Just Friends: 1 - Metropolis: 0, a word of WARNING

Cwejman, Livewire, TipTop Audio, Doepfer etc... Get your euro on!

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Timmy
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Post by Timmy » Mon Oct 31, 2016 11:10 pm

Dogma wrote: Have you read whimsical's reply on the matter? It has actual facts instead of conjecture - give it a read. Explains things very well
The workaround is a dummy cable - not really massive deal, although I'm sure it was to those affected so I don't mean to piss in anyone's pocket
Yeah, I have edited my post above to make it clearer that my comments were in response to the Whimsical response on their website. Conjecture, alas, is still required because Whimsical has not mentioned whether or not a current-limiting resistor was interposed between the -12V power rail and the normalising connection on the RUN jack, and schematics are not available so we can't check ourselves. Simple visual inspection of the JF PCB doesn't provide an answer either - that has been tried. So, in the absence of information on this point from Whimsical, the assumption has to be that there isn't such a current-limiting resistor, and thus is is a design mistake. It is not the first time such a mistake will have been made, nor the last, no doubt, but blaming lack of standards and other modules seems like a bit of a cop-out to me. Expecting the outputs of other modules to survive direct connection to the negative power rail of the modular case is a bit unreasonable IMHO.

But yeah, it's no big deal, except for those with fried modules, and there's an easy work-around to prevent it happening again. I don't think anyone is going to file a class action against Whimsical regarding this, but it may give module designers pause for thought, which is probably good.

Rather than a set of standards, a checklist of things that module designers should think about before manufacturing or releasing their designs might be a good idea. Adding current-limiting resistors to any inputs that are normalled to the power rails would be on such a list.

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Post by Dogma » Mon Oct 31, 2016 11:17 pm

Timmy wrote:
Dogma wrote: Have you read whimsical's reply on the matter? It has actual facts instead of conjecture - give it a read. Explains things very well
The workaround is a dummy cable - not really massive deal, although I'm sure it was to those affected so I don't mean to piss in anyone's pocket
Yeah, I have edited my post above to make it clearer that my comments were in response to the Whimsical response on their website. Conjecture, alas, is still required because Whimsical has not mentioned whether or not a current-limiting resistor was interposed between the -12V power rail and the normalising connection on the RUN jack, and schematics are not available so we can't check ourselves. Simple visual inspection of the JF PCB doesn't provide an answer either - that has been tried. So, in the absence of information on this point from Whimsical, the assumption has to be that there isn't such a current-limiting resistor, and thus is is a design mistake. It is not the first time such a mistake will have been made, nor the last, no doubt, but blaming lack of standards and other modules seems like a bit of a cop-out to me. Expecting the outputs of other modules to survive direct connection to the negative power rail of the modular case is a bit unreasonable IMHO.

But yeah, it's no big deal, except for those with fried modules, and there's an easy work-around to prevent it happening again. I don't think anyone is going to file a class action against Whimsical regarding this, but it may give module designers pause for thought, which is probably good.

Rather than a set of standards, a checklist of things that module designers should think about before manufacturing or releasing their designs might be a good idea. Adding current-limiting resistors to any inputs that are normalled to the power rails would be on such a list.
We've co-replied :)

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PM33AUD
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Post by PM33AUD » Mon Oct 31, 2016 11:21 pm

I kinda wish the response was written in what I thought was the obligatory WR style.

The manuals and product descriptions are a delightful treat; even the parts I have no clue what I'm reading!

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Post by Timmy » Mon Oct 31, 2016 11:32 pm

PM33AUD wrote:I kinda wish the response was written in what I thought was the obligatory WR style.

The manuals and product descriptions are a delightful treat; even the parts I have no clue what I'm reading!
Actually, the JF web page does say:
Explore interpersonal dynamics with RUN....A level of sustenance adds an additional stage of decay...

