December 16, 2008

Big Bag of Bananas

Have you ever wondered what a bag of 500 Johnson banana jacks would look like? Here it is. I have included my old (and useless) cell phone in the shot to give some reference for the scale.

Reed, your friends have arrived

I have been looking for a suitable replacement for the buttons on the 246. Reed has several sequencers that need to have them replaced and the original part is long gone. In a perfect world they would be available in blue and red and have LEDs inside them, instead of incandescent light bulbs that will burn out again. I found a solution, but it was back ordered for 6 weeks. The part showed up, I can't wait to try them out!

December 10, 2008

What's this?

I have done a lot of PCB design and part ordering lately and I am waiting for packages to come every day.

I got some PCBs in the mail today. They're a crazy color, almost white. I stuffed all the parts I had around into the prototype boards. Now I have to wait for the pots and last few other parts to get here. This is going to be a lot of work, but I'm looking forward to it.

Where Buchla Keyboards Go to Die And Be Reborn

I have had these 3 keyboards since I was sick. When I got them the farthest away worked fine and the closest just needed to be tuned up and the middle one didn't work at all. I went through various stages including one point where all three stopped working! @#$%$U&^*

Anyway, they are all ready to go home now. For a minute there, I thought I might actually be the charlatan I'm afraid of being...

Quickly of interest there are two 221s and one 219.

The 219 is serial number 5, evidently the last one ever made. It's actually a great keyboard, 48 keys laid out like a piano, 8 keys with individual tuning, 2 pairs of awesome benders and 3 kays with pressure and trigger outs. It's 4 voice polyphonic! I don't know if one could get analog oscillators to track close enough to actually play chords, but maybe with 259Es. The Joysticks light up. They're made from a plexiglass stick glued to a Davies Molding knob that uses a tiny incandescent light bulb as the ball in a "ball and socket joint." Four photo resistors get exposed the light from that bulb to change the resistance and give CV output. Wild.

The 221s are exceptional in that they are the only Buchla touchplate keyboards that DO NOT have trim pots on all the keys. Its a slick design, sadly it uses a few rare parts, so it's not really clone fodder. I don't know that I like the idea of having all those buttons that are useless, since they were intended to control a 300 computer. The joystick is normal on this one, but these two have different length sticks. If you leave space on the sides put a light in the boat, you can move the whole keyboard left and right to get additional bending. That Buchla thought of everything....

I'll put up some pictures of the guts in the next couple days. What a load off. Now I can clear up some space for the next wave...

My 207 #2

Through a series of trades, I ended up with a front panel from a 207 module. I had to clone the PCB in order to make it into a finished module. The module is mostly finished now, it simply awaits the microphone transformer. I have one lined up, I'm just waiting to get my filthy hands on it. Anyway, someone asked how the PCB I made looks, so here it is blank.

Here it is with some parts stuffed. Notice I went with film caps in the audio path instead of the 1uF electrolytics. I just felt like it was a good idea. I don't know if I'm making the world a batter place, but I'm trying, one capacitor at a time.

I did that messy kludge just like the original ones have too, but I didn't take a picture. it's in the cabinet now, so that will have to be shown off some other time. I don't know how much crosstalk would have been added by placing the resistors on the PCB, but I figured it wasn't worth tempting fate.