09 November 2011

SammichFM (Part 1)

Today I started a new DIY project as well. I'm going to build a SammichFM synthesizer. Like the name suggests it is a sister of the SammichSID, but this time not based on the Commodore SID chip  but on the Yamaha OPL3 chip (also know as YMF262). This was also a famous sound chip from the 8 bit computer era. It is a 4 voice stereo FM synthesizer. It was used on several famous sound cards like the Sound Blaster Pro 2.0 and the Sound Blaster 16 ASP.

The first task in building this kit is right away the most challenging one as well. The sound chip and 4 other components are so called SMD components. SMD components are surface mounted which means they don't have leads sticking through holes in the PCB, but they rest flat on the PCB and you have to solder the pins to pads on the PCB surface. These pads are very small and very close together. I did need my glasses for this and a magnifying glass to check if I did everything right afterwards.

Wilba was so nice to put some flux in the kit to help improving the flow of the solder. That made things a bit easier. I did solder some pins together though. (It is almost undo-able not to make this mistake by the way) So you need some means to remove excessive solder as well. I used my de-solder pump for this. But in the end I got it right. In the picture on the left you see the remaining parts that I still have to put on there. But those are all conventional 'trough hole' components, so that should be a lot easier :)

Next to taking picture for my blog, I'm also filming most part of the construction of the SammichFM. So hopefully I can show you a nice video as well when it is done. Only during my work I'm not paying much attention to the camera of course and today already the battery ran out during filming and I didn't see that until after I had put on all the SMD components. I just watched how far it filmed and I have enough I think to show the process, even though I can't film to close but I guess you'll get the idea. OK enough for today. I'll continue this project soon and I will post updates on this blog from time to time.

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