Circuit Bending Challenge

On October twenty-eighth two-thousand seven, a prestigious challenge was put forth. Thrift stores raided, fingers moistened, soldering irons heated, and toys violated. When the solder smoke finally cleared, only one could stand victorious with their ears covered. This is the story of my part in that challenge….Ok, enough with the epic narratives.

The challenge was to pick up a toy, bend it, and document it on the web all in one day. I was interested in the challenge as soon as I heard about it, and figured I would double up the fun by making an event of it. I invited some friends over to have a “Bending Workshop” on “Circuit Challenge Day” (soon to be nationally recognized). Three of them thought it sound like a slightly strange, but fun idea, so plans were laid.

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VSS-30 Tutorial


The video above is of my most recent bent VSS-30 that uses a 12 point switch bay using 2 way center off switches. This is my documentation on bending a Yamaha VSS-30. This ultra sampling keyboard has some really awesome capabilities on it’s own. I got this info initially from one of the bending forums, but I don’t know who to credit, so thanks whoever you are! I know some folks haven’t bent their VSS yet due to fear of frying, so hopefully this guide will help you.

*Note*When I first did this bend, I avoided the 2 red dots (power and ground). I’ve since bent another VSS-30 and used these points with no ill effect. As always, bend at your own risk */note* The blue dots in 2 rows are the points of the sampling chip. The blue dots in a straight line going up and down is where the points connect to the big chip. There are 2 pins on the sampling chip that connect to each other (yellow line), so that gives you 15 points to bend. I chose to use 12 of those points for symmetry, and I chose to use an RCA style patchbay. I found that Tablebeast did a layout on one of these that I really liked, so I did this one the same way. You can see/hear his Here. I chose to solder to the points that were up and down in a straight line for ease of bundling.

Here’s the board wired up.

Here’s the area where I chose to put the RCA connectors. I checked, double checked my measurements. The pencil lines you see are where there’s a plastic support on the inside of the case.

Here’s the installed RCA jacks. Not absolutely perfect (need a drill press for that), but lookin’ pretty good IMHO.

Here’s the front side of the sample crusher for those that don’t have one already (keep an eye out cause if you don’t have one you’ll want one!). Continue reading “VSS-30 Tutorial”

PSS-270, 170, 140 and SHS-10 Tutorial

After some major diggin’ for info I found that no one had a specific guide for bending a Yamaha PSS-270, so I decided to make one. Credit to Sean “audioid” (myspace.com/audioidbentaudio), and Paul from circuitbenders.co.uk for the info on this bend. This bend involves cutting data lines that go from the FM synth chip (YM2413) to the main chip (XC194A0). The pins on the FM chip that go to the main chip are pins 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 17, and 18. You cut the traces, and then solder wires on either side of the cut. Take the pair of wires from one cut, and solder them to a switch, and this will allow you to turn the flow of data on and off.

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