[Order] [PCBs are in] Eurorack Cable Tester

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horstronic
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[Order] [PCBs are in] Eurorack Cable Tester

Post by horstronic » Mon Aug 24, 2015 11:23 am

Update September 26: Boards are in!
I sent out PMs to everbody on the list.
I don't have the SMD resistors yet, so if you need presoldered boards you will have to wait a bit longer, sorry.

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Update September 15: Prototype boards are in, Build Doc (beta) is online.
I will order boards later this day.
If you haven't made your order yet, please do it now so I can estimate the number of boards needed.

Here's the link to the build doc:https://www.dropbox.com/s/vs2s30a8m0nr09y/Cable%20Tester%20Build%20Doc%200.9b.pdf?dl=0

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Hey guys,

I had a few patch cables failing on me in the past and I thought it would be nice to have a small circuit to test them. I'm doing my own eurorack power cables so it would also be nice if I could easily check them, too.

So here's what I came up with:

Image

It's two cable testers in one.
You can check patch cables and power cables (10-pin as well as 16-pin).
There's an LED for each line, so that's two for the patch cables and 16 for the power cables. If there's continuity between the right pins, the particular LED lights up.
16 LEDs for the power cables means that you can check each line individually, in case there are single broken cables in the ribbon. Of course you wouldn't notice that if you plug it in, because the module would work anyway but if you have one broken cable on +12V for example, that would double the resistance. We don't want that, so that's why this is checking each line individually.
Also the polarity of the LEDs is inverted on every second pin so you can see if there's a short between cables or if the ribbon is the wrong way around. This also shows you when you have the ribbon shifted one pin on a 16-pin to 10-pin cable, which also happend to me a few times.

There are 18 0805 SMD resistors on the back of the board as series resistors for the LEDs.

The whole circuit can be powered either by your eurorack PSU (there's a dedicated 10-pin connector for that on the back of the board, to make sure the cable doesn't get in the way of the cables you're testing) or any other voltage source between about 7.5V and 15V. If you want to use higher voltages, I would add a heatsink on the voltage regulator.
I'm using a Mutable Instruments Module Tester, which works great.

I'm just leaving this information here, in case anybody is interested in a PCB.
I have ordered a few prototype boards already so I could sell my spares, assuming that it all works as expected.
If there's more interest, I could do a bigger run of PCBs later.

I'm also open for any suggestions to make this better than it is!

Cheers :party:


Prices:
7 Eur per PCB
3 Eur for presoldered SMD resistors

Shipping costs:
2 Eur inside germany
4 Eur worldwide




Order list:

(Ranking) Name: [number of PCBs] [SMD presoldered]

Red name = paid
Green name = shipped

Early bird (shipped)
spneca: [4] [0]
frozenkore: [1] [0]
ClausF: [1] [1]
Zaibach: [1] [0]
woodster: [1] [0]
float32: [1] [0]

Regular Pre-Order (waiting for boards, will probably ship in early october)
Reality Checkpoint: [1] [1]
latigid on: [?] [?]
setsun8: [1] [0]
qfactor: [1] [1 x 220R]
insula: [?] [?]
Brad: [1] [1 x 220R]
sonicwarrior: [1] [0]
andrewradtke: [1] [0]
pld: [1] [0]
SoundPool: [1] [0]
shabax: [1] [0]
spotta: [1] [0]
komyta: [1] [1]
colorbars: [3] [3]
Morbid: [2] [0]
Altitude909: [1] [0]
bezier: [1] [0]
Crashlander42: [1] [0]
smcumber: [1] [1]
deesee: [?] [?]
drip.feed: [1] [1]
cereyanlimusiki: [1] [0]
SmartBits: [1] [1 x 220R]
windspirit: [2] [0]
jamsk: [1] [0]
jaidee: [1] [0]
tekzon: [1] [1]
designator: [1] [1]
jh0n: [1] [0]
glacial23: [1] [0]
KNYST: [1] [1]
oscarthesquirrel: [1] [1 x 220R]
audiohawk: [1] [1]
Randy: [2] [2]
Anechoic: [1] [1]
antf4rm: [1] [0]
meatbeatz: [1] [1]
caillou: [1] [1]
nat601: [1] [0]
synchromesh: [1] [1]
hamildad: [2] [2]
bens: [1] [0]
synthetek:[1] [0]
DJBRUTAL: [1] [0]
necrobious: [2] [0]
sixty_n: [1] [1]
fluffymuff: [1] [1]
prscrptn: [2] [2]
duff:[1] [1 x 220R]
wotwot:[2] [0]
LektroiD:[1] [0]
Last edited by horstronic on Fri Oct 16, 2015 5:34 pm, edited 47 times in total.

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spneca
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Post by spneca » Mon Aug 24, 2015 11:36 am

Great idea. I'll take one.

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Post by frozenkore » Mon Aug 24, 2015 11:43 am

Wow, this would be awesome. I was building a module and trying to test it. I think I had a cable go bad but at the time, I thought there was something wrong with the module when it was working fine. I also do my own power cables. I'd definitely be interested.

Cheers!
Brian

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Post by ClausF » Mon Aug 24, 2015 11:48 am

Great!
Interested in one PCB

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Post by Zaibach » Mon Aug 24, 2015 11:49 am

I would definitely take one!

