20210925

When sourcing parts for a RYO Paths module, I discovered that the Fairchild FJN3303R NPN Transistor is no longer manufactured. Searches on Octapart indicate that some companies still have the transistor in stock but they unfortunately only sell the chip in big batches. A company called Rochester Electronics would only sell me 12940 units and AVnet 16026. Both companies seem to supply electronic components for the manufacturing industry. If someone were to build over 5000 Paths this would make sense (the module requires three transistors). Modular grid indicates that around 700 users have the module already, so I imagine the market is saturated by now. The module seems to be from 2015 and there are dozens with similar functionality available. Perhaps 5000 sequential switches could be used to build a computer of sorts.

There are some potential substitutes for the transistor but I’m not skilled enough yet to confirm if the specs are a match. So I turned to ebay, aliexpress and other dodgy vendors. Some claim to be selling the same transistor but the price of a single unit is over 10€. It is also impossible to confirm that the chip is the right one.

Luckily the Modwiggler forum has a DIY Trade Thread [ Parts, PCBs, Panels ] where users announce stuff they are looking to trade with others. I found two entries both from 6-7 years ago from users indicating that they had some transistors to spare. I contacted one, got no reply, contacted the other and got a reply, and then the first contacted me too. Now I’m expecting to get 20 transistors in the mail! In a brief exchange we agreed that I’ll commit to distributing the extra units for builders/hobbyist from Helsinki. I got the units for free and I’m committed to distributing them further asking nothing in return.

It turns out electronics as a hobby is about supply chains, archivist practices and social commitment. Turns out hardware is about care. The module is interconnected by design and its manufacturing depends on the good will of other builders. For me the rarity of the transistor is now a facevalue of the module. It makes me a part of the Fairchild FJN3303R NPN supply chain, a member of the rare transistor-gild!

In the process I also learned of the phases of the ljunggrenaudio/RYO eurorack manufacturer. A few years back (between 2016-19) they gave up on business due to health concerns and disappeared.  As their website ljunggrenaudio.com went down and got squatted, the schematics, technical notes, build manuals and patch notes were lost. In recent years the hobbyist community and their past collaborators have sourced the lost documents. They are currently housed on modwiggler and other sites. With out the documentation servicing and building the modules would have been difficult.

The short online-amnesia caused by lost documentations, the rarity of the transistors and the fate of ljunggrenaudio/RYO make the module build process more then a mere assembly (which most DIY kits are). It feels almost like a media archaeological excavation. I would like to learn more about the transistor thou and other things it is used for. I’ll distribute the Fairchild chips I was handed via Ore.e Refineries. I’m amazed by the realization that electronic components, chips and the logics, behaviour and functionality they poses are so finite. Already noted this when I started electronics as a hobby and it feel great to return to this with the Ore.e Ref. Fairchild supply initiative.

20210109

Learning about my Rampage. The odd behavior of the A & B outs I’ve experienced when using a passive LPGs (and some other modules such as the caliOSC) is typical and well documented. It can be referred as the once the output goes high it will “stick” on until I unpatch -issue. Similar and even odder behavior occurs in the falling & rising outputs. Which can however be fixed by adding a 1Mohm pull down resistors to the gate outputs.

Sloth Chaos by Nonlinearcircuits might be a good match for use with diy capacitors.

Successful connected our flat and my shelter-studio using an intercom made from a pair of ~50 year old Ericsson Dialog phones. Dug a discreet 50m trench for a 4 pole telephone-wire. Made first calls and everything works. The line powers when I turn on the electricity in the studio. Got the ringer/buzzer in the other end working by using the “ground” wire to supply voltages to a buzzer (controlled with a button). Landlines are back!

20200826

Pasila district bicycle-routes are under development thanks to a spree of tweets by bicycle activists. In the aftermath of the station rebuild (a process which I don’t understand) a “penalty-lap” glitch in the bicycle route design came to light. It is a silly glitch, a monument to the top-down ethos of Helsinki planning. Cyclist who could previously speed along a straight and safe line following the train tracks were forced to take two hard turns on a hilltop below the station. A campaign started immediately after the route was reopened and heated complaints on the #penaltylap #sakkokierros were send directly to Helsinki City officials. Officials responded flamboyantly by announcing the development of a temporary cycling bridge which would restore the old straight lane.

This is the first time I’ve seen tweets develop infrastructure and it feels that the process was guided by the voter-market-logic. The bridge is a monument for social media influencer culture: The Influencer Bridge. As the penalty-lap situation is solved, the speed of the cyclists will now interface with the pace of pedestrians who are departing the Pasila station towards east, students of the Haaga-Helia school and visitors of the Helsinki fair center. The direct lane will benefit riders who are passing Pasila outside of rush hours.

Maybe a more sustainable option would have been to redesign the route leading to the Saparonpolku track underneath path (the tunnel facing the Haaga-Helia) so that cyclist approaching it from the north could reach it easily and pass the Pasila station underneath it (skipping the Ratapihantie hill altogether).

Build six AllFlesh Landscape clones using Neutrik jacks and 1mm fiberglass PCBs. Ultra durable and lovable! Using them to trigger samples from the Disting Mk4 and for touch control over filter parameters. Trying to workout the kinks of my Water Lab for NPTurku. I’ve wired up a side-chain style compressor to adjust the A-119 preamp output. The system has a weird volume drop issue which I’m struggling to solve. The performance planning is progressing steadily. I wish I had two more weeks to reorientate from a recent teaching gig and the workload from before. A speedy development phase is bad for building confidence on intuition as a creative resource.

20200726

Ducking effect with what I have: TTLFO Clock -> Turing Machine Clock, Pulse Out -> Divider 1&2, 1 -> Rampage IN A, OUT A -> Inverter IN, OUT (This inverts the Ramp. positive env.) -> Sense (V)IN (preamp low & DC, set “ducking amount” by toggling OFFSET and preamp), CV OUT + (This lifts the volume to desired level in VCA, which inverted Ramp. signal pulls down) -> Skis VCA CV IN (Signal IN for the drum sound to be ducked). Divider 2 -> Skis TRIGGER IN (Signal IN for the sound which moves above ducking). Other: Ramp. RISING OUTs work great for vactrol LPG controlled hihats (White noise), TTLGO OUT (with square & Ramp. controlled SHAPE) -> Floating GATE to TRIGGER -> Multicassa Trig IN works great for dynamic percussion. Short experiment with the setup.

20200716

Build a floating passive low pass gate with tone control (followed tips from here) but added 1k resistors to all inputs/outputs. Assembled my own vactrols, following a Animodule guide (I think I used a VT935G LDR and a Kingbright L-424IDT). Made a few passive floating attenuverters and passive gate to trigger plugs, following a partial schematic by Ken Stone. Might go for a Voltage combiner next. Yan Proefrock has published collection of passives. I wish I had learned of The Klangorium by Elliot Williams five years ago, build it and resolved my curiosity with electronics. It’s a Lunetta style system which seems to fit my desires.

Minua ei kiinnosta valkoinen etuoikeutesi [I don’t care about your white privileges] (2020) Sean Ricks. A great responce to the wave of reactive announcements of solidarity Finnish culture organizations published during the first waves of the Black Lives Matter movement. As Ricks points out many of the announcements are hollow because people working for these organizations are not actually willing to denounce their privileges. I would take Ricks critique even further and argue that many of the announcements are preemptive manoeuvres aimed to deflect further enquiries.