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Building the MB-6582 Control Surface - Photo Tutorial


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  • 1 month later...

Thanks for writing this.. I would have done things wrong without this tutorial.

I am not finished yet because sourcing the parts is a bit of a pain sometimes.. still waiting for my flat top LEDs to arrive. But i hope that my MB-6582 works at the first run, as my x0xb0x did.

Grüsse aus Tirol ;)

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...just waiting for your approval stamp that´s all ;-) The design rocks!

Also maybe we could consider moving this thread back to the sid section, ofc this is completely in the moderators choice, just feel that potential mb6582 builders won´t find it in here :)

Have a nice weekend and greetz to downunder :-)



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  • 1 month later...
  • 2 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...

no problemo :-)

btw., I will update this tutorial, if i can find a VFD that somehow fits into the mb6582 case, i´ve gotta have one - or at least a display the is really quickly updating, the 9USD display from china drives me insane, it needs a subjective 1+ seconds to update characters, until the old content is not seen anymore (ghosting) :cat:

Edited by Hawkeye
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  • 4 months later...

Step 18: Stabilize Rotary Encoders (optional)

Parts used:

* JB-Weld


* If you have removed the detention of the encoders, you may have noticed, that it is quite difficult to close them properly again so that there is no unwanted wobble/movement when applying off-axial force to them.

* Even with calipers and some muscle, the encoders would not reach the stability of an unopened (still detented) encoder. Even worse, over time the clamps loosen a little bit, making things worse.

* Therefore I recommend to just apply four tiny blobs of JB-Weld on where the brackets meet the upper encoder case. It stabilized things a lot for me (photo 1).

* Make sure you don´t get any JB-Weld on the encoder screw threads, we will need those later on :-)


Should you ever need to replace an encoder, use a wire cutter to cut it just above the PCB and then use a vaccuum pump from the backside and your soldering iron from the front side to suck out the short pin remainders.

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Edited by Hawkeye
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  • 2 weeks later...

Step 19: Create Knob Backlights (optional)

Parts used:

* 45 pcs SMD LEDs (1.5x3.0mm) (Red Water Clear Kingbright Standard SMD LED) (Mouser 604-APL3015SRCPRVF01)

* a roll of enamelled copper wire (.35mm diameter) (e.g. Reichelt CUL 35)

* a roll of standard electric insulating tape

* your favourite soldering equipment

* a soldering "helping hand" tool

* SMD calipers


This is a time-intensive task. It is only required if you have non-opaque knobs (like the transparent waldorf knobs), that can be illuminated via backlights. Also, I highly recommend to not enjoy excess caffinated beverages, because, ehm... the LEDs are small :-). As I started, I needed over 20 minutes per "LED Loop", in the end around 10 minutes... and there are 15 of them...

Otherwise, it is very meditative and great training for smd soldering, so... lets begin :-).

First of all, I consulted a few people more firm in electronics than myself, and also read up on some tech resources... On each rotary encoder three LEDs should be mounted and wired in series for easier cabling... Normally, resistors in series to a LED are employed to limit the current that flows, because LEDs are not "linear" in current consumption... a very slight voltage increase leads to a dramatic increase in current... potentially over the limit and "burning" the LED.

In this case, every LED only gets 1/3 of 5V, which leads to very moderate current consumption which I measured with a multimeter. Assuming the 5Vs are stable, nothing bad happens to these LEDs.

This may vary when you employ different LEDs. Even if you use the same, always measure the current that flows, and verify that it is below the datasheet maximum. In many cases, 5V may not be enough to light three LEDs in series. You can then take +9V from the baseboard, but must then employ a resistor that matches your LEDs. In normal cases, please use a resistor and measure the current. I cannot take responsibility for burnt "direct-driven" LEDs. In fact, nILS takes all responsibilities :-).


* Use the enamelled copper wire, connect it to the +5V at the CS corner connector and wrap it around all encoder housings, like a telegraph line :-). Be aware that your wire stays clear of any holes in the CS - the standoffs must be free and not "collide" with your copper wire (photos 1 + 2).

* Use one layer of insulating tape to cover the encoder shafts - you need to split it in half to have the correct height (photo 2).

* Prepare a copper wire loop, by just wrapping a length of enamelled copper wire around an encoder shaft. Tin the loop at 120 degree intervals (photo 3). (You may need to have your soldering iron at a temperature higher than 400°C to melt the lacquer).

* Cut the wire at your solder points - if nothing went wrong, e.g. one of these frequent reality bugs occured, you should have four shorter wires :-) - use a "helping hand" to solder the SMD LEDs and the wire pieces one by one, see photos 4-6.

* Create a "standoff loop" that guarantees clearance from the encoder base (photo 7)

* Connect the "LED Loops" as shown in photo 8 - one encoder pin is always grounded - make sure you choose the right one. Connect the other end of the loop to your "supply voltage line".

* The LEDs should be really close to the encoder axis, otherwise they won´t "shine through" the relatively small holes in the frontpanel. You can bend the wire to force them into positions, where they are most effective - very close to the axis and quite at the bottom of the shaft.

