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billm90

Diy Sustainer

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I know this is a touchy topic for whatever reasons, I want to address one issue I am having with out this turning into a disaster.

I have built 2 coils. first one is 3mm tall and potted in wood glue using a single coil bobbin and pole pieces. It came up to 7.2 ohms after rebuilding it to pot it in glue and breaking off a few winds which was 8.x ohms with out glue.

I built a second coil out of raw steel to make a rail, and made it with thin MDF and potted it in epoxy being about 2mm tall. It is 9.1 ohms till I just broke off the lead, and now it is an epoxy brick.

Both coils are wound in 30gauge wire from radio shack.

I put these in a guitar project that has a single humbucker wired right to the jack. No pots. and no neck pickup.

I have ran these 2 coils through 3 different preamps/amps. 1, a one watt kit preamp/amp. one is a zoom 7010 effects unit with built in speaker(too much power and EMI). The last was a crappy portable practice amp that is .5 watts and optional overdrive fuzz. This unit gave me the best results with minimal noise set to clean. It appears to have a 386 chip in it.

I have only been able to get the bottom 3 strings to sustain/hit the octive or fifth. Does anyone know why this is? I am using 9 gauge strings and I gather from the epic thread I should be using 10's at the least. Could this possibly be my only issue?

I saw a few youtube vids of tests that seem to be better then mine... Whats the deal?

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I can try to help a little until someone who is more experienced chimes in(building a sustainer is still on my todo list). It would be helpful to know your whole setup for starters, what circuits are you using? Also, try fiddling with the pickup height a little to see if it helps. I'm unsure how much difference it makes, but I believe 32 gauge wire will help your problem with the high strings. 30 may be just a tad big.

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I can try to help a little until someone who is more experienced chimes in(building a sustainer is still on my todo list). It would be helpful to know your whole setup for starters, what circuits are you using? Also, try fiddling with the pickup height a little to see if it helps. I'm unsure how much difference it makes, but I believe 32 gauge wire will help your problem with the high strings. 30 may be just a tad big.

I have been wondering about that 32 gauge wire a lot. I wish I could just go pick some up opposed to internet ordering.

the things is, some guys say they got it to work. hmmmm

as for my set up

The circuits I am using. Radio shack 1 watt hobby kit. It will drive the lower strings. I picked this up over 15 years ago. It is a solder it up yourself kit.

The second circuit is a zoom effects unit/portable amp. it runs off 6 double A batteries, has built in speaker. It made a lot of noise. I was mainly unsing it to try effects through the driver.

The third circuit is a First act pocket amp that I never use. It was by far the best as a circuit.

The guitar is a LP that I routed the entire top out of. I have wood only around the bridge humbucker, and bridge/tail piece.

Humbucker is wired direct to the jack. This is the same guitar I used to make the ACE flasher guitar, Thats why it is routed out. I have pulled put the LED's which makes it even deeper for this purpose.

I can move the driver where ever I want between the neck and bridge pickup. above or below the strings.

DSCF2188-2-1.jpg

As for the driver magnet, I am using one from a scrap humbucker. I also picked up some mags here and there and tried those out as well.

I have my bridge pickup as close to the strings before they touch. The driver is as well.

The amp, which does not matter at all to hear what is happening is a junk practice amp that runs of 120v wall power.

It occured to me that I have a strat with 13 gauge strings in it. I dont want to take it apart, but I might be able to rig something up to try and put the sustainer on it.

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Honestly, I understand a bit about sustainers, but reading through our sustainer thread gives me a headache! I think your problem is still a transfer issue. The light gauged strings on your guitar may be part of the problem since there is less metal mass for the coil to work on among other factors, and the 30 gauge wire probably doesn't help.

"As it is, you can adjust the circuits treble bias to get the strings moving more by lowering the output cap in the circuit. That schematic for the fetzer ruby suggests 220uF as does the "champ" but I use a 100uF for better high string and harmonic response..." -pws pete

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I have only been able to get the bottom 3 strings to sustain/hit the octive or fifth. Does anyone know why this is? I am using 9 gauge strings and I gather from the epic thread I should be using 10's at the least. Could this possibly be my only issue?

I saw a few youtube vids of tests that seem to be better then mine... Whats the deal?

The most likely reason you are having a problem is the inductance of your driver.

here are the basics:

There are two really important aspects to getting this to work (there are other important things as well, but these are paramount)

Impedance and phase

====================

Impedance

---------

Impedance is like resistance, but more difficult - go do some research :D

Impedance is a combination of resistance, capacative reactance and inductive reactance

The main point here is that impedance due to inductive reactance increases with frequency.

A higher inductance gives you a more powerful magnet..... great.

A higher inductance means higher impedance..... not great.

While the resistance is the main part of the impedance, things are ok

When the inductance is big enough that the reactance becomes the main part of the impedance, things go pear shaped for us.

