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Topics - madbean

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Global Annoucements / BOTY Contest and Holiday PIF Party starts Friday.
« on: November 20, 2017, 04:59:35 PM »
The annual BOTY contest and Holiday PIF Party will both start on Friday. We'll have two new categories on the forum for each thing so start thinking about what you want to enter in the contest and if you have stuff to give away. Obviously, I will be giving several things away so be on the lookout!

Global Annoucements / New VFE projects this week
« on: November 20, 2017, 04:56:03 PM »
The new switching boards and micro-controllers are in. So, all the VFE projects will be going back in stock. Also, the Old School Tremolo and White Horse compressor will be releasing at the same time. The Dark Horse, too, if I can figure out the issue on my build (pretty sure I know what I did wrong). This will all probably happen Friday.

Audio/Video Demos / Moodring 2017 demo
« on: November 14, 2017, 11:34:53 AM »
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Errata, Corrections, Revisions / AlphaDog BOM correction.
« on: November 13, 2017, 08:38:01 AM »
The BOM listed two extra 470k resistors that are not in the build. This was removed and the doc re-uploaded to the Projects Page.

VFE Projects / New VFE switching board
« on: November 05, 2017, 08:44:28 AM »
The re-designed switching board for the VFE projects is complete. In the end, I decided to go with the version that offers the best compromise. Note: I put some of my wires on the bottom on this prototype...they should go on the top!

1/4W resistors instead of 1/8W
Board mounted jacks (these are pushed a little closer together to make fitting it in the enclosure a easier)
Wired DC jack.
Kept the battery option (although I like to discourage battery use).
Can use regular TRS or TS jacks - no longer need the "make" style and no work-around needed.
Can still use non-mounted jacks if you prefer...just use wires (all this will be explained in the new doc).
The micro-controller now has two decoupling caps - a 100n across the rails and a low-profile 4u7 electrolytic.

Board is almost exactly the same size as the previous one, as well. So, overall an improvement as far as making it easier to build for the largest number of people. It will fit the existing drill template but I will make one small change for those using TRS style power jacks instead of the Lumberg style (my preferred).

I'll be ordering a couple hundred of these this week as well as getting some more micro-controllers from Peter soon.

Global Annoucements / Dirtbaby Tap version cancelled
« on: November 02, 2017, 06:25:50 PM »
I only mentioned this one in passing a few weeks ago but since there was a response to it I'm announcing the project is cancelled. The problem is the Taptation chip. There's no way to put it nicely: it kinda blows. I'm actually cancelling any future project involving the Taptation as well. I've tried a few prototypes of different delay designs with it now and I just cannot get a good result. The max delay is too long to make it sound good at all tempos (it should be limited to 600ms not 1sec) and the tempo and subdivision LEDs make ungodly noise when used. I tried a couple ways to solve the LED noise issue but it's just not working (the DBTap used transistors to drive the LEDs thinking it might help but no). Actually, I pulled out every PT2399 trick I know over several prototypes (including using a compander and other stuff) and it's just not good enough to warrant a project.

So, sorry it's not happening. Too many downsides to it.

Global Annoucements / Restocks/Free Shipping Yes! New Projects...FML
« on: November 01, 2017, 11:51:22 AM »
As promised the Free Shipping starts today and will now go until Nov. 4th. Restocks are available for the following: Pork Barrel, Stutr, Karate Shop, Harbinger One, Green Bean, Glam.


Unfortunately, the Softie and Wumpus will not be releasing today. Both have issues that popped up in the verification builds.
Softie: there is relay noise propagating through the switching when it absolutely shouldn't. All attempts to solve this have failed and I'm left with it being a layout problem. Why it wasn't such a problem in my prototype I don't know.
Wumpus: there is an issue with the proximity plate control and how I chose to implement it. It cannot be solved as I have designed it and will require a re-design to work the way it should. The circuit's the overall design that was stupidity on my part.

Both of these projects were thoroughly prototyped and the issues came up only at the last minute (the Wumpus is majorly my fault...wouldn't have happened if I had been just a bit more thorough) . My apologies to anyone who was looking forward to these releases. Frankly, I'd rather lose my time and investment in these projects than release something substandard. I'll make a decision later on whether or not to work on re-designs or go forward with some of the other projects that are close to ready.

