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WIGGLING 'LITE' IN GUEST MODE

Malfunctioning module, even after repair
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> 5U Format Modules Goto page 1, 2  Next [all]
Author Malfunctioning module, even after repair
Dob
One of my modules is giving me headaches.

It's a FSFX Macro Digital Oscillator.

I found out it was glitchy (spontaneous switching of osc type) a couple of months after purchase, and FSFX said it was too late for any guarantees. My argument that I hardly have playtime anymore, so could not have discovered it earlier, was neglected.
On their advice I tried the original firmware, calibration, switching to 5V power. Nothing helped. They agreed to a repair return. (From EU) I payed shipment to USA.
At FSFX, there has been some "component reflow" and firmware loading directly via the back, calibration. FSFX said the module was fine again. I really had to pull all the time though; asking for updates.

When it returned I had to pay VAT to customs for the second time. (Thanks to all the people who try to duck customs, they've become very eager to cash with honest people like me)

So I feel like I've been throwing money at it and it just burns it. Never maintain cash savings again

I've wanted to sell it, didn't "click" with it anyway. But now, the 3th time I've used it since it's back, it started glitching again.
As I said, I'm an honest guy and won't just sell it being broken.

So here I am. With a module that has cost me like 700 dollar by now. Which is broken, so not sellable. And I don't even really like it.

FSFX had been of some help, but I don't really feel helped. They feel sorry and regret, but when talking business (a partly refund, an exchange, etc.), there's only "no". So basically, I'm the only one with financial pain. Due to a malfunctioning module.

I really actually feel like smashing the thing to pieces, just to clear up my emotions. And to be done with this annoyance, forget about it, and have fun with the functioning modules.
And probably never order from boutique shops in far far countries ever again.
josaka
find a local builder/repair guy to try..?

also digital modules have 2 x the stuff that can go wrong..
Thalassa
If you know anyone with a MU system or you have more than one cabinet you could try install the module and test it to discard that it's not a problem with your power supply.

Also I would disconnect all the modules in your system to discard that there is no interferences from other module.
dslocum
I just tuned into this thread by accident.

I'm really sorry that you are having a problem with FSFX. They are good people and I know they usually try to help.

I can't help your problem, but please DO NOT give up on boutique manufacturers just because of one isolated indecent. I don't think that would be fair to the many good folks who sincerely love what they do and support the synth community with their hearts and passions.
Rex Coil 7
Intermittent failures are easily the single most difficult to troubleshoot, bar none.

You're going to have do what has been suggested, which is to run it on totally isolated power. You'll need to start there, operating it with other modules that are on their own power systems while the troublesome module is running on it's own power system. I'm not at all familiar with the module, but if it can be used totally on it's own without any supporting modules (VCA, modulators, whatever) then you're going to have to do that as well. If you have zero volt-vs-ground issues going on in your system, digital modules HATE that. You may have chassis ground noises and other little signals that sneak into the grounding paths contaminating the zero volt stuff in the digital module. Or vice-verse ...

I.) The idea is to eliminate problems you may have in your power distribution system by running the troubled module all by itself on it's own dedicated power. No other modules connected to it in any way.

II.) Try that ... then try the same thing while patching other modules into it that are on their own power (so the troubled module on it's own power ... and the rest of the modules on their own power).

III.) Then, try disconnecting all of your modules in your system and then powering JUST the troubled module on the regular system power, with no other modules connected to the main power system.

If it passes all of those tests, but then is fuddup when you're running it while sharing power with the rest of the modules in your system .... you've got zero-volt and/or grounding problems in your main power system.

Why don't analog modules have such problems? They're not nearly as finicky and they're much more robust and don't mind the smell of a stinky biker bar full of stinky biker people to have a good time. The digital module is quite the prim and proper one schooled in high falootin' private schools full of rich kids that have gone to finishing school prior to being granted attendance into the pricey private school. Just run a search for "problems with my Rene" or "problems with my Power Points" ... you'll see what I mean.

I do my damnedest to avoid using modules that have microprocessors ... for just this reason (the topic of this thread). Of course, you can't always have your way ... MIDI-CV converters, sequencers, and a few other common modules use microprocessors. But I do what I can to avoid populating my synth with too many of them. I also do what I can to provide my synth with the best power I can afford and make.

