gatesphere

Seq V4+ news?

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Hi all,

I'm a newbie here -- really looking into building a Seq V4.  But I hear rumblings of a Seq V4+ coming down the pike.  I haven't found any particular point where Seq V4+ info is gathered -- other than it's due 'Spring 2018'.  What can people tell me about it?  Is it almost ready to go?  Would I be able to retrofit a Seq V4 build into a V4+, if I'm too impatient to wait?

Sorry if I'm missing something, there's a lot of info around these parts.  It's a bit daunting :)

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Here is the thread to check out: 

From what I gather, the front panel is quite different, so you would need a new PCB and panel to upgrade. Of course you would also need all of the components that go on the board, and those are a big part of the expense (buttons, button caps, and encoders).

As someone who just finished a SeqV4, I am contemplating selling it so that I can have the fun of making another one.

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Your cost to build will be a lower maybe much lower depending on component choices with the seq4. It looks like the seq4+ will be SMD. Wilbas regular seq4 is all through hole. Much easier to build and trouble shoot through hole. The buttons will cost much more on the 4+. Looks to be a lot more dual leds on the 4+ that will make usage hopefully easier but will also add to cost. If you are new and have not built much It may be a lot easier and less frustrating to build the regular seq4. It looks like the 4+ will have a bit better interface but cost a good bit more. The main added features may be the way mutes work and really the layout improvements. 

 

Good luck with making your decision.  

 

Gerald

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The SEQ V4+ (antilog) hardware is validated and we have some PCBs available, although the mechanism of the shop etc. is not quite ready. The last piece of the puzzle is the case, which is still in progress from Adrian.

  • If you want something ready-to-go, with all through-hole compenents etc., then go for the Wilba version (contra: there's no ready-made case available and CNC-routed panels are quite expensive). SEQ V4+ features should be compatible with all STM32F4 versions; this includes both the Wilba and antilog variants.
  • if you don't mind waiting a bit and want a "high-quality" solution/enhanced hardware suited to the current SEQ workflow, then the SEQ v4+ is the right way to go. 
    • it does involve SMT soldering, although it is not super difficult being 1206/SOIC. The Wilba version is certainly more straightforward in terms of the main control surface.
    • the case from Adrian will make a "complete unit," hence we wait to see what Adrian brings :)
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I've understood it like latigid on says, i.e. SEQV4+ will be compatible with the old Wilba front panel, as well as the "standard" setup (there are firmwares for several variants in the latest zip file).

And I think we're already in the SEQV4+ era, because that's what the latest firmware is named (if I recall correctly), even if you use it with a Wilba frontpanel. From that point of view to talk about "SEQV4" and "SEQV4+" as if they were separate things makes sense only if we're talking about old firmware versions.

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Thanks all, for this wonderful info!

I've done a lot of soldering in my day, but never any SMT stuff.  I'm sure I could figure it out, but really I'm confident with my through-hole skills.  So I'll probably end up going for the wilba version instead.

Really helpful!

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If you decide to try the SMT I would advise a hot air rework station they can be had for about $30. They also have practice boards you can buy. the 1206 like to lift when you solder them if you use too much solder. Have a pick or small screw driver to put them down if they lift. Not your finger they are hot and will burn your finger. Practicing on a few soic before doing one that matters would be really helpful in the confidence department. The 74hc series are fairly cheap to buy and would be great to practice on. Highly recommend to practice on the cheap disposable SMT soldering practice boards.  It is a lot harder to solder than through hole. It is also a lot harder to trouble shoot. You can not just pop out a socketed chip or throw on a chip clip for testing. You can not clip a test lead on a chip leg either.  You will get some bad chips and hot air is the only real way to replace them. The 165 seem extra sensitive, I have had several not survive soldering. I do not like to solder without a lighted magnifying glass to really be able to see well they are about $70. The lighted helping hand ones are good too and are about $30. A lot of the helping hands do not have current limiting resistors on the led lights and the leds will burn out. I replaced all my leds and put a current limiting resistor in mine.Get the nicer ones with the glass magnifying glass, sooner or later you will bump it with the soldering iron and the glass one will still be good. The cheap plastic one not so much... I also check all the joints with a 10x loupe. The Russian Belomo one is about ~$30 they have the best low distortion optics you can buy. To get anything better is a 300 price jump. Get the neck strap it is good so you do not drop it or have to look for it while you are working. It is really easy to solder the top of the leg but not have the solder flow properly under the leg. This is especially true if you are using standard solder. It is a lot easier with the thin solder (.015). It only takes a very little amount of solder to solder the smt ic. Don't use larger through hole solder you will have bridges. Bridges are very hard to remove at first, more so if it gets under the chip. Keep your soldering iron tip super clean. A soldering iron tip with extra solder on it will create bridges. The small pencil point tips are the easiest to use on SMT. I prefer the chisel point on through hole. Also component placement is critical. If it is off just a bit not all the legs may not align to solder to all the pads. Hot air will come in handy here as you can heat it up and realign the chip. Use a small jewelers screw driver to align it not your finger. It is hot you will burn your finger. Don't say I did not warn you it was hot :) . Did I mention you will burn your finger? You do not have a lot of room for error even on the larger SMT stuff. The smaller is much harder. Test all the legs for bridges and shorts with your meter before applying power. It is also good to test from the leg to a place in the circuit this will find legs that you did not get 100% the first go. I am still fairly new to SMT but have not had a perfect build yet. My through hole is perfect almost 95% normally on through hole if something did not work I just missed a solder somewhere and it is a quick easy obvious fix. SMT I have had to put a lot more work into trouble shooting. The chip packages are marked differently as well. Be sure to study them to put the chips on the right way the first time. There are at least 5 types of marking for a soic chip I have seen possibly more. It is easy to get a wrong reversed placement if you are not paying attention.

