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 Forum index » DIY Hardware and Software » Lunettas - circuits inspired by Stanley Lunetta
eChucK Reborn!
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Inventor
Stream Operator


Joined: Oct 13, 2007
Posts: 5978
Location: San Antonio, Tx, USA
Audio files: 258

PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2012 7:38 pm    Post subject: eChucK Reborn!
Subject description: This time for real...
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Please see this thread:

http://electro-music.com/forum/topic-54199.html

It's the project thread for my 2nd attempt at developing a miniature modular synthesizer system, this time with a Lunetta focus. After thinking about the interconnect method for a looooong time, I suddenly realized that my true love in prototyping - the venerable breadboard - should be the interconnect basis for eChucK. That solved a lot of problems and led to a nice compact module system that you will enjoy.

I plan to do a "best of Lunetta" series to begin with, selecting designs that are popular building components in this community, as well as some of my own designs and new ones too. I'm open to suggestions as to what modules to do next, after the first one which is the Sine Wave Thing.

I hope you enjoy this concept and with a bit of luck and some perspiration and inspiration on my part eChucK will become a popular little synthesizer system!

Les

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Inventor
Stream Operator


Joined: Oct 13, 2007
Posts: 5978
Location: San Antonio, Tx, USA
Audio files: 258

PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2012 11:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

The total is now five designs in the eChucK lineup:

Solar Power Module
Hex Oscillator
Sine Wave Thing
Stereo Out
Stereo In

I'll be adding more this week, and I'd like to invite you to suggest other modules. I would like to retail eChucK modules in the electro-music store so that a significant portion of the profits will go to benefit our community. Please help to make this project a success, thanks!

Les

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Captain_Clams



Joined: Jul 02, 2012
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Location: MD, USA

PostPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2012 8:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I like this idea, it's a way to add vertical real estate to a breadboard, and an easy way to implement RUCs (at my work we used to refer to common, useful code passages as "Re-Usable Code", and I think what you're doing is exactly like that. We could adapt the C to Circuit, though Wink )

I'm of course a little bit new to this, but I can see the practicality of your modules. I would be interested in purchasing a few of them myself.
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Stream Operator


Joined: Oct 13, 2007
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Location: San Antonio, Tx, USA
Audio files: 258

PostPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2012 2:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Captain_Clams wrote:
I like this idea, it's a way to add vertical real estate to a breadboard, and an easy way to implement RUCs (at my work we used to refer to common, useful code passages as "Re-Usable Code", and I think what you're doing is exactly like that. We could adapt the C to Circuit, though Wink )

I'm of course a little bit new to this, but I can see the practicality of your modules. I would be interested in purchasing a few of them myself.


You hit the nail right on the head, Captain_Clams! These modules save you 75% of your breadboard space and make designing easy due to reuse. Here is a list of the twelve modules I have designed so far:

Solar Power Module
Hex Oscillator
Sine Wave Thing
Stereo Out
Stereo In
Pseudo Random
Step Sequencer
Any Gate
Melody Generator
Spacializer
Ring Modulator
LED Display

I hope you see a few that you like.

Les

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JingleJoe



Joined: Nov 10, 2011
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2012 1:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

ooo what's the spacializer? Very Happy that sounds interesting!
I allways like watching your projects unfold Les Smile carry on the good work!

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Inventor
Stream Operator


Joined: Oct 13, 2007
Posts: 5978
Location: San Antonio, Tx, USA
Audio files: 258

PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2012 4:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

JingleJoe wrote:
ooo what's the spacializer? Very Happy that sounds interesting!
I allways like watching your projects unfold Les Smile carry on the good work!


Joe, the spacializer takes an audio in and outputs stereo left and right images of it, specialized to one of four positions: left, left of center, right of center, and right according to a two-bit input. It's accomplished with a voltage follower, a three-resistor voltage divider, and a 4:1 analog MUX.

