Etherwave kit construction

Posted: 5/16/2015 8:48:54 PM

From: Bristol, United Kingdon

Joined: 5/8/2015

HelloHello! In the not to distant future I will be purchasing an etherwave kit. To prepare, I was hoping someone could tell me what tools and equipment I would need to assemble it. I know soldering iron is a must but I don't want to be caught out on the day. 


I did look, I will admit not too deeply to see if there was a tutorial topic on the kits, but got lost and somewhat befuddled. 

Thanks in advance! 




Posted: 5/17/2015 10:59:38 AM

From: züriCH

Joined: 3/15/2014

hello gremlin,

building the kit is quite straightforward's all in the manual that will come with the kit. read that first, really do so. building it then, it's not very difficult, since the pcb is already populated and all you have to solder are the pots and cables. of course, it needs a bit concentration and some basic soldering experiences are helpful. there are quite some vids on y.t. about soldering, if you're not too familiar with the iron.......

make yr first solder joints maybe on a cheap electronic kit of some sort, before you get yr hands on a theremin, imnho. check out also for basic soldering/electronics. or get that book: handmade electronic music a nice work by a nice man.

but to get a bit prepared, you need at least:(beside a phillips screwdriver,a wrench..) a fine-tipped soldering iron. thin,flux-cored solder ( not lead free !). small pliers and cutters. a multimeter. is always good to have for troubleshooting....i think that's the basics. (most certainly  this can be expanded to also get a frequency counter, etc...:-) 

the tuning of the finished unit is maybe the more difficult thing, the circuit board comes precalibrated, but needs some adjustement regarding the housing etc...just a hint: don't turn L5, unless you exactly know why. (read some posts around here about it.) the manual is a bit unclear about that.

hope that helps.

(it's oh so's oh so still....



Posted: 5/17/2015 4:18:24 PM

From: Northern NJ, USA

Joined: 2/17/2012

If you can solder OK (huge hints: 1. "tin" or solder coat everything individually before joining them together; 2. only use 60/40 electronic solder with rosin flux) you'll probably have more trouble tuning it than putting it together.

Posted: 5/20/2015 2:01:28 PM

From: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Joined: 4/24/2015

I'm in the process of assembling and Etherwave Plus kit right now!

It was a bit confusing at first, because they send the Etherwave Standard manual, and the Plus Upgrade manual... (which tells you how to disassemble the Standard in order to upgrade to the Plus)... so I spent some time with the manuals sorting out the difference and reorganizing the steps, so that I don't have to assemble, dissassemble and then upgrade. :-)

Don't forget you need a safe workspace protected from ESD (Electro Static Discharge)

any tips on ESD would be appreciated here... I don't have a fancy ESD mat or wrist strap...
do people here have other tips in addittion to:
1. - don't move around a lot (gather all your tools at your workbench so you don't have to walk around to get them, because walking can build up static electricity)
2.  - don't wear synthetic fibers (they can build up static)
3. - leave the PCB in the static resistant plastic wrap until you are ready to use it; don't take it out to play with it.
4. - don't touch components with your fingers, handle the board from the edges.
5.  - have something metal that you can touch to ground and discharge your static before working.

#5 is the part that I'm a bit confused about... what is the best DIY set up for discharging my static at the work bench?


Also... finishing the wood cabinet... you have to do that *before* you assemble the electronics.... that's where I'm stuck right now... I want to do something custom, but not too cheesy, because I want to still be happy with it 20 years from now... but I just want to jump into the electronics!!!! so eager!... but first... the wood needs to be sanded and finished, and I could do a natural finish... but everyone has a natural finish... I want something unique but classy... I'm thinking of woodburning a design onto one side maybe, or going with a coloured stain (not black)....

Are there any photo albums of custom designed etherwave cabinets one could look at for inspiration?  I didn't see many in the photo albums on the forum here.

Inspiration for Etherwave wooden case finishing designs please. :-)

Posted: 5/20/2015 7:17:23 PM

From: züriCH

Joined: 3/15/2014

xoadc: #5 is the part that I'm a bit confused about... what is the best DIY set up for discharging my static at the work bench? 

the simplest trick: my radiator, heating tubes etc. is a very good place to get discharged, i always touch it before i do electronic things. another one: if you have a grounded amp or equipment, like a oscilloscope : touch that one on the jack-socket or somewhere where ground is given. we have 3 wires in the common electronic (240V) cables here: null,phase and ground.....;-) get the diy-aspect?

i'm gona put some pix of custom cases i did for other theremin-circuits into my "d.loosegears fantasy folder". i think,the etherwave case is a bit limited for redesign of the form, because of those 9 screws in the cover. 

Posted: 5/20/2015 7:32:30 PM

From: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Joined: 4/24/2015

oooo... so for ESD discharge, I can touch anything that is plugged into a grounded (3prong) outlet?

I my amp is not near my work station, but i have an osciloscope I could plug in... so if it's plugged in, and grounded (here it is 110-120V).... I just touch the metal case before handling my gear?


Posted: 5/20/2015 7:34:51 PM

From: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Joined: 4/24/2015

and thanks for the links to those images!
i love the one with the transparent window and metal flaps on hinges!  do the metal flaps not interfere?

Posted: 5/20/2015 9:51:05 PM

From: züriCH

Joined: 3/15/2014


as long as the chassis is grounded, yes. i don't know how electricity is handled in canada,(3or2wires) but you can take a continuity-tester and check chassis versus one of the prongs. then you also know wich ones ground on your socket. of course proper esd protection, with wristbands etc. is a bit more advanced. wiki-esd wrist strap . and as long as you follow your nice 5point-check list, there is not much to fear.  wiki-ground 

EDIT: there is a important notice about the above; found somewhere on ray wilson's "music from outer space", that you should ground yourself by a 10meg resistor, and not directly. i worked a lot with ic's and delicate stuff and never had any issues by direct  touching a direct chassis ground before starting any elctronic work. no fried bugs so far!

the hinged alu-flaps are the two antennas! so yes,they interfere a it hangs most of the time on the wall, closed like a triptychon. the case is aeroplywood. it's a typical art harrison plate antenna theremin (145)and from the ergonomics,well.. avatar shows a typical setup... btw.: i blew that one once up by some heavy discharge, short before i needed it for a event. touched my bad stompbox and unfortunately also the pitch antenna with the other hand. (und dann war kurzschluss).


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