Visual Cortex Troubeshooting

I’m struggling with the Visual Cortex and I don’t know if it’s just me or a hardware issue. When I first bought this module my monitor would see a signal but it was black. Couldn’t get anything to display although it was see the both outputs. I then brought it to a local shop to test it and it worked fine. After that I did a project with a friend and it worked fine then as well. And now I’m back to seeing nothing displayed. I tried to feed the vidiot and my camcorder thru it with no luck. Vidiot display just fine when i plug directly into my monitor. Any thoughts??? I’m losing my mind

That sounds frustrating. Did you check the NTSC/PAL and sync settings on your Cortex?

Yes… even switched it to make sure.

Are you patching the Cortex, or just plugging it in to the monitor, unpatched?

Tried both. I have a camcorder and a vidiot that I tried feed thru it. Also tried feeding the visual cortex to the vidiot.

Could you upload some photos of the patches you are trying, or maybe some video?
If the Cortex is working with everything but your monitor, it would be best to use a different monitor.

I just picked up a used Cortex and seems to be working fine except that, when the mix switch is engaged on either side, the blue channel only comes through when I firmly push down on the blue pot.

Anyone else have a similar problem before? I assume this means the pot needs to be replaced?

Hoping there is maybe a simpler solution. Maybe…? Got a reasonably good deal on it and would like to avoid returning it (or dealing with/paying for a repair situation).

Either the pot needs to be replaced or resoldered. A bad solder joint is most likely, but it’s hard to say without closer examination.

Ah, yes, now that I look more closely at it, definitely appears to have a bad solder joint.

Looks like maybe a reasonably easy fix…? (I am by no means an expert solderer, but have built several of the Cadets and Castle successfully, so one joint should be doable.) Will obviously have to remove the rear board to get to it, but can I get away with leaving the front panel on? Or is that a bad idea?

If you feel comfortable tackling the repair, feel free! It sounds like you have enough soldering experience. Just proceed slowly and deliberately. You can always send the module to LZX, if you decide the work is too challenging.

Well, gave it shot today but seems like maybe the board itself is not in the best shape. Couldn’t get a clean solder connection between the board and the pot leg. Didn’t seem to be much of a solder pad left. All the solder just beaded up on the leg.

Thoughts? Suggestions?

you don’t have to solder that pin. it holds the pot.
It can help prevent things though.

I thought one of the (that row of 3) pins - of that potmeter, looked weird (the right one?).

If it does not wants to flow, it might be a lead free pcb. you can try lead free tin.
The pins have some solder, so reflowing might help as well.

maybe @Z0NK0UT can confirm this?

Ah, I did wonder about that, as I was under the impression that those two larger pins were mechanical rather than electrical connections. Was just the obviously messed up–looking thing, so I assumed I was wrong.

…Let me take a closer look at the other pins.

Yes, those pins are mechanical connections. If the mechanical connection is not secure, you could be flexing the electrical connections when you push on the pot.
Tech Phil says,
“I can’t tell for sure If that board is missing a pad or not. All I can say is that non-leaded solder does not like being reworked too much. I’d recommend a good deal of flux to help file an the joint and facilitate a solid connection, and maybe even hitting it with a little lead solder if it is an option.”

Sending back to LZX for repair might be the best option. Email to get and RMA started.

I am pretty sure the solder I have is indeed lead. I could certainly hit those pads with a little more solder, but am thinking that maybe the safest route is not to try it myself.

Anyway, sent an email to support.

The main complication here is that I just bought it used, so there is sort of the issue to work out on whether it is easier (and most economical) to take care of this myself or to simply return it to the seller. Honestly, was a bit of an impulse buy (and probably not the best time to spend the money) and having it not work properly is really bumming me out.


My visual cortex just started giving me modulated noise on Green & Blue inputs.

Here is a pic of a VC ramp patched into Green. Same problem occurs when into Blue, but the same patch into Red is not throbbing with modulations,

Appreciate any help here. My VC sends sync to sync THRU on Diver. I’ve never seen this problem before today. Wondering if something has fritzed out inside VC, because nothing else has changed in my rig.



sample video for LZX Forum- Troubleshooting Visual Cortex modulated noise here:

I would take Diver out of the chain and see if the problem persists if you are only using Cortex.

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Thanks- Diver is out of the equation and I’m still getting the throbbing.

Your multply/additive and key switches need to be in the default (middle) position.

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