Tech Help - Projects Page / A picture is worth 10 posts
« on: November 01, 2017, 06:18:25 AM »
Just a gentle reminder that when seeking tech help, a clear picture of your PCB top (and bottom if possible) and any wiring literally saves everyone a lot of headaches when trying to assist. I feel like we are constantly having to ask people to do this in tech threads when it really should be automatic. Of course, not every tech question may require that but if your build isn't working and you don't know where to start...that's where you start. Lots of us here can easily spot a wrong resistor, dicey wiring, backwards parts with minimal effort. Trying to deduce that without a visual aid is much, much harder and an unnecessary waste of everyone's time, including yours.

So, please, use this guideline:
Is my build not working, or not working as it should and I don't know where to start with debugging? No problem..we can help. But, help us a bit first by taking a couple minutes to snap one or two pictures and attach them to your post.

If we need further info like some voltage measurements, we'll ask :)

It's clear to me I'm not going to make it for a release today...there's just too much left to do on the documentation side plus I have Halloween activity obligations (the wonders of parenting). I'll update tomorrow when it's ready.

Also...there will be a free shipping "sale" starting tomorrow and going until Nov. 3rd. This will cover the following:
All USA orders ship free
All International orders $39.99 and under will ship free. For the VFE stuff that requires "shipping adjusted" prices you will still have to pay that (AlphaDog, Tractor Beam and Pale Horse) minus the $4 shipping fee that normally goes with it automatically.

The VFE stuff is getting close to being sold out, FYI. Across the board. There will be more soon after I finalize the new switching board design (should happen later this week) and get the next batch of micro-controllers.

Global Annoucements / VFE Tractor Beam released
« on: October 19, 2017, 07:37:27 PM »
The Tractor Beam is now available in the store. The project also includes a custom 1MC pot (5% tolerance) so international shipping will have adjusted rates applied. I have not boxed mine yet but will do so in a few days. I will do a demo of this (also I still owe a demo for the Choral Reef which I will do at the same time).

I decided to push the Dark Horse back a few weeks. Couple reasons: one nagging thing on my build I haven't solved and also I am running pretty low on switching boards. Rather than push the DH out I decided to make more of the TB available now. I've got about 50 TB available which should last a few days I hope, haha.

On the plus side, the re-designed switching board will release with the Dark Horse (more on that later).

Global Annoucements / Release schedule update
« on: October 13, 2017, 05:09:59 PM »
VFE Tractor Beam and Dark Horse should be released within the next 7 days. I was hoping to get both out this week but I had a couple questions on them for Peter so I'm going to wait a little bit more before getting them out.

I'll be placing the re-stock order probably Sunday. I still expect the Wumpus to drop with that (it's a Probish-type effect). Maybe the Sofite, too (relay bypass - it depends on how many microcontrollers I have). Maybe (no promises) the Pitch Bitch (theremin effect). So, all the restocks and new projects will be available before the end of the month.

I've got tons and tons of prototypes going ATM (you can find most of these described in the Project Development part of the forum). There's just a lot of cool stuff happening. My plan for the remainder of 2017 is to get at least 2-3 more new projects out on top of what I've already mentioned and 2-3 more VFE projects. That will make for a pretty nice wrap-up to the year. I'd like one of those new projects to be the FFS (For Fuzz Sake) full kit...we'll see how ambitious I get.

Mid-November will also have the announcement for the 2017 Build of the Year contest.

That's all for now!

Open Discussion / NGD...?
« on: October 07, 2017, 05:53:05 PM »
Following my Guild bass thread ( I started think again about how I've always wanted a six string version. Found several good deals on Reverb but I'm still a bit queasy about buying used guitars from unknown sources. I've mostly gotten lucky...but there's always a chance you end up with a twisted neck or something that won't show up on photos. I'd prefer to get something that's going to be set-up correctly at the start.

This Starfire was listed on Sweetwater @ 10% off due to a small blem. So, I figured it was worth a try. And...I'm not totally sure about it yet. The guitar is gorgeous, no doubt. And the build quality seems to be very good. Korean guitars have come a long, long way. But, it's not quite what I was hoping for.

