problems with 1200 modules

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slow_riot
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problems with 1200 modules

Post by slow_riot » Thu Aug 02, 2012 10:58 am

I've had three modules now develop the same fault.

Intermittent quite high changes in frequency (for noisering) or cutoff frequency in filters, enough to make them unuseable until the problem is corrected.

Allegedly due to (very hard to track) cracked solder joints. Maybe power cables. Possible causes are wrong solder type used, PCB mounted on pots, and hand soldering.

None of the three modules are currently working, 1 of each from Boogie, Borg Noisering. 1 has been sent to Grant and back. 2 (including the first) have also been sent to Graham Hinton.

I feel like venting in public. Is anyone else suffering the same problems?

Sorry to bring this into the public domain but it's getting silly now for me. 3 modules!!! They're my favourite modules too. :(
Last edited by slow_riot on Mon Sep 17, 2012 5:29 am, edited 2 times in total.

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rico loverde
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Post by rico loverde » Thu Aug 02, 2012 11:46 am

bummer. i would def be bummed too those are some of my favorites as well. I'm a bit surprised as Grants stuff is always top notch. i hope u get it sorted out.
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Post by dogoftears » Thu Aug 02, 2012 12:18 pm

yeah seems like strange luck... i've never in my life heard of build quality problems from Wiard. I have a many years old 1200 frac joystick and JAG that are in wonderful condition.

hope it gets sorted brother!
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decaying.sine
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Post by decaying.sine » Thu Aug 02, 2012 12:50 pm

Did the person who hand soldered the boards sign the back anywhere? That might at least give a hint to the problem across the modules. Maybe it was a tech who did it and you have cold or poor quality joints that intermittently go/went bad.
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Post by rezzn8r » Thu Aug 02, 2012 12:54 pm

:sadbanana:

No problems here with my 1200 stuff.
Sorry to hear about your difficulties.
Hope you get it sorted soon.
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Post by slow_riot » Thu Aug 02, 2012 1:03 pm

glad to hear no other people are having trouble, and thanks for the kind wishes.

I've had a Borg 2 with the fault for about 18 months, a Noisering for about 6 months, and just now without warning my Boogie started doing the same and something inside me reached the end of a fuse.

So I'm worrying about whether or not these things are trustworthy in my rack, and whether they're actually going to survive.

I hope for good news.

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Post by Norman_Phay » Thu Aug 02, 2012 1:37 pm

Put me down as another one who has found his 1200-series modules to be 100% reliable.

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Post by revmutt » Thu Aug 02, 2012 4:29 pm

Two rows of 1200. No issues at all.
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Post by Fnord » Thu Aug 02, 2012 4:59 pm

11u (sideways) of 1200, same as it ever was (which is to say, fucking awesome)
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Post by slow_riot » Fri Aug 03, 2012 4:49 am

it's good to know I'm the only person with these problems. Very frustrating for me though as it's such a high rate of failure, and this level of reliability is really comprimising my ability to make music with them.

I'm going to contact Grant and see what to do.

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Post by slow_riot » Thu Sep 06, 2012 7:15 am

I just got all three modules back from the legendary Tim Stinchcombe. Who did a beyond fantastic job of exploring the faults and buildwork of my 1200 modules. I can't thank him enough for his attentive work.

The faults were an extremely unusual dendrite like growth in the resistive tracking of almost all of the pots on the 3 modules, making them highly unstable. Obviously the pots related to frequency were the ones that showed this fault the most. The source of this is unknown at present. Possibilities include an error by the manufacturer of the pots, or that they came into contact with water at some point.

Given the high rate of failure with my modules, I would suspect that at least one of you will encounter the same problems as me. And hopefully my woes can save you from the same painful wild goose chase.

I finally have my 1200 modules back! I missed them!

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Post by BugBrand » Thu Sep 06, 2012 7:45 am

Out of interest - questions arise like - how long did you have these modules? Did they all come from one source where, perhaps, they were kept in damp conditions?

