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EUinFU? Prelim announcement and questions
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Fractional Rack Modules  
Author EUinFU? Prelim announcement and questions
Randaleem
Hi Fraclanders!

My ongoing quest to integrate the Frac and Euro *Neighborhoods* continues! FErails and Synthcase PSU/distro's do it whole rows at a time. This one is for less-than-full-row accomodation of the *imports*. I've been working on a new product for you (actually many new products for Frac, but those will come later). Anyways, I'd like to get some feedback on this one?

I've seen the need for a simple way to put a single Euro module into an otherwise fully Frac system. Or a few Euro's. Or a single compelling wide one... Of course you can make a new panel and adjust/replace components to meet the changed power. But that clearly falls outside a *simple* solution! But it does look good. And that's important in a frac system. Point is, to be Frac worthy, IMO any adapter needs to look better than the 3U to 5U solution I've seen elsewhere.

So I've come up with the EUinFU adapter set. Say YOU in FOO.
(some will think this is better pronounced Eww! in Few. waah As in as *few* of these as possible! <Channels TLC> "I don't want no Eu's! Eu's aint never gonna get no love from me!" And that's okay.) For the rest of you:

Note: FU=1.5"

The EUinFU has three components: Two aluminum adapter rails and specialised hardware, a Format converting power PCB chicklet, and a scored snap-able multi-width filler plate to keep things looking clean and fully enclosed. I figure the worst case desirable width is 6FU, since this would cover Ken Macbeths 42HP X-series (at 8.4", just .3 per side shy of 6FU) But I think a much narrower solution will fit most needs? And could be used side by side for bigger blocks of the *imports*?

Here's the first question: Do I need to provide BOTH a 1.5 and a 3.0" width EUinFU? Specifically, do we really need a 1FU euro adapter? Would you want to add Euro modules of 7HP and less? (1FU=7.5HP) For those wondering why not just make ONLY a 1FU version, it's about stability an minimising fiddly-ness. With a 2FU version we're using 2 frac screw locations per adapter rail. Only 1 otherwise.

Next question: Will 100ma (MAX) be enough 12V power for any given Euro module you'd like to add?

Last Question: Price? I figure these could be done for about 40-60USD min. in small qty. dropping perhaps 10-15USD if demand goes up?

Anybody interested?

<edit> Need to add that I can't convert a Euro module to use a different PCB. Some have PCB's which won't fit between the 4.25" distance of typical Frac rails. I mentioned Ken's above, it might not fit for this reason!

Kind regards, Randal

randaleem, in PM wrote:
As for adding Euro into Frac, piecemeal. I've got that nearly handled. Only consid left is how to best cover the remaining space between the *narrower* HP you've put in the 1FU or 2FU-or more- adapter. Actually, just typing this now it came to me! I've been wrestling with how many aluminum panels to include, whether I could get away with fishpaper... But If I include ONE wide black phenolic panel, with scoring on the backside to accomodate the possible needs, that would cover it! (pun intended! Mr. Green )

So now I just need to get it into production! EUinFU=15 to 12v chicklet PCB, two adapter rails, hardware and the scored filler panel. Pronounced You in Foo! What would be the right price? I'm thinking 40-60USD depending upon width? Could get that down if volume went up. Wanna buy one? What width Euro module(s) would you be wanting to add to your Frac? I need to start a thread about this!
DGTom
I think this is a great idea!

Thinking about it a little I think 2FU -> 14hp (hell maybe 15 just in case) would be ideal. 1FU - as you already mentioned, stability becomes an issue, but I don't see the benefits of a 7hp adaptor outwieghing the negatives.

15hp of euro space in the middle of a Frac rack would be ideal! We could drop a 156 & 148 next to our Blacet VCOs MY ASS IS BLEEDING

with regards to 'filling the space' my preferance would be for alum. blanks, in black of course grin I would consider supplied 3, 5, & 7hp blanks a major 'value add' as these would cover most situations right off the bat, maybe offer 2, 4, 6 black blanks as an alternative to doepfers silver - or pre-drilled (6 or 4 holes top to bottom) for the experimentally inclined.
Randaleem
Hi DGTom!

