCD I sell, because it's less time and effort than trying to troubleshoot someone's sammich* which doesn't show a boot screen :wink:
  19. There is a wiring diagram in the wiki pages, scroll down to "Control Surface Wiring" and note the errors in my diagram (was too lazy to fix this at the time, sorry). Measuring voltages is probably hard to do because the switches are in a 8x8 matrix, so the voltage at the 75HC165 input is going to be either 5V for unpressed switches or ~1V for pressed switches, but only for 1 ms in every 8ms (guessing at the actual duration, could be 0.5ms every 4ms. It's 1/8 duty cycle though). Since I have the PCB layout and can highlight the connected tracks, I can see that some of the the non-working switches have common tracks. So it would be more likely that the cause is due to something wrong with that track (short, break, etc). I've uploaded some annotations to your picture, showing which switches are connected... the "input" side of the switch, with the input going into the 74HC165. It can't be coincidence that ALL switches on those common tracks don't work... so it's either something wrong with the cable or the IC pads or something at JD5... It doesn't explain some of the faulty switches, they must be a separate issue. I can't be certain but if you think the LEDs and the other switches are working, then the "current sinks" for the LED and switch matrices must be OK.
  20. SammichFM short between ground and Audio 5V

    Sorry, by "pullup resistors" I meant R2 and R12, which are on the two signal lines between the PIC and the 24LC512 ICs (IC5-IC19) Regarding LCD: check the trimpots... I've had some go intermittent due to pressure, i.e. push them in too much with a screwdriver and it loses contact. So perhaps try pressing them to see if that's the cause. Regarding hum: nearly all the time, hum is caused by the input power. Perhaps it's not enough power and the voltage regulator can't produce stable 5V... or the power supply is switchmode and noisy. Also you might get hum if you're feeding the output into a balanced audio input. I would advise checking whether you get the same hum when connecting into a totally different amplifier, different cables, etc. i.e. home stereo or computer line in. If it's still there, then consider the power supply as a cause... it could even be a faulty capacitor or voltage regulator. Regarding LEDs: The LEDs that don't light up are either dead, backwards or have a bad solder joint. Perhaps you can confirm they're working by powering them directly with 5V with a 1K in series. Since the other LEDs seem to be working as expected, the problem isn't with the 74HC595, it appears to be outputting OK. Maybe you just got unlucky and burned a few while soldering. I can send you some replacements if you want, just email me.
  21. sammichSID Sale Request

    You don't need my permission to sell your sammichSID... so the answer is yes. (AFAIK MIDIbox "non-commercial" license is only meant to prevent people selling pre-built MIDIbox projects only for profit, not stop people selling MIDIbox gear they built for themselves but don't want anymore.)
  22. sammichSID Final Batch!

    I've been having a break for a few weeks, and will reply to the 30+ unread emails starting tomorrow :D
  23. Sammich LCD

    Check that you are not supplying the sammichSID with too much voltage. What type of power supply are you using? What is the voltage on the "12V" (i.e. input) pins when there is no control surface plugged in?
  24. SammichFM short between ground and Audio 5V

    Perhaps there is an issue with the connections to the banksticks. Check the connections there... perhaps there is something wrong with the solder joints on the PIC, or the pullup resistors.
  25. The Art of Crimping

    Don't go crazy trying to make single row header connectors with a pair of pliers. Buy yourself a cheap crimping tool and follow this simple guide: The Art of Crimping http://www.seetron.com/apps/app_connectors.html Those fiddly little pins will fit nicely into the plastic housing and you'll save time too.