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Ouija build guide

A ghostly joystick module to commune with ancestral patches.


Ouija is an unconventional joystick module. It takes the core concept of a crossfader and dissects it to provide more patching possibilities.


Ouija can be patched into a:

  • Manual CV Generator

  • CV manipulator and Mixer

  • Audio Mixer

  • CV or Audio Crossfader

Introduction

Difficulty Level: Beginner/Intermediate

Build Time: 1-2 hours




This guide will cover the assembly of the Ouija module from beginning to end. In order to complete the build you will need...

  • Ouija diy kit

  • Soldering Iron

  • Solder

  • Side cutters

  • Wire strippers

Other tools that may come in handy for assembling the kit include masking tape to hold components in place while you solder them, tweezers to place components and route wires, isopropyl alcohol to clean your soldering, and de-soldering braid in case you need to undo any errors along the way. The build can take anywhere from 1-2 hours, the surface mount components come pre-soldered to the PCB which will save you some time.


The steps I would recommend to complete the build in a straightforward manner are...

  1. Review the bill of materials (BOM) and layout the parts

  2. Solder the electronic components to the PCB (excluding LEDs and Joystick)

  3. Solder the Jacks to the PCB

  4. Place the LEDs in the correct polarity on to the PCB without soldering the leads

  5. Mount the PCB (printed circuit board) to the panel

  6. Solder the LEDs flush to panel

  7. Mount the Joystick to the panel

  8. Solder the Joystick's potentiometers

  9. Test the build

Reviewing the BOM and laying out the parts

Here is the BOM which lists the parts included in the kit, make sure to verify your kit has all the components listed below.

The picture below shows the electronic components, 3.5mm jacks, mounting screws, power cable, and wire for connecting the joystick potentiometers.

Soldering electronic components to the PCB

You can either start with the 10uF electrolytic capacitor or the 2x5 header. Similar to the LEDs the electrolytic capacitors need to be soldered in the correct orientation. You can find them on the upper left and right corner of the PCB.



*Make sure you insert the capacitors into board in the correct orientation with the positive leg of the capacitor placed in the hole with the + sign. You can easily tell what leg of the capacitor connects to the negative pad by finding the white negative stripe of the body of the capacitor, the positive leg is longer







It may help to place some masking tape on the 2x5 header to hold it in place while you solder it in order to keep them flush with the board.











Below you can see the 2x5 header and capacitors before they were soldered to the board. To keep the capacitors in place you can bend their leads. After soldering your components, make sure that you use side cutters to cut the leads.



Solder the Jacks to the PCB

Now that we have the 2x5 header and capacitors in place we can move onto soldering the potentiometers and 3.5mm jacks.

Like the capacitors, the 3.5 mm jacks and potentiometers will be on the the side opposite to the surface mounted components. Make sure that the components are flush with the PCB so they will align with the panel. There are 9 3.5mm jacks and 4 potentiometers in total.


Placing the LEDs

Next we are going to add the LEDs, there will be a + symbol beside one of the holes for the LEDs. Place all 5 in their holes with the respective polarity. Do not solder the LEDs yet. Place the long leg into the hole with the + symbol.


It is important to place the LEDs in the correct orientation so they will emit the correct color when active. These LEDs are Bi-color and will emit green when given a positive voltage and red when given a negative voltage.





Mounting the PCB to the panel

With the LEDs in place we want to secure the panel to the PCB using the 9 nuts included in the kit. Align the panel over the pots and jacks, the panel should slide over the components easily. If you find that your struggling to get the panel over the components you may need to double check that all the components are flush with the PCB. Fasten the panel by hand tightening the nuts over the 3.5mm jacks.


Soldering the LEDs

To ensure that the LEDs fit snugly into the panel bend the leads so they will stay in place, press the leads into the assembly until the collar of the LED presses up against the back of the panel. While soldering the LEDs it may be helpful to use tweezers to hold them tight to the panel while soldering.



The LEDs should fit nicely into their respective holes on the panel without being crooked, if you find some of your LEDs are crooked you can reflow the solder on their pads and press each leg into position until the LEDs are flush.


Mount the Joystick to the panel

The joystick consists of three parts, the joystick which has two potentiometers that will be soldered to the PCB, a cone shaped cap to protect the joystick for dirt and debris, and a mounting ring which will secure the joystick to the panel.


Start off by placing the joystick and cone inside the module from behind while having the potentiometers in the orientation shown below.


There are 4 black self-tapping mounting screws that will secure the joystick to the front of the module. Place the mounting ring on top of the module secure the screws with a Philips screwdriver.


Soldering the Joystick potentiometers

Start of by cutting the wire bundle in have so there are six wires in total. Next we will solder the potentiometers to the PCB, start off by stripping the three wires and feeding them through the holes of the potentiometer and bending them so they will stay in place. Solder each of the wires, next we will solder the wires to the PCB. Follow our color scheme so you can follow along with the build.



The order for soldering the potentiometer is as follows

  • Red wire --> Pad 1

  • Yellow wire --> Pad 2

  • White wire --> Pad 3

Here is the pad numbers you can use to solder the potentiometer below. The pads labeled JOY1 will connect to the potentiometer facing away from the PCB while JOY 2 will connect to the potentiometer facing the surface mounted ICs.



Make sure you give the wires some play so they are not under stress and there is enough room to connect the power cable to the 2x5 header pin.


Testing the build

You've completed building the Ouija module! To test that your module is in working order I would recommend the following.

  • Connect the 2x5 pin header to your Eurorack power supply. The four knobs control the amplitude and polarity of the CV signal being sent in from each output, these are called attenuverters. With no cable plugged in to each channels input jack, the maximum clockwise direction it will output +12 volts, and -12 volts in the counterclockwise position. The crossfade of input 1 and 2 will be controlled by moving the joystick in the vertical axis, while the crossfade of inputs 3 and 4 will be controlled by moving the Joystick in the horizontal axis. If this is not the case for your module you may have soldered the potentiometers incorrectly.

  • Sending a positive voltage should turn the LEDs green while a negative voltage will turn an LED red. If the reverse is happening then you soldered your LEDs in the reverse orientation.

  • The mix output will sum each output that is not patched to an external input, if all 4 outputs are connected, the LED on the mix output should not be on.

Ouija schematic




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