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WIGGLING 'LITE' IN GUEST MODE

[Build Thread] 157 spaces of fun!
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> 5U Format Modules Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6  Next [all]
Author [Build Thread] 157 spaces of fun!
Minimoog56
Congrats Violet's dad!
ericD13
Eric the Red wrote:
Now that she is born, I get back into My DIY project.

Hum, now that she is born, she will be the center of your life, no time for anything else.
Thalassa
Eric the Red wrote:

The last 9 months have been a little crazy in Eric the Reds House. I would like to introduce you guys to Violet Moon. Future wiggler. Now that she is born, I get back into My DIY project.



Congratulations Eric Champagne Champagne Champagne
Rex Coil 7
ericD13 wrote:
Eric the Red wrote:
Now that she is born, I get back into My DIY project.

Hum, now that she is born, she will be the center of your life, no time for anything else.
This has crossed my mind as well.
danishchairs
A Euro thread wiggler, enjoying reading about this 5U project.

Congrats Eric on the birth of your daughter and the building of your synth!
Chugging Beers
Eric the Red
Thank you everyone!

Progress has not stopped on this beast - I am currently waiting on a quote to get my panel graphics printed from a local vendor.

I just have one more panel to design for the main cab, and then we are ready to rock andr roll to finally finish some modules.

-Eric
Rex Coil 7
Eric the Red wrote:
Thank you everyone!

Progress has not stopped on this beast - I am currently waiting on a quote to get my panel graphics printed from a local vendor.

I just have one more panel to design for the main cab, and then we are ready to rock andr roll to finally finish some modules.

-Eric
headbang Trampoline Dancing Star Wow!

Eyes on the prize! ----> Checkered Flag

re; the tiny one ... check a Stevie Wonder hit song from the 70s called "isn't she lovely" ... it's about his newborn daughter.
Eric the Red
Love that song! We’ve been listening to a lot of Radiohead, Gorillaz and the newer, mellower NIN tracks a lot... the baby loves them and it relaxes her.

I heard back from the printer today, and they recommend printing on Vinyl... think those fancy car wraps. I’ll be placing my order early next week.

-Eric
Eric the Red
Knobs and vinyl printout for panel graphics should be arriving today/tomorrow!! It all really depends on when I get my car back from the shop to pick em up.

I’ll be finishing up some modules soon for this beast of a project soon.

-Eric
Rex Coil 7
Eric the Red wrote:
Knobs and vinyl printout for panel graphics should be arriving today/tomorrow!! It all really depends on when I get my car back from the shop to pick em up.

I’ll be finishing up some modules soon for this beast of a project soon.

-Eric


It's peanut butter jelly time!

Eric the Red
Made some progress on the first two filters - time to drop some photos!!

Lining up th knobs on the table:


Parts all lined up:


Glamour shots:








Lessons learned:
-Use the finish tip awl, not the chubby one. Some of my holes are a little uneven.

-drill a smaller pilot hole, again, some holes are slightly off.

-drill mounting holes... oops!!

But for a $10 panel, I would say it’s not to shabby.
—Aluminum panel from Online Metal, about 6.50
—Vinyl graphic from Unfolding Creative, here in Ferndale MI, about $3.50

This weekend I’ll be working in my 40-VCA bank, it’s about 22U!!

-signing off for now.

-Eric
JohnLRice
Good job! applause thumbs up
Rex Coil 7
Looking like one of those orange and vanilla "dreamsicle" ice cream bars.

The first modules are always ones that you wish you'd have done this or that differently. The great news is that things will continue to get easier and easier with each new construct.

And .... I spy with my little eye ... them bus bars and power cables. Right on Eric ... good job!! That synth is going to be one hell of a killer setup.

thumbs up
Eric the Red
Thanks Rex!! Those bus bars are a tedious thing to put together, but kind of relaxing... I just put a movie on, and cut, and crimp and screw, and repeat... like 100 times...

Now, I need to do the next step and finish off th em bus bars and make it so I can connect them to the modules!

What’s the dumb little tool called to jam the wire into the socket?

Rex Coil 7
Eric the Red wrote:
Thanks Rex!! Those bus bars are a tedious thing to put together, but kind of relaxing... I just put a movie on, and cut, and crimp and screw, and repeat... like 100 times...

Now, I need to do the next step and finish off th em bus bars and make it so I can connect them to the modules!

What’s the dumb little tool called to jam the wire into the socket?

