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WIGGLING 'LITE' IN GUEST MODE

VCO # 1 Completed!
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Oakley Sound Systems  
Author VCO # 1 Completed!
Flareless
I've built a number of Oakley modules this past year, my first in the Modular / DIY world, but the one I really wanted to try was the VCO. I'm very happy to say that I completed my first unit.

The build itself wasn't all too difficult. I'd like to thank Tony for his excellent support (as always) in fixing the one blunder I made; soldering the headers to the wrong side of the Socket Board. I was able to correct that mistake and get the module working.

Calibrating the unit was tricky and I think I can do better as there is some drift across the octaves but I got it working acceptably and will revisit the calibration processes again (perhaps as early as today).

The oscillator sounds FANTASTIC! I've presently got three Q106s and a PAiA 9720 (modified for MU). The Oakley VCO has a rich, full-bodied sound which differs from the others. I think it's a wonderful addition to my system and I plan to add two more plus the VCO controller in the very near future.

Thanks so much to Tony for an excellent VCO product and for his continued support!




Leverkusen
Congrats! It looks very nice and even has a MU panel. applause

I'll do one or two too someday but first I definitely need some mixers...
Paradigm X
nice one. looks great! mine is done, bar the molex connections (and the testing)
Flareless
Thanks guys!

The MU panel is my own design based upon the FSD file provided by Tony. I've now got a silkscreen prepared so I can make my next ones even faster.

@Leverkusen - Check out the Oakley Multimix. I've got three of them and find them incredibly versatile

@P.X Yeah, getting the Molex connection cables together is always a foot-dragger for me. Testing went quickly for me... It was the calibrating that took a while (and I still have to re-calibrate to tighten the limits)

I was playing with the VCO again yesterday, though and I'm really impressed with the sound!
Paradigm X
i would cheerfully buy ready-made mta cables, its such a chore. boo. has anyone evey come across any?

I wired the first few oakley modules manually, thinking the molex would be a pain. a lot of people, including tony and Paul Krisp1, said its much easier, and, well, im not 100% convinced. Not disputing their words of wisdom, but for me, i think i find it easier to do one wire at a time. that said, this was for the smaller modules, theres a ton of wires on the vco.

and it must be said, its a triumph of engineering how all the pcbs neatly fit together, while still allowing you to get to the trimmers etc.

regardless, congrats. what are you building next.
Flareless
I don't think you'll be able to find ready-made cables in the lengths and configurations required for the panels. At least I personally haven't found any. Once I sit down to a session of cable making, though, I find it goes quite quickly and painlessly. When I'm done I often think to myself "Well that wasn't so bad. Why did I wait and not just get 'er done?".

In many cases, though, I've found that hand wiring works just fine. This past summer I built several Oakley modules for myself and some fellow Wigglers where I left out the SOCKx boards and hand-wired. I found it rather easier as once the wires were done they were done. I can solder connections faster than cutting wires, stripping the wires, crimping each end in it's connection terminal, installing the terminals in each Molex housing, checking for continuity and finally zip-tying them together.

In the case of the VCO, though, I do think it is worth the extra effort. At least at this point.

Presently I'm building an Oakley Discrete Ladder Filter. I'm actually taking a moment off from matching transistors ( cry ) to post this message.

The project will be slightly delayed while I wait for a particular potentiometer (a 50K Dual Gang Linear) to arrive from Tayda Electronics. My regular vendor, Small Bear Electronics, does not stock this pot and I don't yet have inventory of them. Thanks again Tony for helping me locate the part!

I expect to be finished the module by tomorrow with the exception of the potentiometer. I'll use the time to design a panel, make a silkscreen and then screen and drill the panel.

Incidentally, I'll be hand wiring the jacks on this module.
Leverkusen
Flareless wrote:

@Leverkusen - Check out the Oakley Multimix. I've got three of them and find them incredibly versatile


Yes, they look great! In contrast to the Formic they have no normalized offset voltages, have they? I think I might get one of each at least.
Flareless
If built with the "Stooge" variant the Multimix has reversible attenuators. It also has a very cool and flexible set of outputs for each channel as well as summed outputs.

Check out page 11 of the Builder's Guide (the Testing, Testing... page). It will describe the workings of the ports and attenuators.

There are even a couple of handy LEDs because let's face it. Every module needs LEDs It's peanut butter jelly time!

Seriously, though... the Multimix is a very useful and flexible module.

Now back to the VCO. I'm really loving the warm, rich sound it produces. I've been getting some wonderful results with it. The Oakley really produces some different sounds than my other oscillators.

I still haven't super-fine tuned the V/Oct potentiometer. Tony mentions it's tricky and takes some time and practice to get right but I've got it working enough to track well within a few octaves. Fortunately I'm using a small keyboard or I'm sure I'd notice the drift much more from low to high but this setting will do for now. Hopefully I'll get to fixing it by the weekend.

