Category Archives: Projects

Haynes Build Your Own Mini Amp Kit (Review)

Silent Witness was “doing my head in”, so I thought I’d build this Haynes Amplifier Kit.

I bought it at 75% discount, but hey, it’s Haynes, so it must be ok?
Turns out it’s made under license by a German firm.
Took about an hour, but that’s only because I had wire cutters/strippers. Without them it would have been TWO hours.
  1. The board is too big for the space between the speaker and the volume control. I had to install it upside down and skewed.
  2. You need wire strippers/cutters. Not made clear.
  3. The volume control is wonky unless you install the washer underneath instead of outside.
  4. The wires on the speaker, volume control, and aux jack are too long. You need to bend them so the case will shut.
  5. Same applies to the resistors and capacitors, you need to bend them to clear the case. Or cut them. See 2, above.
  6. There’s no way to secure the battery. I pritt-sticked it in place, but that will not last.. poor!
  7. You need a really small flat screwdriver to attach the volume knob. Not mentioned anywhere.
On a positive note, it worked first time. More by luck than judgement.  I need to look  at increasing the gain by swapping resistors..
The list price for this item is around £20.. I reckon £10 would be a fairer price.
The instructions are rubbish, printed way too small and in grey rather than black, on white. I needed a magnifier with an led lamp..
Next up will be the Haynes Retro Radio Kit. I have the Advent Calendar version where you get the components day-by-day over 24 days..
Finally, can I point out that this post was NOT sponsored in any way: I bought this kit with my own money.

Alesis Photon Project – Knobs

I bought an Alesis Photon x25 midi controller, the one with the light-beam controller that responds to the position of your (left) hand…

This one was described as “grotty”, with a couple of missing knobs, a dodgy security sticker, and decades of dirt and smeg.

I’ve cleaned it up, but ran into trouble finding replacement knobs..

Alesis directed me to a seller of second-hand spares, who wanted $33 for one black knob. No-one has the clear “volume” knob.

I ended up buying 11 black control knobs from CPC. (ordered) to replace ALL the black knobs AND the white one..

Should be a nice unusual controller.. for £25 all-in.



Ion idm02 Drum Machine (Alesis SR-16 with trigger inputs)


I bought an Ion idm02, with a dicky power supply, for peanuts. (from my usual source of bargains)

Basically, these are Alesis SR-16 units, but with trigger inputs so you can make an electronic drumkit with this as the controller.

They also function EXACTLY the same as an SR-16, which is my digital drum machine of choice..

This one has an issue with the power socket: wobbling the power plug makes it go on and off. Either the socket needs “tweaking” to make a better contact, or it’s come loose and needs re-soldering.

Either way not difficult.

This project is probably next, now I have shifted the Boss DS-330, MicroKorg XL and Alesis SR-16 (the one where I fixed the PSU).

My balance is looking decidedly healthy.

I need to buy some stuff, or I’ll end up spending it on a clutch replacement on the Megane..!



Gakken SX-150 problems.

Years ago, I bought a non-working Gakken SX-150. Tonight, I finally got around to trying to get it working.Switching it on lights up the led, so that’s a good start. However, there’s no sound output. Either via the built-in speaker or the "output" socket.
I’ve had the meter on the innards, and there is power to the board. There’s a voltage difference of about half a volt across the Variable resistor track, and the end of the stylus is about 3 volts
I’m a bit stuck now.. no amount of fiddling with switches makes any difference.
I’ll do a bit of research and see what happens.

[Tag SX-150, Projects]

Another DR-55, and a couple of Soundmasters, added to the list..

Found a box in the garage containing a (dead) DR-55, an SR-88 (untested), and an ST-305 (untested).

SO, I now have THREE DR-55s (at least), one of which works. Also, an untested SR-88, broken SR-99, untested ST-305 (I suspect broken, because it’s in the same box..)

This was lurking behind a BIG (dead) 90s Roland, the EK2 and the CS1000.  Must DO something about those.

There is also a microKorg chassis lurking in there (with keyboard). Forgot about that.

