Hydrogen kit build guide#
Welcome to the build guide for Hydrogen's DIY kit. We hope you have a great time putting this module together and a wonderful time using it.
If you purchased the surface mount kit, head over to the surface mount kit build guide before going through this one.
Some soldering experience is helpful but not required. If it's your first time soldering we recommend reading through Adafruit's guide to excellent soldering.
This build takes around one hour to complete.
Tools and materials required#
Before jumping in, make sure you have:
- Safety glasses. Yes, really.
- Proper ventilation- at least open a window or two.
- A soldering iron, like this one.
- Solder, we can recommend Adafruit's 60/40 no-clean rosin core solder. We suggest using soldering with "no clean" flux. If you do use a different kind of flux, be sure to carefully clean the flux residue off based on the guidelines provided by the manufacturer of your solder.
Your kit should contain the following items. If any are missing please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- (1) Mainboard
- (1) Front panel
- (1) Light blocker
- (1) Glue dot
- (10) 1/8" jacks
- (10) Hex nuts for the 1/8" jacks
- (1) Eurorack power header
- (1) Eurorack power cable
- (4) M3x6 screws for attaching the module to your rack
- (2) Rubber bands
Soldering the power header#
Your first task is to place and solder the power header to the mainboard.
Place the power header onto the back side of the mainboard, being careful to align the notch in the header with the drawing on the board. The power header fits snugly, so you might have to give it a little pressure to push it all the way in.
Flip the board over to the front side and solder the header's 10 pins. It's important to avoid touching the LEDs with your iron, as it could melt and destroy the LEDs. Also, take care not to put too much solder on these joints as it could make it difficult to place the jacks.
Placing the jacks#
Next up is placing the ten jacks on the front side of the mainboard.
The two jacks near the power header are placed according to the drawing on the board, with the third, bendy leg going into the adjacent hole.
The other jacks are a bit trickier. Start by placing the jack for
Out B1 in the same orientation as the first two.
Then, place the jack for
Out B2 in the opposite orientation and place the third leg into the same hole as the adjacent jack's third leg.
The jacks for
Out B3 and
Out B4 follow the same pattern - they are placed in opposite orientations and share a single hole for both of their third legs.
Repeat the same process to place the jacks for outs
Using the front panel as a jig#
Since the jacks need to peek through the front panel, you can use it as a jig to make sure everything stays in the right place while soldering. Carefully line up the front panel's holes with the jacks and push the front panel on.
Then, use the two rubber bands to temporarily hold the front panel on while you're working on it. You'll need to double over the rubber band to get it tight.
Put the two rubber bands on opposite sides of the module so that everything is held down snugly.
Soldering the jacks#
With everything held in place, you can now flip the module over and solder all of the jacks in place. As you go, take a moment now and then to check that everything is flush with the panel and mainboard.
Once you've got most of the soldering done, you can move the rubber bands out of the way to get to the holes that they were covering up. You won't need the rubber bands again after this step, so feel free to give those a new purpose in life somewhere else.
Placing the light blocker#
Because the LEDs for Hydrogen's two channels are so close together, a small light blocker is used to keep them from bleeding into each other. You'll need the light blocker and the glue dot for this next step.
Prepare the glue dot by peeling off the white paper. Don't remove the clear film yet.
Place the exposed side of the glue dot to the upper end of the long side of the light blocker and remove the plastic film.
Place the light blocker between the two sets of LEDs and stick the end with the glue dot against one of the jacks. The light blocker doesn't need to be perfectly straight.
Putting the panel on#
The last step it to place Hydrogen's lovely panel on and secure it with the hex nuts. You don't need to over-tighten the hex nuts, finger-tight is fine.
Congratulations! You've finished your very own Hydrogen!