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Make Noise Rene and Pressure Points grounding issue
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Eurorack Modules Goto page 1, 2  Next [all]
Author Make Noise Rene and Pressure Points grounding issue
ElCampesino
I'm starting a new thread on this, because I think I've ruled out other causes that could cause my Rene and Pressure Points to behave erratically.

In short, the story is this: I got a new custom made case with an intellijel TPS 30W max installed with a meanwell brick. Had all kinds of issues with rene and PP and read that it may have someting to do with the meanwell power brick. Got a different power adapter, but no improvement. Turns out the Meanwell one I have is already one that apparently doesn't suffer that problem.

I've tried different wall sockets in my house. On the ones that are grounded, everything works like a charm. On the ones that are not grounded, big problems. Then plug into a socket that is grounded, you'd say. Sure, but then I'd be restricted to wiggle in my studio upstairs or in the kitchen. And I got this portable case specifically to wiggle in the livingroom.

So, my long shot questions are: Has anyone experienced the same problem? I.e. not related to the power adapter? And has anyone found a solution or workaround?
exper
http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/how-to-ground-electrical-outle-108229

wink
peripatitis
For sure if there is one job to hire an electrician for , that is the one!

Having said that i had issues with Rene in my house where everything was grounded. And to be honest i am not sure if this is the issue with Rene.
I had mine not registering triggers and the idea for a couple of years was that it was because my fingers should be more humid, now we have the grounding issue....

Anyway it is such a shame, a beautiful sequencer one of the most original euro module but perhaps that technology has limitation, i believe the twisted electron's cell has the same problems.
On the other hand i never heard any complaints for synthwerk's fsr modules, so perhaps make noise should consider using something like that instead. Never used them personally but perhaps they are a good alternative..
ElCampesino
The interesting bit is that both Rene and PP work absolutely flawlessly on my grounded sockets, but suck #%^$ on my non grounded ones.

I have fixed grounded sockets in my attic studio area, originally to get rid of hum issues. But for the living room (where I intend to use this newly acquired otherwise awesome case), I don't think it is an option, because the wiring is simply not there. When we got the house, we remodelled quite a bit. We got new sockets. They seem to be grounded (three prongs), but really aren't.

I've for now swapped out Rene and PP for Audio Damage Sequencer 1 and Planar. Both awesome replacements, but really I'd like a more immediate/organic approach to this case. But I'm not starting a new topic here...

The only real solution of course is new modules! nanners
Rex Coil 7
Sounds like you're going to need to run a long and HEAVY three conductor extension cord from your attic down the stairwell to your living room! Guinness ftw!

Or, have a ground rod driven into the ground, and have that connected to at least one outlet nearby where you wish to use your stuff. meh

Or play upstairs. seriously, i just don't get it
Inward
I had issues with the responsiveness of the renee. My dad wired my attic/studio recently and I guess he grounded it because it works like charm now. Before I used it in a doepfer low cost case, now it's in a a-100 doepfer monster case. So maybe the case can also be the issue(but it really shouldn't be). I'm glad it's fixed because renee is really something special and I would hate to sell it.
whinger
The only module I've ever sold is my PP for the same reason. Didn't matter where I plugged it in (my house, my friend's house), it was erratic, unless I touched the metal rail while using it (it then responded perfectly every time). Got to be so distracting that I started using it less and less until I realized that I could easily live without the module. And then I sold it.

You mileage may vary.
Rex Coil 7
Improper grounding circuitry within the home (or structure) is only one portion of the issue. Even if the home is built completely correctly (grounded wiring and so forth), if the power supply and/or power distribution system within your modular rig is not done correctly the exact same problems will arise with certain digital modules.

The main idea to embrace here is proper grounding. Whether the problems with that are associated with the wiring in the venue you're at (old house, crappy cobbled together wiring in certain musical venues, whatever) ... or ... the problems are within your own modular power system .. the results will be the exact same.

It all must be right or these troubles will arise.

There are many threads here in Muffwigglers that address these issues.

Lastly, it's a mistake to assume that the case manufacturers, modules makers, and/or synth power supply vendors/manufacturers will always do the right thing. I've made the same assumption myself, and I've learned not to do that. That may be a tough issue to accept, however it is a part of the reality of the Modular Synthesizer Industry. You've honestly no choice but to recognize this.

