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The Do's and Don'ts when building and installing first time
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Eurorack Modules  
Author The Do's and Don'ts when building and installing first time
Hi all,

So I took the plunge and bought my first module the other day (Clouds! Yay!). I have a Doepfer DIY kit on the way, and have the parts for a case ready to glue together...

Though I have decent experience drilling/sawing/soldering, I don't have any experience handling bare circuit boards or the types of power the DIY kit works with. So...

Any major do's and don'ts for a rookie? I'm largely talking about handling the modules (are there ways to damage them apart from the obvious dropping, getting wet etc), arranging the power units inside the case, any other tips or tricks worth knowing/considering?

This may sound painfully obvious to some of you but it's quite an investment of time and money and i'd be gutted to switch it all on and find i'd damaged the module by touching the wrong part of it during installation!

Thanks in advance!

Only thing I can think of is to remember to check the polarity of the power ribbon cable (-12V) that goes from the module to the power supply and you'll be fine.
just dont rush it, take your time.

and an continuity check before plugging in is also never a bad idea if you've just soldered your own thing.
strongly suggest do some heavy research on building power supplies before you try it. assuming you haven't already, in which case my apologies.

there are some not-insignificant voltages going on so be careful.

other things: be careful of loose metal bits or screws falling into your case near the power or distro boards as it can cause a short. same for patch cables inside your case. best to have blind panels put up, imo.
Echoing what others have already said, do your homework when it comes to power. Power issue might be the single biggest pain-point I've bumped into.

If you picked up Clouds make sure you get some attenuators for it, the WMD/SSF quad atten for example. Clouds really shines with subtle modulation, rather than big sweeping changes, imo.
I recently built my first case, too (using the Doepfer A-100 DIY kit #1), and now understand that I seriously underestimated how quickly 84hp fills up!

I plan on posting a video soon of my experience with the case build and power supply install. But I know there are already a plethora of resources available here if you just poke around!

My one oversight was underestimating the case depth. I built a monorocket style suitcase, and left myself 60cm depth, which I feel is just barely too shallow.
1. Buy a multimeter
2. Plug in power and test to make sure -12 +12 and+5 are really that.
3. Plug in one module at a time. Making sure the ribbon cables actually work.
4. Then power on whole system after you have powered one at a time.
5. Give yourself headroom with the power specs.
6. Get an Oscilloscope.

Those are some very important things I wish someone
shared with me before getting into it.
The Doepfer DIY kit is a very solid and pretty much fool proof choice. Just make sure that you use something to mount the busboards elevated from the back of your case. I use PCB spacers like the ones you often see in modules with more than one PCBs mounted in parallel. But I guess you could also go fully ghetto and just use some spare wood pieces.
Then the hardest part is to find a solution how to get the power connector of the wall-wart inside your case. I soldered a connector like those for stompboxes to the PSU and drilled a hole for it into my case.
DO: use the search function. Lots of great info here.
DO: ask questions. People are mostly cool (mostly).
DO: read the manual (can't stress this one enough)
DO: double..triple...quadruple check power BEFORE powering up.
DO: check the PCB to find the -12v (hopefully it's clearly marked)
DO: use nylon washers. Aluminum is soft and zinc/stainless is hard.
DON'T: Ever trust the red stripe.
DON'T: ever trust a keyed header or power cable
DON'T: over tighten screws (or anything for that matter)
DON'T: panic. Deep breaths.
The Doepfer DIY kits are great. A couple of suggestions having built a few cases based on those kits myself:

1. Read through all documentation before and during. It's hard to mess something up, but double-check your wires, pilot holes, measurements, etc. Luckily the only thing you can do wrong with the power supply is plug the busboards in wrong, so obviously check that before powering on for the first time.

2. Mounting the rails and psu gave me the most trouble, so spend some time getting everything planned out and measured before you start drilling.

3. Mount your busboards as close to directly behind each row of modules as possible. It just makes things easier to plug in.

4. In terms of protection, obviously don't stick anything into the case while it's powered on. A lot of people use blind panels or pieces of cardboard to cover empty slots while they wait to be filled with modules which is a good idea. The risk of something happening is relatively low, but if it does, it can be disastrous. You want everything to be as enclosed as possible, and if things get warm inside, small ventilation holes can be drilled later.

5. For plugging in a module for the first time, first verify that the -12v on the module lines up with the -12v on the busboard. Clouds makes it easy: there's a line on the pcb where the red stripe goes, and that red stripe connects to -12v on the busboard. For the most part, modules all work like this, with some exceptions, so always double-check and make sure everything is plugged in correctly before powering on.
Then, make sure the +12v/ground/-12v lights turn on on the busboards, power down the case, and plug the moddule in.
RJBooty wrote:
Hi all,

So I took the plunge and bought my first module the other day (Clouds! Yay!).

we're not worthy we're not worthy we're not worthy we're not worthy This is fun! we're not worthy we're not worthy we're not worthy we're not worthy
Multi Grooves
If you're gonna take up the super sensible suggestion of getting a multi meter, then you need this:

Multi Grooves wrote:
If you're gonna take up the super sensible suggestion of getting a multi meter, then you need this:

This is great! I love simple reference things like this. This is why it would be nice if someone could write a eurorack tutorial book. I just feel like I'd learn eurorack at a much faster rate if there was a single book that was stuffed with information. Yes, there are a number of tutorial videos on YouTube and threads on MW but I generally don't have any computers near my gear. I just find reference things are nice in a book format.
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