Saturday, 1 October 2016

8bit Cipher panel

Working well
10HP panel - USD22
set of PCBs (2 layer) - USD25
assembled - USD200

This module is based on the one part of the Buchla Source of Uncertainty/Random Voltage source, although it has been modded somewhat to obtain 4 CV and 9 gate outputs. It requires a clock signal and a signal on at least one of the data inputs to operate. 
The strobe input makes it a bit like an 8 bit sample and hold. If nothing is inserted into the strobe jack the module carries on as normal. When a signal is introduced to strobe, the data obtained from the data jack is only loaded onto the outputs when the signal is high.
Like virtually everything else in the NLC synth, any signal crossing 1V can be used as a clock or data signal.

The best way to see what it does is feed it two signals from different sources, say two LFOs. Leave the clock signal steady and vary the frequency of the signal to the data input. Also try different wave-shapes such as square, sawtooth or triangle. You will see how the data is shifted down thru the stages.
It takes a little bit of tweaking to get the data moving thru in patterns you like, but should be very easy to see what is happening by watching the LEDs.

Once you have it running nicely, connect one of the CV outputs to a VCO and have a listen to the patterns. Tweak the signal on the data input to see how this changes. The first & final stages are fed back to Data input2 via a crude XOR circuit. If nothing is patched into this input, the feedback signal will ensure a nice level of complexity to the output patterns.
The CV outputs are all related to each other but are all different; part of CV1 is fed to CV2, part of CV2 is fed to CV3 etc.

The stage outputs are great for driving drum modules….or anything you like.

Construction pix and comments:

 Place the connectors on the bottom PCB, solder the 2 end pins 1st and check they are standing perpendicular to the PCB. Correct if necessary and then solder the rest.

 Place the other connectors onto the engine PCB, do not solder them yet
 Connect the PCBs and when nice and snug, solder the connectors to the engine PCB
 Remove the upper PCB and install the sockets & LEDs. It might be nice to install a different coloured LED for the centre (serial) position. I found it easiest to place the sockets on the PCB (unsoldered) then place the panel over them. It takes a little bit of jiggling, then hold the two together with one hand and screw the nuts on. Finally solder it all up.
 Note: rows of jacks share ground tabs


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