Bleep Labs Nebulophone — Chiptunes

First a note: If you want to use a standard headphone, you’ll probably go deaf. You need something with a volume knob! You’ll also most likely need an adapter from 6.3mm to 3.5mm, and get one that can handle “6.3mm mono in, 3.5mm stereo out”. The device is switched on/off using the headphone jack.

Assembly is pretty easy, only through hole parts. The battery compartment is only attached with one bolt and without further hacks it will touch the solder joints on the bottom of the board and be a bit crooked. I fixed that issue by adding 4 plastic nuts as spacers, 3 of them were attached using 5-minute epoxy. Now the battery compartment is absolutely level with the PCB and doesn’t touch anything it shouldn’t. To compensate for the non-crookedness of the battery box, I had to replace the plastic standoffs with longer ones. Luckily I have a stash of those in one of my boxes.

The supplied wire for connecting the alligator-clip to the board is pre-stripped, which is nice, but I found it to be too short and too stiff. I replaced with a much longer and more flexible piece of stranded wire. The kit comes with a nice colored manual, which is OK. Sometimes it could be a bit clearer when to mount what part. Especially when to mount the electrolytic capacitors is confusing at first. They are mentioned at one point, but then in the next sentence comes “don’t put them on yet.” – arghh.

You also should have a file or a sharp hobby knife, mini mill or dremel. I found that 3 solder joints interfered with the headphone jack. Without modifying the jack, it would not fit onto the PCB properly, meaning it wasn’t completely level and in physical contact everywhere. Cutting away a few mm of the plastic takes care of that.

That’s about all there is to say about assembly. Wait, one more thing. The knobs that go on the potentiometer have a nice feel to them, but it is terribly hard to push them on. First I thought some air was trapped inside, I took care of that by milling a small grove into the axle, but that didn’t help a thing. Later I opted for the good old “use the force” approach… “Luke… LUKE, I am your…” – where did that come from ? (shudder) – Now they won’t come loose anymore for sure. Make sure not to put unnecessary venting holes into your thumb with the potentiometer pins, they easily prick your skin — pricks!

You can get one here.

And finally a video showing some of the sounds:

And one by the makers:

As you have seen in the videos, it is pretty simple to use and great fun as well.

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One Response to Bleep Labs Nebulophone — Chiptunes

  1. Dr. Bleep says:

    I’m glad you liked it!
    Sorry for the ill-fitting parts. Unfortunately sometimes they change slightly between shipments.

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