You can build the spacializer yourself according to a thread not too long ago here on our forum, but I really hope you'll wait a few months and buy one if you like it - I'm going to make them as cheap as I can!

Les

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Captain_Clams



Joined: Jul 02, 2012
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Location: MD, USA

PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2012 4:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I really like the sound of the spacializer, Inventor. Approximately what do you think the price is going to figure down to?
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Inventor
Stream Operator


Joined: Oct 13, 2007
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Location: San Antonio, Tx, USA
Audio files: 258

PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2012 6:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Captain, I just did an initial estimate and it looks like a fully assembled spacializer board will cost $10.37 + shipping. Now before anyone gets sticker shock, let me show you the breakdown on that and also explain that I believe it will be possible to cut costs significantly. Here's the details:

Spacializer Cost:

PCB: $2.36
chips: $0.39 + 0.98
discretes: $ 0.20
header: 1.48

material cost: 5.41
labor: 1.00
cost: 6.41
shipping: 0.50 estimate 6.91
x1.5 profit
10.365 cost to customer

$10.37 + shipping to customer

I feel that every single item on that list can be reduced by about half with quantity discounts, finding the right supplier, getting more efficient at assembly, etc. Also I can offer bare boards if you like to do things that way.

If you have any suggestions to help reduce costs, please mention them, that will save us all some time and effort. Thanks.

Les

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Captain_Clams



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PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2012 6:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Wow, thanks for the quick estimate. And as for cutting the price of the components, I would imagine that in bulk, everything goes down except for the shipping.

I'm pretty happy with these figures. I'll probably buy one when they come out.
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Inventor
Stream Operator


Joined: Oct 13, 2007
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2012 2:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Alright! Captain is my first customer! I'll order an extra module from the first batch.

Les

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JingleJoe



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2012 12:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Inventor wrote:

You can build the spacializer yourself according to a thread not too long ago here on our forum, but I really hope you'll wait a few months and buy one if you like it - I'm going to make them as cheap as I can!

Les

Will do! I've got a few things of my own to work on and by then I hope I'll have some money for once Rolling Eyes

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Inventor
Stream Operator


Joined: Oct 13, 2007
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Location: San Antonio, Tx, USA
Audio files: 258

PostPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2012 1:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

JingleJoe wrote:
Inventor wrote:

You can build the spacializer yourself according to a thread not too long ago here on our forum, but I really hope you'll wait a few months and buy one if you like it - I'm going to make them as cheap as I can!

Les

Will do! I've got a few things of my own to work on and by then I hope I'll have some money for once Rolling Eyes


Well and hey, guess what? It just got cheaper! I redid it in surface mount so the board is half the size! I'll get an extra one of the first run prototypes made for you, Joe...

Les

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Captain_Clams



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2012 8:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Just let me know what to give you and when. Wink I'm excited.

Do you guys use paypal for these deals?
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Stream Operator


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2012 11:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Captain_Clams wrote:
Just let me know what to give you and when. Wink I'm excited.

Do you guys use paypal for these deals?


Yes, we use paypal. In this case it's a little different because the boards will be sold in the electro-music store. I've still got to get mosc's OK on that one but he said OK before so I don't think it will be a problem.

On the when, it will be at least a month, probably five weeks, if all goes well before this product is ready for sale. I need to move into my new apartment first and I'm waiting until payday which is in two weeks to order the circuit boards, which will take about 3 weeks to get to me. This is all assuming I get all the parts in stock and special surface mount soldering supplies and all that stuff. Setting up a new product line is a bit of a task.

Oh, don't worry about the quality of the soldering, I am trained (from many years ago) as a surface mount rework technician so hopefully all will go smoothly. If anything goes wrong it's back to the drawing board but that would be at my cost not yours, so all you have to do is be patient.

