Hackerboutique DESTRUCTO- DIY Build
Social media is a place where many things can happen, both good and bad. One can also find some true gems in the rough as they scour the internet for new and exciting modules. In our continued search to find unique eurorack modules, we stumbled upon a post about a new module called the Hackerboutique DESTRUCTO.
Posted by a gentleman by the name of Luis on a Synth DIY group, this VCF was a module with some serious balls… and we had to have it.
As we were used to building kits, we were anxious to get our hands on this build. This kit was comprised solely of a panel, PCB and a pentode tube, which was unlike any of the other kits we have built in the past. A quick message and PayPal transaction later and we found ourselves anxiously awaiting our panel and PCB to arrive. This build was to be our first “sourced” build, meaning we had to track down all the components needed to build the module (the BOM is located above).
Luckily, we had just completed our Synth DIY Parts Locator, so we had some direction to start in. Luis also created a Facebook group for his Hackerboutique DESTRUCTO builders. This page became our go-to for anything related to the build… (we even gained a few new friends!).
The wait begins...
As we were waiting for the PCB/Panel/Tube to arrive, we decided we should get started on outsourcing the rest of the “kit” so that when package arrived from Mexico, we would be ready to go.
Shipping from Mexico to the US takes a long time… a LONG time, so patience was of the utmost priority. As it was time to build out the BOM, Luis sent over a parts list and let everyone know that most, if not all of the components could be purchased at Tayda Electronics.
With that being said, we went through the parts list and created a new spreadsheet that would ultimately be the source of tracking things down for not only us, but our newfound friends in the Facebook group.
After going through the parts list, we headed over to our spare components in the shop and began sorting through resistors, capacitors and other needed items. We had 99% of the resistors and a few other items so the BOM we were building were missing these components. In the end, we ordered a majority of the parts from Tayda Electronics (as recommended) and Small Bear Electronics (our new favorite). There were several times we had reached out to Luis and the group for verification of the part numbers, and they were more than happy to assist. At this point, everything was ordered and we were again left waiting.
The Hackerboutique DESTRUCTO parts arrive...
About a month later, we had all the parts and the PCB/panel combo and were ready to get to the build. After assessing the PCB and the parts, this one seemed like it was going to be a quick and easy build due to the layout of the PCB and the overall size of the board. It looked like there was enough “build area” that there would be plenty of room to mount the components, including the pentode tube.
DESTRUCTO - Time Lapse Build
Let's get this build going ...
As we began the build, we started with the resistors and used top down soldering so that we didn’t have to continually flip the PCB over to solder pads. Be aware that there are a few caveats with the resistors on this build. On the PCB there was 2 resistors marked Rxx which leads one to wonder what exactly that meant.
Members of the Hackerboutique group had already asked this question and Luis’ response was that these were resistors for the LEDs and that 1K resistors would work fine. The other thing to be aware of is R21, the 1k2 1w giant resistor. When you are placing this component, make sure it is NOT TOUCHING the PCB! This resistor is for the heat management and keeps the module from overheating if you continuously leave the module powered on (smart eh?).
Diodes, capacitors (both film and electrolytic), transistors, the IC socket and power header were next.
These were a quick tack down but you want to make sure you that you do not leave your iron on the caps or transistors too long. Excessive heat can blow components and trust us, you don’t want to be stuck trying to track down a short somewhere.
Once all of this has been soldered into place, it was time to move to the pentode tube and ferrite beads. The ferrite beads are mounted g at a slight angle due to the keyed power header that we used. These beads can also be switched out with a jumper wire if you do not have enough space. (we had plenty).
Don't forget to use your resources...
The pentode tube is next. Here is where we messed up the first time. Instead of taking our time and looking at the PCB to notice a small black dot on the right side of the “rocket” and the red dot on the side of the tube, we originally installed this part backwards.
It took completing the build and reaching out to Luis for guidance to finally figure out that we had this turned around. You want to make sure the label on the tube is facing towards you and not face down to the PCB. This is the CORRECT way to install the pentode tube. If you do what we did, you will get 0 sound and risk blowing the tube. We got lucky and just desoldered it, and resoldered it and we were good to go.
DESTRUCTO Build Gallery
With the DESTRUCTO pentode complete, it was time to move to the jacks, pots and switch. Start by simply placing these components and do not solder them yet. You will want to install the panel with finger tight nuts to hold it in place as you line everything up.
Once everything is where it should be and the panel is sitting snug against the pots and jacks, flip the board over and tack down all the components. The only thing left to complete is the knobs and power cable.
With regard to the knobs, we had searched several places to find a knob that would fit the small pots that were used for the Hackerboutique DESTRUCTO. The pots were a soft black plastic top and they were a mix between a knurled and smooth round.
In the end, we opted for the good ol’ Davies 1900H clone (multiple colors) to give the Hackerboutique DESTRUCTO its unique look. At this point, it was time to test the module and install get it installed in our rack.
Uh oh .... Rewind that...
Our first test yielded no sound but the power was on and there was no smoke, meaning we were half way there. As we previously stated, we found that we didn’t pay attention to the of the pentode tube.
Due to our mistake, we had to disassemble everything and flip the tube around making sure the text was facing out through the space on the panel. When everything was back together and tested, it was time to mount the module in our rack. We found the perfect spot and plugged everything in.
A simple flip of the power switch and we were in business. The first thing we wanted to do was push a kick drum through to see what it did.
Upon patching the module and turning up the juice on the “FUEL” and “DESTROY” knobs, the sounds coming out of the DESTRUCTO were brutal. After inching up the Resonance knob, it became even more full of destruction. A flip of the “death” switch (what we call it) and the module screamed even louder. It was like a blessing of cornbread on Thanksgiving Day. The Hackerboutique DESTRUCTO was exactly what we needed.
Our Final Thoughts . . .
In the end, this build was pretty straight forward once you had all of the components.The most difficult part was the lack of a BOM and knowing exactly what what direction to mount the pentode tube. Make sure you pay attention to the few “gotcha” places in the build. This is due to the variety of parts that can be swapped on the PCB (switches and ferrite beads).
Thanks to Luis and the Hackerboutique group on Facebook, outsourcing was pretty easy. We ordered most of our parts from one place with the exception of one or two (ordered from Small Bear). In the end, we wondered if a panel and PCB that size was really needed as it seemed like this module could be more compact. With that said, the panel did have VCF-1 printed on it which generally means that there will be future modules and that makes us more than happy.