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 Old Crow's "40th Anniversary" Paia Gnome Project 
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Joined: Tue Sep 08, 2009 8:47 pm
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Post Old Crow's "40th Anniversary" Paia Gnome Project
Hi folks,

In 1976, at the ripe age of 12, I received for Christmas that year the first of many kits that formed my decades-long passion for analog synthesizer design. That kit was the Gnome, and while sadly that particular Gnome was lost to water damage in the mid-80s, memories of the machine stuck with me.

This year my son turned 12, so I decided to give him the same kit. The problem is, Paia hasn't sold the Gnome in many years. Fortunately I turned out to be an electrical engineer with a specialization in circuit board design, so armed with the Popular Electronics articles that John wrote regarding the Gnome from 1974 as well as the original Gnome manuals, I made one. Mine does not (yet) have a case, but I made the assembly a single board with no front panel wiring, so crafting a case should be less complicated.

Eventually I'll have a small web page up concerning my respin on the Gnome, but I will have my son build one up first. ;) --Crow

https://644db4de3505c40a0444-327723bce298e3ff5813fb42baeefbaa.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/uploads/project/top_image/oOtV2tD7/i.png


Mon Aug 25, 2014 6:17 pm
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Joined: Sun Nov 09, 2008 2:49 pm
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Post Re: Old Crow's "40th Anniversary" Paia Gnome Project
Boot-iful! Love the purple too.

So, you're not so "old", Crow... I was eighteen back then. Thanks for sharing and here's to a rewarding project with your son!

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Scott Lee
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Tue Aug 26, 2014 10:20 am
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Post Re: Old Crow's "40th Anniversary" Paia Gnome Project
...and that's cheating using the board mounted pots. Measuring, stipping, tinning, and making the board to panel wiring connections is all a part of the exercise/craft! ;)

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Scott Lee
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Tue Aug 26, 2014 10:27 am
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Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2014 1:36 pm
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Location: Toronto
Post Re: Old Crow's "40th Anniversary" Paia Gnome Project
that really looks great. can't wait to see it populated.

bill


Tue Aug 26, 2014 4:38 pm
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Joined: Tue Sep 08, 2009 8:47 pm
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Post Re: Old Crow's "40th Anniversary" Paia Gnome Project
Eliminating wires is one of my design goals, mainly because it saves time in production assembly. While "production" isn't the case for my edition of the Gnome, it is a habit that sort of just carried over. Besides, I do enough soldering already:

http://www.cs80.com/crowbx

(That is about 3,000 parts and 3 straight weeks of soldering) ;)

Crow
/**/


Tue Aug 26, 2014 4:49 pm
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Joined: Mon Sep 14, 2009 7:43 pm
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Post Re: Old Crow's "40th Anniversary" Paia Gnome Project
Very cool! I seem to recall articles in Polyphony where you could interface the Gnome to the 4780 sequencer. Which made me wonder if the VCO could track well enough from a keyboard or you really needed to dial in the notes like with the 4780. Regardless this might make a fun desk top sequencer based synth.

Good luck and keep us all posted.


Tue Aug 26, 2014 5:29 pm
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Joined: Thu Sep 24, 2009 2:14 pm
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Post Re: Old Crow's "40th Anniversary" Paia Gnome Project
Greetings, Scott R, Scott L, Kyhotay and PaiA Phans!

That is an OUTSTANDING effort for the little Gnome!! I’ve seen unbuilt Gnomes on eBay go for almost $300! So, much "cheaper" to roll your own, even if you design a totally new pcb!! I’m not as advanced as you in the PC fabrication/layout programs, but I did layout a GnomeClone back in 2002 in Visio (don’t laugh!).
http://s1305.photobucket.com/user/tonem ... sort=3&o=5

I’ve always wanted a Gnome since they came out in the late 60’s. About 15yrs ago, I finally bought a non-working Gnome from eBay and totally rebuilt it while re-arranging the internals so I could add some “mods”. Some of the mods that I did: added 2 voltage regulators to eliminate batteries; sanded and refinished the walnut sides; added a thin plastic bar for the front of the circuit board to rest on; added square brass rods to hold down the strip at both ends; added an internal VCO/noise/VCF mixer to boost the signal to the VCF and VCA; added a 555 pulser to trigger the A/D: Put a protection resistor in front of Q3; added patch points for power supply to rear; added patch points for Strip and V-2-I converter to front.
My GnomeClone pcb incorporated 2 voltage regulators on-board. I got the pcb to work, but never boxed it up.
I was working on an exponential converter front-end, but never followed through. I discovered that some black ESD bags have linear resistance properties. That is I why I wanted to make an expo front end for the VCO. It would make it MUCH easier to play a tune with a linear strip. Otherwise, the Gnome was just a “noisemaker”.
There have been many Gnome work-a-likes since then. For example, the Korg Monotron is very popular now and there’s a Korg Volca. There’s Ray Wilson’s WP20 and his SoundLab; remember the Mad Mouse Pro and the Microcon and Microcon 2 and the famous Electro Harmonix MiniSynth? There is an Arduino-based micro synth, but that's NOT analog! :o Most recently, Casio says their VL-10 is the tiniest synth in the world. Lastly, there is a new hand held synth kit called the MeeBlip. The Gnome was definitely the first portable mini synth.
Too bad it’s just not cost effective to produce the Gnome now. :-(

Here are some links to MyGnome project:
mygnome corner-front:
http://s1305.photobucket.com/user/tonem ... 0.jpg.html

mygnome-rear
http://s1305.photobucket.com/user/tonem ... 7.jpg.html

mygnome pwr:
http://i1305.photobucket.com/albums/s54 ... 3b5876.jpg

To Scott L:
I agree. No “fun” not having a million wires to the front panel! LOL!

To Kyhotay:
The “gnome interface” was in 4/76 issue of polyphony. The article is here:
http://home.comcast.net/~polyphony/PP/P ... -V2-4A.pdf

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Wed Aug 27, 2014 8:18 pm
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Joined: Tue Sep 08, 2009 8:47 pm
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Post Re: Old Crow's "40th Anniversary" Paia Gnome Project
I should have my set of 3 boards here by Dec. 15th. Will build one, kit one for my son and probably send the third to Paia-Scott. ;) --Crow

/**/


Wed Dec 10, 2014 5:39 am
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Post Re: Old Crow's "40th Anniversary" Paia Gnome Project
That would be nice! : )

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Scott Lee
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Wed Dec 10, 2014 6:47 pm
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Post Re: Old Crow's "40th Anniversary" Paia Gnome Project
After a six-month absence I'm back to update the status of this project. My son has his about 70% soldered:

http://www.cs80.com/PaiaGnome40_JSR_sm.jpg

He should have it finished by the weekend. --Crow

/**/


Mon May 11, 2015 10:35 pm
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