Friday, 8 December 2017

FADR-8 Midi Fader Box - with JLCPCB

JLCPCB is a great place to get custom Printed Circuit Boards. Be sure to take advantage of their incredible 10 Boards for $2 prototyping deal! Visit

The company contacted me with an interesting idea for a collaboration video. They asked me to come up with a project and they would provide the PCB's. I have always wanted to build a Midi Fader box with some high quality - full size faders. So I created the FADR-8.

I decided to use a Teensy LC microcontroller as the brains of the unit since it handles USB Midi very well. I also went with a three digit LED display for that retro vibe. Finally, I added two buttons that allow for setting the values of the faders and switching between eight banks of presets. To top it off, I made some custom 3D printed fader knobs.

The project uses ALPS RS6011SP6003 faders and a Hammond 1590DDBK box for the enclosure. To drive the LED display I used a MAX7219 chip I had in stock and a 74AHCT125 level converter chip to make it play nicely with the 3.3v Teensy board.

Working with faders is much more challenging that working with potentiometers. Instead of a simple drill hole, faders require a accurately cut slot in the enclosure. For this you will need a milling machine. I would hate to try this with hand tools.

Overall this was a very satisfying project. The PCB's from JLCPCB were perfect and everything fit together nicely. Watch the video below to see how everything came together.

Friday, 29 September 2017

WHAM Jammer - Build it!

Here's a cool project for the guitar players out there. The WHAM Jammer is a circuit that connects to a DigiTech Whammy 5 pedal through the Midi port and makes it do things that might be considered....unnatural.

The following video shows you how to quickly build the circuit on a breadboard so you can try it out. I'll get to work on designing a proper enclosed version.

Download the software and schematic HERE

If you want to build a permanent version in a custom enclosure, watch this!

Parts List (with Amazon affiliate links)

1 - Arduino Nano (clone version)
1 - Breadboard
1 - 6N138 Optocoupler
1 - 1n914 Diode
2 -  5 Pin Midi Jack
3 - 220 Ohm Resistor
1 - 1K Ohm Resistor
1 - 470 Ohm Resistor

Parts for Enclosure

1 - Adafruit Perma-Proto 1/2 Sized Breadboard
1 - Chip Socket - 8 Pin
1 - Header - 2 Pin - (or cut from longer Breakaway type)
1 - Jumper - 2 Pin
1 - Hammond 1590BB Aluminum Enclosure - Red preferred
2 - Panel mount MIDI Jacks
1 - DC Barrel Jack - 2.1mm
4 - Rivets - 1/8" Aluminum - 1/4" Grip
2 - M3 PCB Standoffs - 10mm
4 - M3 x 6 - Button Head Bolts
4 - Rubber Feet - Adhesive

Gear used in video

DigiTech Whammy 5 pedal
M-Audio MIDISPORT 2x2 Midi Interface
Hakko FX888D - Soldering Station

Monday, 8 May 2017

Auduino Synth - 3D Enclosure

In my last LIVE from the Lab Youtube stream, I constructed a temporary breadboard version of the Auduino Synth using an Arduino Nano.

But, this is the kind of project that is so much fun, you will most likely want a permanent version to add to your musical toys. So I decided to create a 3D printable enclosure and transfer the circuit to an Adafruit Perma-Proto board.

Watch the video below to see a live demonstration of the circuit board construction. You can download the Arduino Code, Schematics, and STL files for your 3D printer HERE.

Parts List (With Amazon affiliate links)

5 - 10K Ohm Potentiometers - Linear (P160KNP-0EC15B10K - from Digi-Key)
1 - Adafruit Perma-Proto - Half Size PCB
1 - Arduino Nano (clone version)
1 - 6N138 Optocoupler
1 - 1n914 Diode
1 - 1/4" Phone Jack (Mono)
1 -  5 Pin Midi Jack (Panel Mount)
1 - 2.1mm DC Power Jack
1 - 33nF Polyester Film Capacitor
1 - 100uF 25V Electrolytic Capacitor (Radial)
1- 4 Position DIP Switch
1 - 220 Ohm Resistor
1 - 1K Ohm Resistor
1 - 2.2K Ohm Resistor
1 - 470 Ohm Resistor

Tools used in video

FlashForge Creator Pro - 3D printer
HATCHBOX - ABS Filament (Black)
Hakki FX888D - Soldering Station
Aven 17010 - Circuit Board Holder
22 Gauge - Solid Wire
22 Gauge - Stranded Wire

Auduino Synth build for the Arduino Nano

In my recent LIVE from the Lab Youtube stream, I built up an Auduino Granular Synth using an Arduino Nano and a handful of parts. You can watch the VOD of the session below.

This is a relatively simple (but extremely fun) project that demonstrates how quickly you can build a fully functioning Synth and control it with Midi. **NOTE - This project uses old school 5-Pin Midi only so you will need a Midi interface to connect it to your PC**

Download the code and schematics HERE and follow the video for the complete tutorial. Enjoy!!

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Twitch Switch - Part 4

User Guide

To finish up the Twitch Switch project I am posting a User Guide that shows how to configure the device and set it up in OBS Studio.

The Twitch Switch has a built-in configuration menu system that uses a standard Text Document for communication. To program the Twitch Switch do the following:

1. Open a new Text Document on your desktop. The Twitch Switch will type out the configuration menu in this document.

2. Hold the STEAM, MIC, and PC keys simultaneously for three seconds to enter KEY EDIT MODE. Follow the on-screen instructions to set the Keys and Modifiers (CTRL,SHIFT,ALT). You can set up to two modifier keys per button.

3. Hold the SCENE1, SCENE2, SCENE3, and SCENE4 keys simultaneously for three seconds to enter UTILITY MODE. Here you can set the Debounce Time (this prevents false readings due to contact bounce) and the Delay Time. The Delay Time is used to insert a small pause between the Modifier and the Key press. OBS seems to not register key presses if two keys are pressed at the same time.

Watch the video below for a full demonstration! HAPPY TWITCHING!

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Twitch Switch - Part 3

Load the Code

If you have made it this far you should be admiring your newly constructed Twitch Switch. Now we need to add the brains to this beauty.

First, download the Twitch Switch Software by clicking the link.

Uploading the program to the Teensy LC board at the heart of the Twitch Switch will require two pieces of software:

1 - Arduino IDE: This is the standard software used to program the Adruino family of microcontroller boards. If you are an Arduino user, you probably have this already on your PC. If not, follow the link to visit the website.

2 - Teensyduino Add-On: This is a software add-on for the Arduino IDE that adds the extra functionality needed to program the Teensy series.
NOTE: Check the information on the Teensyduino download page to find the latest supported version of the Arduino IDE. Sometimes it takes a while before new versions are supported so you may need to use an older version of the Arduino software for this to work.

Now, install the Arduino and Teensyduino software and upload the Twitch Switch program. Watch this video for a step by step guide.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Twitch Switch - Part 2

Construction Ahead

In this instalment of the Twitch Switch project, we will assemble the components and complete the wiring. Check out Part 1 of this project if you haven't already. Once you're up to speed, watch the video below for step by step instructions.

Wire it up!

Here is a handy wiring diagram for your reference. Just follow the numbers and connect the dots. A soldering iron with a sharp tip and a magnifying glass will help you connect the wires to the Teensy-LC (they don't call it a Teensy for nothing).