The name of that tool is "Wussin' out and ordering premade cables from Graham Hinton" ... that's the official name of the tool I used.

hihi




I ended up getting 34 cables from him. Headers on one end (the module end) and bare wires on the bus bar end. I just had him make 18 inch long cables that I'll trim to length and crimp eyelets on myself. I've made up about 12 or so by now. I have my own way of installing eyelets .....



On my Dot Com modules I did the same as you, just cut up one of the 20 cable "squids", trimmed to length and installed eyelets. I actually had to use two of the 20 cable squids, since I ended up needing 38 cables. The first 20 ended up not being enough, so I have another 20 cable squid on order waiting on one back ordered item before they'll ship the whole rather large order.



My system is little.

cry waah sad banana
JohnLRice
Eric the Red wrote:
What’s the dumb little tool called to jam the wire into the socket?

There are two sizes that you might need for most modular synth use:
* MTA-100 (for DotCom type power headers and often PCB to panel control interconnects etc)
* MTA-156 (for MOTM/Modcan type power headers)
http://www.te.com/commerce/DocumentDelivery/DDEController?Action=srchr trv&DocNm=408-7907&DocType=SS&DocLang=EN

These days the tools are $30 to $35 each but Newark has the lowest price I found on a quick search just now for the MTA-100 tool ($25):
http://www.newark.com/te-connectivity-amp/59803-1/insertion-tool/dp/98 F2821

Note that the MTA-100 tool is symetrical and can be inserted either way but the MTA-156 tool is not.

Consider making a jig or use pliers to hold the connector because if you aren't paying close attention you might tip over the connector and pin your thumb to the bench top with the insertion tool making a nasty blood blister. cry (I did that a couple times meh d'oh! lol )

The fancy gun type insertion tools are much nicer but very expensive at $200 to $300 if you are only going to do one small job or only make a single cable occasionally. I thought I'd be smart and buy used guns on eBay but they were worn out. While I brought them back to life by replacing the springs, it was a difficult puzzle to figure out and maddening trying to get those micro springs in! very frustrating Dead Banana

I recommend using the strain relief dust caps.

Make sure you use the the correct connector size for the wire gauge you have to ensure the most reliable connection!


Forumcat #2 Take a read through this thread for additional informationz:
https://www.muffwiggler.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=16488
Eric the Red
Thanks guys!!
Rex Coil 7
I think if I had built every single module in my synth from the PCB on up, I would have abandoned the use of MTA connectors altogether. I'd have soldered short pigtails (3, maybe 4 inches long) and put 1/4" spade connectors on each wire that was soldered to the PCB (I mean power wires). Then I would have made wires that would connect to the modules' spade terminated wires with the correct mating spades. On the bus bar end would then have eyelets.

So said another way, directly solder short power wires to each module. At the end of those "power wires" put in-line connections that would permit connecting wires to them that would then connect to the bus bars.

This would completely eliminate the need for MTA type connections. The power wires would be soldered directly to the PCBs. Then "extensions" would connect to those wires which would then connect to the bus bars via eyelets.

That method would still permit the removal and installation of each module without having to deal with disconnecting the wires from the bus bars.

However .... the ultimate method would be to .... solder full length power wires directly to the modules, and terminate those wires with eyelets so there would only be one single mechanical termination between the modules and the bus bars, which would be the eyelets. I'm doing this exact thing to a number of modules I am making "from the PCB up" in my Euro cabinet. Those modules will have no removable power cables, they'll just have power cables soldered right to the PCBs with eyelets on the bus bar ends.

Less terminations = less resistance, less places for connections to fail, better performance ... and zero hassles with having to make power cables with special connectors requiring special tools.

In a fully custom synth there is no need to have removable power cables ... meaning the power cables could be permanently soldered directly to the PCBs, but still have eyelets on the bus bar ends to facilitate module removal in the event a repair or modification to the module is required. Especially in a custom modular that uses bus bars, since there are plenty enough holes in the bus bars to allow connecting a module anywhere in the cabinet and still have the power wires be able to reach a connection point on the bus bars.

In a fully custom modular, the modules are not made to "normal" size standards, so it's not like you might be able to sell those modules later, it's not like they'll fit in any place other than the location the builder designed them to fit. So no need for "standardized" power cable connections.

It's what "custom" means.

seriously, i just don't get it Just me carrying on .... again.
Eric the Red
This is also an option... the wire is there, the modules are going to be set in place. All my panels are all cut to a specific size to all be placed in a specific spot in the system...

If I want to move them, I could just take the wire off of the buss bar.

