New Panel + Menu Layout and the Pandemic Aftermath for Sourcing Components

I have some good news and some bad news 😐

Bad News

I will be delaying the release of the module a minimum of 3 months… 😬

Due to the current global semi-conductor shortage, sourcing parts has been a bit chaotic (and expensive). A ton of ICs, Op-Amps, and MCUs that are commonly used in Eurorack modules are completely out of stock.

 For example, the infamous TL072 dual op-amp (one of the most common components in a schematic) is out of stock… These ICs will likely be made available sooner rather than later, but the real problem I am up against is the shortage of Instrumentation Amplifiers. These components are integral to the design of the bender circuit. It took me several months of testing just to get to the point in this video, and now my manufacturer is giving me a lead-time of October for new stock to arrive… which is not an option at this point. So the plan is to replace it with something similar and hope there is enough stock in a month or two.

Additionally, I am just not finished writing the firmware for the DEGREE. Coordinating the manufacturing coupled with finishing the latest revision of the module took an alarming amount of my time up. Aside from writing a few drivers here and there, my last commit to the DEGREE Repository was 6 months ago… pretty crazy.

Good News

Amidst the chaos I was still able to secure the parts for the DEGREE - the major caveat being I need to now redesign + test a handful of circuits to use components which are still in stock.

Additionally, the panel design is done. I want to thank Marius Ursache (one of the first pre-orders) for offering up his talents to the project and designing the panel graphics. I am quite happy with how its looking so far!

This final revision took quite some time to complete. I had to re-work the UI for selecting the different bender modes. I was using a slide toggle switch before, but I ditched that for 8 fancy little LED holes on the panel. This way you can select between ratcheting, pitch bending, both ratchet + pitch bend, or nothing at all.

I also replaced all the touch pads in the menu section with both illuminated and non-illuminated tactile buttons. Way nicer feel, and the redesign spat out a cleaner layout.

The FREEZE, RESET, and RECORD buttons have all been moved to the far left for easier access while performing. The RESET button also flashes its LED to the tempo of the sequencer.

In the above picture you can also see a few extra LEDs per channel (below the MODE buttons). Don’t get used to these, as I quickly decided to remove them. I put them there because I had a few spare LED driver pins available for each channel and thought “why not add some more UI indicator stuff? Could only make things better.”. One LED was going to indicate the GATE OUT for each channel, and the other LED was going to indicate if a channel has an active sequence. They ended up being just way too distracting and took away the simplicity a bit. So out they go!

Once again, sorry for the delay - but serious progress has been made 🙂

- Scott

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