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Post by Nofrenchtests » Tue Nov 01, 2016 12:03 am

whimsical wrote:Apologies for not getting to this sooner. Please see our response below.

http://www.whimsicalraps.com/pages/run- ... of-warning
Ok. Will future Just Friends modules be modified, or is this something we have to live with if we wish to enjoy having JF in our racks?
Is there any recourse for current owners to organise an exchange/return?
Will you be responding to emails?
Last edited by Nofrenchtests on Tue Nov 01, 2016 12:28 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by funqpatrol » Tue Nov 01, 2016 12:17 am

Explore interpersonal dynamics with RUN....A level of sustenance adds an additional stage of decay...
we can't say we haven't been warned.
Last edited by funqpatrol on Tue Nov 01, 2016 12:51 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by L.C.O. » Tue Nov 01, 2016 12:43 am

Nofrenchtests wrote:
whimsical wrote:Apologies for not getting to this sooner. Please see our response below.

http://www.whimsicalraps.com/pages/run- ... of-warning
Ok. Will future Just Friends modules be modified, or is this something we have to live with if we wish to enjoy having JF in our racks?
Is there any recourse for current owners to organise an exchange/return?
Will you be responding to emails?
I know.
This exactly what I am wondering about as well...

I am sure if JF has another run, this will be fixed. But I am also afraid that then, us: the early adopters, will have the "choice" to buy the fixed one at full price, and try and sell the old one at a loss. (At least this is how Make Noise "addressed" the messed up "cycle on default" problem.)

I would love to be wrong about this.
And I would also love to have this amazing module be safe in my case! And not have to worry about making a "patching order mistake" that can brick other parts of my instrument...
In my opinion, the suggested "work around" is totally NOT a solution.

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Post by akrylik » Tue Nov 01, 2016 1:03 am

I agree with Timmy's post. Bringing a power rail (other than GND) out to the front panel without any current-limiting is a big no-no.

That being said I wonder what is the best way to fix a situation like this without destroying the manufacturer's financial position? :hmm: I guess this is one of the reasons software is spreading throughout our lives.

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Nofrenchtests
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Post by Nofrenchtests » Tue Nov 01, 2016 1:49 am

akrylik wrote: That being said I wonder what is the best way to fix a situation like this without destroying the manufacturer's financial position? :hmm: I guess this is one of the reasons software is spreading throughout our lives.
I'm all for a solution that doesn't cripple Whimsically Raps, can't really do that if they are just putting out statements as ultimatums.

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adh82
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Post by adh82 » Tue Nov 01, 2016 2:01 am

Can any tell me what would happen to the module if we just cut the trade the leads from the jack to power?

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Post by Dogma » Tue Nov 01, 2016 2:08 am

adh82 wrote:Can any tell me what would happen to the module if we just cut the trade the leads from the jack to power?
You'd kill the normaling I would think....honestly email him with your questions - he'll get back to you and then you'll know for situation...


I just read the whole whimsical response again - I really feel for everyone involved....he did say they where going to address this in future JF runs....
It'd be a pretty frustrating space to design for this euro rack space...

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Post by thisisprisma » Tue Nov 01, 2016 3:42 am

whimsical wrote:Apologies for not getting to this sooner. Please see our response below.

http://www.whimsicalraps.com/pages/run- ... of-warning
thanks for the info and confirm the workaround.

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Post by nimmen » Tue Nov 01, 2016 3:46 am

Oh man, and I've bought JF few days too soon... Can see them popping up for sale now already...
...bad jokes aside...
It's not great issue, what I'll do is add small sticker of exclamation mark or something like that near the RUN jack, to be honest this is very capable and interesting module, especially with TT integration...
On the other hand hopefully this will give makers food for thought on hardware designs...
Can't be bothered to remember what all the exclamation marks mean near all those jacks, if we went that road....

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Post by latigid on » Tue Nov 01, 2016 4:11 am

What type of sockets are used on the Just Friends? Erthenvar/Thonkiconn or others? One fix (YMMV) is to desolder the socket then carefully drill out all of the plating on the normalised connection, assuming sufficient clearance to other critical traces. The leg could then by reconnected with appropriate current limiting to the -12V rail.