S'all I gots mang. seriously, i just don't get it

Beyond that, fetch the martillo grande (the big hammer)!!!!!!!

cool
JohnLRice
Sorry you've been having problems, Dob! I can relate, I have a couple modules here that I've tried to fix and have come close to just smashing with a hammer so I could just move on with my life!
angry very frustrating FUUUCCKKKK!!!


You might want to search and ask questions over on the Mutable Instruments forum since the FSFX Macro Digital Oscillator circuit was originally designed by Mutable Instruments (FSFX made their own version) and other users of the original version or various DIY versions may have had similar problems? I haven't spent much time there but it seems like a friendly and helpful forum. thumbs up
https://forum.mutable-instruments.net/
ranix
it happens to me too, I've bought a few modules which turned out to be stinkers
burdij
I have reviewed the schematics of the Mutable Braids and I will assume that this unit is similar in construction.

Does the problem occur when using the Timbre and/or Color input or when nothing is connected to these inputs?

Do you have anything connected to the Trigger input?

Please describe how you have the unit patched when this problem occurs.
Dob
Thanks for all the warm relplies guys, it means a lot!

The patch of yesterday indeed had CVing going on for timbre and colour.
AND trigger input.

Before we thought the problem was concentrated around the META mode/FM input/knob. I could still try to just shutdown META mode... when I'm not using it anyway.
Of course osc type selection is very "radical" when values start to jump, a very small occasional bit of FM would probably not hurt.

Can't it just be the main rotary knob? If it is, it should jump values in other screens of course as well....

The thing is; if I buy a 200 dollar digital module that has hickups... ok... maybe.... but hey, I spend a whopping 500 dollars on a superluxery boutique module.... it should WORK!! And if not, I should be able to return it.
I have other MI digital modules reincarnated in 5U as well, and they work just fine, never had any problems with them. (MI Clouds and Rings)
burdij
Dob wrote:

Before we thought the problem was concentrated around the META mode/FM input/knob. I could still try to just shutdown META mode... when I'm not using it anyway.


Here is the description of the function of the META mode and the inputs that are used from the MI Braids manual:

Quote:
META allows the synthesis model to be selected by the FM CV. When this mode is active, frequency modulation through the FM CV input is no longer possible - but is replaced by CV-controlled model selection. This option is great for creating sequences featuring the different synthesis models. Keep in mind that discontinuities might be heard when switching from one model to the other! The EDIT encoder can still be used to scroll through synthesis models; and the CV applies to the FM input allows you to scroll forward (positive voltage) or backwards (negative voltage) in the list.


Does this sound like the behavior you are hearing? Noise on the FM input might cause oscillator selection changes when this mode is enabled. This appears to be a fairly high impedance input so it may be somewhat noise sensitive. Grounding the input might prevent activation by external noise sources.

Dob wrote:

Can't it just be the main rotary knob? If it is, it should jump values in other screens of course as well....


Also, could you clarify which knob you are referring to as the "main rotary knob"?
Dob
Quote:

Does this sound like the behavior you are hearing? Noise on the FM input might cause oscillator selection changes when this mode is enabled.
This appears to be a fairly high impedance input so it may be somewhat noise sensitive. Grounding the input might prevent activation by external noise sources.

Yes, that's what I think is the problem. META mode is on, and something triggers the FM input, be it noise, crosstalk of other inputs, the FM attenuator... Something.
It's actually also very visible when the model changes/glitches around.
This is interesting. How do I "ground the input"...?


Quote:

Also, could you clarify which knob you are referring to as the "main rotary knob"?


Sure, the EDIT encoder.
burdij
If you have a 1/4 inch plug you can connect the plug tip to the plug shield or ground with a piece of wire. Make sure to mark what it is so you don't plug it into an output. You could also use a patch cable and a clip lead. Connect the tip to the shield at one end and plug the other into the input. That's a little less elegant but would work for testing.

