Super Sixteen build support thread

Creator of of the Super Sixteen Sequencer and based in San Francisco. This is a DIY and Finished Good product for Eurorack.

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extralifedisco
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Re: Super Sixteen build support thread

Post by extralifedisco » Tue Nov 17, 2020 12:34 am

titl wrote:
Mon Nov 16, 2020 6:55 am
Hi
The pdf and the video are very clear thanks for that.
I just finish the build, but i have two problems :
-The second number in the screen doesn't work.
-no gate on output.

I think soldering points are all ok, all ics are well powered, all the ground i can check are ok.
Do you have an idea to fix that?
Thanks
Interesting! For the 2nd digit you'll want to have a look at the transistors by the display (Q1,Q2,Q3) and the resistors just below it (R14,R15,R16).

A more likely culprit however is the header pin connections right near those resistors, as the header pins are sometimes quite difficult to solder correctly (particularly the male headers). I would recommend applying some flux and reflowing all the pins on that header if you don't spot anything else amiss. Additionally, the mating surfaces of the pins might have gotten oil or flux residue on them, so it's always a good idea to clean them off with alcohol before trying anything more difficult.

For the gate output, you'll want to inspect the LED, diode, and resistors right near the gate output. Double-check that the polarity of the diode matches the silkscreen. Again, the header pins near the gate output provide connection to the other board, so inspect those header joints and reflow them with some more flux if you are at all in doubt.

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Re: Super Sixteen build support thread

Post by titl » Tue Nov 17, 2020 11:24 am

Thanks for the answer but i think i will need to go deeper.
I check header pins with my multimeter in continuity mode, i replace the Q1,Q2,Q3 3906 transistors, i measure R14,R15,R16.
I reflux all this connections ( including the screen) and still no second number...
Perhaps the screen is broken?
For the gate, i replace the led in the right way, i measure the diode, i also reflux the connection and i have a beep with my multimeter.

I have to say i had to replace the atmega ic because i used one of my own and not your pre-programed one, it was quite long and oainful, i hope i not damaged something.After that i installed socket for every IC.
I also replace N4001 (D103, D104) with N4007 (no more N4001 in my stock).
Excuse my english and thank you for your help.

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Re: Super Sixteen build support thread

Post by extralifedisco » Wed Nov 18, 2020 3:47 am

titl wrote:
Tue Nov 17, 2020 11:24 am
Perhaps the screen is broken?
It should be easy enough to test this theory. Unplug the module and use your multimeter in diode test mode. Connect the positive probe to the display's top row, 3rd pin from right. Connect the negative probe to the top leg of any of the nearby 7 resistors to the right of the display. You should see one of the segments light up. If it does light up, you may have a short circuit from that pin to ground, or as I mentioned nearby on the transistors on 680 ohm resistors. You can check for continuity from the middle 680 ohm resistor to pin 12 on the atmega IC as well. If it doesn't light up, but the other digits do (you can find their source pins on the top of the display as well).

If you don't have a multimeter with diode mode, you can test it by attaching a +5v source (9v would probably also work) to that same 3rd pin, and putting the ground attachment on the other side of those resistors (the lower side near the shift register IC).
DSC01998.jpg
titl wrote:
Tue Nov 17, 2020 11:24 am
I have to say i had to replace the atmega ic because i used one of my own and not your pre-programed one, it was quite long and oainful, i hope i not damaged something.After that i installed socket for every IC.
I also replace N4001 (D103, D104) with N4007 (no more N4001 in my stock).
Excuse my english and thank you for your help.
Sorry for the slow replacement! Desoldering ICs is really hard, I generally do it destructively and replace the part altogether so it's a mess. Sockets are always a good idea - I will start including them in kits soon I think. I'm not sure what your issue could be - another thing to check for the gate output is the orientation of the zener diodes on the CPU board (d101, d102) and the type (1n4733). If you haven't got those 5.1v zeners, probably better to leave them out altogether as they could cause your issue.

If you post some photos of your PCBs I can help you look more closely at the soldering, orientation, etc.

