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DIY - Elektor Vocoder - New kits available now !
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Music Tech DIY Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4 ... 15, 16, 17  Next [all]
Author DIY - Elektor Vocoder - New kits available now !
Fitchie
Updated spacing for the input/output section:



Against the original design:

PWM
Fitchie, looks great!
KSS
Not bad for your first 3d! Did you mean to leave the power board out? If you put the jacks on 3/4" 19mm centers, then bananas and their standard shorting blocks can be used to patch the filters. 14.25" or 362mm from first to last jack.

It looks like IC11, pin 5-8 on the low pass Bd 5 is shorting to the nearby trace. Hard to tell if that's supposed to connect with the resolution posted here. IC12, pin 5 also seems to short a nearby trace. I found the original 1980 Elektor article series in French at Yusynth's site. Sure enough, these do not touch. Do you have DRC on your PCB software to check for traces too close? Be sure to run it on all your boards if you do. We can help too but the pictures here are hard to see clearly. Having a rectangle or polygon pad when the traces are tight for pin one of ICs is helpful.

Something which has become common on boards made for SDIY is to have the values in the part silk footprints. With these boards there is enough room to also put the reference designators outside the footprint to be read after assembly. This is really the best of both worlds. Easy to assemble, and easy to find references later during repair or troubleshooting.. Labeling all trimmer functions on the silkscreen near the presets will be good too.

Reading that PDF with my long forgotten middle school French, I can use the circuits to mostly guess through the words. Do you have an English version you could share? It seems the add-ons suggestion I made is already designed and laid out! The last article of that PDF shows a noise source and unvoiced/voiced PCB. Both of these look very similar to what Harald has used in his Vocoder.

It seems a pity that these won't be part of your project. They add greatly to vocoder intelligibility and would be nice stretch for you since you already have the basic version. I am for sure less interested in a plain version now knowing these are tried and true vintage parts of this project. As I wrote before, you already have the perfect PCB area left over from a 172mm pcb minus the cover width for a separate Buss expander. And as you pointed out the Rack panel will support a wide backplane for shipping if you wanted to just make the single backplane wider. Juggling the spacing of the connectors on the backplane will be easier now than later. I am sure all will fit in a rack width.

Sibilance really makes a difference. I hope you will consider making these part of your 35th anniversary project. I doubt anyone else will re-do this Vocoder after you, so we're in your hands. Please give us the full system for a true anniversary celebration.
Fitchie
KSS wrote:
Not bad for your first 3d! Did you mean to leave the power board out?

You clearly have good eyes, I even did not notice that there were 11 boards instead of 12 on the 3D rendering.
But indeed the idea remains to plug the power supply straight into the backplane.

KSS wrote:
If you put the jacks on 3/4" 19mm centers, then bananas and their standard shorting blocks can be used to patch the filters. 14.25" or 362mm from first to last jack.

Hold on, no banana plugs are used for signal routing/patching.
Here we use shielded 3,5 mm jacks.

KSS wrote:
It looks like IC11, pin 5-8 on the low pass Bd 5 is shorting to the nearby trace. Hard to tell if that's supposed to connect with the resolution posted here.

Wy do you think the traces are to close together or even shortening?
Please see detail:

KSS wrote:
With these boards there is enough room to also put the reference designators outside the footprint to be read after assembly. This is really the best of both worlds.

All PCB's are in production now, but this is a good suggestion for the 2nd revision.

KSS wrote:
As I wrote before, you already have the perfect PCB area left over from a 172mm pcb minus the cover width for a separate Buss expander. And as you pointed out the Rack panel will support a wide backplane for shipping if you wanted to just make the single backplane wider.

The backplane has already the option to connect additional expansions:

But please can you provide a sketch with what you mean exactly?
Or is it sufficient that I horizontally compress the backplane to provide 2 extra connectors?
tron23
basicbasic wrote:
Watching with great interest SlayerBadger!


+1 Guinness ftw!
Fitchie
Last but not least ... here is the high pass filter board (RU 80068-6).

Component side (172 mm x 72 mm):



Solder side:

Fitchie
KSS wrote:
I hope you will consider making these part of your 35th anniversary project. I doubt anyone else will re-do this Vocoder after you, so we're in your hands. Please give us the full system for a true anniversary celebration.

On special request, please see below the extended backplane (RU 80068-1X) including 3 extra connectors on the left side:

- Noise generator
- Detection interface
- Commutation interace

Extended backplane component side (420 mm x 72 mm):



Extended backplane solder side:

AonFLuX
Love this project! Would love to build myself a nice vocoder smile
Good work!
KSS

On the pics you posted, this is what I could see. That detail image is much clearer! Still, with silkscreen usually 10 mils, it looks like there is only abot 8mils spacing. I copied the red silk and moved it near the traces in the mod of your detail.