* When everything is ready your result could look like photos 9+10. Enjoy :-)


* A SMD caliper is highly recommended for this task. Best investment ever for SMD tasks :-).

* The SMD LEDs have markings for their negative pin, for example a color dot. Be sure to align all three LEDs in the ring in the same direction.

* It is not necessary to use a special SMD soldering tip - I used my standard 1.6mm flat tip which worked great.

* SMD LEDs burn quite quickly when you are careless with your soldering iron. Be sure to buy a few more than 45, because it is quite likely that you will lose some.

* My friend jojjelito just informed me, that the SMD work can be avoided in two ways:

a) use axial LEDs like these from digikey (lumex opto SSL-LXA228SGC) - they are a little bit more expensive but that will easily be compensated by the time saved.

b) use a transparent washer and glue LEDs to the side of it - you will obtain a nice area light. Nice tricks, thanks! :-)

* Also, Wilba just used normal "through-hole" LEDs, that were connected to GND and a supply line and then bent very close to the axis.

* Lastly, Altitiude recommends using a LM317 + fixed resistor + trim potentiometer (look in the datasheet for a connection example) to be able to dim the backlight brightness. This is a very good idea, as it allows to adjust your LEDs to the optimum current draw.

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Edited by Hawkeye
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Step 20: Upgrading to an awesome VFD :-) (optional)

Parts used:

* Noritake CU20045-UW5J VFD (Mouser 775-CU20045-UW5J)

* A dremel with a cutting wheel and a grinding/sanding tool

* Your favourite soldering equipment


* The described steps are suitable only for exactly the abovementioned VFD. I searched for many hours trying to find a VFD that fits into the MB6582 with relative ease without big modifications.

* The VFD also fits without altering the PCB with the dremel tool. But then you have to mount it a few millimeters deeper, and very slightly angled, which you may like or not - I wanted it to be as close as possible to the CS and be parallel to it.

* The current consumption of the VFD is quite high. In conjunction with the increased current consumption of the backlight LEDs, I would therefore highly recommend building an alternative PSU than the 25+ years old C64 power bricks in use. I will therefore post a small mini-tutorial of how to build a more powerful linear PSU later on. Even if this is not CS-specific, I feel, that it is an essential upgrade - there are reports of fried SIDs because of catastrophic 7805 voltage regulator failure. Frying the SIDs and the VFD would be bad. Very bad.

* Also, there may be a nice line of new 20x4 OLEDs suitable for your MB6582, if you want to avoid the high cost for a VFD.

* But the SIDs are old-school. So a VFD it must be... here we go :-).

* Unfortunately, this VFD does not run out-of-the box. Some driver adjustments were necessary - you can read on the process and download the driver in this thread:


* The VFD is wired exactly like the LCDs. Just "copy" the pins and you are fine. Note, that I´ve left out the data pins 1-4, as the MB6582 uses 4-bit mode by default and the wires are not necessary (photo 1).

* As the VFD has some angluar pins just where the lower PCB display border is, you can take away ca 1-2 millimeters of the PCB with the dremel tool and a cutting wheel - there are no connections here, so no harm is done (photos 2 and 3).

* Also, the VFD has a "coil" very close to one tactile switch. As only the upper section of the switch is used on the PCB, you can use the dremel with a ca 10mm "grinding tool" to take out that section (photos 4 and 5). Be careful to not harm the switch case though. Also make sure that the two shortened switch pins do not contact the exposed upper or lower copper layers of the PCB.

* Insert the M2.5 screws to which you add a M2.5 nut from above into the four "display holes" on the CS PCB. Fasten these screws with M2.5 nuts from below the CS PCB. These also serve as a 1.5-2mm spacer between the VFD and the CS PCB backside. Now stack your display from below and fasten it with four more M2.5 screws. Perform a fitting test - no parts should touch when the screws are fastened - it is especially important to control the "coil" area (photo 6) and the region where you soldered the display connection pins. In case of doubt, use insulating tape to mask.

* If you are really confident that all is right, connect all control surface connections and the display to the base PCB and turn it on. Make sure, that all LEDs, tactile switches and rotary encoders are working (photo 7).

* Now assemble the CS PCB and the upper part of the PT-10. If you are using flat-head LEDs, take care that you do not apply force, otherwise they will bend. Check for any LEDs that will not 100% fit their holes, unassemble and bend them lightly in the appropriate direction. When it is done properly, at some point, the two parts will just "click" together. Fasten all screws and for sanity reasons use masking tape to "protect" the display pin area from unwanted contacts (photo 8).

* When all is done, enjoy your new VFD (photo 9). I don´t yet own a plexiglass screen to protect it. Will keep you posted when I got it - frontplaten.net will produce them and they also have transparent colors available - which is great for shifting the color hue of VFDs towards the wanted color - or just limiting the brightness (by using a cool grey transparent window).