Thank you for the feedback!

Based on your feedback, I've completed the initial design. Here's some more *final* details:

The FEadapter rails are 15HP (3") long. They are 1/8" thick and 1/2" wide to match the Frac panel thickness and rail width. I will mill them so the Euro panels will be flush (or perhaps sit proud .015" (.38mm). This will depend on the actual measurements of the specially made Frac adapter rail screws, which haven't arrived yet.)

The 3" adapter rails have room for 13 holes, 1HP apart. Three of the possible holes in 3" are unavailable. From left, The 3rd and 11th, because that interferes with the Frac mounting holes. And the one at 2.9" because it's too close to the edge. The holes start at 7.5mm from left edge (which I rounded to .300") to match the Euro Spec. So we'll need to check if the 3rd and 11th hole positions are crucial to typical Euro modules you'd want to add. (.7 and 2.3" from left edge). With these 3 out and the two for Frac in, we have 11 M3 threaded Euro holes, and 2 Frac mtg. screw holes per rail.

FE filler plate(s)
I don't want to use a bunch of thin and/or narrow screwed plates as fillers, that's IMO pretty ugly. It also costs more than the sleek solution I've come up with! And one of Frac's virtues compared to Euro is its sleekness IMO.

FEadapter rails will have a milled slot, and the filler strip slides sideways into this. The adapter rails are black to present a nice *Frame* around the import module(s). (Since they're at top and bottom and go from the black Frac panels on either side). But if the filler plate was alum, I'd want to keep it aluminum shiny, for the simple reason that it is 2mm thick to match the euro panels, and is therefore associated with the Euro side of things we make here. Where things .125 get black anodised, and things 2mm thick stay shiny. Best way to avoid mistakes. Having said that, the Euro module plates are 5052 aluminum for punching, and this filler needs to be 6061 to break cleanly... And I do use .125 alum in the ATA's which stays shiny. So hmmm..... ...

I am trying to keep the price as low as possible. Otherwise there's no point?

But perhaps an aluminum filler plate could work. I've just laid one out which gives 2, 3, 4 and 7HP with only two milled breakaway channels. Using 6061 aluminum should make it break easy/clean. (6061 does not like to be bent!). I could add another breakaway channel to get the 6HP width too, but that might be hard to break off. You'd be trying to break a .2" strip off a 1.4" panel. In plastic, easy. In Alum? (I'll have to test it.) With a pair of pliers, yes. But again, this is supposed to be simple and inexpensive... OTOH we'd then have 1,2,3,4,6 or 7HP filler from one plate! hmmm..... I might just do it anyways. Far better than making and stocking multiple plates!

I do appreciate your idea/wish to have these filler plates become useful space, a la Blacet Rack Ear mods. But I think that will be something to handle on a per order basis? Cuz it's a simple matter to put the "stock" filler as described above in a CNC mill and make whatever holes and engraving you'd want. Plan to get more into this custom panel side of things as time goes on and the main lines of cases and modules are settled and flowing.

FE Power Chiclet
The power Chiclet PCB sits on, and is screwed to a 1/8" x 1"x 2" pice of aluminum. This has two holes for mounting or tieing out of harms way. The aluminum is a heatsink for the Vregs as well as providing secure mounting. There is both a Frac and a Euro connector on board, along with the electronics which provide the power conversion from 15vdc of Frac to the 12vdc Euro expects. (100ma per rail max.)
If 100ma per module isn't enough, I *could* do a larger version. Any interest/need for that?

Since you already mentioned putting two Euro modules next to a Blacet VCO, perhaps we should think about having two power chiclets as standard? Need some input on this, please?

[b]That's the EUinFU! Now we need a fair price? I'm thinking 40USD initially, with one FE Power Chiclet. How's that sound?
I'm going to try and have these available by the 15th of Aug, but maybe sooner.

