Category Archives: New Products

New Products to aid benders

GetLoFi 4093 Quad Oscillator Pedal and Kit

At one point or another every aspiring electronic enthusiast builds a Schmitt trigger oscillator to generate audio frequencies. For me it was no exception and that’s what fueled my interest in electronic music instruments. In 2006 this GetLoFi post was published detailing a simple oscillator circuit that worked fairly well as a rough starting point. Today the same basic idea is available in kit form and as a hand-built pedal from GetLoFi.com/shop for everyone to enjoy the crunchy square wave oscillation and modulations.

Surely anyone can build a similar circuit with a few Radio Shack components however the are some nuances for making a great sounding oscillator. First off tame that output if you are using a 9 volt battery to power this circuit, the hot output will be too distorted and dangerous for the amplifier. To make things quieter simply add an electrolytic capacitor 1uF or greater with the – side towards the output and a 1K resistor following in the series. Then bridge the output pins from Ground to the Tip with a 100 ohm resistor. This attenuates the output by dumping some of the signal towards the ground.

The second tip is ALWAYS use sockets for your IC chips, even if the chip is not expensive or you are in a hurry to finish a project. This will help down the line when for some reason the IC stops working be it from overheating, a short, or applying the power to the unit backwards. It is a million times easier to fix something by simply popping the IC out and replacing it with a new one, then going through a de-soldering nightmare, especially if you are working on a Through-hole board. Virtually all GetLoFi Kits are surface-mount making it easier to correct an error and replace a component.

The final tip for building oscillators and other devices that run off 9 volts is include a Boss-style DC Jack. It means that the DC jack is 2.1 mm with Tip ( – ) negative wiring. Please note that the assembled 4093 Quad Oscillator Pedals do have this feature. Having a DC jack liberates your pedal more in conjunction with the internal battery. Surely you can still use the 9 Volt clip, however now there is no worries about the device dying in the middle of the show or a recording session. There will be no changes in pitch and operation from the sagging battery voltage. Also no need to remove the backing in order to swap a $3 battery when the power switch gets accidentally gets left on. As an added bonus the power jack can be used as a Gate of sorts for the device. With a 555 or the LoFi Sequencer acting a power source to drive the 9 volt entire circuit, so by connecting their outputs to a DC jack you can instantly add a pulsing feature.

In closing we hope that all those tips help you when putting together an electronic device made to last. For those who do not feel comfortable searching around for all the correct parts and stressing over confusing schematics, please try out one of our simple to assemble Kits. They include circuit boards and all the parts needed as well as step by step photo assembly assistance. The Quad Oscillator pedals are also now available from the GetLoFi.com/shop. Enjoy.

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NES Chip Maestro MIDI Synthesizer Cart

Currently in development an NES cartridge that you can link to any MIDI device. Any order over 50 dollars is a pre-order of the cartridge. For 125 dollars get a “developer” cartridge with access to the internal chips.

It has already reached it’s funded point so you can feel pretty confident this will happen. Lot’s of Love!

Editor’s note: This project has reached the funding goal so its bound to happen, really nice concept. From the video it appears that the MIDI lag times are minimal. Looking forward to the finished product.

Beeping it

by Michael Una.

It’s been a little bit since I posted here, and the reason is that I’ve been working on a big project. I thought I’d share my progress and hopefully inspire a few readers to take on a similar project.

At Bent Festival 2008 in Minneapolis I got a chance to check out Loud Objects and their noise toys.

This noise toy got me thinking. I had been building my own instruments for a while and I had tried selling a few of my bent devices, but every one was different and required a ton of labor. Every time you bend a new instrument there’s a huge learning curve, and then you end up making a lot of creative choices based on what you find.

What I wanted to do was figure out something to build and sell that would be repeatable, not too tough to build, and still fun to play with. A while back I had built a little device for my nephew’s birthday and he frickin’ loved it, so I figured I’d start there. This is what the first couple of Beep-its looked like:

I sold the first 25 pretty quickly and I had fun building them and sending them off into the world. But, there were problems. I ran out of the petri dishes I had used as the cases. The cases tended to crack. The insides were sometimes big messes of hot glue. So I worked on a redesign:

That worked great for a while, but soon enough I had built 250 of these by hand. I started looking for ways to save time- Alex from GetLofi made me some custom circuit boards. I started hiring my sister-in-law to drill the cases and some local benders to build the circuit boards for me. But I was still not satisfied with the quality and there were some design flaws. For instance, there was no separate battery compartment- you had to disassemble the case with an X-acto to replace the battery.

This past summer I attended the Maker Faire in Detroit and got to talk with Mitch Altman of TV-B-Gone and Trip Glasses fame. He gave me some good advice about manufacturing and later referred me to his overseas manufacturer. That started a long process of prototype creation, materials selection, and pricing that resulted in this:

I took a bit of a personal risk to have a bunch of these manufactured, but I’m extremely happy with how they turned out. Here’s a little video demo I shot this past weekend:

More info is at http://thebeepit.com

So now that’s where I’m at. It’s been a good couple of years to this point, and I still feel like I’m just getting started. And I’ve essentially exchanged one set of problems for another- my old problem was that I spent all my time building these things and I never had time to work on anything else. Now, my problem is that I spent all my money on these things and now I have to sell them to get my money back. But, now I have time and I have a product I feel very happy about. So I feel like I made out okay in the deal. Time will tell whether or not it was good decision financially, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

What have you been working on? Anyone thinking of making kits or a finished product?

GetLoFi Kit Assembly Just Got Faster and Easier

Have you ever cringed before the daunting task of  striping dozens of wires in order to modify a device or build a kit? Well here at GetLoFi we are making your life a little easier. Introducing the pre-cut, stripped, and tinned multicolor hookup wires. The high quality wire was made to our specifications by a wonderful company in Oregon, USA. There are two varieties Stranded 26 Gauge 5.5 inch for general hookup and Kynar solid core 28 Gauge 6.0 inch for precision work.

All our kits from this point on will include this wire and you may also purchase extra bundles in the Parts section of the Shop.

GetLoFi Patches

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GetLoFi just added a White 4400 Embroidery Machine! This beauty became a reality after a lucky find at my local thrift store called Stuff, ETC. Normally these computer controlled robots can cost in upwards of several hundred dollars, this one was a fraction of the cost. The price obviously depends on features like hoop size, USB connectivity, torque power, etc.

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The coolest part about this machine is the software that allows you to take any Bitmap graphic and turn it into a pattern that is ready for stitching. Colors can be added via a thread change during a programmed pause in a sequence. Thanks to this marvelous wonder the GetLoFi Shop now contains patches to cover up those soldering iron burn holes with style! If you have an idea or a design in mind feel free to comment.

*Update 9/17/09 *

Per suggestion here are some oscillator patches.

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