Castle 000 ADC, function check?

I recently got a Castle 000 (ADC), a Castle 010 (VCO Clock), and a Castle 011 (Shift Register) in the hopes of trying out the DJJonDent shift register patch. I’m using Syntonie VU003B and VU007B for in/out and also trying to use my DSG3 to test as well.

I’m not sure if the Castle 000 is working or not. I’ve only ever gotten a black screen out of it.

Things I’ve tried into Castle 000 inputs:

  • Y from Syntonie VU003b
  • G from Syntonie VU003b
  • Outputs from DSG3
  • RCA to 1/8th in on a Structure CVBS output

In all cases I just get a black screen, nothing happening. I’m beginning to wonder if the module is perhaps broken. I checked to make sure it was plugged into my power (a Trogotronic 10Amp, modulargrid says my current system needs 2Amp +12v and far less 5v and -12v).

Is there anything I can try to see if the Castle ADC works?

You’ve probably already guessed that I’m new to video synths so please feel free to tell me I’m doing it all wrong, just point me in the right direction too (I’ve already learned that I was burned on the sync for that clock VCO and have to figure out if it’s even possible to get that thing in sync with what I have, but that’s a different topic).

Thanks for any insight/pointers!

Sorry to hear it’s not working. Let’s try some troubleshooting. In my experience, the best way to troubleshoot is to establish what does and does not work by stripping your signal chain down to the bare minimum first, testing each part, and slowly building it back up.

First, since you didn’t mention it explicitly, can you confirm that your VU003B and VU007B work OK? Try the VU003B luma output into each VU007B input separately to make sure each one is working as expected. And for good measure, does your DSG3 work OK too? Assuming that’s all good, it’s time to move on to the ADC…

On my Castle ADC, with nothing plugged in the input, the top output outputs a low luma signal when the top knob is anywhere left of the middle and a high luma signal whenever the top knob is anywhere right of middle. (I have an ESG3 with normalled inputs, so this works out to black and white when the ADC is plugged into my R jack. I believe the inputs aren’t normalled on the VU007B, so you should get black and whatever color channel you plug into, I think.) Will yours do this?

If not, then I think something’s probably wrong with your Castle ADC. If you bought it built from someone, you may want to contact them about this issue. If you built it yourself or don’t want to contact the builder, you can inspect it yourself. Lots of things to check here… basically, just check everything. Examine it all closely under bright light. Look for cold solder joints, solder bridges, unsoldered parts (I swear, every few boards I solder, I forget to solder an IC or two initially). Make sure ICs are in their sockets (if you used sockets), check the polarity of any polarized components, and make sure everything is populated. (If something isn’t populated, refer to the schematics and BOM, because I think a few of the DIY LZX boards have some footprints that aren’t supposed to be populated.) Also, if you used sockets for your ICs, make sure all the IC legs made it into the sockets.

If you Castle ADC was working the way I described with nothing plugged in, let us know and I or someone else will continue to help you out as best we can.

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Thank you so much for this detailed help, @joem!

  • Passed: Try the VU003B luma output into each VU007B input separately to make sure each one is working as expected.
  • Passed: does your DSG3 work OK too?
  • Failed, plugged into the R of the VU007B, picture is black regardless of top knob position on the ADC: with nothing plugged in the [ADC] input , the top output outputs a low luma signal when the top knob is anywhere left of the middle and a high luma signal whenever the top knob is anywhere right of middle.

I’ll go over the board on this one and then contact the person I got it from. Thank you for giving me this function check to try!

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Just following up here, input still appreciated otherwise I might have to give up the ADC in my system.

The seller was super generous helping me trouble shoot some more, basically variants on the test above plus also the basics: try different power ribbons, try different cables, etc.

I sent it back for testing and the seller was able to get it to work with a similar system to mine but the difference was that their VU007B is set to 60hz, 480i and my VU007B is set to 60hz, 1080i.

Unfortunately, the way my recording/output is currently configured (recording to Atomos Ninja V via a cheapo no-name component-to-HDMI box) needs my VU007B set to 1080i in order to work at all.

It’d be cool to know if it’s possible that changing settings would make it work and/or if there’s a smarter/better/right way to do the conversion to get from the synth into an HDMI signal that the NinjaV will recognize (I think it only understands 1080i or higher).

In other words, does the ADC require a specific output in order to spit out something other than a black screen?

ADC is not sync / format timing dependent so that is not the issue.

I’m gonna throw out a bet that the voltage regulator isn’t turning on due to some issue with the PSU. I’ve had that happen with a ADC I helped troubleshoot before.

Do you have a way to break your case down to only ADC and VU007B and one source signal (oscillator, ramp, external input, whatever)? Nothing else plugged into the PSU whatsoever.

If that doesn’t work, do you have access to another PSU you could try?


Next time I have an ADC I’ll unplug everything else from the case and give it a try with just the ADC, VU007B, and a signal source like maybe DSG3 or an LFO.

Sort of loathe to swap power systems (currently a Trogotronic 10amp system) because I know from doing it in audio eurorack that it can be a real headache. But also game to give it a try along the way too.

I’ll report back in here when I run that test. It might take a bit because I’ll have to get another ADC to try it.