Fiddling with deadly currents

A while back my good friend Niklas from NOR and Norator visited me here in Stockholm for an epic synth weekend (featuring amongst others Kraftwerk and Cold Cave…) and helped me modify my Doepfer LC9 boxes from north american voltage (110v) to the swedish (230v).

Its a relatively simple modification if you’re handy with the soldering iron and know the basics of electrical engineering, but since I wouldn’t put either on my resume Nicklas volunteered to perform the procedure.

Below are some shots from the operation.

Start by loosening the screws in the back…

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That hold the cover for the actual PSU (the one that say you will DIE if you tamper with it…)

photo 2 Next break the two soldering bridges that north american units ship with, and create two new ones to match the spec of the european units…
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And that’s it! My LC9 boxes are now fully compatible with the swedish electrical standard :). Many thanks to Niklas for taking the time!

You can find a document that explains the necessary steps near the bottom of the following page on Doepfer’s website: http://www.doepfer.de/faq/a100_faq.htm#Modification%20mains%20voltage

Custom Studio Furniture (Free Sketchup Plan)

Since I moved back to Sweden It’s taken quite a while to get all the gear back up, but now  it’s finally in place and all plugged in. One of my goals was to improve my desk space to get better access to my rack units.

Buying a ready made studio desk is both expensive and boring so I decided to ‘build’ my own instead. This would also provide the most compact solution.

I started with an Ikea desk called Galant. You can go for either the corner or straight type. I choose the straight (160 x 80 cm) for space saving. On top of this I put two custom built 6U racks made in solid oak to match the surface of the desk.

I left just enough space between them to fit my 27″ iMac, which I suspended from a monitor arm. The idea was to fit a slanting shelf in front of it to hold my Maschine and some other handy gadgets. You may notice that the desk is 5-10cm too short to fit both racks and the mac, but that’s ok. Hopefully I can upgrade to a bigger space at some point, or get a Mac Pro and a 24″ monitor… :P

Check out the results below, and download the Sketchup file if you want to build your own rack.

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Dropbox link to Sketchup file: https://www.dropbox.com/s/din4o7j6icwj88k/6USlantedRack.zip

(Disclaimer: I’m not a carpenter so use the Sketchup drawing at your own risk…)

Elektron Side Cheeks / Panels Part 4

Today I had my third meeting at the studio building my Elektron side panels! I got a call in the afternoon that the actual designs / plans were ready for inspection so S and I drove down right away to check them out.

DSC01186Using the actual Analog Four to verify the angles, spacings and other details we went over the designs and sketches. I made one alteration, adding angles to the front cut-outs, which the carpenter seemed very happy with. Other than that his plans matched exactly what I had in mind.

Next the actual ‘production’ will start and in about 2-3 weeks I should be able to show you the actual results. Needless to say I’m really excited about this project and I can’t wait to see what the final panels will looks like.

More updates to follow.

Elektron Side Cheeks / Panels Part 3

Check the following posts for part 1 and part 2!

I had my second meeting at the studio where the side panels will be made. At my first meeting with the carpenter (furniture maker?) we discussed the choice of wood and went over some simple design directions. This was mostly to get a sense for material and time so that I could get  a rough estimate on the cost.

DSC00932In today’s meeting we went deeper into the precise angles of the tiers and details around air vents, decorative additions and spacings for cables.

I have to say it’s very impressive to talk to a true expert at these things.

Even while listening to my ramblings about standing up vs. sitting down, studio and live use and so forth he was casually drawing up designs that were miles ahead of the sketches that I had brought. I also completed the actual formal order so that work can start for real.

These panels will not be cheap, but on the other hand they are hand made by an expert wood smith from one of the most famous craft regions in Japan. I also get it made precisely to the specifications I want.

More to follow :).

Elektron Side Cheeks / Panels Part 2

As you may know I’m working on some designs for Elektron Side Cheeks / Panels. Read Part 1 here for the background.

Here are some photos of my extremely crude prototype boards that I made to check the angles for the tiers:

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I didn’t have any tools (currently traveling…) so I went to a local home center and borrowed an electric jigsaw. The holes are drilled using a small hand drill that I picked up for $10. The wood is a simple pine board ($3). All in all this little crappy prototype / test (which actually works!) cost about $15 to make.

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I started with a high angle and gradually shaved off degrees so that I could check both the standing and sitting viewing angles. The angle in the photos is final result for the lower tier.

I also realized that I wanted at least 10mm of space between the lower tier machine and the table top to pass cables under the stand.

This is to accommodate a possible third machine placed directly on the table top in front of the stand. Other important lessons include the space needed for the cables attached to the back of the lower tier machine, and making sure that the upper tier does not cover the controls of the lower tier.