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 Forum index » DIY Hardware and Software
Using a breadboard as a patch matrix?
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ericcoleridge



Joined: Jan 16, 2007
Posts: 889
Location: NYC

PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2007 10:10 am    Post subject: Using a breadboard as a patch matrix?
Subject description: has anyone tried this before on their DIY modulars?
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I was just thinking about patch matrix's, like the one on the EMS Synthi. I remember reading that the kind used on the Synthi was still available, but extremely expensive to source (maybe $500?). I think I've seen another website where someone actually made their own out of 1/8" jacks-- it had a ton of wiring.

But then it occurred to me that breadboards are not so dissimilar to patch-matrix's-- and I was wondering if anyone has thought of trying to adapt a breadboard for this application? I guess it might be a little flimsy-- but it seems like it would work.

Any thoughts?
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ickystay



Joined: Nov 15, 2006
Posts: 141
Location: Oregon

PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2007 2:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Each hole of a patch matrix is a switch that is "thrown" when you stick in a metal peg.

No go with a breadboard.

That 1/8" jack DIY matrix is the best alternative I have seen.
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ericcoleridge



Joined: Jan 16, 2007
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2007 2:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Yeah, I see what you mean about the switching. But it seems like it might be possible to re-produce the effect of the switching matrix somehow, if not the actual switching. I've never opened up a breadboard-- but I imagine it as a series of rows of conductive material. Maybe one could lay down a cross-hatching of these lines (with a gap left between each layer) and then make conductive pins (with plastic non-conductive tops to hold on to) to enable the physical connection between each layer. I don't know, just thinking...

Even so, I suppose just using a regualar non-modified breadboard (with individual rows wired up to various cv ins and outs) might accomplish some of the functionality of an EMS style patch matrix. It could provide a quick and extremely small scale means of patching just using jumper wires.

I'm wondering if this would have any potential problems as far as grounding or shorting or something?
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jksuperstar



Joined: Aug 20, 2004
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2007 8:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I think it's agreat cost-effective solution. Be great for a Soundlab or other small DIY modded synth.
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robthefiddler



Joined: Nov 10, 2006
Posts: 16
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2007 8:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Breadboards will not work with a "peg". They will work with Jumpers, but it does not look so cool.

I would bite the bullet and build an actual matrix..with yes...lots of connections.

Try it with RCA connectors (make sure you get the chassis mount).
The peg would be a male connector shorted out. All Electronics has em
for 40 cents a piece. A nice box would be a tool you could use for a long time.


http://www.robthefiddler.com/electronics-audio-diy/circuit-experiments/matrix-modulation-panel-idea/
Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.[/img]

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StephenGiles



Joined: Apr 17, 2006
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 19, 2007 6:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

robthefiddler wrote:
Breadboards will not work with a "peg". They will work with Jumpers, but it does not look so cool.

I would bite the bullet and build an actual matrix..with yes...lots of connections.

Try it with RCA connectors (make sure you get the chassis mount).
The peg would be a male connector shorted out. All Electronics has em
for 40 cents a piece. A nice box would be a tool you could use for a long time.


http://www.robthefiddler.com/electronics-audio-diy/circuit-experiments/matrix-modulation-panel-idea/
[img]http://www.robthefiddler.com/bent/MatrixModulation/modMatrix.jpg

[/img][/img]


When sitting under the X in Texas, with average sunny summer afternoon temperatures of maybe 102F in the shade, what do you know about being "cool"??? Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy

Does it matter what it looks like I wonder?
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ericcoleridge



Joined: Jan 16, 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2007 12:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

robthefiddler wrote:

Try it with RCA connectors (make sure you get the chassis mount).
The peg would be a male connector shorted out. All Electronics has em
for 40 cents a piece. A nice box would be a tool you could use for a long time.


Thanks for this--- I've seen pictures of of someone who did a Matrix with 1/8" jacks... but I think the RCA jacks are a better solution.


But, even so, I think the normal breadboard thing might be alright too (now that I have some assurance that it would work-- thanks). I was thinking if someone was to remove the plastic cover and paint it a nice color, it might look pretty good. Plus, with those brightly colored jumpers--- the whole affair might look pretty sharp. And it would be a whole lot smaller than any other sort of jack implementation.

I guess breadboards aren't particularly durable though--- which is a fairly big drawback.
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deknow



Joined: Sep 15, 2004
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2007 1:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

...take a look at the buchla music easel. it's patchable with bannana jacks and faders...but you can also make a permenant patch by soldering jumpers and resistors to a special board....in essence, largely "replacing" the front pannel connections.

http://www.buchla.com/historical/music_easel/music_easel.html

Quote:
Further augmenting the Music Easel's real time performability is the capability of permanently storing and immediately retrieving complete instrument definitions (patches) or portions thereof. (An "instrument definition" includes settings of parameters, degrees of articulation, switch positions and interconnections.) Storage entails the installment of resistors on program cards; retrieval is accomplished by plugging in a desired program card and activating a switch.


deknow
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Uncle Krunkus
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2007 7:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

If I were doing this kind of thing, I'd go for the 1/8" sockets. First, if they're the switching type, you could have a pre-patch setup normalled for no plug operation. You could also extract/insert signals from other gear. It might take a bit of cash to do it, but it's also the perfect "expand as you go" kind of project.
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robthefiddler



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2007 11:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

ericcoleridge wrote:


Thanks for this--- I've seen pictures of of someone who did a Matrix with 1/8" jacks... but I think the RCA jacks are a better solution.