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Re: Super Sixteen build support thread

Post by titl » Wed Nov 18, 2020 5:34 am

extralifedisco wrote:
Wed Nov 18, 2020 3:47 am
It should be easy enough to test this theory. Unplug the module and use your multimeter in diode test mode. Connect the positive probe to the display's top row, 3rd pin from right. Connect the negative probe to the top leg of any of the nearby 7 resistors to the right of the display. You should see one of the segments light up.
Ok
Yes it lights up.
No short to ground, just a continuity beep with Q2 pin1 emitter.
extralifedisco wrote:
Wed Nov 18, 2020 3:47 am
You can check for continuity from the middle 680 ohm resistor to pin 12 on the atmega IC as well.
Ok that's it, no continuity but i have a beep with other 680 ohm resistors on pin 11 and 13.
extralifedisco wrote:
Wed Nov 18, 2020 3:47 am
another thing to check for the gate output is the orientation of the zener diodes on the CPU board (d101, d102) and the type (1n4733)
Yes they are real 1n4733, i can read the number.

Image
Image

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Re: Super Sixteen build support thread

Post by titl » Wed Nov 18, 2020 5:41 am

Sorry you can find pictures here
Image
Image

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Re: Super Sixteen build support thread

Post by extralifedisco » Wed Nov 18, 2020 3:06 pm

OK, glad to see you're making progress! Your PCBs look ok as far as orientation and placement, but it would be helpful to see the solder side in a bit better focus if you can. You can also use the forum image attachment to get the photos inline and not use an external host (click on "full editor and preview" when replying).
titl wrote:
Wed Nov 18, 2020 5:34 am
Ok that's it, no continuity but i have a beep with other 680 ohm resistors on pin 11 and 13.
For the display digit path, I suppose it goes without saying that you need to locate the discontinuity from the 680 ohm resistor to atmega pin 12 by buzzing out the traces in between.
  • The 680 ohm resistor should connect to the nearby header pin
  • The header pin should connect to the opposite header (test this! a pin could be bent or cracked)
  • The opposite header should connect to the atmega pin 12.
The final cpu-board trace may be harder to follow - below is a diagram highlighting its path.
dig2a.jpg

For the gate output, you can do much the same thing. However there are some resistors in the path so you'll need to account for them. You can try to measure resistance from the gate output itself to the CPU pin 2 - should be about 2k. Path diagrams are below. Here's the CPU board path for the gate signal:
gate-out1.jpg
And here's the control-board path:
gate2.jpg
If continuity looks good, of course, check for shorts to ground along the path as well. Just to emphasize, I would suspect the header pins before other components as they are mechanical moving parts which introduce the most unreliability and strain on solder joints. Those resistors and transistors are unlikely to have failed. Diodes can sometimes fail short due to overvoltage or ESD, so it could be worth testing the voltage drop on the 1n4733a's and BAT 85.

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Re: Super Sixteen build support thread

Post by titl » Thu Nov 19, 2020 4:20 am

Hi
Thanks again so :
extralifedisco wrote:
Wed Nov 18, 2020 3:06 pm
The 680 ohm resistor should connect to the nearby header pin
The header pin should connect to the opposite header (test this! a pin could be bent or cracked)
extralifedisco wrote:
Wed Nov 18, 2020 3:06 pm
The opposite header should connect to the atmega pin 12.
Yes it's ok .

extralifedisco wrote:
Wed Nov 18, 2020 3:06 pm
The final cpu-board trace may be harder to follow - below is a diagram highlighting its path.
No ! but pins 11 and 13 connect with closest pins.You found the problem, i probably damaged the pcb. I can solder a wire between the ic and the header pin unless you have a better idea.
super16-cpuboard-verso.jpg
I have the exact same problem with the pin 2 gate output, i have no continuity with r103 ( but i have with D101). I tested the diode and the rest of the path which is ok.
I will try to take my time this time so i will wait for your answer before making an other mistake.

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Re: Super Sixteen build support thread

Post by extralifedisco » Thu Nov 19, 2020 3:42 pm

titl wrote:
Thu Nov 19, 2020 4:20 am
No ! but pins 11 and 13 connect with closest pins.You found the problem, i probably damaged the pcb. I can solder a wire between the ic and the header pin unless you have a better idea.
super16-cpuboard-verso.jpg

I have the exact same problem with the pin 2 gate output, i have no continuity with r103 ( but i have with D101). I tested the diode and the rest of the path which is ok.
I will try to take my time this time so i will wait for your answer before making an other mistake.
Yep, you should just be able to replace the trace by soldering a wire where it would go. Typically this is done with very fine solid-core wire called "mod wire" "kynar wire" or "wire wrap wire", but you can use anything you've got around. If you've only got some stranded wire, it's probably best to clip about half the strands from the stripped part as they can easily splay out and cause short circuits to nearby pins.