I also don’t have to buy a silly $20 tool
cornutt
I will say that if you are going to do a bunch of MTA-100 or 156 connectors, the expensive gun is well worth it. I make a lot of my own power cables, plus I sometimes use MTA-100 headers to connect boards to panel controls a la Dotcom. If you're doing a lot of that, life is a lot less frustrating with the gun. (Assuming you can remember which pin is pin 1... d'oh! )
Rex Coil 7
cornutt wrote:
I will say that if you are going to do a bunch of MTA-100 or 156 connectors, the expensive gun is well worth it. I make a lot of my own power cables, plus I sometimes use MTA-100 headers to connect boards to panel controls a la Dotcom. If you're doing a lot of that, life is a lot less frustrating with the gun. (Assuming you can remember which pin is pin 1... d'oh! )
Are your power cable wire gauges any different than the stock Dot Coms?

Actually, large gauge wires on module power cables aren't much of a help. UNLESS we're talking about using data cables for power (as in ribbon cables). But the stock Dot Com power cables are plenty large enough, especially if you keep them no longer than about a foot. Just buy one of the Dot Com "squids" and cut it apart. A 20 cable squid is $55.00 ... comes out to $2.75 per cable with the connector already installed. The 40 cable squid is $95.00 ... $2.38 per cable. Cut them to length, put eyelets on them, connect the eyelets to the bus bars.

The important part is paying attention to the distribution from the PSU to the module cables. This is why bus bars are the apex of methods. Try to use super short wires that are as large as possible between the PSU and the bars. As long as the module power cables are no longer than about 12 inches, and at least 26 gauge, using heavier module cables won't really get you much since the resistance of the modules (and/or input impedance of the modules) is already far more than the cables are. Each module cable is only feeding one single module so it doesn't need to be massive. Bus bars and the wires from the PSU to the bars need to be heavy because they are feeding EVERYTHING.

Having said all of that, is there any need to make cables with special connectors on them in a truly custom synth like Eric's?

No real need for uber heavy module cables. You'll actually reduce resistance MORE by eliminating the mutli-pin connector and soldering the power cables directly to the module's PCB than you will by making heavier gauge cables.

Bus bars just really change everything. For the better! But they can be a bit of work.

thumbs up
Dave Peck
Eric the Red wrote:
This is also an option... the wire is there, the modules are going to be set in place. All my panels are all cut to a specific size to all be placed in a specific spot in the system...

If I want to move them, I could just take the wire off of the buss bar.

I also don’t have to buy a silly $20 tool


Unless you are absolutely sure that there will always be easy access to the rear of the synth, plan your wire harness segments so they are long enough to allow you to unscrew any single module from the front and pull it out of the cabinet far enough to easily unplug the power connector from the front of the synth.

This also allows you to pull a module out of the cabinet and leave it powered up while you're holding it several inches away from the cabinet, which is important when you need to access trim pots on a module's PCB while the module is functioning, for occasional calibration procedures.
Rex Coil 7
Dave Peck wrote:
Eric the Red wrote:
This is also an option... the wire is there, the modules are going to be set in place. All my panels are all cut to a specific size to all be placed in a specific spot in the system...

If I want to move them, I could just take the wire off of the buss bar.

I also don’t have to buy a silly $20 tool


Unless you are absolutely sure that there will always be easy access to the rear of the synth, plan your wire harness segments so they are long enough to allow you to unscrew any single module from the front and pull it out of the cabinet far enough to easily unplug the power connector from the front of the synth.

This also allows you to pull a module out of the cabinet and leave it powered up while you're holding it several inches away from the cabinet, which is important when you need to access trim pots on a module's PCB while the module is functioning, for occasional calibration procedures.
Yeeeeyup. cool

But all of that is true whether the cables are soldered to the PCB or connectors are used.

cookie?!?
JohnLRice
I would NEVER go back to having power wires solder directly to the module PCBs! meh zombie

My first modular synth back in the day was a PAiA 4700. It had a power distribution system made up of terminal strips screwed to the back of the case with heavy buss wire (that didn't take solder well angry ) and the modules had power wires soldered directly to the PCBs. The was no access to the back so all work was done from the front.


