Classic 100 Series System Teaser: MEMS System 100

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shoegazer86
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Classic 100 Series System Teaser: MEMS System 100

Post by shoegazer86 » Sat Oct 20, 2018 9:23 am

After a flurry of activity on my end, I think its finally time to let the cat out of the bag. A secret like this is way too difficult to keep under wraps, since I spend about 3-4 hours per day neck deep in schematics, layouts and copper side photos.

Late August/early September, I had been conversing with our own Peake on laying out some of his PCBs as gerbers so boards can be ordered instead of home etching. This started a process of visually tracing Peake's boards in Eagle. Once his boards were done, I began talking to Apetechnology about the remaining 100 series modules that have been left untouched in terms of documentation and DIY. He has access to a 76U Buchla 100 series system, and he quickly began to share high resolution photos of the system to me, disassembling them and documenting parts. Paired with Apetechnology's background in mechanical prowess and Peake's insane part knowledge, I have decided that more of us need to have access to a system of this magnitude.

So far, this project has amassed a folder on my hard drive that looks a bit like this. Or in other words, the Christmases to end all Christmases:
Image

The process is simple - painstakingly redraw each pcb in vector, convert to BMP and redraw in Eagle. I know it can be done faster with other software, but I treat each PCB generation as a true old school process, I liken it to rubylith cutting and masking.

I have been repairing and building synths since I was 15 years old, ripping old stuff apart and learning the ropes from experience. When it comes to vintage systems, I do not subscribe to new layouts, part subs or even improvements on the design, call me a purist in a sense. I feel like this is a huge labor of love, and it needs to be done RIGHT. This is why I set out to reproduce as closely as possible the path these electrons will take. Will it make a difference? Probably not. But I want these circuits to take us all back to the mid to late sixties, when the synthesizer made us all hear music differently again.

To prove how hard we have been at work, here is a list of COMPLETED boards. These have not been tested yet, as we are still labeling components.
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And a few teasers images to show some work.
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Note, all boards are made to use vintage or new parts, whichever we choose. Trimmers are 15mm Piher, with holes under each pot to adjust from behind the pcb, like the original. Apetechnology and I chose to keep parts that were close to unobtainium - namely the blue bead relays in the Random module and even a footprint for the formed coil on the White Noise Gen. I am as we speak making a clone of the 115 Power Supply pcb to be extra thorough. As for new part subs, daughterboards will be made to convert old footprints. This is to ensure anyone with any pricepoint can pick away at the project without dumping 40 bucks on relays.

Boards will be made available once we have thoroughly tested each module - this is not a project we want to rush, as this needs to be done properly, especially the way we have chosen to do it. No ETA at the moment, but a blip on the horizon for hardcore DIY enthusiasts.
Last edited by shoegazer86 on Thu Jan 17, 2019 12:37 pm, edited 8 times in total.

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cygmu
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Post by cygmu » Sat Oct 20, 2018 9:29 am

YESSSSS!!!

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Post by dksynth » Sat Oct 20, 2018 12:29 pm

color me EXCITED

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Re: Classic Buchla 100 Series DIY Project Teaser

Post by Revok » Sat Oct 20, 2018 1:40 pm

shoegazer86 wrote:The process is simple - painstakingly redraw each pcb in vector, convert to BMP and redraw in Eagle. I know it can be done faster with other software, but I treat each PCB generation as a true old school process, I liken it to rubylith cutting and masking.
The boards look great :nana:

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the bad producer
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Post by the bad producer » Sat Oct 20, 2018 2:04 pm

LOL trying to click on the files :hihi:

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Peake
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Post by Peake » Sat Oct 20, 2018 2:37 pm

:party: :sb: :party:
I just can't help imagining that this would be better with vactrols

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Post by djthopa » Sat Oct 20, 2018 4:05 pm

Wow! Cant wait for more info, this look like a lot of fun! Will the files be available for those who want to home etch? How hard to find are the parts?
Anyhow congratulations for this amazing work :yay:

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Post by Peake » Sat Oct 20, 2018 4:29 pm

Typical transistors in Buchla gear are 2N4916, 2N4248, 2N3565, all of which still can be found or replaced with 2N3906/2N3904. Some of the dual transistors can be sourced or replaced with matched generic single transistors such as 390X but it's better sometimes to have the dual part and Linear Systems has some of them in modern production (LS122 and also LS3958 dual FETs etc). FETs such as the 2N4339 can still be found or subbed with J201 from reputable sources such as smallbear. Some modules require matching of single transistors. Some modules used dual transistors with not very good matching such as the MD708B so well-matched single transistors in their place should work as well or better than the originals.