I DEFINTELY need more of these VCOs!
Paradigm X
Hey

thats good to hear (but not actually hear hihi )

I have downloaded a computer program for tuning, but not actually got round to using / trying it yet. its here;

https://www.muffwiggler.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=164286&highlight=

might be worth giving it a try.

Cheers
Flareless
Thanks for the tip. I'll give it a try thumbs up
tvh
Nice job on the VCO! Also my biggest facepalm moment - I actually soldered 3 sets of of the socket PCBs with headers on wrong side....I started to desolder one ...MY ASS IS BLEEDING

I ended up just ordering 3 new ones hihi
Flareless
tvh wrote:
Nice job on the VCO! Also my biggest facepalm moment - I actually soldered 3 sets of of the socket PCBs with headers on wrong side....I started to desolder one ...MY ASS IS BLEEDING

I ended up just ordering 3 new ones hihi


Thanks for the kind comment!

I had the same experience and actually sent an email to Tony to get a new quote on a fresh Socket Board. During the time zone difference while I waited for a reply I watched this video on desoldering. In it there is a demonstration of how to desolder multipin headers. When I got my reply back from Tony he mentioned the same thing.

I was able to actually slide the plastic header off of the pins and they popped out easily with the help of my solder sucker.

What a nightmare though when I first noticed my mistake and tried doing it all at once! cry
Leverkusen
tvh wrote:
Nice job on the VCO! Also my biggest facepalm moment - I actually soldered 3 sets of of the socket PCBs with headers on wrong side....I started to desolder one ...MY ASS IS BLEEDING

I ended up just ordering 3 new ones hihi


Seems to be a standard - happened to me with my first board... d'oh!

I desoldered it by heating the contacts one by one while pulling the pin out of the header on the other side. Went quit good but reassembling the header not so... hihi

Since them I am a little more attentive.
tvh
I still have my sad vco socket boards on my workbench as a reminder to take my time. Considered framing them haha. Have since built about 20 Oakley modules with no major goofs like that....knock on wood.
Flareless
tvh wrote:
I still have my sad vco socket boards on my workbench as a reminder to take my time. Considered framing them haha. Have since built about 20 Oakley modules with no major goofs like that....knock on wood.


Back in the very early '80s I got my start with electronics working for a company that manufactured Apple ][ peripheral boards. Hayes 1200 baud modem clones, Z-80 cards and the ever popular 80 column display card not to mention serial (for your daisy wheel printer) and parallel cables among other things.

In the workshop we had a big board mounted on the wall called the Wall Of Shame onto which were mounted horribly failed efforts of our own but more often, horrible products sent to us by other vendors or destroyed by users trying to fix their own computers.

Your post just gave me a flashback hihi
Dr. Sketch-n-Etch
Yes, professionally made through-hole-plated PCBs are awfully unforgiving when you have to fix mistakes like that. Home-etched single-sided boards are infinitely more forgiving. Just another reason to embrace Total DIY.

I'm still trying to figure out why someone would be tempted to solder the headers onto the wrong side of the PCB, though...
Leverkusen
Dr. Sketch-n-Etch wrote:


I'm still trying to figure out why someone would be tempted to solder the headers onto the wrong side of the PCB, though...


Because they have to be mounted on the back of the PCB but the silkscreen is on the front. It's clearly described in the building manual but...well...when you are in a flow you just solder everything on its marks and then... d'oh!
Flareless
Leverkusen wrote:
Dr. Sketch-n-Etch wrote:


I'm still trying to figure out why someone would be tempted to solder the headers onto the wrong side of the PCB, though...


Because they have to be mounted on the back of the PCB but the silkscreen is on the front. It's clearly described in the building manual but...well...when you are in a flow you just solder everything on its marks and then... d'oh!


Yes...that! applause
Paradigm X
well, i installed the sock board upside down on my adsr which obviously didnt work, if it makes you feel any better hihi took me a while to figure why things were going to the wrong sockets.... oops
Flareless
Paradigm X wrote:

https://www.muffwiggler.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=164286&highlight=

might be worth giving it a try.

Cheers


K, this program is incredibly useful!!! I was able to get the Oakley VCO tuned up very nicely with extremely minor variances across octaves.

I actually tested my Dotcom Q106s with it and they show minor variances as well so.... there you go.

I was even able to improve the tracking on my PAiA 9720 Dual VCO. It's not quite as good as the Oakley or Dotcom but hey, it's a big improvement as well.

Thanks tons for suggesting the application thumbs up
Paradigm X
cool. good to hear. ive not got round to using it yet but thats encouraging!

cheers
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