Klee, parts parts parts

As it turned out, Farnell UK wanted to sponsor my Klee project a little bit by hooking me up with some parts! Having gone through a good amount of sourcing for this project, this lead me to think about parts in general. As things are on hold anyway until I get the SP8T rotary switch, I might as well go through some of the items I’m planning to use..  Good news is, I do now have a source for the SP8T so I can soon shut up about it. Yay for that \o/

Image by Daniel Rutter

The boring shit

Anyone who’s into DIY electronics (or repairs) probably knows that selecting and sourcing all the bits & bobs needed can (more than often) prove bit of a headache.  Building up knowledge of reliable/usable parts sources takes time and any short-comings here can easily bring a project to a halt. Not that every shop stocks every single part you might need either.. Add things like specific part properties or plain ‘meh, done that already‘ to the mix, and you’re instantly in need of a wider shop selection.

I’m not sure if it’s just the fact that I live in Finland, but stepping outside the boundaries of bog-standard boring shit (like pictured above) usually equals placing orders abroad. This of course adds up to the project price tag in the form of shipping costs.  Placing orders “part or two per shop” hardly ever makes sense, nor would I constantly want to side-order parts  unrelated to the project just to even out shipping costs. Sure, the side-orders “maybe of some use later” but I shouldn’t feel like living in a part stock either :)

My geographical issues put to side, these things are but a few of the reasons eg. why I often add part codes and whatnot to my posts. Findings get shared with the hopes that maybe some of my notes would help a fellow DIYists locate what they might have not yet come across. Even something simple like a specific part type or who makes it can help a lot, when put into some usable context.. And got to admit, these notes have also saved my ass a plenty of times. Forgetting some detail is just that easy!

Ok enough with all the yadda yadda, returning to Klee.. I don’t see much point going through standard parts like capacitors and logic chips. Every proper parts shop stocks these, so the focus is going to be entirely on “the other stuff” a.k.a. parts that make up the user interface. What I have below should also works as a Klee hardware shopping list (of sorts), but if you’re planning on building one you should definitely read through all the documents. Spending a good amount of time considering what you want your Klee to be is not time wasted either. Like it is summed up in the build manual on page 4..:

The operating console of any piece of gear is probably the most important part of the design, and, with the electro-music Klee Sequencer, that is left totally in your capable hands. The front panel of the Klee Sequencer is its operating console, and you will find that is where a good 90% of your build time is spent. After that, that’s where 100% of your operating time will be spent, so think long and hard about how you want it to be arranged.

If my take on the design starts looking like something you’d want to build, go right ahead. Depending on how this project turns out, I might be even able to offer a set of enclosure parts for sale later on! Briefly listing through the Klee ‘UI’ parts, they consist of the following:

  • 21 +1 potentiometers
  • 24 +2 SPST switches (ON-ON)
  • 16 DPST switches (ON-OFF-ON)
  • 2 momentary push-buttons
  • 1 SP8T rotary switch
  • 22 LEDs
  • 17 +4 Jack connectors

Here, the ‘+number’ marks the amount of additional parts needed for the Klee options which you can choose to install or leave out. The potentiometer types can of course be slide or rotary, or like in my case, a mix of both. Going for rotary type alone will make the layout more compact, but slides offer a better visual confirmation of each setting. Slides also allow adjusting multiple values with one hand. As for the switches, the Klee build manual lists 23 of the SPST switches as ON-OFF type, but ON-ON works just as fine. Just solder the wires like you would with ON-OFF type.

Problematic size?

The SP8T and potentiometers I have are all Alpha (Taiwan): RV-series for the rotaries, RA-series for the sliders and SR-series for sliders. Whereas Mouser stocks the rotary switch, all the rest are sourced from Futurlec.

Generally, I’ve been happy with Alpha potentiometers, but can see a potential issue with the sliders and namely in the form of sourcing spares. Checking for availability/compatibility is one important thing in the design process, despite there’s no way to entirely account for future market changes and such. Anyway, with this in mind, the 75mm travel length type (the current panel design is for) could prove difficult to source as 60mm seems more of a “standard” nowadays. Thus, I’m still wondering whether I should switch to the latter instead.. Other option would be to side-order a full replacement set for later use.

Neutrik NMJ4HC

Considering the Farnell deal, it was kind of a “late arrival” for this project as I had most of the hardware selected already. What little was missing were the connectors and LEDs, and so, I ended up with a set of chrome nose Neutrik jacks and Multicomp blu-green LEDs. Knowing that the connectors will see a lot of use in this project (as output signals get patched), the Neutrik jacks should prove very durable since the brand is generally considered pro-audio. Time and actual use will tell, of course..

The Multicomp LEDs instead turned out a disappointment. I was hoping that the ‘blu-green’ would translate to something cyan-ish (or at least blue), but their color turned out to be very close to green.. Something I’d really want to avoid for this project. I have an order out for some purple LEDs, hopefully these will turn out better.

Speaking of colors, this brings us to one of my favourite DIY-parts; potentiometer knobs! If there’s anything that defines the look of a project, knobs are certainly among the top contenders. If you’ve checked the previous posts for this project, you’ll probably recall that the slider knobs I have are yellow. For this project, I’m thinking of something bright and colorful in a “Waldorf Micro Q” kind of way ;)

The minicurls

Browsing around for rotary knobs I eventually stumbled across Musikding. Checking their selection made me feel pretty much like a kid in a candy store! After a decent amounts of  “pick’n mix” I settled with yellow and purple 13mm minicurls and some 19mm pointers for the SP8T. Since my front panel design is pretty crammed, the smaller the knob diameter the more it will help with clearances. I also ended up side-ordering a bit of this and that for future reference, because I liked the Musikding selection so much.. Let’s see what of these I actually end up using.

The switches and push-buttons are some fairly generic no-brand type that I’ve had in my own stock for ages. Can’t recall where I sourced them (random side-order,  most likely), but should they turn out crap in use getting quality spares isn’t a problem. We’re talking standard miniature toggle switches after all, so Apem, C&K, NKK.. you name it.

That’s about it for now. Dying to get on with the build, so let’s see what the next Klee post brings :)

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