Also, it's a good idea to solder the wire as flat against the PCB as you can, and then tape it in place in 2 places so it doesn't get caught and pulled off later. But it's an easy repair so just mark the solder points and use whatever wire you've got so at least you know if that's the right fix!

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Re: Super Sixteen build support thread

Post by titl » Fri Nov 20, 2020 5:29 am

extralifedisco wrote:
Thu Nov 19, 2020 3:42 pm
Yep, you should just be able to replace the trace by soldering a wire where it would go. Typically this is done with very fine solid-core wire called "mod wire" "kynar wire" or "wire wrap wire", but you can use anything you've got around. If you've only got some stranded wire, it's probably best to clip about half the strands from the stripped part as they can easily splay out and cause short circuits to nearby pins.

Also, it's a good idea to solder the wire as flat against the PCB as you can, and then tape it in place in 2 places so it doesn't get caught and pulled off later. But it's an easy repair so just mark the solder points and use whatever wire you've got so at least you know if that's the right fix!

Ok done and it works!
Thanks a lot for your time. The supersixteen is really great.
Bravo !

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Re: Super Sixteen build support thread

Post by ub1k » Sun Nov 29, 2020 3:24 pm

Just finished building mine. The build guide is awesome, thanks a lot for that!

Upon turning the module on, the lights blink corrrectly, everything seems to work fine, except that I don't get CV/Pitch (gate works fine).
I've checked the MCP4822 and there's something fishy, as pin 8 seems to be shorted to pin 7 (GND). The short is in the IC itself, so I guess it means it's gone?
The weird thing is that I am using a socket, so I'm 100% sure I didn't damage the IC myself while soldering (and it came from DigiKey, it should be a reliable supplier). The circuit seems to be feeding it with +5V as expected...
Sadly I only ordered one of those... I'm afraid I'll have to source them from China and wait a few weeks more :bang:

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Re: Super Sixteen build support thread

Post by extralifedisco » Sun Nov 29, 2020 10:39 pm

ub1k wrote:
Sun Nov 29, 2020 3:24 pm
Just finished building mine. The build guide is awesome, thanks a lot for that!

Upon turning the module on, the lights blink corrrectly, everything seems to work fine, except that I don't get CV/Pitch (gate works fine).
I've checked the MCP4822 and there's something fishy, as pin 8 seems to be shorted to pin 7 (GND). The short is in the IC itself, so I guess it means it's gone?
The weird thing is that I am using a socket, so I'm 100% sure I didn't damage the IC myself while soldering (and it came from DigiKey, it should be a reliable supplier). The circuit seems to be feeding it with +5V as expected...
Sadly I only ordered one of those... I'm afraid I'll have to source them from China and wait a few weeks more :bang:
That's a drag! In-circuit I get about 550 ohms between pins 7 & 8. I assume you have already, but it's certainly worth testing to see if you still have the short without the IC in the socket - very easy to miss a solder bridge somewhere. If it goes away when you remove the chip, time to order another one.

I'm not too familiar with EU distributors - you can check the list on Microchip's website to see if any of them look familiar or near enough to ring up and see if they have any in stock. From what I can tell most of them ship MCP parts from the US anyway, but Avnet europe seems to keep stock in 2 separate places:
https://www.microchip.com/salesdirector ... witzerland

Octopart also lists stock at non-authorized distributors (none of which I know about besides Quest in California). Schukat seems to have stock in Germany but their MOQ is 5 parts - Conrad.ch seems to have some as well. Worth a look at any rate:
https://octopart.com/mcp4822-e%2Fp-micr ... ceAndStock

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Re: Super Sixteen build support thread

Post by ub1k » Tue Dec 01, 2020 6:05 am

I assume you have already, but it's certainly worth testing to see if you still have the short without the IC in the socket - very easy to miss a solder bridge somewhere.
Thanks but I have already checked it without the IC and everything seems fine. Moreover, I have measured the resistance with the IC out of the socket.
New IC it is. Thanks for the links, I'll see if I find something reasonable delivery-wise, but I'm not holding my breath.

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Re: Super Sixteen build support thread

Post by Kerplunk » Wed Dec 09, 2020 7:45 am

Hi,

So after getting my second board, my super sixteen is up and running with no issues... it's really fun to play with. I do have a question though. Apologies if this is not the right place to ask, but... I am trying to sync it with my MPC X. I have the tempo synced OK, by sending a gate every 16th note, however I am having trouble syncing the start of the sequence to the MPC. I am passing a gate through the Reset, but I can't get them to sync properly.

