Tag Archives: Circuit Bending

Ax-Man is a DIY Circuit Bender’s Friend

Minneapolis, MN is a very accommodating city for electronic musicians and DIY enthusiasts. Not only is there a sprawling Experimental Electronic Music scene here, but it is also a home to the shopping mecca known as Ax-Man Surplus.

The eclectic main store of this Twin City chain is located on the University Ave in St. Paul and always has something for everyone. Creepy stage props, neon bright duct tape, military surplus, heavy duty switches, arcade buttons, jacks, cables, capacitors, resistors, screws, rotary telephones, speakers, zip ties, tools, shipping supplies, and even an Iron Lung are some of the items. All at reasonably low prices and in great selection.

However the main point I would like to make is this recent Vita.MN article on the Ax-Man stores. A very interesting piece that goes into the details of the store’s history and philosophy. It also explains the funny signs and who the creepy axed man really is. Good Read.

Ax-Man on Facebook.

USB Soldering Iron now in the GetLoFi.com/Shop


The New USB Precision Soldering Irons have finally arrived in the GetLoFi.com/Shop. Some may remember my previous attempt in making a USB soldering Iron from a battery powered Weller. Unlike that hack, this tool is professionally: made, packaged, tested, and comes with all the accessories needed to start soldering. Its been my dream to be able to work freely without dependence on a power outlet or a bulky extension cord, now this dream can be a reality for anyone with a laptop or a rechargeable USB battery pack.


With Surface mount components and miniaturization of electronics this soldering Iron is precise and small enough to do the job.


This new version now includes an On-Off switch and also a 9 Volt Battery Connector with a retractable USB cord. Certainly you DO NOT want to plug this cord into any standard USB devices because it will fry them! By contrast this soldering iron is safe to operate from any standard USB port thanks to its advanced on-board electronics. A built-in white LED also helps when working in dark conditions. Heat-up times are extremely fast compared to a standard soldering iron and the power consumption from the USB port is minimal.


The USB Soldering Iron is now on sale from the GetLoFi.com/Shop for only $25.00 including free First Class USPS shipping.

Experimental Garage Sale 2009, Second Annual!


On Saturday August 08, 2009 come join us for the Second Annual Experimental Garage Sale held at the Experimental Sound Studio in Chicago, IL from Noon to 8PM. Midwest circuit benders and DIY artists will be unloading piles and piles of thrift store treasures like keyboards, Speak and Spells, and oddity kids toys. The sellers will also be demonstrating and selling LoFi Synth prototypes, kits, handmade contact microphones, and completed circuit bent works of art. Bring wads of cash to snag some awesome deals, otherwise this is a great chance to experience circuit bent devices in person and make new friends.

The list of sellers has been finalized to include a wide geographic variety of Midwestern Artists. Including a very special guest appearance by Reed Ghazala! The man himself will be mingling and signing copies of his Circuit Bending: Build Your Own Alien Instruments Book. Last year’s round up from the event can be found here. Music through out the day and the sale is Free to get in.

GetLoFi.com/shop – Alex Dyba ( IA )
Roth Mobot – Patrick McCarthy ( IL )
Roth Mobot – Tommy Stephenson ( IL )
Creme Dementia – Austin Cliffe ( IL )
Thejunkyard Catalyst – Karl ( OH )
Spunky Toofers – Daniel Park ( MO )
Properboy – Steve Stoll ( IN )
Pelzwik – Nick Heimer ( MN )
Datura 1.0 – Matt Cisler ( MN )
Mike Una – ( IL )

Special Guest: Reed Ghazala! ( OH )

Feel Free to register on Facebook Event Page.

Directions: Google Maps.

Yada Yada Yada Voice Recorder Circuit Bending

Yada Yada Yada Recorder in package

Here is something thats been floating around recently. Its called a Yada Yada Yada and is available through most of the retailers that carry toys. I found them in Walgreen’s and Target locally, however not online. Target has them for a sweet sweet low price of $6.99! There are several neat things about this recorder, one is that if you hold the Play button down it will continuously loop the sound, so wiring that to a toggle would be elementary. Second cool feature is the Warp Wheel, even though it does not affect the recording, the playback of the sounds can be pitched up or down to a degree. Now lets see what we can extrude from these boxes when we open them and look inside.

Unfortunately for me, the recorders I picked up turned out to be different revisions. Their function is identical but the board layout is much better in Rev. A UPC 69477, so look for that one in particular not 69460. Both versions of the board and their mods are posted below. Mainly I was interested in finding a pitch down for recording, because that would allow you to record longer loops, while loosing quality and gaining tasty aliasing distortion. The components are all SMD so its virtually impossible to unsolder anything, instead traces can be cut in points indicated on the diagram to allow for Potentiometer substitution of the resistor values affecting Playback and the Recording speed. I used 1 Meg Linear pots and in the higher ranges its a little difficult to control the pitch without it increasing very rapidly compared to the rotation of the knob, still works very well though. Do not try to remove the Warp wheel potentiometer, its in there for good and will be more hassle then its worth, all while risking to snap the board in half. Instead just cut the trace leading out of the single pin on the right. I would even go as far as leaving all the original wires attached because they are covered with some sort of rubbery glue. The original case is very durable and handy, but there is absolutely no room for all the components, so re-case is a must. When hooking up the microphone observe the polarity, logic says it shouldn’t matter, however if it is backwards you will only get noise in. The coin type batteries are also not practical so consider using a LM7805 Voltage Regulator to provide the +5 Volts for power. Should be enough to juice several units at once.

Currently I am in a process of building a looper device with 3 of these units, so far so good and lots of things I had to learn the hard way, like the part about removing the Warp Wheel and having to deal with a snapped board. As always I cannot be responsible for you ruining your stuff, so don’t blame me if you mess up, the mods worked for me, but they are in early stages and may be updated at any time. Enjoy and provide feedback. Thanks.

Yada Yada Yada Recorder Modifications yada yada yada recorder 69460 Board
Here is another place to get similar samplers wholesale for about $2.50 each. Roughly the same function with a different design, plus a bright LED! The internal circuit may be totally different however, anyone has pictures of the insides?