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Power off Easel to insert program card?
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Buchla, EMS & Serge  
Author Power off Easel to insert program card?
musicalfungus
To the best of my knowledge the Allen Strange Manual does not state whether or not the Easel needs to be turned off when inserting or removing program cards.

However the 208 toolbox, and the Bemi Easel Expander manuals specifically state to turn off the Easel when inserting the card.

I ask becasue I am just about to get into soldering up some cards. I messed around with it briefly in the past and had a experience where my Easel shot small sparks out of the program card slot while I tried to insert a card with the Easel powered on. After that experience I have always turned off the Easel before inserting or removing a program card.

I see videos of Todd Barton and others on Youube who seem to just pull out a card and pop in a new one with no issues at all while their Easels are powered on.

Any advice?
vgermuse
Definitely turn off the Easel before inserting or removing the iProgram Card or ToolBox etc. I believe they draw a lot of power.

My experience with the soldered program cards is it is possible to insert or remove them with the Easel turned on, as you see in some of my videos, i.e. they are hot swapable.

Best practice, of course, would be cold swapable (turning off). But . . .
I use the soldered program cards in and out in performance while the Easel is on. Hope this helps. It depends on your personal guts/risk threshold. w00t
papz
As long as there's no active circuit on the card (ie resistors only), it's safe to insert it and remove it with the Easel on, but you should pay attention to keep the card straight, do not insert or remove it slantwise, you don't want to cause a short between contacts.
musicalfungus
vgermuse

papz

Thank you both for the info. It is greatly appreciated.

I believe that the the small sparking issue I encountered a few months back was indeed caused by the card shorting between contacts. I often have to insert it at an angle as the card slot seems rather tight on my easel and takes some force to get the card in. I find it easier to insert the corner first and then push the rest in. (granted I always do this while its powered off except that one time)

From now on I believe i will continue to turn off the Easel to insert/remove cards. Or be extremely careful to make sure to push the card straight in to avoid shorting the contacts at an angle.

Thanks again for the help!
papz
Some recent BEMI Music Easels seem to have a card slot slightly shorter than standard and some even came with tapered program cards.
Sand gently the card's edge connector will ease insertion. Pay attention to sand equally both edges to keep the male and female contacts aligned.
@green
Resurrecting this one. What’s the consensus? Is it safe to hot swap. I want to be able to. Been finding more and more use for the cards in my improv flow. Don’t want to fry my box, but want the instant switching. Any recent horror stories or consistent successes? I have an early BEMI so my card isn’t super hard to insert or take out. But I really don’t want to fry it. Ahhh
doepferiano
I'm quite sure I've fried the pulser (repaired) inserting a card in the slot with a 208rv2 active
@green
doepferiano wrote:
I'm quite sure I've fried the pulser (repaired) inserting a card in the slot with a 208rv2 active


I’m really sad to hear that. It’s enough to make me not want to try.
ddp
The manuals say clearly not to insert any of the new things (AUX Expander, iProgram, or Card Doubler) with the Easel powered on. I suspect retro program cards wouldn't harm anything, they're just a bunch of resistors.
ArguZ
Would you hotswap any other module ?
Taking it out, ok, might be ok.
But slotting it in the danger is way too big to accidentally shift over one pin.
On a cardOC that uses almost all pins that would send power to ground, ground to power or the IC inputs, and that would send sparks flying or shut down the Easel .
So a definite no from my side.
Drillionaire
ddp wrote:
The manuals say clearly not to insert any of the new things (AUX Expander, iProgram, or Card Doubler) with the Easel powered on. I suspect retro program cards wouldn't harm anything, they're just a bunch of resistors.


If you insert any accessory card, passive program cards included, even with no resistors, at even a slight angle, or off to the side a bit, it can short pins together, which includes power rails and sensitive digital bus lines.
ddp
Right, the truth is that if you pull them out at angles, you'll probably get away with it, so if you accidentally dislodge a side of your Aux Expander or iProgram card, immediately turn off your Easel, never ever think, oh, I should now plug it all back in, that's what will fry it.
ddp
I have to post this because you're all going to have to laugh at me. I'd actually fried my Easel when I wrote that, I did it installing the posts that hold the card doubler off the chassis, I'd never installed them and it seemed like time. So when I wrote that I had recently re-familiarized myself with the warnings. However, what happened is, that I apparently did not actually get the AUX Expander seated. The next morning, I flipped one of the to Card toggles and the AUX Expander came out on the right side. Horrified, I immediately powered the Easel off, before reseating it. It took me a while to realize it was fried, it's a weird electro organism after all, but this was enough to fry the pulser, random noise source, and sequencer, more or less. I have no clue if the iProgram card survived because it's now insane and needing service. So do not plug or unplug your AUX Expander with the power on, that would be bad.

I ordered a 218 for the Skylab in case they can't fix my Easel.
ddp
Final update: after reseating nearly everything involved in the audio signal path, and upgrading all the software on the Macbook, the Easel seems to working again, so Buchla gremlins. Be very careful with the new things and your Program Card slot though, that's the lesson I relearned, phew.
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