[chuck-users] Electronic ChucK

inventor-66 at comcast.net inventor-66 at comcast.net
Wed Oct 1 14:00:15 EDT 2008

Kassen, the reinvention notion is valid, but with a twist.  The twist is a physical one.  You see, I have not described it completely, now I'll try more.  Instead of being mounted in a rack, each module is a little circuit board.  Instead of having front panels, each module has PCB-mount thumbwheel pots and little bitty PCB-mount switches.  Instead of banana jacks, each module has row-style screw terminal connectors.  Instead of banana jack wire, each module is interconnected with solid wire stripped at the ends.  

One can then form structures, like kijjaz's thunder block diagram that we investigated on the forum.  You just chain the modules together rather than "patch" them.  Also geometric structures like a ring of oscillators will look physically like, um, a ring.  One can construct a Bucky Ball out of filters and SinOscs just to see what it sounds like.  

It's kind of like making a flowchart or code diagram in which each block is an actual hardware module.  So yes, it's a modular synth, but no it isn't quite the same beast.  You would purchase a circuit board the size of a piece of notebook paper (81/2 x 11 inches) (A4 size) and then cut or twist off the 30 or 50 or so little bitty circuit boards that were on it.  

AlgoMantra, cool on the crickets notion.  That stuff and much more is so possible with this approach.  I see parents buying kids a kit consisting of all you need to get started, and then you can buy add-on boards for like ten bucks each as they are all super small and cheap.  Or just buy multiple sheets of boards.  They are all held together by solid wire so that they hold their physical form if you make a Christmas tree out of them, well, that's what you get.  

I plan to make initial boards with 555 timers and opamps and the like, linear you know, but eventually it will make sense to create a PIC-based general purpose board that can be programmed by a PC to be a SinOsc or a multiplier or a whatever thingie.  

To facilitate the language features of ChucK we could use a serial interface such as I2C or other PIC-supported interface and let the programs exchange information like shreds.  

I'm interested in discussing standards such as what voltage levels to use and whatnot, plus I'm starting to learn Eagle PCB CAD by making little circuit board designs, beginning with a power module.  

Whew, typed a lot - as you can see I find the idea exciting.  I'm working on it now.  DigiKey has the parts, and us - we got the smarts, haha!  I'm calling it EChucK for now.  Comments welcome as always.  


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