Rene touch plate sensitivity

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gonkulator
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Post by gonkulator » Tue Jul 01, 2014 12:45 pm

maudibe wrote:If there is a Rene' update on the horizon then my 2 wishes would be:

1/ switches as mentioned in previous post.

2/ legends in clear font and horizontally aligned.

Then I reckon it would be near as damn perfect.
:yay: :tu: :yay: :tu: :yay: :tu:
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srsonido
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Post by srsonido » Tue Jul 01, 2014 1:02 pm

I think the #9 / sensitivity pot may give varying results based on the overall environment. I have tried adjusting that pot on several different Rene units to no avail. If there is a sweet spot I can't find one. There is a similar pot on the Pressure Points module and that one makes a big difference. But on the Rene, not so much. I guess YMMV.

What I have noticed, however, is that if I touch some of the metal hardware on the Rene faceplate with one hand - like pressing thumb and forefinger to the assembly screw (not the mounting screw, the other one right above that) and clock in jack - while using the other hand to tap the pads, my Rene sensitivity improves noticeably.

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maudibe
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Post by maudibe » Tue Jul 01, 2014 2:56 pm

Just tried that srsonido... don't work for me :confused:

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maudibe
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Post by maudibe » Tue Jul 01, 2014 3:01 pm

Ode to the Make Noise Rene'


Oh I wish my Rene' would take my finger
Without me having to lick it
Please fit some switches and fix the text
It will stop me feckin' kickin' it.



8_)

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srsonido
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Post by srsonido » Tue Jul 01, 2014 3:17 pm

[quote="maudibe"]Just tried that srsonido... don't work for me :confused:[/quote]

Sorry, but not surprised. The Rene seems to have many variations in behavior.

FWIW, I did notice that initially the assembly screws on my Rene unit were not fully torqued (the ones that mount the faceplate to the main board through standoffs). I tightened those down before trying this experiment with touching grounds. I think those provide a connection to the ground plane so there might be something there, just a thought.

I think what is happening with mine is that by touching the grounded hardware I am creating an alternate path to the ground plane because when I do so, I only have to contact the center traces of the touch pads to trigger them. Interestingly, I can actually use the tip of a metal screwdriver to tap those center traces lightly and trigger them if my fingers are touching the metal of the screw driver. I'm going to go check this behavior on another friends Rene this evening. Will post results.

I don't seem to be able to post pictures on the forum, not sure why, probably don't have enough posts yet or something, but I'm going to make a short video demonstrating some of these behaviors soon.

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srsonido
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Post by srsonido » Tue Jul 08, 2014 12:26 am

maudibe wrote:Just tried that srsonido... don't work for me :confused:
Well, propelled by your comment I stopped by a friends house who has another Rene, to try out the ground holding trick I mentioned. His Rene is completely unresponsive without licking fingers, I mean it just will not respond to a regular finger tip press at all!

So, I tightened all the screws and measured all the DC stuff I could on the faceplate of his Rene to make sure that the pads were solidly connected to the ground plane etc. From that perspective his Rene module seemed to check out exactly like mine or nearly so. But when I tried the trick of holding one hand on the ground screw with his module, it had no effect. I then Installed my Rene in his rack identical to his and my module not only responded to finger touches, albeit, not light ones, but improved it's sensitivity when I held a ground with the opposite hand. From what I can glean of the mechanisms involved this would suggest that somehow the path to ground through me to my other hand, was lower resistance than across the tip of my fingers, which seems counter intuitive.

I'm trying to engage Tony in some conversation about this. Like so many others, I would like to get full functionality from my Rene. Preferably that would be by having the module function as advertized, but if it means adding some sort of breakout panel or optional switches, that would be better than the unresponsive and unreliable system that I and so many others are currently experiencing.

It's such a great module in concept, that only makes it all the worse when it doesn't work to potential.

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Daisuk
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Post by Daisuk » Tue Jul 08, 2014 8:16 am

Try just blowing hot air from your mouth (aka exhaling) on your fingers (thumb is the best finger for me), works wonders here, and no spit involved. ;)

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Post by L.C.O. » Tue Jul 08, 2014 8:58 am

srsonido wrote:
maudibe wrote:Just tried that srsonido... don't work for me :confused:
Well, propelled by your comment I stopped by a friends house who has another Rene, to try out the ground holding trick I mentioned. His Rene is completely unresponsive without licking fingers, I mean it just will not respond to a regular finger tip press at all!

