19 December 2012

Happy Holidays and Groove end of Year Sale

First of all I'd like to wish you all happy holidays! Groove Unlimited has a nice gesture for you until the end of the year. They offer a 25% discount on all Groove Unlimited releases on both the CD store as the download store until the 31st of December 2012!
So if there is still some music you wanted to buy from Synth.nl, now would be a good time do do that :) Go to http://www.groove.nl and enjoy :) Unfortunately there were no Synth.nl releases in 2012, sorry for that, but I promise you there will be something new for sure in 2013! Talk you you all soon!

10 December 2012

DIY Rotating Clock Divider

It had been a while but last weekend I fired up the soldering iron again. This time not even for myself but for my friend Hans who is also into modular synthesizers. He asked me if I wanted to solder an euro rack size module for him. In this case it was a rotating clock divider with a break out box with some switches to control it. The whole thing came as a kit with documentation. So I started soldering right away along the documentation. During the process a couple of choices had to be made because you could make the kit behave as another function as well. But Hans wanted the Rotating Clock Divider functionality.

The start of the kit if quite straight forward, but at a certain moment you have to solder components on both sides. That can be a bit tricky sometimes and you do have to do that in the right order. On of the things that had to be soldered on the bottom side were the leds. They are colored leds, but they look clear. At first I didn't understand which led went where, because there are also colors on the front panel, that didn't match. This whole thing didn't make much sense to me, but it turned out that this was OK. They were stuck on a piece of paper in the right order.

Here is a picture of the finished kit with the break out box. There was one little ring missing from the kit to hold a mini jack on the front panel. When my friend Hans came here yesterday to pick it up I told him the bad news. I suggested to E-mail the supplier and let them send another ring. But then Hans pointed on my desk to a mini jack I had lying around and it had exactly the same ring, so I mounted that one for him. I can get those jacks any day at my local electronics store, so no problem. I just didn't assume that they could be exactly the same type.

Then came the exciting moment to test the module. I used my lab power supply to put the required 12 Volts on the module. I'm used to  turn the current limiter to 0 Amps and then gradually turning it up to see if it doesn't have any short circuits. This is a very safe method to test newly soldered DIY projects. It will save you power supply and prevent the module to burn up when you did make an error. Everything held well on 0,08 Amps though so that looked quite OK. Then I used a function generator to put a clock on the module and it started producing clock divisions nicely. So the module seemed to work just fine. Now Hans is probably playing with it at home. I hope he enjoys it :)