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Examples of well done 3-pcb modules?
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Music Tech DIY  
Author Examples of well done 3-pcb modules?
abelovesfun
Hello,

One of my upcoming designs may require 3 pcbs stacked on each other. I'm very familiar with two pcb stack designs, that is easy, I was wondering/hoping that the community could point me to modules that do a good job of stacking three pcbs, in case I do need to go that route.

I'm aware of some examples (Ambika) but would love to see others if they are done very well.

Thanks,
Abe
Revok
The L1 Vocoder has always been impressive. Scroll down some for the stacked photos.
https://www.muffwiggler.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=760872&sid=d8e208814 11ff888d57fee5b4ac7141f
necrobious
Not sure I'm qualified to say what is well done, but I enjoyed building the hexinverter mutant series; the clap & hats modules were both three board stacks, using long-pin female sockets on the middle board to "bus" signals between all three boards. Combined with metal spacers the finished build felt very solid. Only thing I remember being dodgy was some capacitor cans on the middle board being tall enough to almost touch the next board. careful joint trimming on the next boards kept the caps from touching them, but taped it anyways, just to be safe.
Joe.
While not really a stack, I like that the dj thomas white quad lpg has PCB's perpendicular to the faceplate, rather than parallel. Doepfer does a lot of their stacks perpendicular as well, and it works great with their edge mounted jack/socket approach.
seismic
i love stacks n sandwiches!!!
but i also love shallow cases and modules smile

here's what i did with the spink0:



and the polarizer had the glitterboard:

guest
thats some crazy compact design. well done.
mskala
Not for me to say whether it's "well-done," but my Leapfrog VCF design uses a three-board stack. Diagram from the manual:


It works out to 58mm depth from the back of the panel to the back of the mated power connector, with 11mm between the boards (using standard pin header connectors) and 13mm between the front panel and the closest board (distance forced by the panel pots). This is a little more depth than I'd really like, but it allows room for through-hole components, socketed DIPs, etc. If it were all surface mount I could probably switch to some other kind of between-board connectors and squeeze the depth a bit.

One thing not obvious from the diagram is that I used the between-board connections to do a trick for better adjustment. The filter circuit involves a complicated resistor network that needs to be trimmed in several places, which is tricky because the resistors are all connected to each other and you can't measure one without getting the effect of the others it's in parallel with. So I designed it with all the trimmers for the filter core on the backmost board, and the connections between them mostly routed through the board-to-board connectors to connect on the middle board. To do the main adjustment, you separate the back board from the others and adjust it by itself, and that breaks up the resistor network into small chunks that can be measured independently with fewer interactions. If you're going to be paying the space and money for an extra board and connectors anyway, you might as well get every use out of it that you can.
Rex Coil 7
... many things done by one of our own members. He goes by Dr. Sketch-n-Etch here in Muggwifflers. He makes some of the best hand etched multi-level complex modules I've ever seen.

Here's a 14 page thread of nothing but his makings ....

LINK = https://www.muffwiggler.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=190455&highlight=





sduck
Befaco and Feedback modules both have several designs that are 3 stacked pcbs - well designed and easy to put together.
ersatzplanet
mskala wrote:
If it were all surface mount I could probably switch to some other kind of between-board connectors and squeeze the depth a bit.


If it was SMD you might be able to lose the rear board altogether. For sure if you double-sided the SMD but you probably wouldn't need to go that far. SMD would allow some pieces to go on the pot/jack PCB too. SMD board prices are not as much an through hole nowadays because most houses are now SMD places. You can mix/match too - make the pot/jack PCB through hole since those parts are, and the daughterboard SMD.
devinw1
Doc Sketchy is a legendary fellow! we're not worthy
paperCUT
seismic wrote:
i love stacks n sandwiches!!!

That's a really awesome module design!
Sandrine
Very impressive! I have been tempted to part from the standard 2.54mm pitch headers, but haven't as of yet. Maybe the next module after seeing those!
cackland
mskala wrote:
Not for me to say whether it's "well-done," but my Leapfrog VCF design uses a three-board stack. Diagram from the manual:


It works out to 58mm depth from the back of the panel to the back of the mated power connector, with 11mm between the boards (using standard pin header connectors) and 13mm between the front panel and the closest board (distance forced by the panel pots). This is a little more depth than I'd really like, but it allows room for through-hole components, socketed DIPs, etc. If it were all surface mount I could probably switch to some other kind of between-board connectors and squeeze the depth a bit.

One thing not obvious from the diagram is that I used the between-board connections to do a trick for better adjustment. The filter circuit involves a complicated resistor network that needs to be trimmed in several places, which is tricky because the resistors are all connected to each other and you can't measure one without getting the effect of the others it's in parallel with. So I designed it with all the trimmers for the filter core on the backmost board, and the connections between them mostly routed through the board-to-board connectors to connect on the middle board. To do the main adjustment, you separate the back board from the others and adjust it by itself, and that breaks up the resistor network into small chunks that can be measured independently with fewer interactions. If you're going to be paying the space and money for an extra board and connectors anyway, you might as well get every use out of it that you can.


This is great. Love the visual implementation of the documentation
DMR
RYO Paths is 3 PCBs, and is designed well enough to be easy for a DIY'er to assemble.
Modulart_JP
2 of my modules are 3 PCB's: Digisound VCDO and SY-CORE mk2.
Are they "well done" ?
It's not up to me to tell but so far I had no complaint about them to be difficult to build.
The thing is theses days many go the skiff case way and 3 PCB's through hole modules are hardly skiff friendly.
That's why I tend to avoid 3 PCB's designs now and I prefer to go wider than deeper...
OB1
Mutant Hihats
toneburst
OB1 wrote:
Mutant Hihats


I made (and then broke, but that's another story) one of these modules, and I must say I'm not a fan of the way the 3 boards are stacked with long-pin headers.

They're awkward to solder, look messy, and it's hard to debug the build when 2 of the 3 boards are permanently soldered together.
OB1
toneburst wrote:
OB1 wrote:
Mutant Hihats


I made (and then broke, but that's another story) one of these modules, and I must say I'm not a fan of the way the 3 boards are stacked with long-pin headers.

They're awkward to solder, look messy, and it's hard to debug the build when 2 of the 3 boards are permanently soldered together.


Hmmm, maybe you did yours differently to me then! My boards all separate just fine!

JohnLRice
paperCUT wrote:
seismic wrote:
i love stacks n sandwiches!!!

That's a really awesome module design!
Agreed!! love SlayerBadger!
toneburst
OB1 wrote:
Hmmm, maybe you did yours differently to me then! My boards all separate just fine!


You're right- I take that back. It Is possible to take them apart. It's been some time since I looked at that failed build. The reason it failed, in fact was that, working late at night, and trying to fix an issue with (I think) the decay control, I managed to fit one of the boards the wrong way round. I vaguely recall a puff of smoke resulting, when I applied the power, and the module has sat in a box ever since.

I think what I objected to about the long headers was the way you had to solder the long headers between the back and middle boards. Maybe I did it wrong, though, as yours looks much neater than mine did.
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