First modules installed I used short wires but then as time went on I realized I needed longer and longer wires. And once the case got over half full I often had to remove several modules to install a new one so I could get my hands into the case to solder at the back, and if I needed to remove a module completely I had to either desolder the wires from the PCB if the power wires were long enough or if the wires were too short I had to pull out unmount a whole bunch of modules and have then hanging all over the place so I could unsolder at the buss. Dead Banana
Rex Coil 7
JohnLRice wrote:
I would NEVER go back to having power wires solder directly to the module PCBs! meh zombie

My first modular synth back in the day was a PAiA 4700. It had a power distribution system made up of terminal strips screwed to the back of the case with heavy buss wire (that didn't take solder well angry ) and the modules had power wires soldered directly to the PCBs. The was no access to the back so all work was done from the front.


First modules installed I used short wires but then as time went on I realized I needed longer and longer wires. And once the case got over half full I often had to remove several modules to install a new one so I could get my hands into the case to solder at the back, and if I needed to remove a module completely I had to either desolder the wires from the PCB if the power wires were long enough or if the wires were too short I had to pull out unmount a whole bunch of modules and have then hanging all over the place so I could unsolder at the buss. Dead Banana
BEST LAID PLANS: This is not the same as soldering power cables to the modules and using bus bars with holes for screws/nuts. Keep in mind Eric also has a number of fairly large holes (like 4 or 6 inches in diameter) in the back panels. Even if those weren't there you just have to make the power cables long enough to lean them outward (or allow them to dangle, or even turn them sideways and slip them inside of the cabinet) to gain access to their eyelet screws for removal. You have to do that anyhow sometimes even with connectors on the modules in some situations.

Context is important here. Eric's synth is totally custom. Custom module sizes with permanent placement of each separate module. So it's not like he can move the modules around to different locations even if he wanted too. The power cables won't be routinely connected and disconnected (pretty much like my rig, everything has a specific place). He may connect the modules to the bus bars with them laying inside of the cabinet, and mount them into their places after the cables are connected to the bus bars.

GOIN' IN-LINE:
Another idea is to use in-line "spade" connectors on each wire which would permit splitting the power cables in half (so to speak) when servicing the synth. In-line "bullet" connectors would probably even be better. Eyelets on one end of each wire, and an inline spade/bullet connector installed on each wire somewhere near the module (4 or so inches from the PCB). Then solder wires to the PCB, also with matching in-line connectors. This permits removing the module by disconnecting the power cable from the bus bars via the in-line connectors, while also eliminating the need for MTA or AMP headers and connectors (requiring specialized tooling) ... and creating a potential failure point or poor connection. Replacing a 1/4" spade or bullet connector is all too simple, and is oh-so DIY and more sortof "down home". Not to mention inexpensive, and crimp on bullets are available at auto supply stores, home improvement stores, hardware stores, or even eBay by the hundreds. To install them on the wires, either use solder and heat shrink tubing or just crimp them on. DIY as HELL baby!

And I'd bet there is far less of a learning curve for a good installation of spade or bullet connectors vs MTA connectors with far fewer "throw aways". Spades/Bullets also provide that "these are absolutely connected and solid, without any doubt" feeling ... where with MTAs I'd be second guessing their connection efficiency (where the wires are pressed into the MTA), even though the continuity meter said they were fine. But that's just me. There's also connection cycles to consider with multi-connectors, some are rated SHOCKINGLY low (even as low as ten connect/disconnect cycles ... no kidding here). However, if an in-line connector wears out, just snip off the one connector that went bad and replace it with your crimpers. One minute job, tops. If even just one pin or socket of an MTA connector shits the bed, the entire thing must be removed and replaced with a whole new connector, requiring all three or four wires to be stripped and crunched into place in the new MTA. In-line connectors place no stress on the PCB or the traces either. Many of us are aware of (or have been affected by) trace failures/cracked or broken traces caused by stress placed on the connection headers of MTA or other PCB mounted connectors.

Granted, this method is NOT for everyone. But in situations like Eric's where he is making ALL of the modules and ALL of the PCBs ... he has the opportunity to optimize the design and select which methods of connection will suit him the best. The person putting together a "standard" modular synth isn't afforded such an opportunity since the modules must comply with established design and construction methods.

Just because commercially made modules are constructed with MTA connectors does not mean it's the best way to go about providing power to a circuit board. As a philosophy, this is what has driven many of the goofball things I have done in my own project synth. In two words, "Screw convention".

It's all a matter of thoughtful design work, and careful execution. I would dare say your initial design wasn't very well thought out John (I think you already know that). A well intended noble effort, yes. But you clearly left yourself no way of future access or changes. I'd venture to guess that many of us made (perhaps silly) mistakes in our first efforts ... I know I certainly have!

Everyone has their own idea of ~good~.

These are just things that are my idea of ~good~
(at least in Eric's situation).

hihi
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