Kind regards, Randal

DGTom wrote:
I think this is a great idea!

Thinking about it a little I think 2FU -> 14hp (hell maybe 15 just in case) would be ideal. 1FU - as you already mentioned, stability becomes an issue, but I don't see the benefits of a 7hp adaptor outwieghing the negatives.
15hp of euro space in the middle of a Frac rack would be ideal! We could drop a 156 & 148 next to our Blacet VCOs MY ASS IS BLEEDING
with regards to 'filling the space' my preferance would be for alum. blanks, in black of course grin I would consider supplied 3, 5, & 7hp blanks a major 'value add' as these would cover most situations right off the bat, maybe offer 2, 4, 6 black blanks as an alternative to doepfers silver - or pre-drilled (6 or 4 holes top to bottom) for the experimentally inclined.
futuresoundsystems
Regarding the 100mA supply, I presume you're using a 78L12 and a 79L12 to provide the 100mA bipolar 12V supply? Why not go with a 7812 and 7912 which can give you a maximum of 1A each side?
DGTom
Randaleem wrote:
Hi DGTom!

FE filler plate(s)
I don't want to use a bunch of thin and/or narrow screwed plates as fillers, that's IMO pretty ugly. It also costs more than the sleek solution I've come up with! And one of Frac's virtues compared to Euro is its sleekness IMO.


thumbs up much better than little screws every where! I was just thinking out loud Mr. Green

My main thought was more to do with chopping & changing, but the custom snappable panels is a good soloution, gives us all the options. If you could make a 3hp multiple I doubt you'd have a hard time selling them alongside the panel/filler/power adaptor wink

For the reasons you've outlined i agree that silver blanks would be better.

With regards to power; with 15hp of space & 100ma I think 2 euro headers is the minimum, if you could stretch the design to 3 you'd be laughing.

I am not only thinking about obvious things that are missing from Frac - LPGs, Quantizers, VCOs etc. but also the numerous (mostly 4 & 8hp) doepfer utility modules that are only DIYable or part of large modules in Frac. Logic, inverters, VC panners, trigger modifers, gate delays, etc.etc.

The way I see the EUinFU is as a configurable Frac module not just a way to get specific, single, Euro modules into a Frac frame.
Randaleem
futuresoundsystems wrote:
Regarding the 100mA supply, I presume you're using a 78L12 and a 79L12 to provide the 100mA bipolar 12V supply? Why not go with a 7812 and 7912 which can give you a maximum of 1A each side?

Hi FSS,

1st, Size. The PCB would need to be bigger, as would the Aluminum heatsink. Which affects...

2nd, Cost. Cost is more than just the particular part cost. When current goes up, other things like filter capacitance also needs increasing.
<edit> Just remembered a big one. The 7912 needs isolation from the 7812 if they share a heatsink! More cost and room for failure.</edit>
The expectation is higher too, so the circuit becomes more complex. OR, you spend more time on the support side instead. Explaining why the thing designed for one module isn't working well with 10. Which is part of...

3rd,Customer expectation mgmt. Mr. Green If you have a 1A/rail Vreg, pretty soon you're gonna have someone who wants 1A/rail from it. And that will involve extra distro's, extra communication/explanation, extra time, extra everything on what will still be expected to cost 40USD. So experience tells me it's better to limit it up front. (I did mention that a larger capability *could* be made. If that proves to be popular and/or needed, then I can deal with all the stuff above as I work out its details wrt size, price, presentation, etc.) Which is part of...

4th, Appearance. and Balance. The currently designed PCB and H/S looks good. Small, tight, and perhaps most importantly, *appropriate*. Hang a couple of 7X12's and that all changes. It's no longer a chiclet. Rather it's become a whole pack of gum! eek! The balance of the need (power one module) and the solution (able to power two rows; but only one connector!) are out of whack when larger Vregs are used to support higher currents which aren't likely needed anyways..
(actually at present it might be a bit big for chiclet. More like a stick of gum, folded in half!)

