DIY Zynthian rotary encoder conntroller board

Nikolaus Gradwohl2020-03-09T06:40:26+00:00

This weekend I finished my self made controller port for the rotary encoders of my DIY zynthian.

I drilled 54 holes, killed one drillbit in the process and learned that a 0.5mm drill bit is to small for soldering pin headers (hint you need 1.2mm for that) then I soldered all the headers and the chip socket, installed the chip - tested all the connections - fixed the broken traces and removed all the solder bridges I created by accident

hooked it up to my pi - and learned that I didn't remove all the solder bridges :-/ so I shortened my 5v and gnd lines on the pi and killed it in the process :-/

But fortunately I had another spare pi - and after some resoldering replacing of components and my pi I finally managed to get the board working and all the rotary encoders work.

zynthian controller board

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First selfmade PCB

Nikolaus Gradwohl2020-03-05T06:00:22+00:00

I created my very first self made PCB!

I designed a custom board for my zynthian i2c-ioexpander to connect the rotary encoders to it. I designed the board in Kicad, which is a tool I'm absolutely not familiar with and I have the feeling that it will take me some time to understand at least a little bit of what I'm actually doning.

Then I transferred the exported board design to a copper layer and etched it using Fe-III-Chloride. What surprised me during the process was, that the hardest part in the whole process was transferring the designs to the board.

For my first try I used glossy photo paper I had laying around - which wasn't really suited for the task, because I learned that it is apparently coated with a plastic layer. My Iron didn't like that, and my attempts to clean it resulted in a burnt finger :-/

my next few tries failed because when cutting the board into the right size some copper pieces bend upwards and stopped the paper I printed the designs on to lay flat on the copper

then I destroyed one or two tries by being to impatient and using to cold water to dissolve the paper

but on try number 6 I finally managed to get a decent toner transfer and etched the board. Which worked way better than I expected - after a few minutes etching and rubbing it with a sponge the board looked pretty nice.

first pcb

Now I need to drill 54 holes without messing up, solder the pin headers and a chip-socket without making mistakes and if I made no errors in my initial kicad-designs everything should work

lets see how this turns out - what could possibly go wrong? :-)

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DIY Zynthian Prototype

Nikolaus Gradwohl2020-03-02T06:35:18+00:00

I started experimmenting with the Zynthian linux image for a spare Raspberry PI and a touch screen shield that have been sitting unused in my spares drawer. Now I finally managed to get some rotary encoders and a MCP1723 I2C IO-Expander. After some experimenting, sweating, swearing, more experimenting and finally replacing a broken pi I managed to get them running and now I have a super cool first working prototype of my DIY Zynthian

Now I need to create a more permanent solution for my mpc1723 circuit and a proper housing for the whole thing :-)

Zynthian Prototype

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Synth.BT Kickstarter

Nikolaus Gradwohl2020-01-06T09:45:12+00:00

When I was playing with my mother32 and dfam the last time I ran out of mults and started to research passive utilitie modules for my modular - especially diy options but I didn't build them - I ran into this kickstarter project by Robert Jordan and backed it instead :-)



can't wait for them to arrive :-)

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sorting drawing supplies

Nikolaus Gradwohl2019-10-17T04:25:49+00:00

Well - initially i just wanted to check if all my pens still work or if i need to replace some - then i also checked all my pencils and markers and then i started doodeling around and then 2 hours later ...

sorting doodle

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New Track - Waves of Thought Pt 1

Nikolaus Gradwohl2019-10-15T05:37:02+00:00

waves of thought running through my mind as i try to sit and concentrate

Waves of Thought Pt 1

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de jong attractor

Nikolaus Gradwohl2019-10-01T06:06:30+00:00

I've been experimenting with strange attractors lately and this is one of the processing sketches I created - showing a animated version of the de jong attractor


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Ronin experiment 21 - morphing lissajous states

Nikolaus Gradwohl2019-08-12T04:52:36+00:00

this visualizer written in ronin morphes between states of a lissajous figure in sync with the music.

I transition between the states by interpolating the state variables linear over a time periode that is in sync with 4 bars of the music.

lissajous states

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ronin experiment 20 - transform flower

Nikolaus Gradwohl2019-08-05T04:16:41+00:00

I used the new transform:.. commands to create an animated flower.

press Ctrl-Shift-H to hide the guide lines

transform flower

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ronin experiment 19 - Sonic Pi visualizer

Nikolaus Gradwohl2019-08-04T04:04:04+00:00

I created a short sonic pi session and wrote a visualizer for it in ronin. Sonic pi sends osc messages that change the amplitude, frequency and decay time of the sine wave based on the bass sound and triggers random colored circles when the pad sound is played


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