Or not ... and just use modules that are less sensitive to poorly engineered/executed power systems and out of date grounding methods in older structures.
MARK27
I don't know.

I just purchased a Rene and god-help-me it only seems to work when I moisten my fingers.

I live in a large, modern apartment building in San Francisco. The wall socket is grounded correctly (I had it tested). I've tried powering the Rene with two different PSUs, both brand spanking new: a Synthrotek Super Power Blue and a 4ms Row Power 40. I have bent over backwards trying to figure out how to make the Rene's touch sensors more sensitive (including adjusting the sensitivity control), but as soon as my fingers are dry, it will just not register contact.

The only other thing I can think to do is maybe pick up one of those Make Noise mini-power things and use it just for the Rene.

It might be a waste of money, too. I just don't know.

frustrated...
Djumpmonkey
I have case which does not ground the power supply. I had issues with Pressure Points as a result. A real bummer with such an awesome module.
Parnelli
Quote:
I just purchased a Rene and god-help-me it only seems to work when I moisten my fingers.


I purchased a SE Charcot Circles with touch pads that gives me all sorts of the same type of problem. To begin with I live in a high mountain desert, and 18-20% humidity is high for us, so my skin is too dry to trigger the pads. Nearly every adjustment I have to moisten my finger tips and it's a real pain in the ass.

I don't think that's the OP problem, but lack of humidity/dryness definitely doesn't go well with touch pads. It's a real pain, and that's why I haven't tried anything else like Pressure Points.
quixot
I love my Rene and Pressure Points, but I am at a point where i don't use Rene for anything "important." It's strictly background and/or set up with a sequential switch and/or switched mult. Can't be trusted to respond on demand to touch, sadly. Sometimes I press and it does nothing, then I press again and it flies through the program pages. I do a "hhhaaahhhhh" style exhale onto my fingertip prior to pressing. Even then, maybe it'll respond a little, not at all, too much....who knows.
Inward
MARK27 wrote:
I don't know.

I just purchased a Rene and god-help-me it only seems to work when I moisten my fingers.

I live in a large, modern apartment building in San Francisco. The wall socket is grounded correctly (I had it tested). I've tried powering the Rene with two different PSUs, both brand spanking new: a Synthrotek Super Power Blue and a 4ms Row Power 40. I have bent over backwards trying to figure out how to make the Rene's touch sensors more sensitive (including adjusting the sensitivity control), but as soon as my fingers are dry, it will just not register contact.

The only other thing I can think to do is maybe pick up one of those Make Noise mini-power things and use it just for the Rene.
It might be a waste of money, too. I just don't know.

frustrated...


You can also use tin-foil on your finger. Which is 'less' annoying. Atleast you don't have to put your finger in your mouth the whole time smile.
Rex Coil 7
Inward wrote:
MARK27 wrote:
I don't know.

I just purchased a Rene and god-help-me it only seems to work when I moisten my fingers.

I live in a large, modern apartment building in San Francisco. The wall socket is grounded correctly (I had it tested). I've tried powering the Rene with two different PSUs, both brand spanking new: a Synthrotek Super Power Blue and a 4ms Row Power 40. I have bent over backwards trying to figure out how to make the Rene's touch sensors more sensitive (including adjusting the sensitivity control), but as soon as my fingers are dry, it will just not register contact.

The only other thing I can think to do is maybe pick up one of those Make Noise mini-power things and use it just for the Rene.
It might be a waste of money, too. I just don't know.

frustrated...


You can also use tin-foil on your finger. Which is 'less' annoying. Atleast you don't have to put your finger in your mouth the whole time smile.
Or ... you can invest in proper power distribution within your case. As I've said, just because you bought your power system or case from a "known manufacturer" does not mean that it was engineered properly to deal with proper grounding. It goes beyond simply having a ground cable attached to the case (or modules, or Vector rails, or whatever). It's all about recognizing and adhering to basic laws of electrical engineering. Often times (too often for my peace of mind) manufacturers use short cuts to improve profit margins, or to "Noob Proof" their systems from rookie owner mistakes.

