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Blacet kit build difficulty levels?
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Fractional Rack Modules  
Author Blacet kit build difficulty levels?
pulse_divider
Hi,
Though I've owned quite a few Blacet modules throughout the years I've never actually built one from a kit. I'd like to try this with the some of the next modules I add to my system but don't want to get in over my head, so I thought I'd ask here first.

I have a nice soldering station, access to a nice desoldering vacuum if I mess anything up, and a multimeter. I don't have an oscilloscope. My soldering skills are intermediate level and I've fixed a bunch of synths just by necessity through trial and error but have no formal electronics skills and don't really know how to read a schematic, but can follow instructions well.

For those of you who have done this, how would you rank the following modules for kit build difficulty on a scale of 1-10?
--Frequency Divider
--Micro LFO
--Binary Zone
--D/A/D
EDIT:--- add Improbability Drive

I'd also be interested in info in regards to the rest of the module lineup, these are just the next modules I'd like to add.
Thanks in advance.
e-grad
Blacet PCBs are very nice to solder. It was my introduction into DIY - and I even managed the Time Machine as my first kit!

When you've managed to repair a synth you'll get any Blacet kit to run. Out of the kits you've mentioned I built the Freq Div (both versions) and the Binary Zone. IIRC you won't need any test equipment for these kits IIRC. [If I'm wrong you'd need a DMM not more.]

I don't think you'll need any special equipment for the µLFO or the DAD either. A scope might be of help to set up the sine (LFO) however you should be able to this by ear as well.

Recently I've built the SuperVCA. The new mounting scheme avoids flying wires. It's a bit tricky at first but then worked out just fine in the end.

Blacet kits are fun!
pulse_divider
Oh yeah, I forgot about the quad VCA, that's high on the list too.
I also forgot to mention that I'd like to know how long it usually takes you to build these... I realize this is like asking "how long is a piece of string?", it depends on a lot of things, but your experiences and ballpark estimates would be appreciated.
e-grad
I really don't know. Any digital modul (Mini Wave!) is usually a swift built. The Super VCA took me considerably longer.

I usually start a kit if I've got time to burn. I like to take the time I need. Since I'm bad in trouble shooting I want to make sure it works on the first attempt. That I've achieved with each Blacet kit up to now.

I never watched the clock when building. Sometimes I split it over 2 days to let the board dry after I've removed the flux. That's why the following is a very rough estimate.

I think I never needed more than one afternoon for a Blacet kit. If one takes his time a more complex kit could be done within 6h. If you'd try to build a Super VCA in less then 4h it won't be fun but prone to errors.

However these are just rough estimates.

BTW The Super VCA is way cool!
fluxmonkey
pulse_divider wrote:
...can follow instructions well.


based on that, go for it. Blacet's instructions are excellent. i didn't have any trouble w/ the newer modules that have multiple boards to carry jacks etc... but you should put the board assemblies together "dry" (w/out soldering the connectors) so you have a good feel for the mechanicals before committing to solder.

b
slow_riot
GO FOR IT!

I only had a little experience soldering, had some simple tools, a good soldering iron and other bits and pieces.

A few hours for something simple and maybe half a day or a day for the more complicated ones. Not so many OH MY GOD I"VE RUINED EVERYTHING THIS IS SO HARD WHY IS THIS SO HARD moments, a few little hiccups but nothing too bad.

Take your time and take Blacet's word for everything. I'm an amatuer and I feel that my builds are as good a quality and most professionally builts ones, becuase the professional guys don't really have the time or patience to really labour over everything, but if it's your module and you don't solder often you can spread the process out much more.

again, go for it! Really great way to experience modular. Don't breathe in the solder fumes!
Reese P. Dubin
Easiest builds you will likely ever do. Spacious boards HUGE pads, everything is clear and easy to find. Then when you turn them on they are awesome.
win win win.
pulse_divider
Thanks. As soon as funds allow I think I'm going to order some kits. I'll probably start with the LFO and Freq. Divider as these seem like they would be on the lower end of the difficulty scale.
dude
i've heard nothing but good stuff about blacet kit builds and i have seen documentation. it is really really good. you will be fine. DO IT! lol
consumed
i think you're overqualified for the job, actually

seriously though, you will learn how to read a schematic when you need to.
to build the kits, you probably wont look at the schematic.
blacet's documentation is excellent.

for the first time since i started diy years ago, i used a scope to calibrate a vco. before that, i didnt need one.
noisefor
In your list of modules I have only built the LFO and that's one of the easiest in his lineup next to the Mult/Att he offers. LED's are probably the trickiest part believe it or not. *If you follow the directions and DON'T skip steps (as many of the build directions appear exactly the same but have small differences with regard to mounting sides, polarities, etc.) you will have professionally built modules designed for deep functionality/flexibility and longevity. Can't recommend Blacet enough - not just for quality, but for logic/function/utility/sound/aesthetics and allaroundbadassness.

Not to appear like a poster child, but as mentioned, probably the easiest/most logically designed and well documented electronics projects you'll ever encounter. Additionally, you are buying straight from the guy who designs the stuff, and any problems I have had with any of the materials/hardware etc. I have dealt with John directly who usually responds same day. They also deliver super speedy turnaround (and it's all generally in stock unless discontinued).

I have built two VCO's, MiniWave, HexZone, two LFO's, Mult/Attn, Filthy Filtre, Super VCA, I/O, and EG1 - if you have any questions about those I'm happy to advise. The VCO's and the Super VCA were the hardest.

GO FOR IT!
e-grad
e-grad wrote:
I never watched the clock when building.


Well, now I did. It took me about 1,5h to finish a DAD incl. flux removal.

Another 1h to finish a Bar Graph module.
noisefor
Those might just be record times! thumbs up
e-grad
noisefor wrote:
Those might just be record times! thumbs up


Both are small projects. However, I've to admit that having the stopwatch next to me sped me up unfortunately.
sneak-thief
Here was my first foray into Blacet, circa 7 years ago:

http://sneak-thief.com/blacet/

Go for it!
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