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Deckards Dream General Build Thread
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Music Tech DIY Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3 ... , 37, 38, 39  Next [all]
Author Deckards Dream General Build Thread
wohali
There is also a secondary PDF for the voice cards that was on dsl-man's wiki:

https://www.dsl-man.de/download/attachments/28016700/Deckard_VoiceCard _assembly_01_01_18-2.pdf?version=1&modificationDate=1517844699000&api= v2

I don't know how much it will have changed for the new rev, however.

Plus all the great tips on that page (note: that is the Rev 1 page!)

Go slow, triple check all your component values and orientations. Take frequent breaks. And invest in a magnifier of some sort. I didn't have to redo any components that I remember, but I've been building stuff since the early 1980s - and even I found it a really challenging build.

As for testing as you go: once the motherboard, jack panel and PSU are done, plug JUST the PSU and jack panel in, power it up, then check all the voltages. I'd also check the voltages on each voice card connector. Then you can power off, add a power card at a time, power on, and make sure the voltages all still look good (and you smell no "magic smoke"). If you get up to 8 boards - you're good! Don't power up a partially assembled voice card, just to be safe.
Gringo Starr
Hello everyone.

I have zero experience with DIY or anything of the sorts. I do have a friend who is willing to build this for me though. I have two questions.

I see that buying the kit for this doesn’t come with the case that you need. Or maybe I looked wrong? Is there anyone that sells everything you need to finish this in one package?

Also I’ve played on one of these before and I was let down with how the sliders felt. They felt very flimsy and weak. Is it easy to install something that would change the feel of this? Something that would make it feel much tighter and smoother?
wohali
Hey Gringo,

I hope your friend has a lot of experience - this is perhaps the most challenging (and exhausting) DIY build out there! Two words for you: be patient. The component count for this is very high and it's going to take your friend a lot of work.

The case and front panel is here: https://siddarthianinnovations.bigcartel.com/

There's no other sliders I know of that are this size that would feel any different. If you want a different feel, you're going to have to design a new (probably larger) front panel with different controls and a new PCB. This isn't impossible, but it's not a simple task.
Gringo Starr
Thanks for the information I really appreciate that.

Assuming he does know what he’s doing would you be able to estimate how many hours this will take? I only ask because he has a full-time job and a family. He’s a busy guy but he offered to do it. If it’s too much work I don’t wanna add that to his overwhelming schedule.
FrogStar
It is very likely too much work. It’s thousands of parts with zero documentation (for the v2 which is currently sold). DIY you save about $1000 off retail. It’s a big savings but not worth the time if the builder doesn’t really enjoy the process. I’m just starting mine. I had expected 40+ hours of work but this may take much more.
spacecadet
wohali wrote:
There is also a secondary PDF for the voice cards that was on dsl-man's wiki:



No good for v2 - layout is totally different - I should know, I just finished mine
FrogStar
How many hours did it take you?
spacecadet
FrogStar wrote:
It is very likely too much work. It’s thousands of parts with zero documentation (for the v2 which is currently sold). DIY you save about $1000 off retail. It’s a big savings but not worth the time if the builder doesn’t really enjoy the process. I’m just starting mine. I had expected 40+ hours of work but this may take much more.


I reckon it took me at least 70hrs. By the end I could do a voice card in about 6 hours.

In my experience, at this stage, it seems direct support from Black Corp for the DDRM appears to be non-existent. They seem to have delegated that to the community.
In typical start-up fashion they are now preoccupied elsewhere and have forgotten their primary customers - busy designing new stuff instead.

I would not recommend making the investment for a kit unless:-

a) You can read the rev 1.0 schematics and actually understand them fully - ie you probably need to have a degree in electronics.

b) You can take what little technical information there is about the rev.2, and using that with a combination of reverse engineering the board layouts, start to piece together and actually understand the differences. I have spent considerable time to understand what it is I have built. There is actually very little in the way of original design in the DDRM. The real value add was bringing it all together in a package, and - where the real I/P lies - developing the firmware.

c) Black Corp cite I/P protection as the reason for not releasing schematics. On one side I can understand this, on the other side I say bollocks to that - don't get into the kit business if you don't want to share your designs. I think the (incomplete) rev.2 MB schematic wasn't intended to be released but leaked out from a 'privileged' customer. TBH, the changes to the MB from rev.1 to rev.2 are minimal actually. The real change is in the optimization of the voice cards, for which nothing has been shared beyond the BOM. BTW there is a silk screen labeling bug in the rev2 MB which could cause you to mix up signal and ground on your audio output cable between the motherboard and the breakout board. Black Corp have probably known about this for months, but as far as I am aware have been silent. Again it falls to the community...

