Author Topic: Macron vactrols may be causing issues  (Read 1591 times)

madbean

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Macron vactrols may be causing issues
« on: November 11, 2016, 10:30:11 AM »
Cross-posted from this thread: http://www.madbeanpedals.com/forum/index.php?topic=22611.0

Quote
It seems that there was some kind of change in the manufacturing of the Macron at some point (as far as I can tell). I have used them successfully on many different builds but all those were purchased more than a year or two ago. I've noticed a couple times that people posting issues on the forum have Macrons with a blue dot instead of the yellow dot they used to have, so I am wondering if that signifies some sort of change from the manufacturer.

Interestingly, we have been using a couple of recently purchased Macrons in FFX stuff without problem so I kinda held off on saying anything for a while. But, I think it's probably safest at this point to change the BOM and recommend the VTL5C3 only.


Jon had mentioned some issues a while ago and based on his findings and the discussion above I'd recommend staying away from the Macrons until more is known. Certainly in the Naughty Fish and perhaps in other projects calling for a VTL5Cx. Smallbear no longer carries the original Vactec version but they do have a new Xvive work-alike here:
http://smallbear-electronics.mybigcommerce.com/photocoupler-xvive-vtl5c3-work-alike/

I have not personally used these but this thread linked above seems to indicate they are working in the Naughty Fish. Also, remember that you can sub for a vactrol simply by using an LED and photocell. I generally use 5mm red diffused for the LED and the 9203 for a photocell: http://smallbear-electronics.mybigcommerce.com/photocells-cds-5mm-diameter/
You can also use water clear LEDs.

In many cases you can also use an NSL-32 as a sub for a VTL5C3 however there are some caveats. The NSL has an extremely low on resistance so using them may involve adjusting resistor values in circuits like tremolos, etc. If you know what to look for then go for it. But, a more plug and play is to use the work-alike or LED/Photocell combos mentioned above. To be clear: at this point I would avoid using the Macrons for any of the MBP projects unless we can get more concrete info / evidence they are working.
I own madbeanpedals (duh). I am part owner of Function F(X).

midwayfair

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Re: Macron vactrols may be causing issues
« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2016, 10:37:52 AM »
I'll probably link Smallbear to this. Steve should probably know that even if they at one time were manufactured to specs that allowed them to sub for the VTLs, they aren't any longer, and he definitely shouldn't advertise them as such. And if they aren't maintaining the specs then he's probably being overcharged for them.

I've always had trouble with them as direct substitutes (like I was never able to get the Macrons to work in a Cardinal at all), but the more recent ones seem to be even further from workable.
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madbean

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Re: Macron vactrols may be causing issues
« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2016, 10:40:43 AM »
Thanks Jon, I was thinking that would be a good idea.

I have also made changes to the following project docs to remove the Macrons listed in their respective BOM:
Afterlife, DigDug2, NaughtyFish and 4:1.
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midwayfair

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Re: Macron vactrols may be causing issues
« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2016, 12:15:14 PM »
Here's Steve's reply:

Quote
Thanks for the heads-up. I only ever received one order of these, so there is no issue of "old" versus new. And I don't expect to be able order any more, because the manufacturer's web site is gone.

Regards
SD
Myself's music & things I make: http://jonpattonmusic.com. My band: http://midwayfair.org. PCBs of my designs from: http://www.1776Effects.com (Bearhug Comp & Cardinal Harmonic Trem); http://www.jmkpcbs.com (Hamlet+ delay & Blue Warbler envelope vibe); Snow Day OD/Flabulanche: www.madbeanpedals.com

flanagan0718

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Re: Macron vactrols may be causing issues
« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2016, 12:35:00 PM »
This is great info. I was recently looking into ordering some of these to A / B against some of the NSL7053 that I got off eBay. The NSL's worked well in my Twin Peaks but with the TT Cardinal I wanted to try a few different LDRs. I have the ones that you (Jon) stressed in the Doc but I wanted to socket and swap just for grins. The Marcons, as tempting as they are (price wise), have never been able to sway me from those NSLs I got a while back. Thanks for the heads up guys!