But, even so, I think the normal breadboard thing might be alright too (now that I have some assurance that it would work-- thanks).


I guess breadboards aren't particularly durable though--- which is a fairly big drawback.


If you can find 1/8" on the cheap...that would look sharper. Of course, a bread board and jumpers will work, but if its anything you want to exist past the experiment stage, or even move from one room to the next, its nice to have something solid.

Alas, it all goes back to the days when I was in high school and built my first fuzz box. Op amps, resistors, wires, diodes...all were free as this stuff was just strewn all over my dads garage. (He was a Ham Radio operator). On the bread board it worked great, but try lugging a breadboard into a garage for band practice. The occasional stray AM transmission made for some laughs and it was impossible to keep
together.

Afterwards I tried to put it into a container, but I had no $$. It eventually ended up in a butter tub. That lasted one practice and I have never lived it down.

A well made patch matrix will last you a long time and should provide an excellent platform for designing stuff.

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ericcoleridge



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2007 10:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Uncle Krunkus wrote:
If I were doing this kind of thing, I'd go for the 1/8" sockets. First, if they're the switching type, you could have a pre-patch setup normalled for no plug operation. You could also extract/insert signals from other gear. It might take a bit of cash to do it, but it's also the perfect "expand as you go" kind of project.


Yeah, there are definitely clear advantages that 1/8" jacks would provide: allowing for normallizing, external patching, and so forth.

But, for many applications, these benifits could be somewhat besides the point. On a small portable "modular" synth (or even on a moderate studio modular--in some respects) it might be more important to allow for comprehensive patchability between each internal module using the least amount of space without the neccesity of using a spegetti junction of patch cords. Individual modules may or may not already have their own 1/8th or 1/4" jacks for internal and external patching-- but this kind of matrix/breadboard thing would give you a quick and convenient ergonomic way to enable and disable connections.

I should have mentioned already---I like to keep everything portable-- so I just keep a small set-up. But if my modular was a lot bigger, I'd probably go with the 1/8" jacks too--- save myself a walk down the hall to to make a patch.
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jksuperstar



Joined: Aug 20, 2004
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2007 10:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

One other idea, since breadboards are so cheap: Combine it with the buchla idea.

I envision a breadboard that's mounted on another PC board, which then uses multiple 40-pin DIP sockets (for example) to connect to the main board. This allows you to build cheap patching units, which can then be "saved" by pulling the whole unit out & replacing it with a new breadboard/pcboard/DIP socket module. Doesn't save knob settings, but hell, you can patch resistors on a breadboard too. 8-P

I still think it's an alright system for being SO cheap. Besides, it can always be replaced later when more money arrives.
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Scott Stites
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2007 11:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Buchla Sili-Con Cello

http://www.vintagesynth.com/index2.html

Gawd, I love Buchla.......
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Pehr



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2007 11:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

jksuperstar wrote:
One other idea, since breadboards are so cheap: Combine it with the buchla idea.

I envision a breadboard that's mounted on another PC board, which then uses multiple 40-pin DIP sockets (for example) to connect to the main board. This allows you to build cheap patching units, which can then be "saved" by pulling the whole unit out & replacing it with a new breadboard/pcboard/DIP socket module. Doesn't save knob settings, but hell, you can patch resistors on a breadboard too. 8-P

I still think it's an alright system for being SO cheap. Besides, it can always be replaced later when more money arrives.


Wow! Shocked That's an excellent idea Very Happy I've got to try it Twisted Evil

Idea or maybe one could use D-sub connectors to "save" patches Rolling Eyes hmm Idea
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derekrevell



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PostPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2008 9:32 am    Post subject: 2.5mm Jack Sockets Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

These would be good, but I've looked really hard in all sorts of electronic suppliers catalogues, and no one does a PCB mount device that isn't at 90 degs to the circuit board, if they did make them, it would be a realitively easy job to mount these on a standard double sided veroboard, all the cross-connections would be very simple to do, unlike the fiddly way of wiring up 256 sockets for a 16 x 16 matrix.
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toppobrillo



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PostPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2008 4:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

if you look at the bottom of your breadboard, it's likely just covered with some type of sticky plastic or fabric material [at least mine are] you can pull this off and then a lead can be pushed all the way through. you could conceivably sandwich 2 pieces together, lining up the holes and it might work ok. problem is that yeah they aren't that durable and your 'pins' would have to be that thin. i guess some thin push-pins would work.

as far as using 1/8" 90deg. pcb mount jacks- if you found some that conform to standard lead spacing of proto-board [ie. strip-board] then you could just cut so many pieces and sandwich those together. that seems reasonable... right? i mean, alot of work but worthwhile i think.
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fluxmonkey



Joined: Jun 24, 2005
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2008 6:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

this looks interesting:
Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.

from the Association of Experimental Electronics website... much nice pics
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widdly



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PostPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2008 11:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I like this one...

http://www.steckbox.com/box.htm

They have pins that have built in switches, ldr's, variable resistors etc. Some good ideas.
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