I have created templates using HPGL graphics to reduce the cost of panels from FrontPanelExpress.
1U basic panel template
2U basic panel template
This is a template for small 0.75" knobs. I modify this design depending on the spacing of the controls. I used this full design on my PSIM, without numeric legends on my Fixed Filter Bank, and without minor tic marks or numeric legends on my ComputerVoltageSource.
Small knob template
Module Power Consumption
Here is my spreadsheet with the power consumption of many purchased modules. This information is either from the module specifications or was measured.
Module power consumption spreadsheet
I bought many of my patch cables through the custom orders that the late Larry Hendry organized. I have found some others that I like. Peavey makes a set of 6 molded color cables in 1' and 3' lengths. I have only had a couple ever fail. Calrad makes a set of 8 colored cables in 1', 2', 3', and 6' lengths. The connectors are gold plated and I have only had one fail although they are difficult to find. Recently I needed longer cables and bought the Orange County Speaker 12' 6 pack of colored patch cables. They are quite nice although the strain relief is simply the connector crimp. I bought multiple colors of 1/2" heat shrink and covered the plug and cable with 4" at each end.
|1/4" Molded Patch Cables||Supplier||Part Number|
|Peavey set of 6 molded color cables - 1 foot||Peavey||00054550|
|Peavey set of 6 molded color cables - 3 foot||Peavey||00054570|
|Calrad set of 8 molded color cables -1 foot*||Arcade Electronics||55-720G-1|
|Calrad set of 8 molded color cables -2 foot*||Arcade Electronics||55-720G-2|
|Calrad set of 8 molded color cables -3 foot*||Arcade Electronics||55-720G-3|
|Calrad set of 8 molded color cables -6 foot*||Arcade Electronics||55-720G-6|
|* The Calrad cables are now black with colored plugs so they are not as useful|
|Orange County Speakers set of 6 color cables - 2 foot||GLS Audio||37-308|
|Orange County Speakers set of 6 color cables - 3 foot||GLS Audio||37-310|
|Orange County Speakers set of 6 color cables - 6 foot||GLS Audio||37-312|
|Orange County Speakers set of 6 color cables - 12 foot||GLS Audio||37-314|
Hook- Up Wire
I use NTE 24 AWG stranded wire for all front panel controls and jacks. It comes in 25' and 100' spools and 10 colors. I used to buy this from Mouser but they no longer carry NTE products but you can buy it from NTE.
|NTE Hook-Up Wire||Supplier||Part Number|
|24 AWG stranded hook-up wire||NTE Parts Direct||WH24-AA-BB|
|where AA designates color; 00 = black, 01 = brown, ... 09 = white (follows the resistor color code)|
|where BB designates length; 25 = 25 feet, 100 = 100 feet|
|so WH24-02-25 is a 25 foot spool of red wire, and WH24-00-100 is a 100 foot spool of black wire|
Momentary and Toggle Switches
I do not use momentary pushbuttons as I find them awkward to use in the top and bottom cabinets. I instead use momentary flatted-handle toggle switches to match the look and feel with all the other switches.
|NKK Flat Handle Switches||Supplier||Part Number|
|SPDT On-Off-On e.g. center off||Mouser||633-M201302|
|SPDT (On)-None-On e.g. momentary||Mouser||633-M201502|
|SPDT (On)-Off-On e.g. center off momentary||Mouser||633-M201902|
|DPDT On-Off-On e.g. center off||Mouser||633-M202302|
|DPDT (On)-None-On e.g. momentary||Mouser||633-M202502|
|DPDT (On)-Off-On e.g. center off momentary||Mouser||633-M2029ES1W01|
These flat handle Mountain switches have no life specifications and the threaded bushing is a bit shorter than the NKK.