- There's a second blem not mentioned in the listing: looks like a small gouge right at the neck joint by the low E string.
- There's quite a bit of string pulse on the B and E strings when playing but the pickups are not too fact I thought they were too low out of the box. I should try it on a different amp, though.
- There's some flex at the ABR/rosewood bridge when the vibrato is used. Looks like it could be a potential failure point over time. Tuning stability is also not too good with the vibrato unfortunately. Also, a bit of creak out of the spring.

I took some measurements to see what the factory setup is like.
- Low E is a whopping 8/64th at 12th fret and High E is 6/64. But string buzz! It should be 5/64 and 4/64, resp.
- Thought the nut was cut high but clearance at the 1st fret is  about .03" which is correct, I think.
- Relief appears to be between .02-.03" @ 7th fret (capo at first, pressing on 15th fret).

So, I dunno. I do like the guitar and probably most of the issues can be addressed with a setup (fixing the string height, lubing the nut, etc). The second blem is not a big deal. I'm more concerned about the flexing bridge and string pulsing which would make me consider returning it. Dunno; never returned a guitar. I kinda don't want to...he's a handsome fellow!

Here's the beauty shot.

Open Discussion / DIN Connector with loopers
« on: October 04, 2017, 08:32:32 AM »
I keep coming back to this idea every few months and I have yet to try it. But, it seems like a perfectly fine application for DIY: using a DIN connector for power and I/O on pedals with a looper specifically design for that purpose. So, using one cable in place of three to connect/power pedals in series. Or, maybe there are split connectors where you could connect pedals without the need for a looper.

Couple caveats:
- Don't know what type of capacitance DIN cables have (although if they are only one foot long it may not matter much). Maybe a switchable buffer in the looper would be a good idea.

- Power distribution: that's the harder thing. I can think of three options (when using a looper based solution) 1) work out a transformer based distributed supply with completely isolated outputs, 2) use an 18v walwart with individual 9v regulators or 3) use a One Spot and hope for the best. I kinda lean toward option 2 because it's easy enough and probably the next best thing to #1. You could filter the hell out of an 18v supply for the quietest possible operation.

What do you guys think? Anyone ever tried alternate I/O methods with your DIY builds?

Global Annoucements / Supering delayed plus other dissapointments
« on: September 23, 2017, 06:16:29 PM »
I've been working on the Supering reverb design for quite a while now (on and off for a few months) and while I thought it would be released this month that turns out not to be the case. The design is just not quite there yet. So, I'm going to run one more (friggin') prototype on it before finalizing the design which means it is going to get pushed back to December. However, the changes I am incorporating will be quite cool and I think everyone will be happy. I figured out a couple issues with the design but also a way to expand on some ideas without adding too much feature creep. This will actually be the third prototype.

In the meantime, I will be placing the order for the next batch at the beginning of this coming week so restocks and some new stuff will be coming soon (1st week of October I expect). I think the new projects will still be the Wumpus and also the soft-touch bypass project. Also, the VFE phaser should release at the same time.

If you have been following the Project Development section of the forum there are also many, many other cool projects in the works. I really hope to bring all of them out...and by that I don't mean 5 years later. Like within the next few months. A 22-stage phaser, stereo panner, a couple of sub-mini tube projects. Also, a tap tempo Dirtbaby which I haven't mentioned on the forum. And, I have not forgotten about previously promised projects like the Polyphase and Timel@apse plus the jury-rigged Rustbucket that's supposed to run on 9v. I really need to buckle down and get this crap out to you guys. Feeling a bit frustrated with myself in not being able to nail things down more quickly. Frankly my batting average in conception to completion is pretty frakkin poor. But, I also never give up completely on anything so I've got that going for me!

I will update as developments err...develop.

Global Annoucements / International orders are delayed
« on: September 12, 2017, 06:05:42 AM »
It looks like most of the international orders I've dropped off at USPS in the last 7 days are not being updated through the USPS tracking system (they show as 'awaiting receipt'). This is likely due to Hurricane Irma. Virtually all international orders go from Nashville to Miami before departing to their destination. And, I expect Miami hasn't been productive these last several days. But all packages have been dropped off here in Nashville so they do have them.

Anyway, if you received shipping notification in the last week and USPS is not updating your package, don't panic. It's just a matter of waiting for normal operations to resume which will hopefully be soon.

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