d) Don't bother with the expander kit - wish I hadn't wasted my money on it - a built one is cheaper, and even that is pointless now that Black Corp will release the Ring Mod stand alone - its the only good bit. The effects are all too cheesy for anyone serious about fidelity. I think they spend far too much time trying to get the original concept to work, realised they effed up and hurriedly re-engineered it.

e) Where was the promised 'detailed build guide'? Where is a professionally done user manual (there is quite a good one out there from another user)? What about proper expander calibration instructions - Again community to the rescue to figure it out by themselves the hard way. People seem to tread on eggshells and still say nice things about them on forums, but seeing as I have finished mine and got it working, and won't be buying another product from them, and still have unanswered email from them I am not going to hold back. Fair play to Black Corp for doing what they have done and probably the financial risks they have taken as a startup, but they need to up their game if they want to be successful long term and thrive.
sduck
The voice cards are killers - total time crunchers. You will go insane building them. Hell, you'll probably be insane by the time you finish the smt caps, and that's just getting started.

Most of the active support is over on the facebook deckard's dream builders group. Unfortunately. It was originally supposed to be here, but migrated over there.

I don't know about needing schematics and/or knowing advanced electronics - if you use the correct parts in the correct places, and make sure your solders are perfect, and know how to clean up your solder flux, it's just going to work. Mine did. But understand that I've been building DIY electronics stuff for decades.
FrogStar
Thank you very much.
I’m not worried if it’s just a matter of correctly stuffing boards.
Can I assume the V2 board screens to be correct?
I’ll register w/FB and get all the details, but possible board screen inaccuracy is a worry
spacecadet
sduck wrote:
The voice cards are killers - total time crunchers. You will go insane building them. Hell, you'll probably be insane by the time you finish the smt caps, and that's just getting started.

Most of the active support is over on the facebook deckard's dream builders group. Unfortunately. It was originally supposed to be here, but migrated over there.

I don't know about needing schematics and/or knowing advanced electronics - if you use the correct parts in the correct places, and make sure your solders are perfect, and know how to clean up your solder flux, it's just going to work. Mine did. But understand that I've been building DIY electronics stuff for decades.


My comments were in the context of debugging any issues that come up. The individual DPPM of the majority of the components should be extremely low. But DPPM multiplies up when combined. This many parts means a small, measurable proportion of builds will have issues due to bad components - even when assembled perfectly. Even bare PCB's don't exhibit 100% yield Then there is the question whether proper ESD precautions have been taken at all stages of the build. One guy recently had a bad MCU that would not flash. Fortunately he had the SMT skills and equipment to swap it out

Yes, if you are a good solderer and can build carefully, you have a very good chance of success. If it doesn't work, then without some knowledge of electronics and understanding the schematics, and without support from the designer, you could end up with a $3000 brick.

I'm not necessarily trying to put you off, I am just saying that this considerable investment carries some risk without any warranty. There are plenty of people who have had issues, that didn't have the knowledge to figure it out by themselves, and for whom the community were able to guide them to a resolution. This seems to be more of a challenge for rev.2 due to lack of information. So I'm saying try to weigh the risk off saving $800-$1000 verses a lot of your time and effort to build your own.
damase
wohali wrote:

Go slow, triple check all your component values and orientations. Take frequent breaks. And invest in a magnifier of some sort. I didn't have to redo any components that I remember, but I've been building stuff since the early 1980s - and even I found it a really challenging build.

As for testing as you go: once the motherboard, jack panel and PSU are done, plug JUST the PSU and jack panel in, power it up, then check all the voltages. I'd also check the voltages on each voice card connector. Then you can power off, add a power card at a time, power on, and make sure the voltages all still look good (and you smell no "magic smoke"). If you get up to 8 boards - you're good! Don't power up a partially assembled voice card, just to be safe.

thank you! and everyone else as well
fingerfarbensound
I'm interested in building one but I see the kit costs as discouraging:
$1000 PCBs
$1500 Parts kit (ok mouser chart says about half but is is really complete?)
$220 panel & case

So all in all $2720

What kind of bugs me is paying 1k for a few (admiddently large PCBs) which are probably 2 layer (ok perhaps the main one is 4 but I doubt it)

What did you guys pay for the project?
I've seen mentions of $1500 total costs... Were the pcbs cheaper when it started?
wohali
The only tip I can give on the voice boards other than being slow and meticulous is - if you are willing to invest in some assembly gear, buy a skillet or toaster oven setup for reflow and put most of the SMD caps on that way. This probably saved me tens of hours on assembly. (It would have saved me more time if it was big enough to take the motherboard.)

There's a number of sources and walk-throughs online on how to use either of these for SMT reflow...just be sure to never use that kitchen utensil for food ever again.

@fingerfarbensound: synthcube's complete parts kit is ~$1600 US, $2668 inclusive of PCBs for their remaining single v1 kit. Their v2 parts kit is slightly cheaper at $1500, to which you still need to add the PCBs, the panel/case, and an ST Link programmer ($22).