So, I tightened all the screws and measured all the DC stuff I could on the faceplate of his Rene to make sure that the pads were solidly connected to the ground plane etc. From that perspective his Rene module seemed to check out exactly like mine or nearly so. But when I tried the trick of holding one hand on the ground screw with his module, it had no effect. I then Installed my Rene in his rack identical to his and my module not only responded to finger touches, albeit, not light ones, but improved it's sensitivity when I held a ground with the opposite hand. From what I can glean of the mechanisms involved this would suggest that somehow the path to ground through me to my other hand, was lower resistance than across the tip of my fingers, which seems counter intuitive.

I'm trying to engage Tony in some conversation about this. Like so many others, I would like to get full functionality from my Rene. Preferably that would be by having the module function as advertized, but if it means adding some sort of breakout panel or optional switches, that would be better than the unresponsive and unreliable system that I and so many others are currently experiencing.

It's such a great module in concept, that only makes it all the worse when it doesn't work to potential.
Good to hear that you are pursuing it further with Tony. Keep it up, and hopefully some sort of improvement can happen! Thank you!

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ersatzplanet
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Post by ersatzplanet » Tue Jul 08, 2014 10:17 am

Since the front panel of the Rene and PP are PCBs and the pads are lust exposed traces, you can try the old trick that used to be used on PCB edge connectors when they became problematic - I used to have to do this periodically on the presto patches for my Synthis - go over the pads with a standard pencil eraser, the large soft ones are the best. It will take all the oxidation layers of the traces. Be gentle though - you don't want to wear them through.
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srsonido
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Post by srsonido » Tue Jul 08, 2014 10:31 am

ersatzplanet wrote:Since the front panel of the Rene and PP are PCBs and the pads are lust exposed traces, you can try the old trick that used to be used on PCB edge connectors when they became problematic - I used to have to do this periodically on the presto patches for my Synthis - go over the pads with a standard pencil eraser, the large soft ones are the best. It will take all the oxidation layers of the traces. Be gentle though - you don't want to wear them through.
Yes, I remember that trick would work for computer cards. It's a good idea and I have already tried it - several times. When I received my first unresponsive Rene I cleaned the pad with a clean cloth, and used a soft eraser as you suggest. That made no difference on the unit I had at the time. I tried this again the other night with my friends unresponsive Rene and same thing, it did not help. It's a a great suggestion and I agree that it's something that anyone with Rene problems should try, but so far, with the Rene's I've encountered oxidation was no the issue.

Also, just to be clear, I have no trouble with my PP, nor have I seen the same kind of issues with that module in general. I believe it is a different sensing circuit however, single pad capacitive maybe, as opposed to the Rene which I believe is "dual pad" resistive. Of course if there were oxidation issues with the PP your eraser trick would probably help there too, I just haven't seen that issue with PP.

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southphillysynths
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Post by southphillysynths » Tue Jul 08, 2014 4:30 pm

This is starting to sound like the problem vintage video game collectors such as myself are having. As far as cleaning the pads, it's just like cleaning old game cartages. Qtip with rubbing alchahol then maybe a pencil eraser should get as clean as it can be, anything after that must be a problem elsewhere. These things are usually sitting horizontal allowing dust etc. to build up on the contacts keep them clean, might be fine. (Don't own a rene just my 2c)

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Post by L.C.O. » Tue Jul 08, 2014 4:38 pm

southphillysynths wrote:This is starting to sound like the problem vintage video game collectors such as myself are having. As far as cleaning the pads, it's just like cleaning old game cartages. Qtip with rubbing alchahol then maybe a pencil eraser should get as clean as it can be, anything after that must be a problem elsewhere. These things are usually sitting horizontal allowing dust etc. to build up on the contacts keep them clean, might be fine. (Don't own a rene just my 2c)
Naaah, it's not about the pads getting obstructed or dirty in any way.... It's a design issue.

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xclark
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Post by xclark » Thu Jul 10, 2014 6:34 pm

oh man. I just got a Rene after wanting one for a long time. then I discover this issue.