Any idea what I could/should be doing to get them synced up properly.

Also, is it correct that, if I stop the sequence running mid sequence, it starts from where I stopped it or should it start from the first note each time? because it seems to be starting from where I stopped it.

If there is a user guide that explains this, I'd be most grateful if you could point me in the right direction :)

Thanks

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Re: Super Sixteen build support thread

Post by extralifedisco » Wed Dec 09, 2020 4:52 pm

Kerplunk wrote:
Wed Dec 09, 2020 7:45 am
Hi,

So after getting my second board, my super sixteen is up and running with no issues... it's really fun to play with. I do have a question though. Apologies if this is not the right place to ask, but... I am trying to sync it with my MPC X. I have the tempo synced OK, by sending a gate every 16th note, however I am having trouble syncing the start of the sequence to the MPC. I am passing a gate through the Reset, but I can't get them to sync properly.

Any idea what I could/should be doing to get them synced up properly.

Also, is it correct that, if I stop the sequence running mid sequence, it starts from where I stopped it or should it start from the first note each time? because it seems to be starting from where I stopped it.

If there is a user guide that explains this, I'd be most grateful if you could point me in the right direction :)

Thanks
Interesting! I haven't used an MPC-X so can't really offer much insight on how that works by default. When I am testing it I generally use it with a mutable instruments module tester or an erica synths MIDI-CV interface. What I do is set up a single MIDI note in my DAW to as a trigger out on beat 1 and then send that to the reset input through the midi-cv. The Super Sixteen will read the reset input first and the clock input second, so if they go trigger simultaneously, it should start in sync. The pulse length generally doesn't matter as the input is latched.

If you stop the sequence in the middle of playback and restart, it will pick up where you left off. I have thought about adding an "always reset" option but that would be hard to implement with external clocks. To reset the playhead to beat 1, you can press SHIFT+PLAY. This does the same thing as sending a pulse to the RESET input, and you can do it while the sequencer is playing or paused. This is explained briefly on page 2 of the manual, which is here: (though that section looks like it got clipped and could be better-written!)
http://extralifeinstruments.com/docs/su ... manual.pdf

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Re: Super Sixteen build support thread

Post by Polysilicon » Wed Dec 09, 2020 9:54 pm

Just finished a build. Did the tests, all good. Plug it in..... and nothing. No Display lights, no button, lights,... Nothing.

I went through the entire 2 boards and reflowed all joints, and verified polarity.

Parts were bought using the Mouser cart that was provided.

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Re: Super Sixteen build support thread

Post by Polysilicon » Wed Dec 09, 2020 9:59 pm

Just finished a build. Did the tests, all good. Plug it in..... and nothing. No Display lights, no button, lights,... Nothing.

I went through the entire 2 boards and reflowed all joints, and verified polarity.

Parts were bought using the Mouser cart that was provided.

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Re: Super Sixteen build support thread

Post by Polysilicon » Wed Dec 09, 2020 10:01 pm

Here are photos of the PCBs.
20201209_185820.jpg
20201209_185815.jpg
20201209_185748.jpg
20201209_185741.jpg

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Re: Super Sixteen build support thread

Post by extralifedisco » Wed Dec 09, 2020 10:08 pm

Polysilicon wrote:
Wed Dec 09, 2020 9:54 pm
Just finished a build. Did the tests, all good. Plug it in..... and nothing. No Display lights, no button, lights,... Nothing.

I went through the entire 2 boards and reflowed all joints, and verified polarity.

Parts were bought using the Mouser cart that was provided.
Oh no! Well there's a long list of things to check I suppose, but number one is to check all your IC orientations (pin 1 should match the dot on the PCB. I can see from your photos that the shift register 74HC595 near the display module is installed backwards, so pop that out and reverse it. I expect the chip will survive but if you get LEDs and buttons working but no display, then it could be toast (they're cheap though).

If flipping that doesn't fix it, use a multimeter to check voltages on IC pins. You want to find 5V on pin 7 of the CPU (atmega328p), and pin 1 of the DAC (mcp4822). On the control board, you want to see +5V on pin 9 of the MCP23S17 and pin 16 (corner) of the 74HC595s. You also want to see 3.3v on the memory chip, but that fault wouldn't cause a failure to boot.

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Re: Super Sixteen build support thread

Post by Polysilicon » Wed Dec 09, 2020 10:47 pm

That did it! Seems to be working and I'm off to test the outputs now.