There is a pad to the right not seen in your detail which has some room to spare to allow these traces more room. ORange arrows show the moves . Orange circle shows another place where the traces are overly close. What is important to note there is the room available to have better clearance for traces. There are numerous examples of this layout style in the originals. Where things are just a whole bunch more compressed than they could be. Unless there is a reason to keep a trace from another, make use of the available space!

Also in the detail mod pic there are two orange ovals where the PCB silkscreen covers solder pads. This is not good. I show on the left of the IC and cap how to change the silk to fix this. On the original Elektor 80 design, it did not matter because a one layer board has no plated holes so there is no capillary action and no solder fillet on the top of boards like we see with normal 2 side plated through hole boards today. Your anniversary boards will be two sides and have plated holes which is good. But this silkscreen overlap which did not matter before will need to be fixed.

I know you have not planned for banana jacks on the front panel. I wrote to suggest that you should. The simple common and important 3/4" 19mm dimension to those who *do* use bananas will *allow* this project to be used by those with banana format synths. Especially since there is no panel PCB in this project to modify and the front panel may be easily drilled out to allow 6.35mm or banana jacks. This makes your project more useful to more people. And it didn't seem like the dimension was far off of what was already used.

The simple drawing you asked for is made unnecessary by the new backplane. But to explain, It would be a 72x172 PCB where 60mm is used up by the cover, leaving 112mm to be used for the back plane expander and maybe anything else useful. A v-score or drilled dotted line allows this board to be packed with the rest and being the same size as the others, makes for more secure shipping. Right now the cover is an odd man out, size wise. The combining of the cover and bus expansion into one splittable board solves this.

I realise you've made your choice and it's your project so this is meant for anyone reading this later. I still believe using the 2 or 3 part back plane is a better idea. Because the shipping is not just to us from you, but also from the PCB maker to you. And the panel maker is probably not the same, so those long busboards are subject to everything I said earlier in that trip to you. Also many PCB houses charge more for long narrow boards.

There is another reason to do it this way. SDIY groups are found with later messages saying how did I miss this! Do you still have kits? Many times, the PCBs are easier to keep in stock than the front panels. So doing things in a way which favors easy and compact PCB packaging and shipping increases your customer base. Not just at first. But forever. Forever being as long as you want to support the project. Know that you *will* be asked these questions.

Done the split buss way, A complete Vcocoder has 20 identically sized boards. 10 BPF, 1 HPF, 1LPF, 1I/O, 1PWR, 1 combination Cover/Buss expander and 2 Buss PCB's. The sibilance expansion has 3 more PCBs. 1Nois, 1 Detector and 1Comm. Two even stacks of ten for a safe and solid shipping envelope after Front panels have run out.

I don't know if you have offered a project to SDIY before so this may be old news to you. Do not underestimate the time and hassle of packaging and shipping!

The sibilance expansion adds two LEDs, two switches and a noise level pot to the panel. This means that a vertical label of the word Encoder makes more sense than it did without these parts on the panel. I am fully confident that anyone who has used a vocoder with this added sibilance control and capability will agree the function is worth the tradeoff!

Finally, I'm not a fan of the threaded holes for panel parts. Extra cost and limiting to DIY. Unless you do a complete panel parts kit, you may find yourself regretting the support needed when parts a customer bought don't fit the threads. It won't be your fault. But it will still be your problem.

As before, all is intended to be thoughtful and helpful!
KSS
Here is an idea how you could make the single large back plane PCB for the support you want and still have the ability to benefit in the ways described. Simply put a drilled row of holes at 172mm where it *could* be split. Two rows of holes now in the expanded Back plane version.

Ken stone does this on some of his PCB's so his 6" standard is maintained, yet Euro DIY is accomodated.

I'm still a believer in the 20 same size boards. This just occurred to me and it might be a way for you to have both the support you want and the benefits I described.
KSS
Fitchie, On your panel 25312_vocoder_3_1, one of the holes to mount the box to the panel got shifted. The one under the OUT label. Needs to go more directly under the U in OUT. Found it whilt trying 16 and 19mm jack spacing. 16 between in and out and 19 between out to the next in. Keeps everything basically where it is now, and allows the banana shorting block option.
Boogie
Way to go fitchie, keep up the good work.
You're progressing real fast.



oops oops
RadekTymecki
wow! simply amazing. Count me in when You will start collecting orders for this one. Always wanted to have old school voco like this
Fitchie
Finally all PCB designs are ready, most of them in production, some under review.

So it is quietly time to finish the 19" front panel.
Let's start with a forum poll: which one would you choose?

KSS
It looks like the label of the top one will not clear the panel mounting oval holes?

