Colourupter Assembly Guide

Safety Precautions, Warranty, and Disclaimer Improper soldering and handling of electricity can cause serious injury and damage to your property. Read and understand the instructions below before beginning your project. Follow the instructions, build carefully, and use the appropriate tools. Build at your own risk. DIY Recording Equipment, LLC is not responsible for any damage or injury resulting from the assembly or use of your kit. You are the manufacturer of your kit. It is your responsibility to turn this group of parts into a working piece of recording equipment. DIY Recording Equipment, LLC does not guarantee the success of your project and disclaims any Implied Warranty of Merchantability. Please visit the support forum for assembly support.
Damaged or Missing Parts All kits and parts are checked before being shipped to you. If something arrives damaged or if your kit is missing a part, please open a support ticket to inquire about a replacement. Missing parts will be replaced at our expense. Damaged parts should be returned for verification. If the part shows signs of use beyond what was necessary to determine that it was damaged, DIY Recording Equipment, LLC reserves the right not to replace the part.
Welcome to the Colourupter Assembly Guide

Thank you for purchasing a Colourupter Optical Disrupter Colour!

If this is your first DIY project ever, we recommend reading our Getting Started Guide.

Table of Contents

Required Tools

You'll need the tools below to complete this build.

Soldering Iron
We recommend an adjustable-temperature station, such as the $40 Weller WLC100.

You can use 60/40 "leaded" solder or lead-free. We recommend 60/40 because it flows better and is easier for beginners to use.

Wire Cutters
You'll need a pair of good "snips" for cutting of the excess leads after soldering.

Optional Tools

These tools aren't strictly necessary but can make your build a bit easier.

If you find the color bands on resistors a bit hard to read, you can use a meter to sort them with absolute confidence.

Desoldering Pump
If you accidentally solder something in the wrong place, a desoldering pump can save the day.

0. Resistor Calculator

Type in the value of the resistor you need and this tool will show you the corresponding color code.

Check Revision

This assembly guide is for mkI of the Colourupter, which was discontinued in August 2023. If you bought your kit after August 2023, go to the new Colourupter assembly guide.

Place Resistors

Identify and Sort Components

Before you begin stuffing the board, it's a good idea to sort the components using the Component Sorting Sheet (PDF).

Insert the Resistors

Begin populating the printed circuit board (PCB) by placing the resistors in the places marked for them. Note again, that if you purchased your kit after 1/1/2017, R3 should be 680R, not 10k as marked on the PCB.

Bend the Resistor Leads

As you insert the resistors, bend their leads flush against the bottom of the PCB. This will hold them in place when we flip the board over for soldering.

Solder the Resistors

Now solder the resistors to the PCB. Observe good soldering technique: heat the pad and lead for 2-3 seconds, apply a small bit of solder, and continue to heat the pad for another 2-3 seconds. Allow each solder joint 10 seconds to cool before moving on to the next one. The finished joints should be shiny and should have just enough solder to cover the pad entirely.

Trim the Leads

Once all of the solder joints have cooled, use your clippers to trim away the excess leads. Your goal should be to clip as close as possible to the joint without clipping the joint itself.

Place Larger Components

Place the IC Socket

Next, place the socket for the integrated circuit IC1. Note that both the socket and the IC itself have small semi-circular notches on one end. Orient the socket so that the semi-circular notches on the socket and the PCB legend match.

Bend the socket pins

Using your needle-nose pliers, bend two of the socket's pins against the bottom of the PCB to hold it in place. Try not to scratch the PCB with the pliers!

Solder and trim the socket

Solder the pins of the socket and trim the excess leads down to the joint as you did with the resistors.

Place the film capacitors

Next, identify and place the four smaller, red, "film" capacitors. C1 and C2 are marked "u1K63" or "0.1 63". C4 is marked "WIMA 68/1000-." And C6 is marked "WIMA 0.68 50-."Bend their leads as you place the capacitors, then solder and trim.

Place the Vactrol

Next, we'll place the component at the heart of the Colourupter's sound: the "vactrol," or resistive opto-isolator. The vactrol's orientation is indicated by the lead spacing; the vactrol with the labeling on top and the closer leads towards the center of the PCB. Bend the leads, solder, and trim.

Place the electrolytic capacitors

C3 and C5 are aluminum electrolytic capacitors. However, unlike most caps of this type, they are non-polarized so they can be inserted in either direction. (The "+" indication on the PCB is included just in case someone wants to use different, polarized caps.)The actual value of C3 and C5 may be 10uF or 4.7uF, depending on the revision of the kit you received. Insert the caps, bend the leads flush against the bottom of the PCB, solder, and trim.

Place Connectors and IC

Insert the Standoffs

Pop the standoffs into the four mounting holes from the bottom of the PCB. Insert the locking ends with right-angle tabs into the Colourupter PCB and leave the removable ends to be inserted into your Palette.

Place the Header

Finally, insert the 8-pin header into the holes marked "CON1." Make sure to place the short, silver pins through the PCB so that the black posts and long, gold pins protrude from the bottom of the PCB.Set the PCB down so that the pins of the header rest against your work surface and solder the header. There should be no excess leads to trim after soldering.

Slightly bend the IC Leads

See how the pins of the IC protrude from the body at slightly wider than a 90 degree angle? In order to fit the IC into the socket, we'll need to bend the leads inward a bit.Set the IC on its side and press from the other side to bend all the leads at once. Then flip the IC over and do the same for the other side. When you are done the leads should be perpendicular to the body.

Press the IC into the socket

Set the IC on top of the socket, making sure to align the semi-circular notches. Double check this! Now apply pressure with one or two fingers to press the IC firmly into the socket. Is it really in there? Good, then you're done!

Final Checks

Before you wrap up, check the following things:

  • IC orientation: Does the dot/notch on the IC align with the notches on the socket and PCB?
  • Resistors: Do all of the resistor positions correspond the chart and/or sorting sheet?
  • Soldering: Is every solder joint shiny and clean? If one is cloudy or misshapen, try reheating it for 8 seconds and adding a tiny bit more solder.
  • Trimming: Are all of the excess leads trimmed down as close to the joint as possible?

All good? Congrats on finishing your build! Have a question or problem? Drop us a line.

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