Category Archives: Hardware

General Hardware

Video Synth Prototype

It appears as though a computer system is not entirely needed for creation of wonderful patterns on video displays. Brian of MediumRecords has built a prototype circuit with several gates and a counter IC to generate really neat sound responsive patterns on a monitor with BNC connectors for each component. These are very early stages however a video synth like device is planned in the near future. Nice work on the pattens and the video is very neato, reminds me quite a bit of Wobblevision but with more colors and patterns.

Burlap Skin for a bent TI-99

Another creation from PixelForm is this circular influence burlap sack circuit. Embedded in the skin are 6 sequencers running at 8 steps with photo resistors controlling the oscillators and the sequencers. The interesting part is when the output of the burlap circuit is fed into a modified Pixel Maelstrom TI-99 for generation of video glitching. The video is then projected back on the burlap stimulating the photoresistors causing more glitching thus completing the circular path. Very neat idea, which I am sure would make a great installation piece.

PixelForm’s NES Circuit Bending Lessons

PixelForm’s work with circuit bent TI-99s has been featured before however this time the subject is an NES with a slightly different circuit. The glitch points on the NES’ VRAM IC are controlled by a super handy 4066 Quad Switch IC with control pins triggered through the use of a simple but effective OP-Amp based filter bank. The triggers from the filter bank are also fed into a counter IC which controls the second 4066 set of switches. This daisy chain is actually something similar to a sequencer with each step advanced by a strong sound from the audio input. The result is quite beautiful as seen in these video clips: Video Clip1, Video Clip2, Video Clip3, Video Clip4. More info, schematics, and detailed explanations are available through this link and a huge thanks goes out to Phillip for deciding to share the knowledge with everyone.

FYI of the week: Cap Nuts

Touch contacts, body points, and galvanic sensors are all names given by the DIY community to these Cap Nuts! Often seen on circuit bent devices and some DIY synths they are quite elegant. Basically they are regular nuts with a metal dome. The back of the package features bolt sizes that will work with a particular set. It is critical to pick the right length for the case thickness because of the obvious limitations posed by the capped off nut. However washers can be used to solve the issue. The wire from a particular point on the circuit board can be threaded through the bolt with a use of a ring terminal. This package cost me $0.89, but some can get expensive. Any decent hardware store should have them, but finding these amongst all the other parts can be tricky. So ask for them by name, loud and clear. “Pardon me, but do you know where I can find some Cap Nuts?”

Toy laptop round up

Kids are not interested in stuff without QWERTY keyboards nowadays. They want toy laptops, which come in various shapes and sizes. These new educational devices seem to me like an untapped circuit bending and modding territory. Some are pretty complicated and even have programming languages like BASIC built in. I guess the main prohibiting point is the cost, however I am sure second hand these get pretty cheap. Because these are CPU based they would most likely just crash during the conventional poking, instead reprogramming these devices may be the way to go. [via Benders list]
Product links: Link 1, Link 2,Link 3,Link 4,Link 5,Link 6,Link 7

Cheap parts, tools, and kits from MPJA

I’ve been hanging on to the catalog from Maplin P. Jones and Associates for quite while, however no time is a bad time for a post about cheap parts from a US vendor in Florida. It is usually the case that a single supplier does not have all the best deals on everything. Fortunately for us their switches are very reasonably priced if purchased in quantities of 100 for $32 US plus $8 shipping. Soldering stations are not bad either only $15 for temp controlled. For those who are just starting in DIY electronics this OP-Amp kit is highly recommended, simply replace the pot with a photo resistor and you have an instant optical theremin system with sine, square, and triangle waves for only $4.95 on a PCB that is ready to mount in a case of your choice.

Zebranalogic Shop

Zabranalogic based in City of Lima Peru, has been selling handmade gear at very reasonable prices. Of course the shipping may be quite a bit extra, but $120 for a bunch of knobs and switches to create strange sounds with is not bad. The 2 employee company also sells guitar effects and does mods on factory pedals like increasing delay time and changing the gain. I really dig the plexi glass look and the designs of their pedals are very. I guess a full fledged synth is on the way also. Big Thanks to Jim for the link.