:bang:

no I don't want to have to lick my finger every time I want to touch something! my hands are not dry at all. why is it that some Rene's are fine, and others are not? just watch a few seconds of this video (30 seconds in) and you can see Mr. Ciglar just tapping lightly with his fingertips and everything responds as it should. is there really no remedy?

[video][/video]

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maudibe
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Post by maudibe » Thu Jul 10, 2014 7:04 pm

I like to lick my fingers
It makes my Rene' work
But then my fingers dry out
It makes me feel a jerk

Now I'm in my 50's
My skin has all gone dry
My Rene' wants me moister
So what on earth to try?

:bananaguitar:

(after this the verses got a bit smutty, so deleted to protect the innocent)

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GNE
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Post by GNE » Thu Jul 10, 2014 8:31 pm

I bought a new Rene a few weeks ago.
I have found that not using washers and making sure that the plate is firm against the rails improved the sensitivity almost doube.

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srsonido
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Post by srsonido » Thu Jul 10, 2014 9:50 pm

GNE wrote:I bought a new Rene a few weeks ago.
I have found that not using washers and making sure that the plate is firm against the rails improved the sensitivity almost doube.
Hi GNE, I have been trying to engage Tony at MakeNoise in a dialog about the Rene for a while. Meanwhile I'm gathering as much information as I can both from my own experience and anecdotally.

With the improvement you have seen from tightening the screws do you still need to lick or moisten your fingers to trigger your Rene reliably?

Would you say that your Rene now functions as well as the one shown in the Cigler videos - does it respond to a light touch; can you wipe your finger quickly across the touch pad grid and trigger several positions in one smooth movement; can you trigger the PGM pads (page selects) solidly and step through the pages one at a time without them scrolling from page to page?

Thanks!

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maudibe
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Post by maudibe » Fri Jul 11, 2014 6:48 am

Hi GNE - I wonder if conductive metal washers would help in that case? I don't have any to try. Anyone got some and want to give this a go?

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GNE
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Post by GNE » Fri Jul 11, 2014 8:04 am

GNE wrote:
I bought a new Rene a few weeks ago.
I have found that not using washers and making sure that the plate is firm against the rails improved the sensitivity almost doube.


Hi GNE, I have been trying to engage Tony at MakeNoise in a dialog about the Rene for a while. Meanwhile I'm gathering as much information as I can both from my own experience and anecdotally.

With the improvement you have seen from tightening the screws do you still need to lick or moisten your fingers to trigger your Rene reliably?

Would you say that your Rene now functions as well as the one shown in the Cigler videos - does it respond to a light touch; can you wipe your finger quickly across the touch pad grid and trigger several positions in one smooth movement; can you trigger the PGM pads (page selects) solidly and step through the pages one at a time without them scrolling from page to page? !
The change that was most important was no nylon washers.
I have very dry hands. If I use a little moisturizer before I play, it works every bit as well as in the Cigler videos.

This would be the check list
1. no nylon washers
2. make sure the plate is firm against the rails / use all 4 screws to mount
3. make sure you are using good power / no grounding issues
4. dont use your finger tip, use the flat side [ fingerprint area ]
5 moisturize / dont lick

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Post by stike » Fri Jul 11, 2014 10:16 am

Maybe Make Noise should get into the moisturizer business or at least include a tube with every Rene.
Just another onionhead

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Post by skyshaver » Fri Jul 11, 2014 2:56 pm

I have a lot of callous on my fingertips from playing other instruments and I find it affects Rene's responsiveness. I end up using the pinky on my right hand as it's the only callous free finger. Maybe I need to get a cashier's sponge to keep my finger tips moist.

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Post by srsonido » Sat Jul 12, 2014 2:42 pm

@GNE

Thanks for the response. It sounds like you have a relatively good Rene unit. You are lucky.

I have a couple questions / comments about this. No offense meant, just trying to get to get as much accurate information as I can about the problems.
GNE wrote: 1. no nylon washers
2. make sure the plate is firm against the rails / use all 4 screws to mount
Regarding nylon washers, there may be something to that, but it's interesting to note that if you look carefully at the Cigler video, it appears that he IS using nylon washers.