|Mountain Flat Handle Switches||Supplier||Part Number|
|SPDT On-(On) e.g. momentary||Mouser||108-1MS2T6B1M1QE-EVX|
|SPDT On-Off-On e.g. center off||Mouser||108-1MS3T6B1M1QE-EVX|
|DPDT On-(On) e.g. momentary||Mouser||108-1MD2T6B1M1QE-EVX|
|DPDT On-Off-On e.g. center off||Mouser||108-1MD3T6B1M1QE-EVX|
|DPDT (On)-Off-(On) e.g. center off both momentary||Mouser||108-1MD4T6B1M1QE-EVX|
These colored push button switches with metal bushings seem to be the ones used by several synth vendors.
|E-Switch RP Series with metal bushing||Supplier||Part Number|
I do like these C&K momentary push buttons with caps. Only the black cap is available at Mouser.
|E-Switch RP Series with metal bushing||Supplier||Part Number|
I like the Lorlin rotary switch because of the variable positions and 30° indexing. The bushing however isn't long enough to go through a 3mm panel and a bracket.
|Rotary Switch||Supplier||Part Number|
|Lorlin 1 pole x up to 12 positions, 30° indexing||Mouser||105-13571|
I purchase a number of the Lumex LEDs and change them on most of my modules to
match this color scheme.
Green as general indicators and status such as the LFO rate on the MOTM-390
Red for warning such as clipping on the Blacet TimeMachine
Bi-color for indicating polarity such as on the MOTM-320
Blue for MIDI status such as on my DJB-011 Ribbon Interface
The green, yellow, and red Lumix LEDs are available from Digikey. The bi-color Lumix LEDs are available from Mouser.
|Lumix Panel Mount LED||Supplier||Part Number|
I make my own MOTM-style blue LEDs by grinding the top of a LED flat and fitting it into the Lumex plastic holder.
BI Technologies P260P Series Potentiometers
I originally used the Vishay/Spectrol 148/ 149 series potentiometers. When the cost on these skyrocketed I switched to the 248 series. As the cost of these skyrocketed I switched to BI Technologies P260P series potentiometers. I couldn't find them in distribution in the USA so I purchased a minimum order quantity of 240 direct through Arrow Advantage.
Here's a visual comparison of the three different types of potentiometers. The shaft on the P260P is a bit shorter so the knob is closer to the panel. This is an advantage when using the smaller 3/4" knobs which have a shorter depth. There is sufficient shaft length to space the knob out to match the 148/248 as shown on the far right. The P260P has a good solid quality feel but is less stiff than the 148/248 controls.
|1/4" Shaft BI Technologies||Supplier||Part Number|
|100K linear; min order qty 240; 8+ week leadtime||BI Technologies||P260P-D1BS3CB100K|
|100K linear||Digikey||987-1331-ND New|
|10K log||Digikey||987-1332-ND New|
|100K log||Digikey||987-1330-ND New|
|1M log and dual ganged log||Oakley Sound||email firstname.lastname@example.org|
|10K, 50K and 100K linear and log||Oakley Sound||email email@example.com|
|1/4" Shaft Piher (low cost all-plastic construction)|
|100K solder lug, 7mm hole, cut shaft to fit||Mouser||531-PC16SC-100K|
I use chiclet PCBs from John Loffink to wire my panel mount potentiometers. They're great.
I used to use the Tyco PKES90B1/4 for my standard knobs but they are now very expensive. Bridechamber sold a very close Alco knoff-off knob that I bought a quantity of. Mammoth Electronics sells inexpensive knobs that are very close as the aluminum center has a circular ridge texture but looks the same from a distance. Radio Shack makes a considerably less expensive molded heptagon knob. It is slightly larger in diameter, has slightly wider flutes, and uses a slotted instead of allen setscrew. They also make this same knob in a 3/4"" size that I use for all my smaller 1/4" shaft knobs.
|Standard MOTM style knob||Mouser||506-PKES90B1/4|
|Small MOTM style knob||Mouser||506-PKES60B1/4|
|Large BOSS style black knob with silver top||Mammoth Electronics||4SKLGFLBK|
|Small BOSS style black knob with silver top||Mammoth Electronics||4SKSMFLBK|
|Small flatted knob (for rotary switches)||Mouser||5164-1510AH|
I use thin plastic washers to protect the panels for mounting and the additional thickness is an issue when using 1/4" screws to mounting rails. I bought 5/16" screws which work perfect with the washers but they only come in quantity of 1000.
