Saturday, June 20, 2009

x0xb0x SS#01:Sequencer Part 2

I finally got my hands on the missing 16 pin DIP sockets and wrapped up everything in the x0x except the LEDs. Tack on another $3.45 in parts (6 x $0.50 plus Tax) which is not the end of the world but is thievery compared to the $0.07 / unit price from Futurlec. Lesson learned!

The manual isn't kidding about this being a long process and things getting tight in spots. I would have preferred to do all the resistors first (like they always say!), then caps, then dips and switches. It would have made life much easier. In any case the job got finished. Now the only task left is getting the LEDs set up and building the jump wires before we get to start closing this thing up!

As mentioned in my previous post, I opted for these nice flat LEDs I picked up. I diffused a set of them with a dremel for comparison but I'm finding that the clear glass look with really high resistor values is creating a very slick, low blinkyness factor that I rather like. I may regret it because if it doesn't really work visually, I'll be ripping out and replacing 40 resistors. I really hope I don't have to do that. The x0x's LED size is quite large, 5mm, but with this set up the LEDs appear recessed and about 2-3mm in size. It's rather unique looking. We'll see how it goes. The resistors are in so it's too late right now!

These are really high MCD valued LEDs so the resistor values I found that worked for this set up were as follows:

Purple UV - 2000 mcd: 10K
Blue - 5000 mcd: 47K
White - 8000 mcd: 68K

Blue is being used for Tempo and the tools on the left and right side of the panel. White is being used for all the notes and Sequencer steps: 1, 5, 9, and 12. Purple UV is being used for the remaining sequencer steps.

These are pretty high values but it looks elegant. I *think* it'll work. Next up: jump wires and then those LEDs!

Friday, June 5, 2009

x0xb0x SS#01:Sequencer Part 1

Ah, the sequencer. This is where things start to get more creative (in some respects) as opposed to functional. Aside from going through a soldering frenzy - heaps of parts, all pretty much the same - this is the stage where we get to introduce blinky lights. I haven't decided on a final configuration, but I have three flat LEDs on hand: blue, purple UV, and white. I'm considering a combination of all three but it hinges on the enclosure style I implement. In any case, this first phase is simply to get the stock parts out of the way. That means soldering sockets for all the ICs, diodes, caps, and a good handful of resistors.

> Note: I discovered that I didn't order a full set of 16 pin dip sockets. I'm missing six. That's a pain. They were a bargain at $0.07 a pop from Futurlec. Now I have to pick them up locally at probably around $0.25 plus my time and fuel, an inconvenience more than anything. Ebay's certainly an option but with a lengthy delivery time. Either way this is a minor, albeit annoying, setback. It would be nice to see all the ICs in place.

A working x0x is on the horizon! Fingers crossed that the sequencer works! I would love to hear some real sound come out of this.

x0xb0x SS#01: I/O

This was an exciting stage actually. First of all, it's nice to see several of these 'external' components land into place on the I/O board. 1/4", MIDI / DINSync, and CV / gate jacks all make up the familiar territiory of any synth and gear owner. This makes the project feel like it's really starting to come together. Secondly, the MASSIVE leap forward was downloading the Serial <-> USB driver and plugging the I/O into the computer. JOY!! I nailed the USB chip on the first go. Looks like the beer helped after all ;) The computer recognized the card and installed the drivers. As far as WinXP is concerned, this x0x is 'ready to use'. I'm elated!

Of course the x0x is far from complete or running an OS but it sure is encouraging!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

x0xb0x SS#01: USB Chip

This was the step I considered to be the 'hump' of the build. I didn't have the I/O card shipped with the USB chip pre-soldered so putting this in place was going to be my big challenge. The 32 points would be my smallest solder work to date. I took my time, about an hour in total (clean the surface, place and solder, and snap pics throughout), and hoped for the best. The beer I had just before doing this probably calmed my nerves but also made me aware that I may very brutalize the whole thing. The true test will occur once the I/O is in place so here's hoping!