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Post by woodster » Mon Aug 24, 2015 11:53 am

I'll also take one.
Handy for me as I'm making a load of my own cables.

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Post by float32 » Mon Aug 24, 2015 2:54 pm

Looks useful, I'll take one too!

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Post by Reality Checkpoint » Mon Aug 24, 2015 3:00 pm

Oh yes please, as I am about to start making my own cables.

Count me in for one.

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latigid on
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Post by latigid on » Mon Aug 24, 2015 3:26 pm

Interesting idea! I have some thoughts:

Is the 7805 to power the LEDs? I think you could use 12V directly and just choose appropriate resistor values. 1k should be enough.

Four corner holes might also be useful to mount standoffs, then you can keep the pins off the bench covered in solder splashes and cut resistor leads :)

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horstronic
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Post by horstronic » Mon Aug 24, 2015 4:58 pm

latigid on wrote: Is the 7805 to power the LEDs? I think you could use 12V directly and just choose appropriate resistor values. 1k should be enough.
Yes, I had that before. The problem is that you can't use different voltages then, which was one of my design goals. You would have to change every single resistor then.
That's why I changed to using a voltage regulator.
So you can for example use your eurorack power one time and then a 9V battery the next time without any problems.
Four corner holes might also be useful to mount standoffs, then you can keep the pins off the bench covered in solder splashes and cut resistor leads :)
Absolutely, that would be great.
I'll try to include that if there's enough space.
Thanks!

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Post by setsun8 » Mon Aug 24, 2015 5:22 pm

Nice! I'd be interested in one as well.

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Post by qfactor » Mon Aug 24, 2015 6:19 pm

I'd be interested in one too!
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horstronic
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Post by horstronic » Tue Aug 25, 2015 6:07 am

I just updated it with mounting holes.
By the way: if anybody isn't too comfortable with SMD soldering, I could offer boards with pre-installed resistors, too!
It's not a big deal for me to solder a few boards for a little extra charge.

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Re: [IC] Eurorack Cable Tester

Post by sonicwarrior » Tue Aug 25, 2015 6:56 am

Any idea about the price?
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Post by insula » Tue Aug 25, 2015 8:04 am

:yay: :yay:

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Post by Brad » Tue Aug 25, 2015 8:08 am

I would be interested in one with the SMD soldered.

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horstronic
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Re: [IC] Eurorack Cable Tester

Post by horstronic » Tue Aug 25, 2015 8:15 am

sonicwarrior wrote:Any idea about the price?
That's hard to say right now because it depends on the quantities I'm selling.
I'm thinking about something like 7 Eur for a PCB + 3 Eur for soldered resistors. But don't quote me on that later, it may vary a bit.

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Re: [IC] Eurorack Cable Tester

Post by sonicwarrior » Tue Aug 25, 2015 8:56 am

OK, I'm in. I can solder 0805 SMD parts myself if that's an option.
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Post by andrewradtke » Tue Aug 25, 2015 9:09 am

I am in for one. This will be useful since I'm building my own cables and doing the power on test hoping no sparks will fly.

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Post by Thonk Support » Tue Aug 25, 2015 9:10 am

I'll take a few for sure, my only thought is that making it a little bigger so the headers are further apart... might make it a little quicker in operation, easier to get fingers in there. no big deal though.
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Post by pld » Tue Aug 25, 2015 9:17 am

Cool, I'll take one, that's been on my todo-list for a while :) I don't mind doing the SMD myself.

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horstronic
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Re: [IC] Eurorack Cable Tester

Post by horstronic » Tue Aug 25, 2015 10:06 am

sonicwarrior wrote:I can solder 0805 SMD parts myself if that's an option.
Sure, soldered resistors are optional of course.
Monobass wrote:I'll take a few for sure, my only thought is that making it a little bigger so the headers are further apart... might make it a little quicker in operation, easier to get fingers in there. no big deal though.
Good point. The problem is, when I make the board bigger, it gets a lot more expensive. But it may be worth it, that whole thing is pretty tiny anyway. I will think about that.
I thought about placing the LEDs between the headers to have a bigger space between them but that would make it harder to see the LEDs on the other hand.
I think I will leave it as it is for now, I have ordered them anyway. I've already updated the files a few times and I don't want the manufacturer to get confused about all that different file versions 8-)

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latigid on
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Post by latigid on » Tue Aug 25, 2015 10:27 am

The clearances on your mounting holes are pretty tight, I don't think you'll get standoffs there without shorting out a few components.

A good option might be to mirror one IDC header, so it would mate on opposite sides of the board.

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Post by SoundPool » Tue Aug 25, 2015 10:45 am

I'd grab one

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horstronic
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Post by horstronic » Tue Aug 25, 2015 1:48 pm

latigid on wrote:The clearances on your mounting holes are pretty tight, I don't think you'll get standoffs there without shorting out a few components.

A good option might be to mirror one IDC header, so it would mate on opposite sides of the board.
Thanks for the hint about the mounting hole clearances, I fixed that. Now it has enough space for a standard M3 screw with a 6mm head.

I also changed the layout a bit, so that there is more space between the headers. I don't want to have one header on the back, I think it's better if you don't have to turn the board every time you check a cable.

So here's the updated version (hopefully the last :hide:):

Image

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