From what I can see, the way the Rene faceplate is constructed (etched) there are conductive areas around the mounting screw holes on both sides of the board, which are themselves, plated through. However, of course the masking on the bottom of the board is higher than that conductive area where the masking was etched away, so without deforming the board those contact areas might not touch the surface they mount against (the rack rails). In that case a conductive metal screw (sans nylon washer) would seem to make a better connection from the ground planes on the board to the rack rails.

Another way of accomplishing this would have been to etch away more of the masking on the bottom of the faceplate so that there were exposed strips of ground plane along the edges to make contact with the rails.

All of this, however, begs the question of why this is necessary as it implies that the ground though the board and power connector is somehow inadequate. And, it doesn't help much with cases that have wooden "rails", of which there are several commercially available.

GNE wrote: 3. make sure you are using good power / no grounding issues
This is good advice in general, but per my comment above, if the ground planes of the board have to be against a metal rail to function, that implies that there is something in the overall grounding scheme - either in the power supply, the Rene, or both - that is not right. The entire bottom side of the Rene faceplate is a ground plane which should be supplying a return to ground for the touch pad circuits so it doesn't seem that a secondary conductor should be needed in that regard.

GNE wrote: 4. dont use your finger tip, use the flat side [ fingerprint area ]
5. moisturize / dont lick
Watch the Cigler video that xclark posted again carefully. Note that the Rene appears to be mounted vertically and Cigler taps lightly with his fingertips. That kind of behavior is what I'm referring too when I ask if your Rene is functioning like Cigler's. The fact that you say you need moisturizer and have to press with the meat of your finger suggests it does not.

The tricky part with the Rene is that it seems there are multiple issues. Yes, grounding might be one of them. Yes, the galvanic response of any individual finger is another variable, BUT I have observed that given an identical environment - that is to say, multiple Rene units in the same rack with the same operator - that some Rene's function COMPLETELY differently than others. On a "good" Rene, one that has a baseline functionality like the one Cigler uses, making some of the changes you recommend may restore it to proper function, which in that case would be very useable. But on a baseline crummy Rene unit, all the care in proper mounting and power requirements will only leave you with a crappy functioning Rene module, properly mounted and powered.

That is the crux of the problem. And that is what needs to be expressed openly here so that new users of the Rene, like xclark, can manage their expectations and prospective buyers are forewarned.

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Post by Neekau » Sat Jul 12, 2014 3:25 pm

Just to add my experience: I've been trying everything mentioned here with my brand new René without success. Moisturing fingers was the only solution to have a proper answer.
As soon as I went to a friend of mine (who has a good electric circuitry with proper grounding in his house, where the appartment I rent has definitely not), and it is day & night: my very dry fingers manage to play René in a perfect way.
I hope you'll find a solution.

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GNE
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Post by GNE » Sat Jul 12, 2014 3:41 pm

I have only ever had one Rene, the suggestions I made above made a big difference for me. [ without washers made a very noticeable difference, maybe something else changed in the process, but I have no idea what that could be ]



If you are suggesting that not all Rene modules are the same, just ask Tony if he has made any changes to the design.

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srsonido
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Post by srsonido » Sat Jul 12, 2014 3:42 pm

Neekau wrote:Just to add my experience: I've been trying everything mentioned here with my brand new René without success. Moisturing fingers was the only solution to have a proper answer.
As soon as I went to a friend of mine (who has a good electric circuitry with proper grounding in his house, where the appartment I rent has definitely not), and it is day & night: my very dry fingers manage to play René in a perfect way.
I hope you'll find a solution.
Thank you for this information Neekau.

I see you are in France. May I ask what kind of power supply you use?

Also, when you say, "proper grounding", do yo mean that you are using grounded plugs - ones with a third prong that is tied to earth ground?

Thanks!

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Post by L.C.O. » Sat Jul 12, 2014 4:04 pm

This is the kind of thread that would benefit from someone from Make Noise chiming in with concrete information... rather than people attempting some investigative theories and speculation! It would be good to get some clear responses. Even if it means that they (Make Noise) would need to tell us that it is how the module is designed.

To blame dry skin as a reason why the instrument does not work is just silly. I love Rene, but am still hoping that MN will come forward with some sort of fix to what to me appears to be a design flaw.

This is merely my own experience and opinion, and I am sure that there a plenty of moist-fingered users who see no problem with the design of Rene... alas, I don't think the module was developed only for those blessed with moist skin!... was it?

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