Thanks again. Sometimes all you need is another set of eyes.

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Re: Super Sixteen build support thread

Post by extralifedisco » Wed Dec 09, 2020 11:07 pm

Polysilicon wrote:
Wed Dec 09, 2020 10:47 pm
That did it! Seems to be working and I'm off to test the outputs now.

Thanks again. Sometimes all you need is another set of eyes.
Excellent, glad to hear it! One other thing I'd suggest is to lean that 330uF capacitor *away* from the voltage regulator rather than toward it, as the heat the regulator gives off will shorten the cap's lifetime. (Electrolytics caps are very temp-dependent that way.)

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Re: Super Sixteen build support thread

Post by ub1k » Sat Dec 12, 2020 3:55 pm

Ok, the new MCP4822s arrived today and now it works beautifully! Thanks for the help once again!

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Re: Super Sixteen build support thread

Post by Kerplunk » Thu Dec 17, 2020 3:37 am

extralifedisco wrote:
Wed Dec 09, 2020 4:52 pm

Interesting! I haven't used an MPC-X so can't really offer much insight on how that works by default. When I am testing it I generally use it with a mutable instruments module tester or an erica synths MIDI-CV interface. What I do is set up a single MIDI note in my DAW to as a trigger out on beat 1 and then send that to the reset input through the midi-cv. The Super Sixteen will read the reset input first and the clock input second, so if they go trigger simultaneously, it should start in sync. The pulse length generally doesn't matter as the input is latched.

If you stop the sequence in the middle of playback and restart, it will pick up where you left off. I have thought about adding an "always reset" option but that would be hard to implement with external clocks. To reset the playhead to beat 1, you can press SHIFT+PLAY. This does the same thing as sending a pulse to the RESET input, and you can do it while the sequencer is playing or paused. This is explained briefly on page 2 of the manual, which is here: (though that section looks like it got clipped and could be better-written!)
http://extralifeinstruments.com/docs/su ... manual.pdf
The good news I guess is that I'm doing it right, I have a 4 bar sequence with a track that outputs 16th notes to the clock. The reset however only works when I place the gate at the end of the sequence.

I'm wondering if it is caused by the fact that I have modded my MPC to run a 5m dsub cable to a custom DSUB interface on the synth so they could be more than 2 mts apart. I've not had an issue with latency playing notes, but perhaps the sequencer is more sensitive to it.

Or maybe I'll save myself the bother try a midi-cv interface... food for thought indeed...

Anyhoo thanks for the link to the manual, I did look for one, but I clearly didn't look hard enough :)

Nice one
Ben

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Re: Super Sixteen build support thread

Post by jonnyjupiter » Fri Jan 01, 2021 5:43 pm

My kit arrived before Christmas - thanks!
Everything on the workbench ready to go tomorrow.
Looks like your support is awesome, but hopefully everything will go swimmingly...
Happy New Year!

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Re: Super Sixteen build support thread

Post by jonnyjupiter » Sat Jan 02, 2021 5:35 pm

Done!
Followed the instructions as was - except I did all the front panel stuff at once to make sure everything was in place and only had to fasten the nuts once - and it all worked first time.
Really clear instructions - may thanks.
Just need to get power to my new DIY rack and mount it in there. Then the fun can begin.
The hardest part of the whole build was getting the bigger switch caps on properly.
Great kit, and very thoughtful to include a couple of spare parts. Well worth the money and time.

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Re: Super Sixteen build support thread

Post by KittenVillage » Tue Jan 12, 2021 3:56 pm

I've got a weird issue with my build. When I power it up, the 16 small leds light up dimly, but I can see what I'm selecting. The two bigger leds don't seem to light up at all. I'm pretty sure I got the orientation correct on the big ones. I can't see any obvious shorts. Any advice as to where to check first?

Edit: I'm looking at my board and the schematic and I've probably got a cold solder on pin 8 of U1 (or something...)

Edit2: It's not pin 8 of U1. Guess it's time to take some pictures...

Edit3: From the build guide: "Double-check that the LEDs are installed in the ​correct orientation​, with the short legs in the square holes on the PCB"
Fuck.

Edit 4: I've had my 15 minutes of existential despair over it. Serves me right for getting stressed over politics and then deciding to finish the build at 3am and pushing on til dawn. And then I had to wait all day for my kids to go to bed before I had the mental energy to puzzle it out. I'll pick up a proper desoldering gun and make it right next month. Still a very nice build, very solid. Cheers.

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