102 almost

System 100 102 clone in my kitchen

Eight years later! And still not quite finished.

OK, so buying an actual 102 took the wind out of my sails a bit, and then there were all the diversions into silly projects like “let’s make a System 700” and “let’s do a Jupiter-4 clone in a rack” which both dragged on forever and are somewhat dead at the moment, but it feels like this is… almost… nearly… there.

The wires poking out of the side hint at the genuine nightmare behind the panel. No, we’re not going to look round the back. At this point Roland were wiring straight to potentiometers, and I’ve done mostly the same. Here’s a view inside the original.

original System 100 102 wiring inside front panel

I did make small boards for each set of slide pots so that I could keep the screw fixing to the panel as unobtrusive as possible.

30mm slide potentiometer mounting circuit boards

I just about managed to scrape together slide potentiometers of the right (or near enough) values to make this. And the stalks are different lengths and materials. And they don’t even feel that nice – the big one below felt the best but I couldn’t use it in the end, I think the slide cap I was using didn’t fit.

my wonderful collection of different 30mm slide potentiometers

I actually considered going into the 30mm slide potentiometer business – or at least buying whatever minimum amount the manufacturers would sell of each value (seemingly 1000) and flogging the surplus. Thankfully they never got back to me, it would’ve been too far down the rabbit hole.

Anyway, enough complaining about wiring – these are the things I added

  • external CV input for the VCA
  • white/pink noise (straight from the model 101)
  • multiples! 
  • one-octave down SH-101-style sub-oscillator normalled to the external input socket
  • optional gate boost (the envelope is finicky about the voltage it needs to trigger)
  • switch for boosting the otherwise fairly quiet envelope output
  • plus/minus one octave switch
  • fast/medium/slow LFO ranges
  • LFO reset (already there on the model 101 version of the board)
  • switch on the S&H clock to the envelope
  • envelope fast/normal speed
  • extra cv/gate inputs on the far left

There’s probably more I could’ve bunged on it, but I was trying to keep to the look of the 102 as far as I could. Here’s the whole thing propped up a fruit bowl on our kitchen worktop.

front view of System 100 model 102 clone

I wimped out on the design slightly because I had my doubts that the printing process would be able to reproduce the (grey? green?) original colour scheme. Given that this panel cost £150 back in Nov 2019 from Schaeffer, it was strictly going to be a one-shot thing. I’d hate to think how much it’d cost now.

Now I look at it again, the absence of the block colour gives it a moody sort-of Sys100/SH-09 crossover look.

The only thing that doesn’t work yet is the phones output because I’m missing the Sansui ST-31 transformer, which seems to be hard to get hold of these days, although I’ve seen photos of boxes full of them on the internet, just to taunt me.

Here’s the usual out-of-tune bonky MC-4-driven demo that doesn’t really demo anything, mostly just showing the pulse-width mod/suboscillator and envelope fast/normal switch.

I’ve got a power supply board made up, a clone of the one in the 104, which I actually intended to make but never got round to because of the strange Sanyo TV channel selector switches which it uses. (Also it turns out that the 100M 182 is more fun)

I was going to run the whole thing off a Yamaha PA-20 and keep the transformer outside the box, just to keep it as compact as possible.

And it needs a box making up, and then it’ll be ta-daaa. Hopefully this side of 2030.

Bonus photos ‘cos I was asked: here’s the panel as it arrived, just opened up the package from Schaeffer:

System 100 102 clone panel from Schaeffer

Slightly grim photo of my panel (taken in near darkness, for some reason) balanced on top of my 101, just to show a comparison against the original 102. My version is a bit too wide, I think I must’ve take the full inside width of the original as the graphics edge-to-edge measurement.

Comparing my panel with an original 102

I need to try and shift things about to fit things in, maybe on the left of the 102 like in Jack Dangers’ studio; still need that 103 though… (and I’m working on the 100M).

I tried to keep all the slightly idiosyncratic typographical decisions like, for example WAVE(tiny space)FORM and picking out the abbreviations in PULSE WIDTH MOD and VOLTAGE CONTROLLED OSCILLATOR.

Last one; you get the idea.

102 testing

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  1. 18th December 2021omsonic says:

    Wow ! Looks amazing ! any chance of some more pics ?

  2. 19th December 2021ua726 says:

    thanks! Have added some more photos.

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