|Panel Screws and Washers||Supplier||Part Number|
|#8 plastic washers||Mouser||561-D832B|
|#8-32 x 5/16 phillips black screws||Aarons General Store||1701SN1296|
|4-40 plastic standoffs||Mouser||561-K4.25|
|6-32 plastic standoffs||Mouser||561-K6.25|
|6-32 aluminum standoffs||Mouser||534-3464|
|3/8-32 Nickel hex control nut||Mouser||534-1456|
|3/8 ID Switchcraft flat washer||Mouser||502-S10221|
Other MOTM-Style Parts
Here are a variety of miscellaneous MOTM-style parts that I use.
|Ferrite Beads||Supplier||Part Number|
|Short ferrite beads||Mouser||623-2743001112LF|
|Long ferrite beads||Mouser||623-2743002112LF|
|22 µF 35V low leakage electrolytic capacitor||Mouser||647-UKL1V220KEDANA|
|10 µF 35V low leakage electrolytic capacitor||Mouser||647-UKL1V100MDDANA|
|0.1 µF ceramic decoupling capacitor (discontinued)||Mouser||147-72-104-RC|
I now use these 0.1µF ceramic decoupling capacitors
|8 pin DIP||Mouser||517-4808-3000-CP|
|14 pin DIP||Mouser||517-4814-3000-CP|
|16 pin DIP||Mouser||517-4816-3000-CP|
|MIDI connectors (silver)||Mouser||16HR655|
|MIDI connectors (black)||Mouser||164-2522|
|MTA power connectors|
|4 pin 0.156 MTA header (PCB)||Mouser||571-6404454|
|4 pin 0.156 MTA connector (cable)||Mouser||571-3-640426-4|
|4 pin 0.156 MTA dust cap||Mouser||571-6405514|
Note: these next two parts are for daisy-chain feed-through power cables
|4 pin 0.156 MTA thru connector (cable)||Mouser||571-3-640599-4|
|4 pin 0.156 MTA thru dust cap||Mouser||571-6406434|
|MTA signal connectors|
Note: the last digit specifies the number of pins
|2 pin 0.1 MTA header||Mouser||571-6404542|
|2 pin 0.1 MTA connector||Mouser||571-3-640441-2|
|2 pin 0.1 MTA dust cap||Mouser||571-6405502|
|FCI signal connectors (e.g. Berg)||Mouser|
|Note: use where limited space for MTA connectors|
|0.1" female receptacle (connectors)||Mouser||649-48235-000LF|
|2 pin connector housing||Mouser||649-65039-035LF|
|3 pin connector housing||Mouser||649-65039-034LF|
Digikey used to sell the Panalsonic 3300PPM 5% 0805 SMD tempco resistors for about $0.55 each. They had a variety of values from 27R to 1K8. I used these to make my own through-hole tempco resistors by soldering them to leads and encapsulating them in epoxy. Unfortunately the Panasonic parts have gone obsolete. The closest available is the 3600PPM 5% KOA Speer. While not ideal it is available at Mouser.
|Tempco SMT Resistors||Supplier||Part Number|
|1K 3600PPM 5% 0805 resistor||Mouser||660-LT732ATTD102J360|
|1K 3300PPM 5% 0805 resistor||Digikey|
This is a flatted style for mounting between differential pairs.
I also made a round axial style for mounting on a PCB.
I also used epoxy to directly mount the SMT resistors on the top of an IC.
Some synthesizer modules use CMOS logic parts. There are multiple families of CMOS logic parts but they fall into two main groups: 15 volt compatible and 5 volt compatible. Vendors sometimes use unique nomenclature for their CMOS families. You need to check the data sheet to verify the operating voltage range.
Go to my Modular Synth Tips page for a more complete description and examples.
I created a separate page for PCB brackets and moved the information here.