 

This should really be a sticky somewhere as this project seems to be going more and more SMT for the new folks that want to build something. SMT is not impossible or very hard but you definitely should have a few more tools and be prepared to test things a bit more. I would not go as far as to say it is easy but with a little practice first you would have a good idea if it is something you are able to do or not. I would bet most can especially with a few tools.

Edited by gerald.wert

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 Adrian built me a case for the regular Seq4. He builds a really nice case and has a few in stock. http://thebeast.co.uk/?product_cat=midibox I am not sure what the lead time would be if you want something custom but he does really nice work. Also Ponoko https://www.ponoko.com/design-your-own/products/midibox-seq-v4-case-9386 is always an option if you want acrylic or one of the other Front Panel Design people it just depends on how fast and what you want to spend. Would be fairly easy to DYI if you choose round buttons. I have not found a good way to make the rectangular button holes my self yet. Drill and file would take forever and just not look that good. I keep looking at mills for my drill press but have not put up the $ yet. Anyway so many options for midibox goodness.

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I got my acrylic panel cut at Ponoko for around $25 USD, because they had a $20 off deal for first time users. I also machined my panel for my MBSid on my hobby wood CNC machine. It turned out great. I just used decals for the labeling though.

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So, digging around a bit, if I wanted to build the Mongbox version of the SeqV4 (that is, no modifications), I'd need:

- 1x STM32F4 Core board
- 2x MIDI IO boards
- 1x Wilba CS board
 
Plus all the gubbins to fill those boards out.  And the STM board to plug into the core.  And 2x screens.  Sound about right?  Just making sure I'm not missing anything here.

(Also, sorry for derailing my own thread...)

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Add some sort of SD Card receiver to that list and that's it, you have a basic SeqV4. There is a spot on the core board for an SD Card, but then it's inside the case.

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Just a few notes on SMT soldering. The process can be a whole lot quicker than THT, as you never need to clip a lead. It's true that you can't easily desolder chips, but the advice about hot air rework stations is sound. I've done the same before, even reusing 600 LEDs for the BLM. Practising on a test PCB is also smart.

The die inside a SOIC chip is probably the same as in a DIP. The package and leads are much smaller for SMT though, and with DIY you're normally socketing the ICs. So overheating is an issue. I suggest the "tack" method to anchor one corner, correcting the alignment then going down just one row at a time. Hold the soldering iron at a low angle (close to the PCB) if possible and heat the pad, then apply solder to the pin. This keeps the heat source away from the IC and uses surface tension to wick the solder in. I suggest against "drag soldering" as it's possible to scratch the soldermask.

For bridges, I've found an el cheapo solder sucker removes the excess quite well.

 

 

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+1 no drag soldering you will make a lot of bridges too. I read about drag soldering on the internet. It sounded promising.

+1 solder bulb way better than braid with way less heating. Braid also tends to leave little wires that make the bridge worse.

Sometimes the mask is super tight and you can not heat the pad but if you can it is way better. Especially with the thin solder, th esolder wicks and flows right in where you put it.

+1 to way faster unless you have to trouble shoot...

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@gerald.wert That link above is for Julian no?  I don’t think I’ve seen a link to Adrian’s stuff

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