The edit knob may appear to have some effect on this problem because it will control the osc selection too and some combination of digitized and binned voltages from the FM input and the knob position will determine how close you are to the bin edges and thus what osc is chosen. The closer to the edge of a bin the more noise may cause the selection of a different osc mode.
Alien_Artifact
To ground the input, if you have an input jack that has a switching contact, solder a jumper from the switching contact over to the shield contact on the input jack, itself. A scrap resistor lead makes a good jumper. Sometimes, when inputs are not properly grounded, noise from an output op amp can cause the output to produce a residual wandering voltage that may adversely affect circuits down-stream from the "noisy output". Best to ground all inputs using the 'jumper from switching contact to shield contact' method for low-noise in modular synth systems.
Dob
burdij wrote:
If you have a 1/4 inch plug you can connect the plug tip to the plug shield or ground with a piece of wire. Make sure to mark what it is so you don't plug it into an output. You could also use a patch cable and a clip lead. Connect the tip to the shield at one end and plug the other into the input. That's a little less elegant but would work for testing.

The edit knob may appear to have some effect on this problem because it will control the osc selection too and some combination of digitized and binned voltages from the FM input and the knob position will determine how close you are to the bin edges and thus what osc is chosen. The closer to the edge of a bin the more noise may cause the selection of a different osc mode.


I think I already have plugs like that; being the Hordijk Matrix Mixer plugs.
That sounds like an easy solution... Really hope this will help.

But still; are we talking normal module behaviour here, or is this faulty?
Because I still want to sell the thing.
burdij
The Hordijk plugs may not work. They are stereo plugs and the tip and ring are wired together. If the tube on the jack covers the ring on the plug, it will ground the tip. If the jack on the module is like a Switchcraft 102, it may not.

Concerning whether this is faulty or normal behavior, if this solves the problem, I would say that it is a design issue which, while still a fault, would be considered normal behavior for the design. The original Braids module does not provide for referencing the CV inputs to ground through an input load resistor which would be the preferred solution. With regard to the Trigger input, there is a design error in that there is a transistor base with a resistor in series going to the trigger input. There is no resistor from the base to ground, however. This could allow charges to build up on the base of the transistor and possibly cause erratic behavior or damage to the input to occur. These issues have always existed in every version of the module so they really don't fall into the category of a fault with your specific module.
Dave Peck
If this FM input is sensitive to things like high frequency noise or fast transients getting interpreted as 'triggers' and inadvertently causing the mode to change, this condition could also be caused by things like noise from the modular's power supply getting into this input. This would also explain why the module may not show signs of the problem when someone else tests it, out of your cabinet.

Maybe try moving it away from the power supply, and away from any other possible sources of RF/transients that may be in your modular?
ranix
I have some modules that exhibit this kind of behavior. My dotcom q147 distributor has a shit ton of high frequency noise unless there's a plug connected to input 1.

On this module, just leaving a short cable disconnected or inserting a plug light is enough to solve the problem. Maybe see if your Braids still freaks out when you stick a short disconnected cable into the fm input. Also try plugging the cable into something outputting 0V, like a signal processor set at zero and see what happens.

if that works sell it with a disclaimer. Maybe all the 5u conversions have this issue
Dr. Sketch-n-Etch
This reminds me of last Friday, as I got off a flight from New York City to Toronto, went to customs, and got into a huge line-up of fellow Nexus card holders waiting to use the only two Nexus machines (out of at least a dozen) that weren't broken.

At that moment I realized why I hate digital stuff. Cuz when it breaks, you are fucked.

Have you ever owned a laptop that worked well for more than three years? I have a half-dozen bricked laptops littering my garage, spare room, and desk at work.

Digital shit breaks, and then you're stuck with garbage. Analog stuff is more reliable, easy to understand and can be readily fixed when it does break.

*** END RANT ***
flts
FWIW regarding one of the previous suggestions: discussing DIY versions of Mutable Instruments modules at Mutable forum is not really recommended (or even allowed, I think).

I've understood that the designer (Olivier) is OK up to a certain point that people make builds and adaptations of his module designs, but all traces of official branding and naming are required to be removed, because he doesn't want to be associated with the 3rd party stuff in any way - or hear about issues with other than the official factory-built modules he supports.

Instead I would suggest checking some of the threads about the original module here at Muffs in the Music Tech DIY (where people have discussed building their own) and Eurorack sub-forums. I remember people have been having similar problems with the original version (at least some revision) and its clones as well. I think even one of my friends had an issue that sounded it would be exactly the same with his factory-built original module.

