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 Forum index » DIY Hardware and Software » Circuit Bending
Circuit bending knowledge picked up along the way.
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destroyifyer



Joined: Mar 22, 2006
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2009 7:00 pm    Post subject: Circuit bending knowledge picked up along the way.
Subject description: Post your circuit bending tips to spare others frustration, time, and energy.
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Evil power adapters... We all know not to use incorrect adapters. However, there are certain adapters out there which will appear to work fine, even for weeks, but will slowly but surely fry your machine. My advice is to never use adapters that aren't labeled with polarity, ac or dc, voltage and amperage. I fried a nice kawai keyboard, and a nice 80's thrift store keyboard with one- just e-recycle them if you're not sure.

Soldering tips: Edit: this was terrible advice. This paragraph is being entirely replaced as follows: Learn how to solder from a modern soldering guide. I learned from Quality hand soldering and circuit board repair by H. Ted Smith.

Lead free solder is garbage. Use 63/37 solder, it is supposed to have no plastic state and goes directly from liquid to solid (I don't believe it) but it works good. Get a mask from the hardware store if you are concerned about the lead.

Get an area and method that does not strain your neck. I realized that until I built my new (junky) work bench (which is pretty much chest- high) that I was always hunched over a table, with my neck bent forward over my work. This would frequently put a hault to my work, and would make me have slight neck pain- nothing too bad, but subconsciously would hinder my efforts. I work standing up now- this might not be the thing for you... but consdier that you will be hunched over most of the time bending, especially if you wear a gas mask type thing (some can obstruct your vision.)

The momentary push-buttons on your keyboard stopped working. This will fix those little "suction cup" style buttons. This happened to me when I routed other connections to the push buttons to make them serve other connections. I checked with a piece of metal across where the button hits, and it was working. But the buttons wouldn't work. So I took verry small pieces of tin foil and glued them to the bottom where they touch the board, and this worked fine. Wait for the superglue to dry of course.

Superglue is your enemy. I once accidently glued a little potentiometer closed; this made me feel very retarded. Don't make the same mistake, or you will too.

Post your knowledge. Add to this topic whatever you can to help save future generations from similar frustrations.

Last edited by destroyifyer on Mon Jan 17, 2011 11:48 pm; edited 8 times in total
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bbinkovitz



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PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2009 9:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

i have a little power supply that has a switch for various voltages between 1.5 and 9, and the tip can come off and turn around to reverse polarity when needed. super useful.

also my soldering station has a solder spool holder and a little tunnel below so the end of the solder can stick up right above the little sponge, doesn't need to be held up.

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bbinkovitz



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PostPosted: Sat Nov 07, 2009 11:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

oh yeah and keep track of your screws
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electri-fire



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PostPosted: Sat Nov 07, 2009 1:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

bbinkovitz wrote:
oh yeah and keep track of your screws


Oh yeah... When working on a device that has a speaker I stick my screws on the speaker magnet. That said, I loose loads of them, but then again I have numerous screws in surplus...
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bbinkovitz



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PostPosted: Sat Nov 07, 2009 2:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

electri-fire wrote:
bbinkovitz wrote:
oh yeah and keep track of your screws


Oh yeah... When working on a device that has a speaker I stick my screws on the speaker magnet. That said, I loose loads of them, but then again I have numerous screws in surplus...


i do this too.. but when it's a little speaker you have to take all the screws out to test your machine, otherwise the screws don't allow the speaker to move enough! (happened to me while making the saw box, didn't know why it wouldn't make sound, haha)

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destroyifyer



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PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2009 1:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

bbinkovitz wrote:
Quote:
oh yeah and keep track of your screws


I use (empty) vitamin containers nowadays. I'm sure that a stackable plastic tacklebox rack would be ideal.
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JohnnyDaManiac



Joined: May 11, 2009
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 15, 2009 9:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I mark letters next to screw holes that corresponds to a container with the size of screw that was taken from that hole. For most cheap toys that I take apart all of the screws are the same but sometimes you'll end up with that one screw that is too small and then you have to search around for a big enough screw from some where else. I also just use the speaker trick sometimes when there is only one type of screw.
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alienmeatsack



Joined: Mar 04, 2010
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 12, 2010 1:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

bbinkovitz wrote:
oh yeah and keep track of your screws


I bought a box of little zip lock bags online last year for bits for my scooter (jetting and such) and have found them to be very useful for screws for projects. And parts too.

I just label it, stick the screws or parts into it and tape or stick it to the case or wherever. Very handy!

FWIW, I just posted a response to a parts supply thread which has some info useful to this thread. Can [url="http://electro-music.com/forum/topic-34597.html"]find it here.[/url]

My other big thing I like that helps me a lot... I take lots of 5MP+ photos of everything, from opening, to the main board, to bends I do, etc. So I have a visual record of what I did, how many screws there were, etc. This helps a lot when I put something aside to wait for parts or whatever, and then get back to it. I don't always remember what those 5 wires that are now stuck to the board actually do.

I wish I had considered looking around for the hints and tips before I started. I'd have saved myself a lot of frustration, trouble and whatnot!

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destroyifyer



Joined: Mar 22, 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 17, 2011 11:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Alienmeatstack, your advice on taking photos of the board is excellent. Many good bending keyboards can be easily fried by a battery wire coming lose and going to the wrong place (animal band for example is easily broken like that I believe). And not to mention the high resolution photographs can be easily printed out or MSpainted and marked with bend points as opposed to making a drawing of the board, which is sometimes hard to do with many PCB layouts being not exactly in a grid or other easily reproduced pattern, making diagrams difficult.

My number one bending tip at this point is to learn a bit of basic electronics alongside soldering skills, which might sound strange to the non-circuit bender- but it is not altogether necessary to learn anything major to circuit bend.
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alienmeatsack



Joined: Mar 04, 2010
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 10:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I found the basic electronic skills, parts knowledge, etc to be extremely useful when I did my bends. I did a ton of research, looked at parts at local shops to see what they were, what the info on them was, looked online etc.

I also found that getting a good soldering iron with proper tips was a great help!

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PHOBoS



Joined: Jan 14, 2010
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 11:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

alienmeatsack wrote:
I found the basic electronic skills, parts knowledge, etc to be extremely useful when I did my bends...

well yes and no, I sometimes feel like it holds me back from doing something
crazy cause I think to much about how it works. (but I might have a bit more
than just basic electronic skills)

When testing for bent points, start with a small resistor instead of a piece of
wire, this can prevent frying your circuit in an early stage. If you found a
nice point you can always check with a piece of wire to see how it reacts.
You can also use a 'potbox'. I made a simple one myself with four pots (!k,
10K, 100K, 1M) in series. Measuring input voltage/current can be useful so
you know you're not shorting anything. Something as simple as a LED
connected to the power can also be used for this.

be creative dwarf

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alienmeatsack



Joined: Mar 04, 2010
Posts: 137
Location: Oklahoma

PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 8:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I had no problems going crazy, knowing what stuff did what. I have a garage full of dead toys and gadgets to prove it too. lol Very Happy

I found some of them, the container they were in works great for other projects. Some I stole bits off of. Some I smashed up w the riding mower accidentally when getting it out of the garage. Yeah, Im a klutz.

I currently have 3 projects in process. One is from way back (my Casio bend), almost complete. One is a synth kit, and one is a new amp I am building with some stuff I've learned since.

I need to get back out there and work on them, but I keep forgetting to.

I do miss it.

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