Just a side note. if anyone tried using the NSL7053 and couldn't get the pedal to fire, just remove and flip it. The Dot is signifies the Cathode NOT THE ANODE. I made this mistake and hopefully others won't.

-Mike-

alanp

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Re: Macron vactrols may be causing issues
« Reply #5 on: November 11, 2016, 12:40:50 PM »
Anyone know any sources for Xvive VTL5C3's, other than Thonk?

I think that diygp.au's VTL's are Excellitas.
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chordball

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Re: Macron vactrols may be causing issues
« Reply #6 on: November 11, 2016, 07:22:42 PM »
Just did a quick google search and found this:

http://synthcube.com/cart/xvive-vactrol-vtl5c3-bag-of-2

bcalla

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Re: Macron vactrols may be causing issues
« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2016, 08:29:22 AM »
This is great info. I was recently looking into ordering some of these to A / B against some of the NSL7053 that I got off eBay. The NSL's worked well in my Twin Peaks but with the TT Cardinal I wanted to try a few different LDRs. I have the ones that you (Jon) stressed in the Doc but I wanted to socket and swap just for grins. The Marcons, as tempting as they are (price wise), have never been able to sway me from those NSLs I got a while back. Thanks for the heads up guys!

Just a side note. if anyone tried using the NSL7053 and couldn't get the pedal to fire, just remove and flip it. The Dot is signifies the Cathode NOT THE ANODE. I made this mistake and hopefully others won't.

-Mike-
Mike - A couple years ago I bought a box of 50 random (and unlabeled) opto-couplers from Electronic Goldmine for $10.  I haven't used any yet.  You're welcome to a handful to use for your testing.

chromesphere

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Re: Macron vactrols may be causing issues
« Reply #8 on: November 13, 2016, 08:16:48 PM »
I think that diygp.au's VTL's are Excellitas.

Hi Alan, thanks for your order by the way.  Just wanted to confirm that yes you are correct, they are excelitas (all my vactrols currently are excelitas).  I ordered a bunch of these before they went extinct.  Cheers.

http://www.diyguitarpedals.com.au/shop/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=17
« Last Edit: November 13, 2016, 08:30:13 PM by chromesphere »
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bigmufffuzzwizz

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Re: Macron vactrols may be causing issues
« Reply #9 on: November 27, 2016, 09:41:03 AM »
Interesting. I built a Multiplex with the add-on Mod board, went for a vactrol from SB over roll-your-own and was very disappointed with the results. This would explain why..the mod sound was very lite if even working at all
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Stomptown

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Re: Macron vactrols may be causing issues
« Reply #10 on: November 27, 2016, 12:04:13 PM »
Interesting. I built a Multiplex with the add-on Mod board, went for a vactrol from SB over roll-your-own and was very disappointed with the results. This would explain why..the mod sound was very lite if even working at all

That must be it.  The midulTion should be quite pronounced.

klonisgayjplay

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Re: Macron vactrols may be causing issues
« Reply #11 on: December 25, 2016, 10:27:18 PM »
damn got these in a nautilus build i plan on finishing this month. oh well. i ordered the new ones. thanks for the heads up guys.

Torgoslayer

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Re: Macron vactrols may be causing issues
« Reply #12 on: December 31, 2016, 07:24:11 PM »
I had made 3 naughty fish with the macrons, none of them worked. I pulled them and used them in a few mutliplex jr builds and was fairly underwhelmed by the weak modulation. Not having heard any other vactrols in the circuit i assumed it was just mild. Well I just made a couple of MPjr with the new xvive vtl's and WOW. What a difference. I'm getting strong and tasty modulations now. I think its time to pony up and try one more time to make a naughty fish.