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DQ DAC 2, BIII SE, Tube-I-Zator, Arduino, Amanero Build


DQ828
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I have already built a standard BIII using the IVY as the output stage & control it all with an Arduino Mega, I'll call my approach passive control as I did not remove the BIII firmware chip. When I setout on that journey I was not aware of HifiDUINO and the fact that the BIII could be controlled directly from the Arduino via the removal of the BIII firmware chip, that I could never have worked out for myself. As I had already set my goals and was well into the project I decided to see my approach to it's final conclusion, which I'm glad to say I have done and it's all working very satisfactory. I have had lots of help on the way & I thank all of those people very much. I have included a photo of the original which is still in it's prototype cloths.

I have always wanted to try tubes/valves and after much reading finally decided the preamp DAC stage was probably the way to go, at least for me that is. I had originally intended on removing the IVY from the original build and installing the Tube-I-Zator in it's place, but after coming across the HiFiDUINO blog and after much hand wringing and bank account fretting the DIY bug go the best of me again, so I decided to build a completely separate DAC = DQ DAC 2

I have gathered all (or most) of the components & as soon as my speakers are completely finished I will get this project into full swing.
One of the really scary parts of the project is the code required to make the whole thing work, if it wasn't for a very helpful community I would never be able to do it on my own as I am code challenged. I had a lot of help from my ex (yes my ex wife who was a programmer in a past life) on the original build as well as other DIYers.

So this build will consist of:

  • BIII SE
  • Tube-I-Zator I/V Stage
  • Arduino Mega
  • ITead Studio 3.2 TFT LCD Touch Shield
  • Amanero USB interface
  • 12V Trigger outputs to trigger my amps & Active analogue crossover
  • SPDIF, Toslink & BNC inputs I think.
  • Apple Remote control, damn I need to buy another one.

I do have one issue with the Apple remote I am using at the moment which is small & beautifully made, I keep losing it

The remote will control the:

  • Volume
  • Balance
  • Source Selection
  • Sleep function
  • Dimming Screen backlight
  • and many other functions that HiFiDUINO and others have built in.

As I am also electronically challenged I am drawing a diagram of how it will all go together before I start building, that way I hope to reduce errors & disasters.

I'm looking at using Potato Flip Flops so I can re-clock the Amanero with the BIII clock, of course I'll be standing on the shoulders of giants to make that happen.

As I have purchased parts of the build at different stages with different outcomes in mind, I do have at least one issue I haven't worked out yet. When I had the transformer made for the Tube-I-Zator I had an extra 5v secondary put in, now I wish I had made it a 12v secondary. As it stands I figure I'll probably be able to run the Mega from the 5v secondary but I will not be able to run the 12v triggers from it which means I need another PSU, which I was hoping not to have.

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Just having a quick squiz at your layout and I noticed that the connection from DAC -> IV is quite long, despite being balanced since this is a current out keeping those connections as short as possible is more important than keeping the output of the IV short IMO. I wonder how the layout might look if you rotated the IV stage 90deg to put the inputs closer to the DAC? Might need some juggling of the power supplies but may help the end performance and worth looking into I suspect

 

 

Chris

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Just having a quick squiz at your layout and I noticed that the connection from DAC -> IV is quite long, despite being balanced since this is a current out keeping those connections as short as possible is more important than keeping the output of the IV short IMO. I wonder how the layout might look if you rotated the IV stage 90deg to put the inputs closer to the DAC? Might need some juggling of the power supplies but may help the end performance and worth looking into I suspect

 

 

Chris

Input is always welcome, I'll have a look & see what it does.

 

thanks

 

PS: It's not balanced?

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I think the wiring setup is complete for the moment.

 

The next set is put it together & see if I can modify the Arduino code to work with this setup, given I'm code challenged that may take some time.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've made the prototype board the same size as the planned internal dimensions of the final build.

I have soldered header pins onto most of the Mega pins that aren't being used by the screen and made the bracket so they can be easily accessed.

I wont have much time in the next couple of weeks so it is going to be slow.

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I haven't had a lot of time in the last couple of days but have got a start.

first the pile ready for transformation

I thought I'd at least make the prototype look a bit better as they seem to stay prototypes for a while I bought some Duratex (thanks LEON) & thought I'd give it a go on the base board, seems like a good product that may come in handy. It's a very tough water base texture coat. Actually I coated everything in it :)

The IR Receiver

The De-bounce thingy

No time tomorrow I'm afraid :(
 

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In the first instance I have decided to go with Version 5 & will move on to V5a once it is up & working.

V5 uses relays for the Source switching & the SPDIF/DSD switching. The Arduino & BIISE are isolated except for the I2C connection, V5a will have an isolator on the I2C. The Amanero will not be isloated in this version but will be in the V5a version.

Have made a start on the wiring but things will progress slowly due to time constants, my fancy soldering iron stopped working last night so this morning I dragged out my old iron which came directly from China, what a difference, can't wait for the new one to be fixed. Fortunately it is still under warranty :)  It's a bit disappointing that the new Weller which cost 3 x the Chinese one stop after 11 months of light work & the Chinese clunker is still going.

13-02-17 DQ DAC 2 Control Setup V5.pdf

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Getting there slowly, I have made all of the custom bits & pieces, but it may not be until next weekend before I get to put the rest of the bits on the board. I'm also building a bedside table & starting a Sub for the son's birthday which isn't far away, too many things to do so little time.