Thanks for the question. I enjoy explaining the why's of my design decisions!

Kind regards, Randal <edit:added 7X12 isolation costs>
Randaleem
DGTom wrote:
With regards to power; with 15hp of space & 100ma I think 2 euro headers is the minimum, if you could stretch the design to 3 you'd be laughing.

Hi DGTom, Okay, but I think I'd prefer to keep the *gumstick* hihi small, and just use a dual connector'd EuroRibbon. Asys does this for their VCO's and it seems to work fine. I hate daisy-chaining power, but in the Euro world that's all they really have despite some recent claims to *star* grounding. I'm not sure I understand "to 3 you'd be laughing"? But again, I think a single ribbon with multiple connectors, no more than three though, and two would be better!) best solves the issue? If you're drawing enough power for the ribbon to have an effect, you'd want a second PWR *stiklet* 8_) anyways.

Quote:
The way I see the EUinFU is as a configurable Frac module not just a way to get specific, single, Euro modules into a Frac frame.

That's a unique thought... You could have a jacks panel, pots panel , and a switches panel. Some combo's too... Behind which you'd DIY with something like Scott juskiw's (Telluns) MUUB Pcb's? But then we'd want the black fillers right! 8_)
This along with the 3HP multiples mention above merits some deeper thought, methinks! 15hp of user-configurable utility Frac. hmmm..... thumbs up No power conversion needed. The plot thickens! Have to weigh this against simply offering a reasonably-priced Frac panel engrave service?

Kind regards, Randal[/quote]
DGTom
Randaleem wrote:
I'm not sure I understand "to 3 you'd be laughing"?


lol sorry, australian turn of phrase I'm afraid. All I meant was with 3 any & all contingancies would be met, but, of course there is a delicate balance to strike here - smaller = better in this case, a 3 way cable would be fine.

I didn't so much mean 'utility' in a DIY sense, more like a LEGO with Euro modules way, say, a 143-9 Quad LFO with a 148 Dual S&H next to it as a single Frac module would be made of win grin
parasitk
You mentioned you haven't had much Frac feedback. It definitely sounds interesting, but after about 3 paragraphs of dense text I sort of glaze over. eek!

Whatever it is exactly that you're offering, I'm interesting in knowing more – and really seeing pics or a drawing or something that really demonstrates what this thing will look like/how it will work.

Here's what I can answer (besides "yep I'm interested in knowing more"):

Randaleem wrote:
Here's the first question: Do I need to provide BOTH a 1.5 and a 3.0" width EUinFU? Specifically, do we really need a 1FU euro adapter? Would you want to add Euro modules of 7HP and less? (1FU=7.5HP)


I'm not sure if there are any Euro modules less than 7HP that I'd be interested in, so maybe not? Maybe start with 2FU, and see how the demand goes? My guess is more people would want to add Euro VCOs to their Frac systems than anything else... (oh and Wiard/Malekko applause)

Randaleem wrote:
Last Question: Price? I figure these could be done for about 40-60USD min. in small qty. dropping perhaps 10-15USD if demand goes up?


$10-$15 would be easy and doable. $40-$60 and I'll pass – that's good module money right there. Dead Banana
markthecolossus
Do you have any intention of just selling the power chicklets? It would make using a something like a schroff rack in a frac system super easy.

Mark
fluxmonkey
Randaleem wrote:
FE Power Chiclet
The power Chiclet PCB sits on, and is screwed to a 1/8" x 1"x 2" pice of aluminum. This has two holes for mounting or tieing out of harms way. The aluminum is a heatsink for the Vregs as well as providing secure mounting. There is both a Frac and a Euro connector on board, along with the electronics which provide the power conversion from 15vdc of Frac to the 12vdc Euro expects. (100ma per rail max.)
If 100ma per module isn't enough, I *could* do a larger version. Any interest/need for that?


in my view, this project is to provide a bridge for folks who want to add one or 2 euro modules to a frac setup, and 100ma would seem to be plenty. (you'd need an ampere if you were adding a whole rack, but then you'd just add a whole eurorack, right?).