So many of those power distribution "header boards" with a dozen+ multipin connectors are so poorly engineered, not to mention the use of friggin DATA CABLE (aka Ribbon Cable) ... as in multi-conductor cables that were NOT designed to carry relatively heavy currents ... for distributing electrical power .. are added sources of frustration. When you combine many of these things together (poor grounding schemes, ribbon cable power distribution, "soft busses", crap-ass grounding in the home, shit PSUs that are misapplied for synth use, and so on) .. you're going to have sub-satisfactory performance. That $500 Rene is going to be a $400 "for sale" item soon! Rather than taking a loss, perhaps think of investing in a power system that is worthy of the BIG CASH you spend on modules.

I realize that by now I'm beginning to sound like a shill or a fanboy of Graham Hinton's power systems, but golly he knows WTAF he's doing! Read his posts on the subject, there are many (many!).

If anyone here is having those troubles with your Rene, or other capacitance grounding type modules (Pressure Points, Rene, and some other manufacturers' modules) you owe it to your multi-thousand dollar investment (that is, your modular synth) to at least search out a few of the threads where these topics have been clearly addressed by Graham as well as other members that have produced actual solutions.

This is one of those subjects that people are reluctant to research or spend money on. Power stuff isn't cool, or sexy, or prestigious ... power stuff is boring, hidden, and unexciting. Power stuff doesn't make any bitchin' sounds, it doesn't come in cool colors or have hip brand names to drop in forum posts. But if your power stuff isn't together, the chances are high that a lot of your sexy, cool, hip, desirable, modules won't ever perform up to advertised specs or personal expectations.

(just so you know, I've been in the same boat ... in fact I'm in the midst of uprating my own power systems in both my 5U and Euro systems.)

Lecture overwith, I'm stepping off the soapbox. you kids get off my lawn

thumbs up cool
Rex Coil 7
Djumpmonkey wrote:
I have case which does not ground the power supply. I had issues with Pressure Points as a result. A real bummer with such an awesome module.
Gee ... I wonder why? meh

Oh, wait ....

Djumpmonkey wrote:
I have case which does not ground the power supply....


thumbs up
MARK27
Rex Coil 7 wrote:
I realize that by now I'm beginning to sound like a shill or a fanboy


No, that isn't what you sound like...

Rex Coil 7 wrote:
at least search out a few of the threads where these topics have been clearly addressed by Graham


Rex Coil 7 wrote:
This is one of those subjects that people are reluctant to research or spend money on.


Rex Coil 7 wrote:
Power stuff doesn't make any bitchin' sounds, it doesn't come in cool colors or have hip brand names to drop in forum posts.


thumbs up lol!
indigoid
Rex Coil 7 wrote:
If anyone here is having those troubles with your Rene, or other capacitance grounding type modules (Pressure Points, Rene, and some other manufacturers' modules) you owe it to your multi-thousand dollar investment (that is, your modular synth) to at least search out a few of the threads where these topics have been clearly addressed by Graham as well as other members that have produced actual solutions.


I would have invested in Hinton power for my system if it/Graham weren't so overtly opinionated regarding rack width — units of 84hp/19" width simply do not suit my usage!. Mount it on a 126hp panel and it'd be perfect for my systems. But after seeing his diatribes here about systems apparently of the incorrect width, I felt really discouraged and didn't feel like even bothering with an enquiry email would be worthwhile

Almost all of my Euro systems at home are 126hp wide — have been for years — and it feels like the perfect width to me. I can install 84hp NLC cellF panels next to a 42hp NLC Cluster matrix mixer. A 14u/126hp system is also not that far off being square, which I personally rather like

Back on topic... hopefully Sydney's moist and sticky weather will insulate me from these kinds of issues confused
Inward
Rex Coil 7 wrote:
Inward wrote:
MARK27 wrote:
I don't know.

I just purchased a Rene and god-help-me it only seems to work when I moisten my fingers.

I live in a large, modern apartment building in San Francisco. The wall socket is grounded correctly (I had it tested). I've tried powering the Rene with two different PSUs, both brand spanking new: a Synthrotek Super Power Blue and a 4ms Row Power 40. I have bent over backwards trying to figure out how to make the Rene's touch sensors more sensitive (including adjusting the sensitivity control), but as soon as my fingers are dry, it will just not register contact.

The only other thing I can think to do is maybe pick up one of those Make Noise mini-power things and use it just for the Rene.


It might be a waste of money, too. I just don't know.

frustrated...