Something like the 106 mixer appears to benefit from having all six transistors matched for gain within 5% or thereabouts to each other so each section has equal gain/level. The 156 CV Processor requires matched pairs of transistors as it has discrete opamps...the sort of thing synth designers later replaced with actual opamps when later available.

Foniktronic sold a PCB of the Fritz transistor matching circuit, unknown if it's still available. It's extremely simple and strip-boardable. Some VOMs will have a transistor gain/HFE jig. Maybe someone will offer for sale hand-matched discrete transistor pairs?

Metal film resistors can be used but Don =did= have a list of resistor values which he said should be carbon composition on the 258B schematic (although by the 258C I don't believe he used any carbon composition, only carbon film and metal film). 100 Series schematics specified carbon composition resistors with 10% tolerance and some 1% parts in places. However, if original components are not utilized vintage systems shall sneer upon those efforts ;) I prefer to get as close as is possible to the original just in case there's some cumulative mojo which might otherwise be missed. Better safe...but it =is= possible to use modern components if wished.
I just can't help imagining that this would be better with vactrols

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Post by Reese P. Dubin » Sat Oct 20, 2018 5:00 pm

this is amazing
please dont make the PCBs cost $99+ each if you can avoid it

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Post by shoegazer86 » Sat Oct 20, 2018 6:30 pm

Peake wrote:Typical transistors in Buchla gear are 2N4916, 2N4248, 2N3565, all of which still can be found or replaced with 2N3906/2N3904. Some of the dual transistors can be sourced or replaced with matched generic single transistors such as 390X but it's better sometimes to have the dual part and Linear Systems has some of them in modern production (LS122 and also LS3958 dual FETs etc). FETs such as the 2N4339 can still be found or subbed with J201 from reputable sources such as smallbear. Some modules require matching of single transistors. Some modules used dual transistors with not very good matching such as the MD708B so well-matched single transistors in their place should work as well or better than the originals.

Something like the 106 mixer appears to benefit from having all six transistors matched for gain within 5% or thereabouts to each other so each section has equal gain/level. The 156 CV Processor requires matched pairs of transistors as it has discrete opamps...the sort of thing synth designers later replaced with actual opamps when later available.

Foniktronic sold a PCB of the Fritz transistor matching circuit, unknown if it's still available. It's extremely simple and strip-boardable. Some VOMs will have a transistor gain/HFE jig. Maybe someone will offer for sale hand-matched discrete transistor pairs?

Metal film resistors can be used but Don =did= have a list of resistor values which he said should be carbon composition on the 258B schematic (although by the 258C I don't believe he used any carbon composition, only carbon film and metal film). 100 Series schematics specified carbon composition resistors with 10% tolerance and some 1% parts in places. However, if original components are not utilized vintage systems shall sneer upon those efforts ;) I prefer to get as close as is possible to the original just in case there's some cumulative mojo which might otherwise be missed. Better safe...but it =is= possible to use modern components if wished.
We have decided to supply Peake's 106 PCB in lieu of the classic PCB - Mainly as it is not necessarily sensitive enough to warrant the original PCB as well as the useless long axial capacitors needed for the build if going the classic route. This is also a great way to include your great contribution to the 100 series DIY. I couldnt have done this without you! All proceeds of the 106 sales go to Peake.

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Post by shoegazer86 » Sat Oct 20, 2018 6:36 pm

Reese P. Dubin wrote:this is amazing
please dont make the PCBs cost $99+ each if you can avoid it
Depending on our supplier - I am on the fence about going ENIG for the coating, which would inflate costs but keep the corrosion resistance up.