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Post by Leverkusen » Tue Nov 01, 2016 4:36 am

L.C.O. wrote: I am sure if JF has another run, this will be fixed. But I am also afraid that then, us: the early adopters, will have the "choice" to buy the fixed one at full price, and try and sell the old one at a loss. (At least this is how Make Noise "addressed" the messed up "cycle on default" problem.)
I am afraid this is the point about early adopting. At least that's a part of my experience and therefore I try to avoid it nowadays. Or, if this is not possible due to massive excitement about a new module, I force myself to return it immediately in case I notice something issue like that makes me feel uncomfortable or when I feel that the excited and curious part of me is trying to convince the prudent and fearful part of ways to ignore or work around it. This never worked out well and has been a source of ongoing gloom.
Regarding JF it did not help reading that we should not expect a firmware update fixing the existing bugs to soon because he was busy with other things (or with a more substantial update as it turned out) when it came out.

In case the issue occurred too late to just return it, often it helped though to get in friendly contact with my trusted dealer about and I got a replacement or fix on the unit and could keep it. So I would suggest to try this.

But when I experience flaws and a mediocre communication style right in the beginning it has always been an omen for more to come afterwards. So I avoid it.

On a side note I really would not lump together a dangerous design flaw with a potential (or in my personal opinion: actual) annoying design decision as the Maths cycle start up.

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Post by Dogma » Tue Nov 01, 2016 4:45 am

I'm wondering - could a "RUN-only" cable be made that had the appropriate protection? Seems it would be the cheapest and if widely used, a sorta solution for early adoptors?

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Post by akrylik » Tue Nov 01, 2016 4:49 am

Dogma wrote:I'm wondering - could a "RUN-only" cable be made that had the appropriate protection? Seems it would be the cheapest and if widely used, a sorta solution for early adoptors?
Good idea. It's definitely possible and shouldn't be too expensive either. You could make a short male-to-female adapter cable that had a current-limiting resistor soldered in series and hidden in the plug barrel.

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Post by dropthedyle » Tue Nov 01, 2016 5:02 am

Dogma wrote:I'm wondering - could a "RUN-only" cable be made that had the appropriate protection? Seems it would be the cheapest and if widely used, a sorta solution for early adoptors?
or a 2 hp expander/neighbour/... friend !

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Post by adam » Tue Nov 01, 2016 5:05 am

akrylik wrote:
Dogma wrote:I'm wondering - could a "RUN-only" cable be made that had the appropriate protection? Seems it would be the cheapest and if widely used, a sorta solution for early adoptors?
Good idea. It's definitely possible and shouldn't be too expensive either. You could make a short male-to-female adapter cable that had a current-limiting resistor soldered in series and hidden in the plug barrel.
sounds like the winning idea - well, i'd go for a normal cable with a resistor soldered in, wr could get some made, include one with the remaining units and send them out to dealers to distribute to existing customers
Last edited by adam on Tue Nov 01, 2016 5:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by wsy » Tue Nov 01, 2016 5:08 am

I disagree that "a circuit board modification is not possible" It's always possible to drill a hole at the right place
in the board to cut the offending trace, and then bugwire the correct circuit (and repair any collateral damage.

As to lack of standards, I don't buy that either - on either end. The "Standard" has been well stated repeatedly:
"1K ohm output impedance, 100K ohms input impedance. Shorts are possible."

Lest you think I'm coming down on JF specifically, the output designers ought to know better too. The reason the
Texas Instruments' TL072 is so popular is right in the front page of the spec (and I cut-and-paste quote from page 5
of TI document SLOS080M at http://www.ti.com/lit/ds/symlink/tl072.pdf)

. Duration of output short circuit: Unlimited (5)

. ....(5) The output may be shorted to ground or to either supply. Temperature and/or
. supply voltages must be limited to ensure that the dissipation rating is not exceeded


So, from that I conclude that the classic TL072-into-1Kohm output stage is bulletproof against this failure
mode.

