North Coast News

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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Green modular, part 5:  Behind the scenes
2019 Mar 20th

Green modular, part 5: Behind the scenes

In this final part to the green modular series I'll talk about environmental and related issues associated with the modular business, going beyond the manufacturing of the modules themselves. We began this series with RoHS and there may be a temp…

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Green modular, part 4: Wood, and toxic waste
2019 Feb 22nd

Green modular, part 4: Wood, and toxic waste

In this part of the Green Modular series, I'd like to talk about wood, and toxic waste. Part 1 focused mostly on saving energy; in parts 2 and 3 I wrote about metals, and some of the environmental issues related to metals are caused by their t…

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Green modular, part 3:  More metal
2019 Jan 29th

Green modular, part 3: More metal

The RoHS "big three" metals I talked about last time occupy a lot of attention of synthesizer manufacturers because we have specific legal obligations we must meet regarding those metals; but many other metals are also used in building synths, a…

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Green modular, part 2: the big three metals of RoHS
2019 Jan 18th

Green modular, part 2: the big three metals of RoHS

In this second part of the series on modular and the environment, I'm going to look at metals. Modular synthesizers are made of many different materials including wood, plastic, and glass, but a significant part of the mass of a synth (or any ele…

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Coiler VCF (pre-) release, vacation
2018 Dec 3rd

Coiler VCF (pre-) release, vacation

I've been talking for a while about my development process for the MSK 009 Coiler VCF, and now at last it's available for purchase in the North Coast Synthesis online storefront.  It's a limited, preliminary manufacturing run, using up a f…

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Updates and new module development
2018 Nov 3rd

Updates and new module development

This posting gathers together a bunch of small news items:  new features on the Web site, notably including homegrown videos, the current state of the business, and some ideas I'm working on for future modules. Web site stuff I've been mak…

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Exponential converters and how they work
2018 Oct 12th

Exponential converters and how they work

Exponential converters are basic building blocks used in many synth circuits, but for many of us, they are incomprehensible black boxes.  The basic concept of how an exponential converter works is very simple; but the simplest possible circui…

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Level up on circuit simplification
2018 Sep 22nd

Level up on circuit simplification

In my last entry I talked about the rules for simplifying series and parallel circuits. Two resistors in series can be replaced by one with a value equivalent to the pair of them; two in parallel can similarly be replaced; there are other rules…

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