Thursday, November 29, 2012

It's Alive: Electronium Restoration Update

Yesterday I received an email from Darren Davidson, who is attempting to restore the Motown Electronium:

On Nov 28, 2012, at 1:18 PM, Darren Davison wrote:

Good Morning!
Last night a few Electrical/Engineering friends of mine and I were trying to get to the bottom of why the Electronium would still not utter a sound. After about an hour of tinkering and following the initial setup procedure Raymond wrote up, the machine began to make very simple and crude sounds. We recorded the sounds and although they are hardly musical, it is a fantastic milestone.
Most of the tone generators, but of course, there are more questions than answers. The voltages delivered by the power supplies are still not quite right and many of the pot switches are so sticky, that adjusting them is like steering a car in ice with a flat tire. The recording and "Auto-composing" portion is still not working and my feelings were "just get it to make some kind of controllable sound" first, then work on getting fancy.
I am sure this will accelerate things, and I have been in contact with Alan Entenman and am sending him photos of the internals of the Electronium in hopes of refreshing his memory of how some of it should work on the recording and keyboard side.
Anyway, I am hoping that by March, even if it is not recording or auto composing, the sounds are less harsh and that some of the other features such as the "Bass generators, "counterpoints", and other features are working.
I will send a copy of the sound files as soon as I can, most likely this evening. It's on the Engineering guys phone and he is having trouble sending vide for some reason. The whole thing was recorded on an Iphone and there is a 4 min? video of me adjusting knobs and such. In all fairness to their help, their names are Guy Lewis and Pete Levno.
Now I think we will start picking up steam!