WhimsicalRaps owns part of the blame for designing an input that shorts -12 power to the center pole (what the heck happens
if the other end of the patchcord hits a screwhead or a metal front panel that is *grounded* to power
supply ground? Sparks? Blown fuses??? Dead PSU? Could happen, with a switching power supply! )

And the other manufacturers own part of the blame for designing an output that is so fragile that it can't withstand
what a nineteen-cent TL072 can handle even if you left out the standard 1Kohm output resistor!

Gaaak....

- Bill
"Life is short. But we can always buy longer patch cords" - Savage

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Post by pieter » Tue Nov 01, 2016 5:19 am

adam wrote:
akrylik wrote:
Dogma wrote:I'm wondering - could a "RUN-only" cable be made that had the appropriate protection? Seems it would be the cheapest and if widely used, a sorta solution for early adoptors?
Good idea. It's definitely possible and shouldn't be too expensive either. You could make a short male-to-female adapter cable that had a current-limiting resistor soldered in series and hidden in the plug barrel.
sounds like the winning idea
But then you have to remember to always use that cable with RUN, which is similarly prone to errors as remembering to patch RUN first and unpatch it last. A 2HP two-socket expander can solve this by having RUN permanently patched to one socket, which is internally normalled to –12V. This gives the normal non-RUN behaviour of JF. The second socket is protected from current surges by the 2k resistor suggested above. This is the socket that should be in daily use. Now you can use any cable and patch any way you want.

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Post by Dogma » Tue Nov 01, 2016 5:22 am

pieter wrote:
adam wrote:
akrylik wrote:
Dogma wrote:I'm wondering - could a "RUN-only" cable be made that had the appropriate protection? Seems it would be the cheapest and if widely used, a sorta solution for early adoptors?
Good idea. It's definitely possible and shouldn't be too expensive either. You could make a short male-to-female adapter cable that had a current-limiting resistor soldered in series and hidden in the plug barrel.
sounds like the winning idea
But then you have to remember to always use that cable with RUN, which is similarly prone to errors as remembering to patch RUN first and unpatch it last. A 2HP two-socket expander can solve this by having RUN permanently patched to one socket, which is internally normalled to –12V. This gives the normal non-RUN behaviour of JF. The second socket is protected from current surges by the 2k resistor suggested above. This is the socket that should be in daily use. Now you can use any cable and patch any way you want.

This is actually far superior to my suggestion. Easier probably than a specialised cable....I've emailed whimsical about this - see what happens

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Post by melodydad » Tue Nov 01, 2016 5:58 am

Personally, I would prefer the short dedicated male/female cable solution as I, and I am sure many Wigglers, do not have 2hp rack space to spare!

The cable would not need to have any length at all - which would mean that one would not inadvertently remove it or be of any use in another patching.
. . . we better let him in . . . . . he's got a Theremin . . . (HMHB: 'Look Dad No Tunes')

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Post by pieter » Tue Nov 01, 2016 6:01 am

melodydad wrote:Personally, I would prefer the short dedicated male/female cable solution as I, and I am sure many Wigglers, do not have 2hp rack space to spare!

The cable would not need to have any length at all - which would mean that one would not inadvertently remove it or be of any use in another patching.
You can't keep the cable plugged in and have JF in non-RUN mode (without some serious engineering in the cable).

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Post by mbartkow » Tue Nov 01, 2016 6:41 am

wsy wrote: And the other manufacturers own part of the blame for designing an output that is so fragile that it can't withstand
what a nineteen-cent TL072 can handle even if you left out the standard 1Kohm output resistor!
Actually, the TL072 can handle that ONLY if a proper cooling is provided so that it can withstand all the power dissipated in the silicon. The problem is, SMT package has usually too low heat capacity and too high thermal resistance. In a typical application (no cooling), the dissipation rating is severly exceeded and it can blow after a while.

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