Preference is for the top format, but with the 2nd from top vocoder label size in plain legacy white or off-white to clear the panel mounting holes. The line "35th anniversary" parallel to the vocoder label. Leave off Elektor and maybe also edition. The typeface and layout show clearly it is the Elektor vocoder. But do include the 35th anniversary!
Power switch changed to a pot size hole in line with the others, which will fit a normal size power toggle switch. Which also fits the time period.

This is the way to be able to add the sibilance panel controls without using a huge and otherwise unnecessary 1U add-on panel, or an ugly thin covering sheet to change the left side of the panel to add them. I was picturing a layout like the high pass block, where the top knob was the power switch and the bottom knob was noise level. The in and out holes are where the two sibilance control switches go.

By using a classic round hole toggle switch for power, it is only a matter of drilling a few round holes to accomodate the sibilance add-on. Neatly and symmetric to the High pass.
KSS
Fitchie
KSS wrote:
By using a classic round hole toggle switch for power, it is only a matter of drilling a few round holes to accomodate the sibilance add-on.

Based on your input, please see below 2 updated designs:

Basic version of the vocoder

- Low pass filter
- 8 x bandwidth filter
- High pass filter
- Input/output module
- Power supply + cover
- Basic backplane (12 connectors)
- 19" aluminium frontpanel




Mismatch between scale frontpanel and backplane.


Extended version of the vocoder

- Low pass filter
- 8 x bandwidth filter
- High pass filter
- Input/output module
- Power supply + cover
- Noise generator (not on current roadmap)
- Detection interface (not on current roadmap)
- Commutation interace (not on current roadmap)
- Extended backplane (15 connectors)
- 19" aluminium frontpanel with sibilance control




Mismatch between scale frontpanel and backplane.


Some remarks:

The shielded routing jacks are slightly moved to a center distance of 16 mm. This benefits cleaning them out to use banana connectors. I still don't understand why one would like to use non shielded wiring, but the option to use banana connectors is available now.

To manage correctly all expectations and user specific wish lists, I'm going to make sure that the basic model gets ready to ship within reasonable time. When there is sufficient interest, I'll also design the 3 boards for the sibilance control option somewhere in the near future.
Zaibach
This looks so great! I would love to build the fully expanded version. Do you have a price tag yet for the pcbs and panel?
KSS
Hi Fitchie,

If you have the Vocoder label horizontal on the basic version, you may as well also use the rectangular switch hole.

The round hole only makes sense if you also have the Vocoder label vertical like you show on the expanded version. There is no need for two versions if you use a round hole and vertical Vocoder label. That was the whole point of making it vertical and using a round switch hole. That someone could upgrade later. Or not.

I never intended that the holes I added for the sibilance would be for a second version. Only sent two drawings to show how the one could be turned into the other with a few added holes.

No need for an extended backplane either since it is now very clear you want to do a basic version. Once that is offered, there will be little reason for anyone to want an expanded version if you haven't provided for that in an easy fashion. I tried to show you how you could make room for that possibility, without forcing anyone to accept anything towards it except for the round switch hole and vertical Vocoder label.

My goal here was to try to help you have the best of both worlds. And to be economic for production and shipping for you. I'll back off and let you do what you want. The suggestions I've made could be very useful to increase the size of your project, but that is up to you.

I will finish by saying that the mounting holes just added to the corners of the front panel are much too large. Best of luck in your project, and if you need someone to lay out the sibilance expander boards. I could do that for you. I use Diptrace. I wouldn't want anything for it, just a way to let others have the full original expansion Elektor offered in the 80s.
KSS
And if you want to preserve the original look even more, the sibilance noise level pot can go where the high frequency blend pot now is located. Above the High Pass level pot. Then only the two switch holes and optionally, the two sibilance indicator led holes would stay on the left below a rectangular power switch. The Vocoder label would still need to be vertical.

Again, was only trying to help and hope you have great success!
Fitchie
Hi KSS,

Again thanks for your feedback.

KSS wrote:
No need for an extended backplane either since it is now very clear you want to do a basic version. Once that is offered, there will be little reason for anyone to want an expanded version if you haven't provided for that in an easy fashion.

I never said that I wouldn't like offer the extended version, I just indicated that the main focus is to complete the basic version first. Why else would I have designed the extend backplane?

Designing PCB's is one step, building, debugging and offering kits are 3 other steps to complete. Many DIY projects will never be finished due to regularly scope changes and increasing specs. I absolutely want to avoid this pitfall.

In the meantime I did order the digital edition of the Elektor magazines where the sibilance expansion has been described. It looks like P17 (high frequency mixer) has no function anymore while switching on the noise generator. However it's unclear for now what the function of P17 is when the noise generator is switched off. Probably in that case the sibilance noise level pot can be placed where the high frequency blend pot is located. Consequently, there are only 2 extra switches and optional LED's required.

