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Formats: Dimensions of Newly Designed PCBs
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Oakley Sound Systems  
Author Formats: Dimensions of Newly Designed PCBs
Noiseconformist
Hi Tony!

I'm getting more and more curious about this smaller formats you plan to offer!

Not that I'll change from 5U to 3U (I can't deal with the haptics of the 3U sized formats)
but recent experience showed me that I need to build (or let build) my
future modules as shallow as possible in order to save cabinet space
which means transportation space.
This also will include an external PSU of course.

Maybe you remember the short chat we had in Cambridge regarding
several approaches mounting PCBs behind panels.
Now with 3U formats being introduced I'd see a real chance to get hold of
some PCBs which don't exceed the size, more specifically the width of
the respective 5U front panel.
This would allow me to mount the boards flat, meaning in parallel, to the
front which would massively reduce the depth of such a unit.

So for instance if you designed a new VCO board would it be possible
to limit one dimension of it to lets say 85mm?
This would make it possible to mount it flat behind a 2x5U module.
I have lots of intense thoughts on this and this could be a pretty clean
solution while maintaining the ´classic´ elements.

I think I'm well aware of the pros and cons for different mounting
methods and I agree with you (as you said in July) that the current right
angled scheme is the most service and construction friendly one
(which changes a bit when using a mounting bracket).
But at the moment I don't see that this size limit would hinder anybody
to stick with this method (given the PCB's designed accordingly).

What do you think - could this be realistic?
I'd love to achieve a maximum clearance of 50-70 mm for the cabinets
(also depending on some other factors I've yet to figure out).
Some things like power distribution etc. have to be taken care of but I think its doable.

cheers, Michael.
Synthbuilder
The maximum depth of the Euro/Frac format PCBs is being aimed at 80mm. There may be times when we overshoot this, but this is the number I am aiming at.

However, there is no pre-made mounting holes on the boards though so mounting them without the pots & brackets will be tricky.

Another thing to bear in mind that the more complex modules like the VCO will be built onto two PCBs - each one probably being the same size as the other so some sort of interconnect can be built between them. If you are planning to mount these designs against the panel that will be difficult.

We may at some point move over to surface mount for the Euro/Frac modules to keep the size/cost down but no date for this has been planned and I hope to avoid this if I can for the moment.
consumed
tony, i understand you are omitting the mounting holes for cost/space but i would really like to see you add these back to the pcbs for the small format. this would give me the flexibility to create my interface best as i see fit. after moving to the small format, ive found that panel layout and jack/pot spacing is far more critical than in the spacious 5u format so i want to have the flexibility to space out my controls and i/o appropriately.
Synthbuilder
consumed wrote:
i would really like to see you add these back to the pcbs for the small format.


I totally understand, I really do. However, the 3U market is a very different one from the 5U. The market is totally dominated by the ready made modules and it is in ready made modules that Paul and I earn our money. Profits made on the sales of bare PCBs designed for the either format are very small. Not enough to make a living on I can tell you.

So Paul and I have agreed for the 3U boards to specialise on the ready made market only and that means making the boards as cheaply and as small as we can. Adding mounting holes increases the size of the boards considerably as does large component pads and 13thou identifications which are the preference for DIY builds. In the end we may well see our 3U designs being built as whole assemblies and not even available as bare boards.

I'm struggling to get all the electronics on to the boards for the larger projects. Even the ADSR/VCA is proving to be quite a challenge - if I had to add mounting holes it would be harder still.

If it were Frac this wouldn't be an issue - I'd have the holes in there for sure. Its the tiny depth on Euro modulars that is very restricting.

All our 5U stuff will continue to have mounting holes. I hope any new module that will be in 3U will be also available in our larger 5U format. I would always want the DIY option to be available.
Noiseconformist
[quote="Synthbuilder"]
consumed wrote:
In the end we may well see our 3U designs being built as whole assemblies and not even available as bare boards.


Well, I don't reckon with easy mounting at all, so no holes are no surprise and understandable.
But with no PCBs available it doesn't matter anyway since I don't think I'll get a ready module tear it appart and rebuild it according to my needs.
Let alone throwing away knobs, face plate etc.
I can understand this decisions - it just doesn't help me ... ;-)
However - this x1U limit for future PCB designs (i.e. 2U ~ 85mm on one side of the PCB) would this be possible?
Synthbuilder
Noiseconformist wrote:
But with no PCBs available it doesn't matter anyway since I don't think I'll get a ready module tear it appart and rebuild it according to my needs.


We are not there yet. Far from it in fact.

And I wasn't clear there either. I didn't mean whole synth modules, but ready made PCBs. A bit like my old pre-populated stuff. We would still be doing the final module assembly and testing.

Noiseconformist wrote:
However - this x1U limit for future PCB designs (i.e. 2U ~ 85mm on one side of the PCB) would this be possible?


The plan for these little PCBs is to be 80mm maximum deep. The height of each board is no more than 100m due the 3U constraints.

Actually there is a way to mount these boards if you are not using pots. You can fix your mounting screws/spacers to the pot bracket holes. If you use an L-bracket (L-cross section extrusion and cut to length) you could mount the boards onto anything you fancy.
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