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Edited by Hawkeye
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Step 21: Installing a studio-compliant 6.3mm stereo socket (passive mixer)

Parts Used:

* Göldo J002G 1/4 inch/6.3mm gold stereo socket (Thomann audio store, for example)

* A length of wire and heat shrink tube

* A 12mm drill, a countersinking cutter will do nicely ("Senkbohrer" in german)

* A roll of electrical insulating tape

* Your favourite soldering equipment


* First, extend the hole for the old 3.5mm socket to 12mm (photo 1 before modification and 2 after drilling).

* Install the stereo socket

* Solder wires to the passive mixer audio-out headers - no plug is necessary in my opinion - protect pins by putting on some heat shrink tube (photo 3).

* Finally solder wires to the stereo socket, protect them with heat shrink tube and protect the whole socket with a layer of insulating tape (photo 4) for sanity reasons - the case closes nicely and neither the CS nor the display touches the new socket, so it is probably not necessary.

Enjoy your better studio connectivity :-)

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Edited by Hawkeye
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Step 22: Building a new protected linear PSU


* Why upgrade from your old C64 PSU? Because it is old. And it contains an unprotected 20+ year old voltage regulator, that in a failure scenario will lead to a real mess - it will pump too high voltage through your MB6582, probably frying SIDs, your display and potentially the PICs. Not nice!

* On the other hand... working with high voltage and PSUs is really dangerous! Be extremely sure, that you know what you do. If you are not, you can always buy (rather expensive) linear PSUs commercially. Or you can go for a cheaper "switching" PSU, which may (or may not, the discussion is endless) introduce audible noise to your signal path. The costs for this PSU were less than 50€ and it is really nice:

- It contains a high-power 5V regulator (up to 2 Amps) and has more than enough power on the 9V rail (nearly 3 Amps).

- It is fused to the max :-), with a total of four fuses in the PSU.

- It also contains a "crowbar-protection circuit". In case of a catastrophic VR failure (aka over voltage), a thrysistor will short circuit the 5V rail and blow a fuse.

- It contains LEDs for +5V and the active protection circuit.

- It contains "long livable" capacitators - high temperature variants, that you would normally not get in "consumer hardware".

- The case is nice and very sturdy.


* This build is nearly identical to the description from retro-donald.de: http://www.retro-don...wernetzteil.php

* You can test the crowbar circuit (Picture 13) with a lab PSU - I did so. It triggers when 6.2V are reached (simulated catastrophic VR failure) and shorts the rail. Very nice :-). You could also create the crowbar circuit for the 5V rail as a standalone separate unit (with a fuse!) and reuse your old C64 PSU.

* I will not cover the build details this time, because of two reasons... first, you really need to know what you are doing - and second, I won´t take any responsibility for damages (to you or your environment) by reproducing the PSU. So please accept this as a mere picture gallery - no build description and part list this time!

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Edited by Hawkeye
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Conclusion (II)

That´s it once again. Despite the CNCed plexiglass window screen, which I hope to obtain at some point in time, I cannot think of any other improvements to this fantastic synth.

See image two for an overview of how a plexiglass window can be glued to the aluminum frontpanel from the backside. Thanks for the illustration, orange_hand!

Enjoy & I hope you found the tutorial extension useful.

Edit: Added a night studio shot with purple/white VFD filtering, which I like the most right now :-)

Best regards,


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Edited by Hawkeye
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  • 2 weeks later...

Just wow! That is an amazing machine inside and out, a literal work of art, extremely well done and congratulations. The tutorial is really well written too, humorous but very informative! I'd love to build a machine like this but I am a complete beginner so I think its out of my league for now. I've been looking at the sammichSID and I reckon I could do that. Hopefully there are some kits left, but as I am impatient for that gritty SID sound I've decided to build a basic stereo midibox. Do you know if there are any walkthroughs as clear as this for a noob like me? I've looked at the walkthroughs on the site and I think eveything is there, but its a little scattered and I'm not sure if I've missed anything. Have you written any more of these? I think I could build anything if you were explaining it! Anyhow, thanks for an entertaining read, Adam.

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Thanks for your kind words, Adam. While I feel, that the MB6582 is a little bit advanced, by all means go for it, if you want it - it is not soo difficult, it just takes a little bit of time and you will get help, if you need it :-).

You can always start with a baseboard only, just put 2 SIDs in there and control it via Rutgers Java Editor first, then extend it with more SIDS and build the CS when you are fully hooked on the SID sound :-) You won´t regret it, it is the best DIY build I had in my life yet :-) .

Greetz, Peter

Edited by Hawkeye
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Hi Guys,

first of all I would like to thank Hawkeye for the great tutorial. I can say that this was one of the great motivation factors to build the MB6582. I haven't done everything as stated in his tutorial and I think it makes sense to share some of my experience with the community.

I used the following custom made acrylic windows for the display. I think a window to cover and protect the display gives the box an additional professional finish.




I have used a slightly different set of screws. To fix the control surface PCB to the front panel I used the screws with the black rubber washers. I also used different screws to fix the front panel as the hole was not drilled for countersunk screws.



Here I have attached a picture how I fixed my front panel and the control surface pcb:


As I haven't had hot glue and I didn't want to use my preferred gum, I have filled the hex nuts with silicone which worked fine.




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