Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Wishing you all a happy 2013

2012 for various reasons has been for me a real struggle and so am hoping 2013 will turn out to be a better year. My wish on this first day of 2013 is that it will be a very happy and healthy year for you and your loved ones.

2012 saw just a few successes:-

The first was the power system and trunk-line modules I designed and built for Gregg Wilson's wonderful wall sized monster synth.

The second was the development, prototyping (including two custom built modules) and preproduction run of the CVGT1 Euro Buchla translator module which are now delivered to the pre-order list customers who are putting them to good use.

Related to the CVGT1 was my first foray into surface-mount boards - the preproduction run of 30 CVGT1 modules used through-hole components which meant that I could, and did, hand build those modules. However they were so time consuming to build that I got quotes for getting them made but the cost was was prohibitive; I was advised that surface mount assembly would be much cheaper and so I set about relaying the boards for surface mounted components.  This worked well and they worked first time albeit for the most significant financial commitment I have made in Synovatron to date. 

CV Tools may get the same reworking but will keep the through-hole version in existance for you DIY enthusiasts; the CV Tools DIY Kit has continued to be a succesful product with more plaudits about the kit presentation, clear instructions and ease of build.

The downside for 2012:-

Following a personal loss in July I took some time out and then I pushed very hard in the last 2-3 months to produce a large batch of CV Tools and CVGT1 modules for the end of 2012 but due to supplier quality issues it now looks like those modules will not ship to distributors until late January to early February

I had to reject two thirds of CVGT1 front panels due to scratches and had to reject a batch of 1000 jack sockets due to varying quality from stiff to non-functional (i.e. can't insert a patch lead); unfortunately many were assembled on boards before I discovered this. So all in all a huge amount of effort and frustration with no output but I have learned lessons from this. 3.5mm connector quality is certainly the hardest component problem that Eurorack manufacturers seem to face followed closely by front panel quality issues.

Another problem encountered but Eurorack users is the ease of misconnecting the power cable. 

This was brought sharply into focus by a client who reverse connected his RS-35 using one of my ASM2DB Adaptors and blew up the tantalum capacitors and a CA3046 IC on the RS-35; notably all the TL072 ICs survived as did the F-V converter chip

The connection instructions are clear but we are human and our capacity to f**k goes with the territory (hence the disclaimer in the instructions); I still do it even though I know to be careful. I have fixed his module for free as a goodwill gesture but it does worry me - my plea to all designers of new modules is use protection diodes.