Today I revamped the Sine Wave Thing to be surface mount and tonight I'll be working on the Hex Oscillator. I'm also writing the web page for these products so you will have online documentation. Oh, and by the way I got the domain name emSynth which is the new product name, not eChucK. emSynth: the electro-music synthesizer! Has a nice sound to it, don't you think?

Thanks for your enthusiasm Captain, being an early customer of my little venture will add some excitement to your new hobby, I believe! And keep up the posting, it's interesting to read the perspective of a newcomer here.

Plus thanks for your interest JingleJoe - you're going to enjoy your module for sure!

Les

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tjookum



Joined: May 25, 2010
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Location: Netherlands
Audio files: 26

PostPosted: Sat Jul 07, 2012 2:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Good to see all the progress here, I think you're definately on the right track with reducing the cost.

Have you thought about how you're going to be able to use the boards? I see you're using headers as the interface, what about the pots and switches?

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Stream Operator


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Audio files: 258

PostPosted: Sat Jul 07, 2012 4:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

tjookum wrote:
Good to see all the progress here, I think you're definately on the right track with reducing the cost.

Have you thought about how you're going to be able to use the boards? I see you're using headers as the interface, what about the pots and switches?


Hi tjookum, the headers are special pin headers designed for insertion into sockets and breadboards, so the emSynth modules work by inserting them into a breadboard (primarily) or a wiring harness (when used in an enclosure). The pots are thumbwheel type and they mount on the circuit boards at the edges. Switches so far are DIP switches.

I have completed converting five designs over to surface mount and submitted them to the DRC Bot at the board house. They all passed DRC check, which is a good sign! Smile

Also the website is ready to go online as soon as electro-music sets it up. Things are going well for this little venture!

Les

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Inventor
Stream Operator


Joined: Oct 13, 2007
Posts: 5978
Location: San Antonio, Tx, USA
Audio files: 258

PostPosted: Sat Jul 07, 2012 11:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I just checked out the special pin headers that Bill sent me in break-away strips. I cannot express how very exciting it was to insert them into a breadboard and see how snugly and firmly they fit! Each module has an 8x1 pin header on it's end, and most modules do not exceed that width. This means that even a small half-breadboard can support several emSynth modules!

Also, about the pots and switches, I have been gathering knowledge of a few specific parts to be used for just such a purpose. The thumbwheel pots, for example, have no equal in terms of ease-of-use and compact size. With the new knowledge of these pin headers, I've got a working system that is sure to be a winner!

In the unlikely event that the modules do not sell, I'll just be out several hundred dollars and I'll have a box full of modules to use in creating something else, so I'm not really risking all that much - just my time and less than a thousand dollars. If, however, the business takes off there will be a new category of modular synthesizer: the miniature kind!

Les

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tjookum



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PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2012 3:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Easy to use, cheap, modular, small, portable, low power, powerfull and huge amounts of fun. I think they will sell like cold drinks on a hot day.


Over on "the sound of logic" forums there have been several threads about a sort of lunetta starterkit. A single pcb with all the basic modules and only using pcb mounted pots and headers. Unfortunately it has stayed a thread and never made it to a product. But the discussion got a lot of good suggestions that might be usefull for you.

-Using interchangable caps for the oscillators, I personally always use a 3 pin header to accomodate the mkp style caps.
-The circuit itself can be smd and very small but I would pay a lot of attention to the parts you interact with. DIP switches are a pain to use and IMHO they just feel cheap and crappy. Here are some alternatives:
http://dickbest.nl/forums.html?_a=viewProd&productId=2383
http://www.dealextreme.com/p/3-pin-slide-switch-diy-parts-black-silver-20-piece-pack-134100?item=14
As for the pots, I think thumbwheels are a great choice. I did a lot of research into pcb mounted pots and here are some of my favorites:
http://www.mouser.com/catalog/specsheets/TW-700167.pdf
http://www.pieterfloris.nl/shop/product.php?id_product=648*anyone know who makes these?
http://www.song-huei.com.tw/product.php?mode=show&cid=83&pid=325*manufacturer but they take orders from 1000+ pieces, extremely cheap. I have a few of these and they are superb quality.
-Lots of LED's!
-Durablitiy is a big issue with pcb mounted designs, depending on how your design turns out, I would suggest using some kind of support besides the headers.
-and just a thought, maybe you could screenprint the manual for each module on the underside? Or at least a way to tell inputs from outputs.