There is also a (working) Roland SH1000, (working) Korg m500, (dead) Maestro Rhythm Jester, and god-only-know what else..

Oh, and the Delta. 🙂



AMI S10430 Keyer / Divider chips.. And more..

This is a longish story, but I have now tracked down some NOS (New old-stock) AMI S10430 chips.

If you recall the original story, I needed one for my Korg Delta, but couldn’t find any. I then found a (REALLY COOL) guy in Holland who had FOUR untested chips. We did a deal, where I got one chip, and sold the other three for him (after testing). That worked out really well except for the stupidly long gap in the middle where I did absolutely naff-all. (Other projects, bah!)

Anyway, I found a link on a forum where another guy said he may have a couple of untested chips. I got in touch, and when he looked into it he actually had EIGHT, plus some other stuff. We’ve done a deal, and I bought the lot, untested.

I still have the Korg Delta with the socketed S10430 (IC3), so I CAN test them. I plan to keep some as spares, and sell some on. Depends on how many work..Watch this space. I MAY use eBay again, or just sell from this site.

I’m quite interested in the “other stuff” he’s bundling with the S10430s. These are described as “rhythm generators on a chip.”.  Again, watch this space..



[SOLD] Selling my “itchy trigger finger” Yamaha RX21..

That’s right. The RX21 I bought in a moment of “Buy-it-now” madness is for sale. I’ve had a play with it and it’s fine. Backup battery is working, as it saves whatever I program into it.But it’s not for me. Grab yourself a bargain. (Check out the front page for details)

Dr-55 Project Update

Just a note to say I have found the fault with the 4011 replacement: I tested all 14 pins on the IC socket after removing the chip and.. one of the pins does not beep on the meter.. how can an IC socket not have continuity from top to bottom?

Anyway, it doesn’t, so I need another socket.
Maplins in Middlesbrough is still trading, so I’ll give them a try..

Update: not any more. I did buy a new socket before they closed, though.

Still got issues with it. I think some solder traces are damaged. I have bought some new lead-based solder to try and fix this.

The dr-55 schematic suggests that pins 10,12,13 should be connected together, so a continuity test should confirm that.

Meantime, I “found” another (broken) dr-55 in storage.. More of the same..

[SOLD] Synteknik News Update: Electribe sales | Itchy Trigger Finger Syndrome: Mattel Synsonics

Electribe Sales:

I have now sold both my Korg Electribes (EA-1 and ER-1).  I got £125 for each of them, and I have to say that it was MUCH easier to sell the ER-1 (drum machine).

Here’s a selling tip:  include the spec from the Korg website in the listing. I was on the second relist for the EA-1 when I added this, and it sold for the full amount an hour later.

Mattel Synsonics:

My “Itchy trigger finger” went off again.. this time I bought a “broken” Mattel Synsonics Drum machine.

I’ve always liked these things, but as I remember, the last one I had was very noisy and I didn’t have any way to shut it up at the time.. Pretty sure I sold mine to Shaun, at, who was compiling a huge collection of drum machines, for sample pack creation.

Anyway, that was then and this is now.  The machine would have been delivered on Easter Saturday, IF I’d been in at the time. Nobody else could be bothered to answer the door, so now I have to wait until Wednesday, which is the only late opening for the sorting office.

The one I just bought is rough and non-working, so we’ll see how I get on with that,

No Work Done:

I’ve done absolutely NOTHING on ANY of my projects, (DR-55 / SR-99 / Korg Delta / EK-2). I really MUST get a grip. There are other machines in storage as well.. (M500, SH1000, CZ3000, Big Roland Thing).. the big Roland thing is getting in my way.


Oops. I bought another dr-55..

Yes I know. Itchy trigger finger on the Buy-it-now button..

This one is a bit scruffy, rusty battery cover, and from the description it looks like another 4011 transplant.
Hopefully I can turn this around before I go off to Bulgaria in a couple of weeks. Already got a 4011ube and a 5501 just in case.. possibly an IC socket as well.