The most common reason seems to have been what several people have guessed / suggested - the power supply in the system being so overloaded or of poor quality that the FM input will have some noise in it

TL;DR: it may be that the module is OK and working as it "should", but you are running your system's power supply close enough to its limit or it's otherwise unstable enough, and the module is sensitive enough to have issues with that.

(FWIW, writing this with a 5 year old laptop showing no signs of self destruction - this is a Mac, my other laptop is a Thinkpad that turns 10 this year, working as the "lab" computer for analysis & MCU programming stuff! - and feeling rather confident I could fix a lot of issues with a broken Braids, as all the schematics and firmware are freely available)
Dr. Sketch-n-Etch
flts wrote:
(FWIW, writing this with a 5 year old laptop showing no signs of self destruction - this is a Mac, my other laptop is a Thinkpad that turns 10 this year, working as the "lab" computer for analysis & MCU programming stuff! - and feeling rather confident I could fix a lot of issues with a broken Braids, as all the schematics and firmware are freely available)

The Macbook Air I'm typing on right now is the first Mac that has lasted more than 3 years for me. I've got two bricked Macbook Pros. On one the screen/lid basically fell apart on the inside. The second just stopped working. They both got so hot during normal use that I couldn't put them directly on my lap. This Air is a far superior unit, I must admit. However, generally, when digital stuff breaks down no one seems to be able to fix it. That's why nearly all of the Nexus stations are broken at YYZ and YVR, and it's very frustrating. In my car, it's the digital stuff that is almost always the problem, and not the mechanical stuff. I personally believe that some of this stuff has been engineered beyond the capabilities of all but a few very talented designers and programmers who are simply too thin on the ground. I think we're setting ourselves up for a real crisis now that almost everything is digital. For instance, what if the computer suddenly decides to set off all of the nuclear bombs, or what if all the money in the economy suddenly just goes poof because of some computer glitch? Remember how freaked out everybody was about Y2K, and how nobody could predict exactly what the outcome would be (and, how we just got damn lucky that it wasn't much)?
Dr. Sketch-n-Etch
Two more things:

1) I'm really not looking forward to the day when self-driving cars become commonplace. I think it's going to be a bloodbath.

2) I have two old synths that were in pretty bad shape. One is an (analog) ARP Odyssey, which I was able to restore to full functionality without too much drama. The other is a (digital) Roland JX-8P, which is basically bricked and which I have no idea how to even start troubleshooting.
megaohm
Dr. Sketch-n-Etch wrote:
Two more things:

1) I'm really not looking forward to the day when self-driving cars become commonplace. I think it's going to be a bloodbath.

2) I have two old synths that were in pretty bad shape. One is an (analog) ARP Odyssey, which I was able to restore to full functionality without too much drama. The other is a (digital) Roland JX-8P, which is basically bricked and which I have no idea how to even start troubleshooting.


Agree on the digital synths - have I non-working K2000 standing on it's side since the early 00's. Not high on the fix list!
lol

Couldn't disagree more about self-driving cars. I ride a bike so airbags don't help me and drunk people think they can drive fine and people who are smartphone addicted (majority of drivers) think they drive fine, too.
They don't!
Wheeled metal eggshells turn humans into idiots!
I could rant more since I have another hour to wait before I can get to the store and pickup dinner - rush hour brings road rage and that is dangerous for squishy humans like me!
cry
megaohm
Sorry, Dobs, got side tracked.
Wish i had something helpful for you.
Could be useful to shoot a vid or two showcasing the issue. That way others can try the same and confirm or deny the issue with their module.
Moog$FooL$
Dr. Sketch-n-Etch wrote:


The other is a (digital) Roland JX-8P, which is basically bricked and which I have no idea how to even start troubleshooting.



uh -oh...... (hides) (hides) (hides) MY ASS IS BLEEDING
Dr. Sketch-n-Etch
Moog$FooL$ wrote:
Dr. Sketch-n-Etch wrote:


The other is a (digital) Roland JX-8P, which is basically bricked and which I have no idea how to even start troubleshooting.



uh -oh...... (hides) (hides) (hides) MY ASS IS BLEEDING

Yeah, you bricked it! Dead Banana
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