You can also use tin-foil on your finger. Which is 'less' annoying. Atleast you don't have to put your finger in your mouth the whole time smile.
Or ... you can invest in proper power distribution within your case. As I've said, just because you bought your power system or case from a "known manufacturer" does not mean that it was engineered properly to deal with proper grounding. It goes beyond simply having a ground cable attached to the case (or modules, or Vector rails, or whatever). It's all about recognizing and adhering to basic laws of electrical engineering. Often times (too often for my peace of mind) manufacturers use short cuts to improve profit margins, or to "Noob Proof" their systems from rookie owner mistakes.

So many of those power distribution "header boards" with a dozen+ multipin connectors are so poorly engineered, not to mention the use of friggin DATA CABLE (aka Ribbon Cable) ... as in multi-conductor cables that were NOT designed to carry relatively heavy currents ... for distributing electrical power .. are added sources of frustration. When you combine many of these things together (poor grounding schemes, ribbon cable power distribution, "soft busses", crap-ass grounding in the home, shit PSUs that are misapplied for synth use, and so on) .. you're going to have sub-satisfactory performance. That $500 Rene is going to be a $400 "for sale" item soon! Rather than taking a loss, perhaps think of investing in a power system that is worthy of the BIG CASH you spend on modules.

I realize that by now I'm beginning to sound like a shill or a fanboy of Graham Hinton's power systems, but golly he knows WTAF he's doing! Read his posts on the subject, there are many (many!).

If anyone here is having those troubles with your Rene, or other capacitance grounding type modules (Pressure Points, Rene, and some other manufacturers' modules) you owe it to your multi-thousand dollar investment (that is, your modular synth) to at least search out a few of the threads where these topics have been clearly addressed by Graham as well as other members that have produced actual solutions.

This is one of those subjects that people are reluctant to research or spend money on. Power stuff isn't cool, or sexy, or prestigious ... power stuff is boring, hidden, and unexciting. Power stuff doesn't make any bitchin' sounds, it doesn't come in cool colors or have hip brand names to drop in forum posts. But if your power stuff isn't together, the chances are high that a lot of your sexy, cool, hip, desirable, modules won't ever perform up to advertised specs or personal expectations.

(just so you know, I've been in the same boat ... in fact I'm in the midst of uprating my own power systems in both my 5U and Euro systems.)

Lecture overwith, I'm stepping off the soapbox. you kids get off my lawn

thumbs up cool


You're absolutely right ofcourse but he was saying that he checked his grounding and stuff so he has looked into the stuff you mention. I was just offering a slightly better solution then licking your fingers the whole time for lack of a proper solution.
ElCampesino
Interesting to see this thread spring back to life all of a sudden. Yall might enjoy the solution my friend and I came up with:

http://www.elcampesino.nl/rene-button-panel/

We are in the process of making a small batch of button panels for other frustrated Rene users, but unfortunately that all goes a lot slower than we'd like. Even with the small amount of parts involved. So if anyone still wants to hop on board this slow moving Rene button panel wagon, let me know through the website via de specified link.
MARK27
ElCampesino wrote:
Interesting to see this thread spring back to life all of a sudden. Yall might enjoy the solution my friend and I came up with:

http://www.elcampesino.nl/rene-button-panel/


I remember seeing the original thread for this! Really good thinking.

On the website, you mention that the final product will have different color buttons than what is shown. Do you have any images of the final product?
Mungo
Rex Coil 7 wrote:
Or ... you can invest in proper power distribution within your case. As I've said, just because you bought your power system or case from a "known manufacturer" does not mean that it was engineered properly to deal with proper grounding. It goes beyond simply having a ground cable attached to the case (or modules, or Vector rails, or whatever). It's all about recognizing and adhering to basic laws of electrical engineering. Often times (too often for my peace of mind) manufacturers use short cuts to improve profit margins, or to "Noob Proof" their systems from rookie owner mistakes.