This isn't really a kit you buy to save money. It's a kit you buy if you enjoy building (and debugging) kits.
fingerfarbensound
wohali wrote:

@fingerfarbensound: synthcube's complete parts kit is ~$1600 US, $2668 inclusive of PCBs for their remaining single v1 kit. Their v2 parts kit is slightly cheaper at $1500, to which you still need to add the PCBs, the panel/case, and an ST Link programmer ($22).

This isn't really a kit you buy to save money. It's a kit you buy if you enjoy building (and debugging) kits.


I enjoy building that's why I'm asking. Eurorack bare PCBs are usually dirt cheap so I assumed this must always be true.
But I get that the designer is only compensated for his work by the sale of the PCBs.

That said I'll probably stay away for the time being.
What is kind of ironic looking at the amount of through hole components in the voice boards and the relative size of the main board I'll bet everything would fit the main if it were fully SMD. ( I just say that the pre-built version could actually be cheaper than the kit lol )

Edit: I just realized the dac chips are pre soldered on the boards which probably cost a bunch too.
spacecadet
fingerfarbensound wrote:
I'm interested in building one but I see the kit costs as discouraging:
$1000 PCBs
$1500 Parts kit (ok mouser chart says about half but is is really complete?)
$220 panel & case

So all in all $2720

What kind of bugs me is paying 1k for a few (admiddently large PCBs) which are probably 2 layer (ok perhaps the main one is 4 but I doubt it)

What did you guys pay for the project?
I've seen mentions of $1500 total costs... Were the pcbs cheaper when it started?


They are all 2 layer. They are making a HUGE margin on those boards, even accounting for the pre mounted parts.

And yes the v.2 DDRM kit is $100 cheaper than the v.1 due to lower part count - especially the PSU and the voice cards.

The mouser cart does not include any of the speciality parts.

16 CEM3040 @ $15 each and 32 V2164 @ around $4 each for example - thats another $400 right there
sduck
spacecadet wrote:

Yes, if you are a good solderer and can build carefully, you have a very good chance of success. If it doesn't work, then without some knowledge of electronics and understanding the schematics, and without support from the designer, you could end up with a $3000 brick.


See my similar warnings several times previously in this thread!
Pando
fingerfarbensound wrote:
What kind of bugs me is paying 1k for a few (admiddently large PCBs) which are probably 2 layer (ok perhaps the main one is 4 but I doubt it)


Well, the product design didn't come from aliens. It took many, many hundreds of hours and real money to design the boards, case, panel, write the firmware (which is a significant effort by itself), construct, build, and test several iterations of prototypes, and then keep the company running by paying the employees, contractors, offices, etc. In the case of DIY, when you have the opportunity to acquire all other parts separately, there is no money to be made on anything other than the PCBs.
fingerfarbensound
Pando wrote:
fingerfarbensound wrote:
What kind of bugs me is paying 1k for a few (admiddently large PCBs) which are probably 2 layer (ok perhaps the main one is 4 but I doubt it)


Well, the product design didn't come from aliens. It took many, many hundreds of hours and real money to design the boards, case, panel, write the firmware (which is a significant effort by itself), construct, build, and test several iterations of prototypes, and then keep the company running by paying the employees, contractors, offices, etc. In the case of DIY, when you have the opportunity to acquire all other parts separately, there is no money to be made on anything other than the PCBs.

See my other response above, again I realise the designer gets only compensated from a DIY kit if he marks-up the cost.

Second, again I have gotten used to PCBs being dirt cheap (both when ordering own ones and for eurorack)
I also realize that the market for polysynths is different than the one for eurorack, and all said I don't really have a real use for a monster polysynth besides replacing my virus "with something analog" which probably wouldn't do Deckards Dream justice d'oh!
LED-man
Here´s the DDRM v2 Mouser project link from me, its a 2.1.4 BOM import
https://www.mouser.com/ProjectManager/ProjectDetail.aspx?AccessID=15f7 0d6513
gadgadasvara
hi LED-man
do you have detail information about the resistor changes on which specific boards if i want to use alfa as3340 ics?
i’m building the rev 2.1 boards

thanks
LED-man
gadgadasvara wrote:
hi LED-man
do you have detail information about the resistor changes on which specific boards if i want to use alfa as3340 ics?
i’m building the rev 2.1 boards

thanks


In Rev.1 was some changes for AS3340 chips.
There are no infos in the FB groups about rev.2 changes.
I wait on an answer from Roman and report here.
gadgadasvara
ah okay, thank you LED-man
LED-man
There are no changes needed in DDRMv2 to use AS3340 (info from Roman.F)
gadgadasvara
oh great, thanks so much!LED-man
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