my own preference would be a chicklet with a board-mounted euro-connector that would pop right into a modules power slot... and then either a .156" header... or a hardwired 24" wire harness. i know the header would be more flexible and standard, but i can imagine it getting a little wobbly mechanically, which could put unwanted strain on the module and connector. just think of it as a specialized cable.

my $.02.

b
Randaleem
markthecolossus wrote:
Do you have any intention of just selling the power chicklets? It would make using a something like a schroff rack in a frac system super easy. Mark

Hi Mark,

Yes. I support DIY by offering individual items too. Do remember these chiclets are designed for powering just one or two 12v modules from your existing Frac 15V supply. (100ma/rail MAX)

So I may not be understanding your planned use? Will you put Euro in the Schroff rack?

Because there's also my 800ma/rail Universal *Core* power supply which is 120/240vac in, and jumper selectable for 15VDC or 12VDC out. 99USD. That would easily power 2 or 3 rows of Schroff. It uses Doepfer style spades for output, but I will make adapter cables to fit Blacet's PSCONN2's. Or you could use my Frac compatible 5 connector Distros instead.They're only 25USD individually, and 20USD if ordered as part of a Full power setup or case.
(So Blacet's a better source at $29 for 9 modules! John sent me the PSCONN2 mounting hole pattern so I'm punching it into the sides of my racks to make it easy to use his boards.) FWIW, Blacet PS500's also directly fit on my FEracks rear rails.

The ghettoRACK PSU may be an in-between option for one row. It's 2-300ma/rail and has 5 connectors built in. 60USD. (But it's not as clean a supply as either the chiclets or the CorePSU.)

For racks like the Schroff I've got the GeoMetrics subracks at Blacet pricing but with universal Frac Euro FErails. So unless you're getting the Schroff at a used or surplus price, these are gonna be MUCH less expensive. And more versatile as they natively hold either format.

Kind regards, Randal
Randaleem
fluxmonkey wrote:
in my view, this project is to provide a bridge for folks who want to add one or 2 euro modules to a frac setup, and 100ma would seem to be plenty. (you'd need an ampere if you were adding a whole rack, but then you'd just add a whole eurorack, right?).

Yes. Or for full rows, just flip the FErails and distros of your GeoMetrics FErack, set the PSU to 12v and load your Euro modules!

Quote:
my own preference would be a chicklet with a board-mounted euro-connector that would pop right into a modules power slot... and then either a .156" header... or a hardwired 24" wire harness.

I was originally going to do it this way. But after looking at all the possible and likely positions of the Euro PCB power header, as well as the now shrouded and not universally keyed types being used, it just doesn't work in enough of the possible cases, and the failure mode is devastating to someone who just got them on Friday and wants to hook things up right away.

Quote:
i know the header would be more flexible and standard, but i can imagine it getting a little wobbly mechanically, which could put unwanted strain on the module and connector. just think of it as a specialized cable.

Yes. But the Euro end isn't consistent enough. Perhaps I should revisit the Frac bussboard as the mount/power conversion location...

Quote:
my $.02.

And I appreciate them both! Thank you for writing!

Kind regards, Randal
markthecolossus
Randal

Assuming I already had a schroff rack and a nice chunky 15v PSU, I figured that I could use multiple chicklets just to convert power.

That would only make sense if the cost of the required chicklets was less than the cost of a 12v psu.

Unless the whole idea doesn't make any sense...

By the way I love that you are providing all these options, thanks a ton.

Mark
Randaleem
Hi Mark,

That's exactly the original approach I took to solving the Frac/Euro power supply differences ! It works fine. (some vintage synths and at least one current use this approach. And it's the reason (originally) the 15->12v Chiclets were created. But then I chose the multiple advantages a universal 15/12 PSU provides instead. Chiclets are still good for doing some things though. Like less than full rows. So EUinFU benefits from the prior work!

Thank you for the supportive words! Kind regards, Randal
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