So many of those power distribution "header boards" with a dozen+ multipin connectors are so poorly engineered, not to mention the use of friggin DATA CABLE (aka Ribbon Cable) ... as in multi-conductor cables that were NOT designed to carry relatively heavy currents ... for distributing electrical power .. are added sources of frustration. When you combine many of these things together (poor grounding schemes, ribbon cable power distribution, "soft busses", crap-ass grounding in the home, shit PSUs that are misapplied for synth use, and so on) .. you're going to have sub-satisfactory performance. That $500 Rene is going to be a $400 "for sale" item soon! Rather than taking a loss, perhaps think of investing in a power system that is worthy of the BIG CASH you spend on modules.
Except there are valid reasons to have ungrounded cases/power supplies, so there is no single solution for every situation and the power supply and distribution needs to be chosen to match the whole system, which modules will be used, and what other equipment it will be used with. The rene is a very specific example which relies on certain conditions being met for it to function, a good capacitive coupling to the user with low noise, which is usually done with a grounded supply connected to the mains earthing which couples back to the user.

But where the building lacks a suitable connection it could equally be done with large metal objects such as the cases or a conductive table top or floor mat.
Parnelli
Quote:
But where the building lacks a suitable connection it could equally be done with large metal objects such as the cases or a conductive table top or floor mat.


As I was reading your post I remembered the little grounding wrist straps we used to wear when working on CMOS stuff back in the day; I wonder if one of those grounded to the rails might improve the situation for folks with problems like mine?

Just a thought, though it would kinda be a bummer to be "chained" to your synth I suppose you could put a long cord on it.
chysn
Parnelli wrote:
Quote:
But where the building lacks a suitable connection it could equally be done with large metal objects such as the cases or a conductive table top or floor mat.


As I was reading your post I remembered the little grounding wrist straps we used to wear when working on CMOS stuff back in the day; I wonder if one of those grounded to the rails might improve the situation for folks with problems like mine?


Of course, everyone's case (no pun intended) is different, but this is my experience.

TLDR version: Pressure Points is susceptible to RF interference, so don't discount that as a cause. Let's continue with the long version:

I bought a Pressure Points and had some problems with its gate. At first, I thought it might be a grounding issue, but somebody suggested that it might be RF interference. I live really close to a 50KW AM radio tower. So after a bunch of experimentation (which included moving my synth to other locations and buying a second Pressure Points), I was able to determine that RF interference was, in fact, my problem.

I tried to deal with it by building a Faraday shield inside my case. This worked to a limited extent, but it wasn't perfect. And I did try the grounding wrist straps, clipped onto the Pressure Points (although it worked clipped to anything in my case).

The wrist strap, however, caused a new problem: the pressure output was always near maximum. So I basically had a choice between gate and pressure.

Hopefully things work out better for you. I'm not moving out of my house, even for my beloved Pressure Points, so I replaced it with a Phonogene.
slow_riot
If well implemented safety earth does not bring about the desired behaviour, the next area for consideration is as the user above says. The new BEMI Music Easel has the same problem. It's RF interference from the environment that appears on the body itself and is coupled capacitively onto the PCB traces. You would need to build a Faraday cage that surrounded the building itself, looking at a cost of hundreds of thousands of $£€. I can only assume that when Buchla et al used these circuits in the 1970s the electromagnetic environment of the age wasn't so immersed in signals as we are now.

A fix would need to be implemented at the hardware level that was able to sense the common mode EM noise that appears in the environment and on the body and reject it. This is how the wrist strap plugged onto system common works.

HOWEVER. A wrist strap connecting the user to power supply common in lieu of safety earthing is the most dangerous advice I've seen given in 20 years experience in sound. At least if the synthesizer fascia went live you would have the luxury of being thrown away from the danger. With a wrist strap if the power supply common went live and the RCD didn't trip; at 230VAC your music career will be dramatically cut short, and not because you said something dumb on the internet.
Mungo
slow_riot wrote:
HOWEVER. A wrist strap connecting the user to power supply common in lieu of safety earthing is the most dangerous advice I've seen given in 20 years experience in sound. At least if the synthesizer fascia went live you would have the luxury of being thrown away from the danger. With a wrist strap if the power supply common went live and the RCD didn't trip; at 230VAC your music career will be dramatically cut short, and not because you said something dumb on the internet.
You once again take it out of context and appeal to SAFETY where there is no issue. If the power supply is safe to use without a ground connection then there is no safety issue however its connected even if that is a direct metal contact to the user, for example by attaching a wrist strap (through its large value resistor) to the 0V of a faceplate or socket.

But as mentioned above its not actually a workable fix for the problem here.
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