Old Crow's "40th Anniversary" Paia Gnome Project

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OldCrow
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Old Crow's "40th Anniversary" Paia Gnome Project

Post by OldCrow »

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://644db4de3505c40a0444-327723bce2 ... 2tD7/i.png
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PAiA-Scott
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Re: Old Crow's "40th Anniversary" Paia Gnome Project

Post by PAiA-Scott »

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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Re: Old Crow's "40th Anniversary" Paia Gnome Project

Post by PAiA-Scott »

...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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Re: Old Crow's "40th Anniversary" Paia Gnome Project

Post by Billb3 »

that really looks great. can't wait to see it populated.

bill
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Re: Old Crow's "40th Anniversary" Paia Gnome Project

Post by OldCrow »

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
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Re: Old Crow's "40th Anniversary" Paia Gnome Project

Post by Kyhotay »

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.
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Re: Old Crow's "40th Anniversary" Paia Gnome Project

Post by toneman »

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
IF U THINK U GOT A GOOD DEAL....U DID!!
OldCrow
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Re: Old Crow's "40th Anniversary" Paia Gnome Project

Post by OldCrow »

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

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Re: Old Crow's "40th Anniversary" Paia Gnome Project

Post by PAiA-Scott »

That would be nice! : )
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OldCrow
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Re: Old Crow's "40th Anniversary" Paia Gnome Project

Post by OldCrow »

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

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