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Post by slow_riot » Thu Sep 06, 2012 7:49 am

The modules are old, perhaps up to 8 years. I've had them for around 1 or 2 years. 2 of them came from one person, and the other came from another, which was exhibiting the fault on arrival. But maybe it is related to user environment.

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e-grad
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Post by e-grad » Thu Sep 06, 2012 7:58 am

slow_riot wrote:an extremely unusual dendrite like growth
Is this by any means similar to whisker?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whisker_%28metallurgy%29

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Post by slow_riot » Thu Sep 06, 2012 8:31 am

exactly like this:

Image

Image

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e-grad
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Post by e-grad » Thu Sep 06, 2012 8:34 am

:woah:

Thanks for uploading the pics.

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Post by revmutt » Thu Sep 06, 2012 11:39 am

Wow. I'm gonna bet there was an enviornmental issue at play, especially since no one else has yet to ave these issues.

One might want to change the thread title since its not totally accurate to what so far seems to be the consensus.
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e-grad
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Post by e-grad » Thu Sep 06, 2012 11:52 am

revmutt wrote:One might want to change the thread title since its not totally accurate to what so far seems to be the consensus.
True!

I've got 4 modules of the 1200 series which all work fine, too.
Last edited by e-grad on Thu Sep 06, 2012 1:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

slow_riot
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Post by slow_riot » Thu Sep 06, 2012 1:49 pm

well it's quite possible i'm being an ass about the issue. 8 years is more than most products last for, and all modules are now back to working state. I cannot guarantee the history of these modules after they left Wiard although I did trust the sources.

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Tim Stinchcombe
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Post by Tim Stinchcombe » Thu Sep 06, 2012 1:52 pm

Yes a most peculiar failure mechanism, and from the available information, difficult to say just what may have started their formation.
e-grad wrote:Is this by any means similar to whisker?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whisker_%28metallurgy%29
Not according to the second paragraph in that article, the two effects are quite different, and as the photos show, I'm quite sure they fall into the 'dendrite' category, rather than 'tin whiskers'.

The nature of the resistance readings off the pots was so weird it took me quite a lot of self-persuading to finally decide to destroy one of the pots to take a look inside to see what gives. When I did it became clear that yes, this really was the cause of the problem. Here is a silhouette photo of the first pot with the problem, clearly showing the fern-like fingers reaching between the tracks. After I took the photo I ran a knife up and down between the tracks at the arrow, and the DVM readings returned to normal, absolutely convincing me that these little buggars were shorting the two tracks together:

Image

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Post by BugBrand » Thu Sep 06, 2012 2:17 pm

Strange and fascinating.

Great detective work again Tim!

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Post by otoskope » Thu Sep 06, 2012 5:02 pm

Wow, interesting, and good to know. I have about ten of the 1200 series, all working perfectly, though old. But who knows... The salty air on my island eats bikes. Maybe it eats pots, too. But I hope not.

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Post by NYMo » Mon Sep 10, 2012 9:20 am

Wow....unbelievable :eek:

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revmutt
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Post by revmutt » Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:48 pm

Pretty amazing, interesting as always Tim.

I have 9 1200 series modules and I have experienced nothing faulty.
I have to say that living in NYC the biggest issue one going to have is dust and dirt, neither of which are good for electronics but I suspect not corrosive.

Although this case should be looked at further, I would be curious to know where the previous owners lived or whether they happened to keep their equipment in some kind of similar environment. I'd also be curious to hear what Grant's theory is.
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Post by polytoxicommander » Thu Jun 20, 2013 2:47 pm

Right now i am witnessing similar behaviour with my borg 2.
The Cutoff frequency changes randomly with no cv attached.
Do you know exactly what was fixed in your modules?
Is it sufficient, to exchange the potentiometer only?
Would you consider to a soldering beginner, to change the pot by himself?

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