North Coast News

Designing for adjustment
2019 Sep 15th

Designing for adjustment

Testing and adjustment are often underestimated in DIY circuit design. It's all very well to choose exactly the right topology and component values for a circuit; but even with a perfect design on paper or in the simulator, how does one get from…

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New look for DIY kits
2019 Aug 31st

New look for DIY kits

If you've been following the North Coast Synthesis email newsletter you'll probably know that I've had ongoing quality problems with the knobs I use in most of my products.  The main issue is with the setscrews used to hold the knob onto a sh…

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How to choose component values
2019 Jul 28th

How to choose component values

When I draw the first draft of a new circuit design, I'll usually work out the topology of the circuit first, and leave out any component values unless it's instantly obvious what they need to be. The topology means which components exist a…

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More music of the dwarves
2019 Jul 1st

More music of the dwarves

I've written before about the music of Dwarf Fortress - not just music to listen to while playing (which is the main thing you can find if you search the Web for this topic) but the music described in-game. The game simulates a procedurally…

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Testing homemade fluxes
2019 Jun 13th

Testing homemade fluxes

In the last four articles (start here) I've gone through a lot of the technicalities of flux: what's in it, how it works, and how to make your own. Now, let's bring it together and try out all these experimental fluxes.What about the solder?The…

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DIY no-clean-style flux
2019 Jun 6th

DIY no-clean-style flux

My two previous DIY solder flux formulations are both designed to be cleaned away after use, with alcohol or with water. In both cases the cleaning is more or less necessary: traditional resin leaves a sticky residue that will attract water, and…

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Make your own water-wash flux
2019 May 30th

Make your own water-wash flux

The current trends in electronics are to smaller and smaller surface-mount components; lead-free solder alloys and a diversity of surface platings; higher temperatures which mean soldering must be faster to avoid component damage; and avoiding tox…

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Homemade traditional resin flux
2019 May 26th

Homemade traditional resin flux

For most of the history of electronics, rosin has been the main ingredient in electronic solder flux. Anybody who learned electronics Back In The Day™ will be familiar with the piney smell of solder smoke. In this second article of the series…

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What is flux?
2019 May 24th

What is flux?

The details of soldering are always popular discussion topics in synth DIY fora: what kind of soldering iron should I use for building something like a Coiler VCF kit? What temperature? What kind of solder? And that last topic, in practice,…

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Driving LEDs digitally
2019 Apr 15th

Driving LEDs digitally

In the last entry I described the electrical requirements of LEDs and how to drive them in the context of analog circuitry. When you want to indicate information with the brightness level of a single LED, as in my Transistor ADSR where the LED dir…

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LEDs and analog drivers for them
2019 Apr 8th

LEDs and analog drivers for them

Light-emitting diodes! They're all over our electronic equipment; but what are they all about, really? The underlying concepts are simple, but there are a lot of frequently-asked questions that show there's confusion among hobbyists about how…

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Building a telephone ring booster
2019 Mar 22nd

Building a telephone ring booster

I recently switched to a new cable Internet modem, because the cable company (which provides my home Internet service) assured me that the package that came with the new modem would be cheaper for the same service compared to what I'd been payi…

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