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.

Please read all instructions thoroughly before starting. If you have questions or run into trouble please reach out to us on discord or drop us an email at support@winterbloom.com.

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.

Kit contents#

Your kit should contain the following items. If any are missing please email us at support@winterbloom.com.

  • (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.

The mainboard and power header

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.

The power header placed on to the mainboard

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.

The power header being soldered to the mainboard

Placing the jacks#

Next up is placing the ten jacks on the front side of the mainboard.

The jacks and 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 first jack placed on the front side of the mainboard, over the place labeled "In B"

The other jacks are a bit trickier. Start by placing the jack for Out B1 in the same orientation as the first two.

The third jack placed on the front side of the mainboard, over the place labeled "Out B1"

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 fourth jack placed on the front side of the mainboard, over the place labeled "Out B2". It is facing the opposite direction of the "Out B1" jack and is sharing a hole with it

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.

The fifth and sixth jack placed on the front side of the mainboard over the places labeled "Out B3" and "Out B4" and are placed in the same way as the previous two

Repeat the same process to place the jacks for outs A1, A2, A3, and A4.

The remaining jacks placed in the same way as the previous ones

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.

The front panel placed over the jacks

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.

A rubber band being pulled taught over one side of the module

The same rubber band doubled over and holding the front panel onto the module

Put the two rubber bands on opposite sides of the module so that everything is held down snugly.

Another rubber band has been placed on the other side of the module, firmly holding everything together

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.

The back side of the board is shown where one of the holes for the jacks is being soldered

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.

The back side of the board is shown with the last hole for the jacks being soldered

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.

The mainboard, the glue dot, and the light blocker

Prepare the glue dot by peeling off the white paper. Don't remove the clear film yet.

The glue dot being peeled away from the white paper on one side of it

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.

The light blocker with the glue dot attached to one side of it

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.

The front side of the mainboard with the light blocker placed between the two sets of LEDs

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.

The module with the panel placed and one of the jack nuts being tightened in place

All done#

Congratulations! You've finished your very own Hydrogen!

The compeleted module

Now that it's all put together go check out the User's Guide and please show us your work by tweeting at @wntrblm or tagging @wntrblm in your instagram post.