New Cadet Layout Project

With the Cadets no longer being in production, is there anyone on the board here who would be interested in a group project to put together new layouts for the Cadets? I would be really sad to see these incredible building blocks for DIY video synthesis not be available at all anymore. It sounds like there will be more DIY options in the future but for now it appears the remaining stock everywhere is going pretty quickly.

I’d like to stay as true to the original schematics as possible but I think it would be particularly useful to make SMT (0805 / SOIC where possible) layouts for them. While unfortunately I haven’t learned how to do PCB layout yet (would love to!), I have done a good amount of sDIY over the years. I can do a reasonable amount of circuit debugging and component research but overall I’d be happy to help organize the effort and do initial board runs as needed.

Anyone up for trying this with me and open sourcing the layouts for future video heads?

EDIT: I should add that I’m very thankful to Lars and crew for making these schematics available to even consider a project like this. Nothing like this existed that was even remotely affordable or accessible when I was looking for analog video signal generation a decade ago. Hope this post doesn’t come off as ungrateful for all the countless hours that went into making them available to the community. I just want more people to experience modulating video with video. :slight_smile:

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I am very happy to be involved with this, but I think it’s important to get explicit permission from @creatorlars before making and distributing PCBs for LZX schematics, published or otherwise.

Thought I had managed to talk Lars into keeping at least the ones that don’t require the 14-pin sync around. Perhaps not. Oh well.

We’ve been working very hard to release new versions of all of these designs, guys. There will be fully bare PCB + panel options, assembled SMT options, and fully assembled module options for everything. Please wait to see what that looks like. We’re not taking away Cadet, we’re about to present it’s next iteration, and open up the entire production modular line to DIY builders. This will all follow shortly after Chromagnon’s release. We have designed the first two panels of modules with the exact same BOMs as the Chromagnon mainboards, so we’re going to be able to weave them into a streamlined production flow very quickly.

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But do not let me discourage you from making module designs!!! That’s what the Cadet schematics are intended to be – building blocks. If you’re smart enough to layout a PCB, I bet you’re smart enough to stitch together a few of the Cadet circuits, or a special implementation thereof, and make it your unique contribution to the community. It feels like a waste of an opportunity for a unique expression, to clone them exactly. :slight_smile:

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@rempesm I have done this for most of the Cadets already (some with mods, for personal use and suitable for another type of format), and as some of you might know, have plans for some other, more mutated ones.

If people want, and it is permitted, I can open this up / make this available, to have several permutations out there.
Personally I rather build through hole. but if pcb’s get too large, maybe SMT is fine too (0805)

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I too have some board designs ready to announce soon - my own ideas and design which were only possible because of what I learnt studying the cadet range. I’m only going to put out things that differ from what LZX already offers - duplicating Lars’ products is completely unacceptable to me and would be “biting off the hand that feeds” :slight_smile:

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We’re not abandoning thru hole DIY entirely. We just feel like it’s better as the variant, rather than primary, offering/core design. Aligning DIY directly with the production supply chain means we can support the DIY community better than ever, and it solves a lot of supply chain issues. Even just a switch to TSSOP-14 ADA4851-4 opamps means all your LM6172 and high priced op amp woes will be largely diminished.

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Thanks @creatorlars for the context and encouragement towards making novel contributions for the community. I hope my post didn’t come off as any shade to you or the LZX team. It’s frankly incredible these video instruments exist at all and future DIY offerings sound really exciting / smartly aligned with upcoming production modules.

@aladan That’s fantastic that this resource has made it possible to invent your own designs! Look forward to seeing what you’ve come up with. I know I have a tremendous amount to learn yet but I’ve gleaned a lot out of the Cadet schematics and poking around on boards I’ve built up since I first got into video DIY.

@reverselandfill Your modules have been awesome additions to the LZX landscape and I know you’ve posted several promising in-progress projects here. Do you want a hand with any of those in particular? The VC Feedback Differentiator looks fantastic and it seemed like you were pretty far along with that. More mixers are always welcome, too. :slight_smile:

For my own attempts, I’m in the middle of figuring out a YPbPr output to tack onto the RGB Encoder with @Analogmonster. I’d be up for working with anyone else to square that one away as we’re getting pretty close. I’ve also been slowly picking away at a modded Function Generator design which will have bipolar CV control over each band and a buffered output for each band as well.

I decided to just download KiCad yesterday and figure out how to use it. It’s been surprisingly simple so far and after years of making awkward stripboard layouts, I’m kicking myself for not diving in sooner.

I’d love to work with anyone here on putting together layouts or adapting designs you’ve been dreaming up so please post here or DM me. There’s a lot of fertile ground here and it would be wonderful to see video modular offerings flourish like audio modular has in the past decade.

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something that has been on the way back burner for me was an XYZ color picker
I think it would be so much fun to have a 3d space to pick color from


something along these lines but not as big

I’ve just started making some forward progress on another way back burner project that I’ll share some info about once it is getting closer and then I just stumbled onto something totally new this morning that we will have to see if it pans out…

my next DIY project (just got a bunch of 1u blanks) will be manual switches, extra mult, attenuators, and lowpass filters

I’d really like to make a 4 slider switched in filter passive box for all the attenuating, filtering needs in a “little” passive box that way the pieces can be broken out via 1u tiles or done all together with this box

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Hi Lars, best wishes for the new releases! Putting in my vote for natural silver panels or offwhite-cream to color coordinate with our Visionary / Expedition LZX cases. The light panels are easier to see in dark performance spaces as well. Thanks for bringing back Video Blending Matrix in a refreshed design!

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The new design language you can see in Chromagnon! But we’ve made a ton of big changes to our supply chain that mean managing things like variant panel colors is going to be much, much easier. A positive (black on white/cream) variant is a very reasonable request. It would likely be an optional replacement part (or in the case of DIY, you are ordering it as a part anyway.)

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Awesome!
I’ve also been learning KiCad while waiting for the next cadet series.
I’m a self-taught software programmer and know nothing about electronics, despite what Lars and also now Syntonie are sharing. I can’t design my own circuits, but I think I have good ideas for modules, at least oriented to live-performance. So, looking forward to remix those new building blocks that are coming after Chromagnon. :slight_smile:

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Thanks @rempesm & to everyone else who has posted here, I’ve just learned an awful lot of cool info regarding future diy fun :grinning:

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You’re welcome! That reminds me I need to post some updates on the VC Feedback Differentiator thread. After bouncing some ideas around with @reverselandfill, I’ve been breadboarding circuits that have worked out pretty well so far (particularly voltage controlled routing). I’m excited to bring that to fruition and move onto the next project in the queue.

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yeah, your ideas are great! lets put them out in the open. see if others have tips or wishes!

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That sounds awesome! I’m looking forward to this news when it breaks :grinning:

And great that you’re helping out @reverselandfill :+1:t3: