[chuck-users] Electronic ChucK

inventor-66 at comcast.net inventor-66 at comcast.net
Wed Oct 1 18:31:59 EDT 2008

OK, regarding cost concerns, I have thought this out a little but have not done thorough cost estimation.  A SqrOsc can be made with a 555 chip, four resistors and two caps plus two connectors.  That's only about five dollars in parts, most of it in the dang connectors.  Gain block?  put four of them on a single board for not much more.  A general purpose, PIC processor based unit would be about the same or maybe two dollars more.  Remember, Arduino is a big chip with lots of support components, while the smaller of the PIC family cost $2 and are a total system on a chip.  

In fact, most of the cost is in the screw-type terminals so if we were to make the system be solderable with just vias (holes) for terminals, the cost per UGen goes down to just $2 on average.  And with surface mount parts the board size for a UGen goes down to about the size of a postage stamp so you get *many* UGens on a full-size board.  

As to closely following ChucK, this is a good point.  I imagine that if this catches on, other people will create all sorts of UGens that are not constrained by ChucK at all.  I had originally envisioned it months ago as a free-form system in which you can build any module that works, and it was only this morning in the wee hours that I got the inspiration to model it after ChucK.  So yeah, it will probably get way different from ChucK in practice if it ever happens.  

I don't know what direction to take it, but I tell you what.  I'm working on it.  I'm using Eagle CAD to draw up some basic initial UGens.  I am completing the first one, which is a battery power module, and I'm not worrying about making it perfect or adding a wall-wart jack or anything like that.  I figure the early modules will get abandoned over time so they are just to get *something* up and running to start with, and they will all get replaced anyway.  One cool thing is that the modules are so simple that the freeware version of Eagle can be used to design and manufacture them.  

I'd like to begin establishing some standards that are not written in stone, but are recommended guidelines.  Let's discuss these standards and I'll start a web page for all to read up on the whole thing.  The standards are:

1. Use Eagle CAD
2. +5V single supply power
3. analog and digital signals swing from gnd to +5V
4. artificial ground is +2.5V

That's all I have so far.  I am happy to see the responses to my messages, this is getting to be fun (which is the whole idea)!  Cheers!


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