lørdag den 4. februar 2017

DIY Modular #2: Nixie tubes for VU meters.

I want to give you a brief insight in the progress I am making on my wooden modular project.
I've already shown you the CRT-module(s) as visual feedback. I want to have a 4-channel summing mixer for all the the different outputs from the various modules and I thought it would be nice to have a VU meter for each channel to be able to monitor signal activity - and why not have nixie 'magic eye' tubes for just that!

The outputs from each channel is going to be sent to the main stereo output module through pan pots to create a stereo field. The main output module has two 100mm faders for left and right channel and for visual feedback two IN-13 nixie VU meter tubes are installed.

The technical aspects and circuit details of the modules will be covered further when I am done connecting it all. Below is a video of all the tubes (CRTs included) running together for the first time. The input signal is Boards of Canada's "Davyan Cowboy" :]

onsdag den 10. august 2016

Hi guys, currently I am on my holiday so just taking it all in and I've been a bit away from the workbench.
Here's a little catch-up.

My wooden modular project is slowly pacing away, the first module - the main console - has got its frontplate in 5mm clear acryllic mounted with the TVs steadily fixed on the little wooden shelf.
The idea is to have the monitors as in kind of a cockpit/main console where I can monitor various things like input voltage, temperature in the case, run time and date etc. via my Arduino Uno + TellyMate Shield.
The left CRT has been made into a TV-oscilloscope for the main out (stereo) signal.

Still with the protection on and no holes drilled yet.
After finishing the holes and the jacks and pots on.
Finished front plate in lighting.

In the dark, all systems go!

tirsdag den 17. november 2015

Hacking a Discman into a glitch machine!

A while ago I came across a female hacker/circuit bender under the name r20029 who managed to turn an obsolete Sony Discman into a crispy glitch machine! She baptised it the 'Sony Discbitch' :-)
I managed to hack my own CD player. Here's what it sounds like:

What the hack does is getting access to the anti-skip IC which stores a couple of seconds of audio on a RAM chip. The position of this chip varies from player to player so look up the name of the chip until you find the anti-skip IC. The pins A0 through A9 are DRAM adress pins. If we connect these pins together, we can confuse the machine to get glitchy playback and weird artifacts and noise.

After damaging a couple of CD players I finally managed to solder wires onto the tiny surface mount pins. Hot glue is your friend to make sure you don't accidently pull the wires off the pins when you've soldered it all together.

I think this mod holds great potential for a future module for my modular setup. Maybe have a couple of sample CD's with different material suited for glitchifying.

torsdag den 6. august 2015

DIY Modular #1: Wooden case and CRT-monitors.

Hola amigos y amigas! :-)

Besides enjoying a long summer holiday, before starting on my master's degree in electronic music,
I've been rethinking my entire setup and decided to abandon the idea of having lots of separate boxes which I have to arrange and connect for every concert and instead jump on the modular wagon but with my own standards and designs.
(no "eurocrack" ;-P )

I am going to design and build every module from scratch and include some different and unique modules and parts and try different methods of circuit designing. The frontplates are going to be transparent so all the insides are visible, which adds an extra dimension the the machine - it will be an work of art, from circuit to interface.

I wanted something organic and easy to work with so I went with wooden frames for the cases and for the front- and backplates I chose transparent acrylic glass as it's neat to be able to see the insides of the machine. I will put a lot of emphasis on the aesthetics of the circuits, parts and components because of this. For attaching the acrylic frontplates I am going to use an alu-rail with rectangular 'slide nuts' as the width of the modules will vary.
In the future I want to be able to expand with further identical cases on top so I added a mechanism for attaching the frames to each other. The drawing above shows my vision of what the machine will ultimately end up looking like.

Some snaps of the cases / frames:
Wooden frames with plexi back plate

Single frame / case

Both frames attached

I found it crucial to start with the design of the power supply part. I had an old PSU from a laptop lying around - 19V DC with app. 5A of juice to play around with. Some of the parts will be quite power-hungry so in the future I might have to step it up to 10A. I found a cute old capacitor from Denmark and decided to use it as stabilizing cap. My plan is to have most of the modules run on  ±12V but I might add a 5V line as well but so far I've been using LM317 variable voltage regulators for each device.
Power connector and switch w/ LED
Rear view - large capacitor added
Personal notes on PSU

The first actual modules will be a 'terminal' with a green-monochrome CRT TV. It will receive a video signal from an Atmega328 generating simple text strings with data such as the temperature inside the box, total run time, date and time and a lot of other stuff.
Next to it another CRT TV of the same size will display the master stereo output as a simple oscilloscope. Beneath the TV I will install two analog VU meters with a nice warm backlight as well.

Shelf for the TV's and front plate test
Side view of the shelf
Rear view of the CRTs
Both TVs turned on!
VU meters on as well. :-)
Startup-text generated by the arduino
An analog current panel meter will be beneath the terminal showing the power usage for alle the modules. Each TV draws around 1000 mA but so far 5A in total should be enough. I've used 7812 regulators for each TV to supply 12V but the regulators turn very very hot and will shut off without proper cooling so I had to mount rather large heatsinks.
The plan is to mount front plates in front of the TV's and have all the knobs and in/outputs controlling the TV and the terminal.

For labels I want every front plate etched with a CNC router (or just by hand?) and then edge-light it with an LED-strip installed beneath the acrylic. A test looks like this (scrap acrylic with scratches):
LED-strip test
Edge-lighting test
Edge-lighting test

mandag den 1. juni 2015

Snaps from The Lab 2015

I now have 3 months vacation after finishing my last exam so I thought I would show you some of the more recent additions to the studio / lab. :-)

Tascam Portastudio 244 (4-track)
Various CRT-TVs for future projects
Old school oscillators
Modding a guitar with pickups etc.
Wooden frame for modular synth
Sequencer board for Aristoteles
4-track Reel2Reel
Original Gameboy with LSDJ Tracker
Monochrome monitors
Thrift shop findings!
Donations from a physics teacher
Double-bass (gift from a friend)
Univox LEM Tape Echo
Univox LEM Tape Echo
Retro cassette player without case