Good luck with this project, I would love to see some of your pcb designs.

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There he goes. One of God's own prototypes. A high-powered mutant of some kind never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die.
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Inventor
Stream Operator


Joined: Oct 13, 2007
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Location: San Antonio, Tx, USA
Audio files: 258

PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2012 3:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Tjookum, thanks for the ideas - I had not thought of interchangeable oscillator caps. I just put a range of different values on the Hex Oscillator board. I'll be converting all the remaining (four) boards to surface mount and when that's done I'll make changes and updates to the existing boards.

The only place I needed a DIP switch was to select one of four pseudoramdom bit sequences on the Pseudo Random board. It's not quite idiot proof though because the user must select only one of the four switches. What would be a better alternative?

The image below shows the pots I have selected. I've used them for many years and they work great.

Regarding mechanical support, I am keeping the length of the boards short by going surface mount and that limits play, however I may end up with a second row of header pins to give them rock solid support.

I'm told the website space will be available on Monday (tomorrow), so plan on having an advance peek really soon!

Les


3352T Bourns Pot.jpg
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emSynth Potentiometer
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3352T Bourns Pot.jpg



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Stream Operator


Joined: Oct 13, 2007
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Location: San Antonio, Tx, USA
Audio files: 258

PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2012 3:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

tjookum wrote:
Easy to use, cheap, modular, small, portable, low power, powerfull and huge amounts of fun. I think they will sell like cold drinks on a hot day.


Over on "the sound of logic" forums there have been several threads about a sort of lunetta starterkit. A single pcb with all the basic modules and only using pcb mounted pots and headers. Unfortunately it has stayed a thread and never made it to a product.

...

Good luck with this project, I would love to see some of your pcb designs.


Now that is very encouraging news indeed! I'll have to stop by and make mention of this project when it's closer to fruition. What is the URL for that forum?

I have a very good feeling about this business idea, and your words only stoke the fire higher! You can rest assured I will be devoting as much of my energies and finances as I can to this project!

Les

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tjookum



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PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2012 4:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

For a 1 in 4 switch I would go with a rotary switch. I know they are available in miniature sizes but I have no idea where to get them and what the quality is. If you're making your own pcb's it's not that hard to include a footprint for a 1p4t slide switch.

here is the url:
http://deathlehem.com/php/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=2838&hilit=lunetta+board
You need to register.

Good luck

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There he goes. One of God's own prototypes. A high-powered mutant of some kind never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die.
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attdestroyers



Joined: Mar 29, 2012
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2012 6:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

tjookum - I've tried to register to that forum many times, but it doesn't seem to work... bummer.
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Stream Operator


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2012 6:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

The website is up! Have a look here:

www.emsynth.com

to get more information about the upcoming emSynth product line. Please note that these products will not be available for another five to eight weeks!

Les

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attdestroyers



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PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2012 8:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

o this is so cool. I plan on saving up some money for these.

Also, i think you should go into marketing. The site makes me feel like i NEED this stuff. Like food, water, and shelter... Now it's food, water, shelter, and emsynth modules.
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Stream Operator


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Audio files: 258

PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2012 9:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

attdestroyers wrote:
o this is so cool. I plan on saving up some money for these.

Also, i think you should go into marketing. The site makes me feel like i NEED this stuff. Like food, water, and shelter... Now it's food, water, shelter, and emsynth modules.


Awesome news, attdestroyers! Funny, I was never good at marketing... Maybe it's because these little modules seem to sell themselves!

Les

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