 

 

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Getting closer all the time.  The first TP/Arduino DAC that I built sort of evolved over time, where this one is straight to the end game, well almost. What are the chances of it all working first go biggrin.gif Slim I'd imagine.

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I'm seriously over soldering, not much to do now, connect the larger transformer, one more SPDIF input and the Mute & Lock LED, then test everything before I fire it up.

 

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the testing has been slow, found a couple of problems but no smoke at this stage which is always a good sign, I have the valves glowing :)

 

Maybe this weekend there might be some music, theres a lot that could go wrong between now & music though.

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Well there's good news & bad news, if you look at the photo's it wont be hard to pick some of the bad newseek.gif

The good news is, it's playing music from the Amanero input & from the SPDIF input, solid lock on both. I cant comment on sound quality as I've cobbled together a couple of old SABA drivers & attached them to the Kingrex amp that normally doesn't get used anymore.

But there's plenty of bad news, obviously the bloody screens upside downbiggrin.gif I used a different screen but from the same supplier as my other DAC and assumed it would be the same, I don't know if it can be turned over via the software, I'm going to be really pissed if I have to physically turn it over. The other bad news is nothing on the screen actually appears to work, yes nothing. The volume numbers go up & down but it has no effect on the actual volume, the rotary encoder doesn't work, Input, Sample rate you name it, it doesn't work. I'd almost think the Arduino isn't actually talking to the BIII SE except I have music, thank goodness. Probably the only reason I can switch between sources is that on the BIII SE all you really need to do it is a couple of relays.

I'm starting to think I should have waited until somebody who was good at coding got a BII SE working before I went down this road as with my body of coding knowledge it could take the rest of my life to fix itsmile.gif

You know I really like listening to Aaron Copland, you guessed it that's what's playing. Oh, and it's playing via Foobar, which is another first.

You know all these problems but I've still got a big smile on my face, can't be too bad.

 

Oh, and now I'm playing Mozart at 24bit 192Khz, that's another first

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have been battling away trying to get the rotary encoder switch to work, you would think it was the simplest thing in the world to do but I have tried everything to no avail. I have changed the code to use the remote instead of the rotary encoder so I can change the BIIISE input parameters I would still like to get the switch working so I don't have to use up the limited remote keys, but I'm completely stumped with what is stopping the switch working.

I have also been trying to rotate the screen via the software but once again I have spent long hours playing with the screen controller .H file with no success. The software author says it's possible, but obviously not for me.smile.gif

The screen is smaller than the one I used for the first DAC but it is definitely better, it's crisper & can be viewed from almost any angle. It's looking like I'm going to have to pull the thing apart & rotate the MEGA. I need to do it soon as my neck is killing me.smile.gif

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A carpenters solution to an electronics/software problem

I was serious when I said "my neck is killing me"

It's only temporary, I hope.

 

Iv'e managed to get it playing music from the Squeezebox & the computer so have definitely made progress.

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I now have virtually everything working but the screen is still upside down. The only other quirky bit is the sample rate display which works fine when played from the squeezebox but doesn't work correctly when played from the computer.

 

I still have a few functions I would like to add and given my programming skills that may take a while.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've been distracted (and will be for a while) building my son a sub for his birthday.

At this stage I would describe the sound as alive & crisp, the sound stage etc seems to be about the same, which bye the way is very good. Cant really compare without instant switching & even then it's a challenge from past experience, unless one is far superior to the other. I tend to find I need to listen for days before I can really make any type of call.

Unfortunately the new DAC has a life of it's own, turning itself & the whole system on and off at random. I haven't had it turn off while I'm listening but on numerous occasions it'd turned itself on & then off again or just stayed on until I turn it off. It seems VERY unlikely that it is any stray IR signals.

If anyone can suggest the most likely cause, something is triggering the code into the startDac sequence.

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  • 3 weeks later...

This is what has distracted me from this project, my sons sub. Next weekend I will be mirror imagining the prototype so the screen is the right way up;

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Dave, looking good. Ive been considering a much less ambitious project using this for I2S input

 

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/330857544462?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1423.l2649#ht_1076wt_1271

 

or possibly this, 

 

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/230961204617?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1423.l2649#ht_1042wt_1271

 

I had looked at the Anamero, these seem to do the job at a cheaper price (Did I mention Im tight when it comes to electronics? :) )

 

Sorry for the hijack...

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Dave, looking good. Ive been considering a much less ambitious project using this for I2S input

 

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/330857544462?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1423.l2649#ht_1076wt_1271

 

or possibly this, 

 

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/230961204617?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1423.l2649#ht_1042wt_1271

 

I had looked at the Anamero, these seem to do the job at a cheaper price (Did I mention Im tight when it comes to electronics? :) )

 

Sorry for the hijack...

The amanero is a far better designed product than those. diyinhk seems to churn out cheap and messy pcb designs on a regular basis with some buzz words in the adds, I am not a fan at all. On diyA there is a GB of the amanero and with that deal, you can have the amanero for the same price (or maybe less) than those you linked to...

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Dave, looking good. Ive been considering a much less ambitious project using this for I2S input

 

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/330857544462?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1423.l2649#ht_1076wt_1271

 

or possibly this, 

 

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/230961204617?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1423.l2649#ht_1042wt_1271

 

I had looked at the Anamero, these seem to do the job at a cheaper price (Did I mention Im tight when it comes to electronics? :) )

 

Sorry for the hijack...

No worries

 

Have you seen this http://hifiduino.wordpress.com/ it will be interesting to see what he thinks once it has been tested or you could go the GB as hochopeper mentioned.

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