508: Loop Detected


The ec500 analog video synthesis system was originally inspired by Jonas Bers and his CHA/V project. The real lightbulb moment came when we realized that all any analog video synthesist needs is a source of horizontal and vertical sync signals. Jonas used el-cheapo $5 VGA testers from eBay, and so do we. But we use a modular adapter system so that it’s not necessary to solder to the VGA tester itself. This also makes it possible to use other VGA sync sources, such as composite-to-VGA converters, or even laptops/etc. (WARNING: DO NOT CONNECT YOUR LAPTOP TO THE ec500. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.)

The ec500 system uses single-wire jumper cables to patch the various parts together. In this we took a lot of inspiration from other mini semi-modular systems, such as Bastl’s Kastle mini-synth.

There is more information about the design, as well as user manuals, in our github. PCBs, full kits, and complete built systems can be found in the shop.

There are currently two major components to the ec500 system. The first is the ec500 error.core, which includes 9 square-wave oscillators and 3 distinct mix busses, corresponding to the red, green, and blue components of a VGA signal. The error.core also supplies a single 5v regulated power supply to other components in the ec500 system.

The second ec500 component is the i/o expander, which greatly increases the system’s capability with:

  • Two line-level inputs with adjustable gain and DC offset
  • An on-board microphone with adjustable gain and DC offset
  • A lighted pushbutton switch
  • An infrared receiver
  • Two triangle-core LFOs with switchable range
  • Three passive attenuators
  • A comparator that is configured to condition triggers from other inputs, but which also has Other Uses
  • A bunch of control voltage sources, some of which round-robin with suitable trigger input
  • A triggerable round-robin for the main R, G, & B busses from the error.core
  • Three AND logic gates

The ec500 system has two expansion busses specified, and there are additional expansion modules currently in the planning stages.

User manual for the ec500 error.core
User manual for the ec500 i/o expander