Anyhow I will further investigate this expansion, don't worry.

KSS wrote:

I will finish by saying that the mounting holes just added to the corners of the front panel are much too large.

That's correct, I also have noticed this. It looks like there is an error in FrontDesign. Both the Schroff mounting holes cutout as the Fisher variant are not correct in size. Schaeffer AG has already received an email about this issue.

No doubt, this will be solved before producing the panels.
Fitchie
Sibilance expansion block diagram with P17:




The G/H and I/J connections are foreseen on the solder side of both backplanes. In the extended version the connecting traces can easily be cutted on the indicated positions.

KSS
Offering two different projects instead of one which can optionally be easily expanded, is not a good choice. It forces your potential buyer to decide which to go for and will end up seriously hurting both your initial and your later sales. How many times have synth companies shot themselves in the foot by mentioning an expanded version or updated module they're planning to release later. Buyers now have to decide whether to buy the first and hope they can trade it for the later version, or do without until the later version arrives. Which often enough does not ever happen, as you've said.

Fortunately, you don't need to offer two different projects at all! Unlike the Elektor and Synton people back in 1980, you already have what was then future sibilance parts in front of you now. So unlike the hopefully adequate provisions they put in place, you can set up a perfectly ready option. Easy to have. Or easy not to have. All of my comments in this thread have been toward either that goal, or basic peer review error checks.

Fitchie wrote:
Designing PCB's is one step, building, debugging and offering kits are 3 other steps to complete. Many DIY projects will never be finished due to regularly scope changes and increasing specs. I absolutely want to avoid this pitfall.


I completely agree! With simple changes to easily allow expandability as an option, everybody wins! Those who want the basic or the expanded vocoder get it just as soon, and the sibilance option is offered when it is available and has been tested, as a small package with 3 or 4 PCBs and maybe a couple thin aluminum or plastic labels for pots and switches held on by the pot or switch nuts. After all, the original evolved this way also. Only they didn't have the already designed, tested and laid out sibilance add-on that you do. This means the sibilance option can now be fully planned for, the addition can be easy and successful for anyone who already built the basic vocoder.

Another benefit to us all these years later are the online photos of completed Elektor Vocoders. These are helpful to show what can be done, and also to show what may not be so good. One shows the in out jacks arranged single panel like yours but spaced unevenly which combined with seeing Harald's banana based vocoder resulted in my suggestion to make bananas an easily and planned possible option. Another very small and blurry photo shows the sibilance option as a 1U full rack width add-on above the basic Vocoder. Seems a waste of space when it can be done within the original size and look. A couple show the fully modular version Elektor originally designed. Dirk Lindhof's modular version was pieced to fit into a found clear case he re-purposed using the larger but same connectors which were in the old clear case.

Quote:
In the meantime I did order the digital edition of the Elektor magazines where the sibilance expansion has been described. It looks like P17 (high frequency mixer) has no function anymore while switching on the noise generator.


Yes, that's what the article says. Harald Bode is the source for the p17 blend pot technique. He even patented it. Ray of MFOS (RIP) also used that method in his vocoder design. Craig Anderton used a version in the PAIA vocoder.
My experience with these and other vocoders leads me to believe it is still useful even with the sibilance option installed.
I was able to find an English version of the Elektor articles online. I think it was at the internet archive. The text is in a separate file and clearly OCR'd. The illustrations are good quality tifs. It does cover the entire project including the sibilance addition.

Quote:
However it's unclear for now what the function of P17 is when the noise generator is switched off.


Essentially it is a wet/dry control. And that is useful even with the sibilance noise and switch in place. Personally I would want both, and the panel with the single round power hole and vertical Vocoder label allows this. But if the rectangular switch is important to you, then it would must be moved.

Quote:
Anyhow I will further investigate this expansion, don't worry.


I'm not worried. I have previously shared many ways to make this project adaptable to the widest group, with the least impact on your basic version. The main challenge is that the original designers put the expansion connector at the right end. But your panel design allows the needed space for an expansion, at the left end. By using the existing original 2 part back plane layout's wired joint method to add a small 3 spaces PCB on the left, then you have the groundwork in place to fully and easily support a sibilance expansion in one project. The only other true need is for the vocoder label to be vertical. Then after the basic vocoder is complete, you can lay out the 3 add-on boards. Test them and then the sibilance option can be offered. Nobody has to buy twice, and nobody has to wait.
Fitchie
First PCB's delivered !
Prototyping of the backplane will start this evening...

goodrevdoc
This is great news, Fitchie! I would vote for the extended version as well, with P17...
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