Also on the fence about not including a solder mask - like the original boards. They will look like Roman's 259 PCB if I remove the mask, which is what I want to shoot for - but part placement is a bit harder as there is no silkscreen.

Apetechnology is sorting out the component maps so it should be pretty easy regardless. I may start a poll when we get closer to protos.

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Post by shoegazer86 » Sat Oct 20, 2018 6:40 pm

Also working on getting images of the rare 132 Waveform Synthesizer from the Mills system - hopefully someone can help me out with that - I know James Fei, an artist mentioned on Muffs here and there teaches at the school. I will send him an email, as all we need are clear shots of the solder side.

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Post by shoegazer86 » Sat Oct 20, 2018 6:46 pm

Image

Here is the only pic I could find of the 150 Frequency Counter. What we are looking at here is an actual nixie tube counter rehoused behind a panel, with a cinch jones to connect the main guts to the display.

Luckily, this can be done with nixies still in a MUCH smaller footprint. Its further down the pipe but I am planning on getting a working proto.

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Post by djs » Sat Oct 20, 2018 7:54 pm

Reese P. Dubin wrote:please dont make the PCBs cost $99+ each if you can avoid it
This seems to be geared towards a certain website that has awfully expensive buchla clone pcbs...
"Noise is what the Earth is made of" - David Bowie

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Post by AonFLuX » Sun Oct 21, 2018 4:25 am

Wooouw!! Looking forward to this.

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Post by Jarno » Sun Oct 21, 2018 5:04 am

Reese P. Dubin wrote:this is amazing
please dont make the PCBs cost $99+ each if you can avoid it
This.

Don't think enig makes sense, i have boards of 3-5years old which still solder fine. And even then, it does not add THAT much cost, not when ordering series. We are talking 4 euros a board instead of 2.50euro (board size 100x100max, yours will likely be bigger, but still).

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Post by Pierrelegere » Sun Oct 21, 2018 5:36 am

I was waiting for someone to take this challenge... thanks!!

:banana: :banana:

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Post by Reese P. Dubin » Sun Oct 21, 2018 7:06 am

No dig whatsoever at Roman's work ($ comment), I think the clones have sustained and increased interest in the format more than 200e.

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Post by diophantine » Sun Oct 21, 2018 7:37 am

Awesome news, looking forward to seeing where this goes!!

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Post by Leverkusen » Mon Oct 22, 2018 2:16 am

This looks great and I would love to build a 100 system as a long term project as long as the availability of the PCB's would be oriented towards a time window of a few years.

Also I really appreciate the provided opportunity to decide how close to original I want/could build a module, resp. source the needed parts or replace some of them.

:sb:

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Post by djs » Mon Oct 22, 2018 8:16 am

Reese P. Dubin wrote:No dig whatsoever at Roman's work ($ comment), I think the clones have sustained and increased interest in the format more than 200e.
I definitely agree on this- that Buchla seemed to be a frozen format for a long time...and Roman brought it back from the grave. It's just that the PCBs are so darn expensive compared to other stuff out there :)
"Noise is what the Earth is made of" - David Bowie

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Post by shoegazer86 » Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:44 pm

Leverkusen wrote:This looks great and I would love to build a 100 system as a long term project as long as the availability of the PCB's would be oriented towards a time window of a few years.

Also I really appreciate the provided opportunity to decide how close to original I want/could build a module, resp. source the needed parts or replace some of them.

:sb:
I plan on making boards available as long as possible - Many people need to be able to use this amazing system.

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Post by shoegazer86 » Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:57 pm

As for PCB cost, this won't be inflated at all. The boards are mostly single sided, no jumpers needed as the top sides are run with jumpered traces.

The traces are almost bang on, I'm quite proud of the work, its some of my most time consuming designs.

Another teaser!

Image

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Post by shoegazer86 » Mon Oct 22, 2018 10:00 pm

What are everyone's thoughts on a lack of solder mask and silkscreen? Or is that too vintage themed to the point of annoyance? This is how my personal system will be built, but not everyone is as crazy as I am.

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Post by widdly » Mon Oct 22, 2018 10:26 pm

I'd prefer to have a solder mask and silkscreen. It makes it easier to build and doesn't effect the sound or usability.

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