To cut a long story short, if you are using a 8 ohm coil and driving it with an LM386, you want the inductance to be about 1 - 1.2mH. If it's much lower, you won't get a strong enough magnet. If its much higher, the impedance at higher frequencies will act as a low pass filter cutting off the drive to the higher strings.

Phase

-----

if you're trying to drive the string up when it's going down, and trying to drive the string down when it's going up, it's not going to work well.

You want to be driving the string with it's natural vibration, not against - ie. 'in phase' with the string.

Unfortunately many circuits designed for audio - particularly low end cheaper or simpler ones - don't have an ideal phase response. This means that they will be in phase at some frequencies, but a bit or even a lot out of phase at some other frequencies.

Additionally, the driver coil and the coupling capacitor that connects it to the drive circuit will have an effect on the phase.

The physical gap between the pickup and driver on a guitar also creates a phase difference - ~90 degrees when fretting at the 14th, around 43degrees on an open string.

The most difficult note to drive on a guitar is the open high e string (and the first few frets depending on action), so ideally, we would have the phase shift of our whole system at about 90 degrees for this frequency ~300Hz...

Unfortunately, unless you have a pretty good grasp of electronics and maths, or you have a scope, or means to simulate your circuit, you won't be able to calculate or measure the phase of your system, so your only option is to try lots of circuits, drivers and coupling caps (220u or higher should be good for the cap), until you get something that works.

Good luck and don't give up

Col

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Good to see you are still about Col.

I still support the project and design via email helping 2-3 people at any one time and dozens have been successfully built and working well.

A person I am helping now in fact is condensing everything into a PDF as he builds his own and seems to be going well, but not ready yet.

I don't really discuss things online too much for obvious reasons, but it is sensitive to variations in the design and I can only really vouch for what I know to work and work on that, not that there are not any number of variations that can work too of course.

Col is right about the details and knows more about that side than me on design parameters, all I can say is that my design, as exemplified in my tele, drives all strings on all frets in both modes with an LM386 based circuit with 100uF output cap...

bluetele6.jpg

The above picture shows the driver which being clear shows the kind of wind of 0.2mm wire that one should aim for, you can clearly see that left to sustain on it's own without plucking any strings, on this guitar the g string is most active, followed by the high e, then the B and D strings.

The blade is completely optional and the easiest approach is to just wind the driver on the top 3mm of a standard single coil pup stripped of wire, the end result will look exactly like a normal SC pup...here's a tutorial that shows one way to achieve this...

http://diy-fever.com/misc/diy-sustainer/

winding_done.jpg

This one (not wound by me, but following my design) is wound to spec, 0.2mm wire, 8 ohms, PVA glue wound, normal single coil pickup bobbin and magnets...the whole lot will be covered b the normal pickup cover and is the easiest and neatest way of building such things.

...

I happen to use 10-46 strings on my electrics, but sustainiac and fernandes recommend the same as there has to be sufficient metal to work with...on wound strings, this is mainly in the core and in a light D string, that too has little metal in the core of it. I've not tried it myself, but I suspect that my tele would drive 9's but then a lot of that is about the quality of the build.

Many people experience problems it seems because they start off with a noisy guitar, this pretty much works against a SC bridge pickup which tends to be inherently noisy though a stacked or rail noiseless SC size works well. Any noise in the system will find it's way into the circuit and be output through the driver and work against it's function and could cause all manner of other problems.

A well made efficient driver to spec should not require much power to run, the aim is always to run the things at the minimum power and still get the results required from it. If one tries to compensate a problem driver by increasing the power into it, you tend to find that you are only amplifying the problems and going to drain a battery too fast to be practical. In this case, less is more.

Anyway, as I say, I support my design offline if assistance is needed.

I don't personally make sustainers these days, but have made dozens of course (if not more) over the years on numerous guitars and refined things even more along the way. It seems I can now reveal that some time ago the prototype of the more developed version was made into a guitar now owned by Tom Morello and built in the states with electronics by me...the wafer coil driver sits on top of a custom made Seymour Duncan strat type neck pickup and functions both as a driver and passive pickup.

moz-screenshot-37.png

I'm still creating and at present working on a new type of compact pickup that I think is pretty exciting and may have numerous applications and heavily influenced by the 'hex sustainer' drivers worked on back in 2004...so nothing is wasted I guess.

Best of luck and hello to all... pete :D

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Thanks for the info. I will have to get back to you guys.

I am going to have to do an internet order I gather to get some of the parts straightened out. Probably be something after the holidays.

I will attempt to build a preamp/amp circuit and get the 32AWG wire.

Pete, did you ever find any differences in using thicker metal vs a slimmer piece, at all?

When I was looking at the metal selection, I started to wonder. I know you built a slim one and a thick looking one for your center pickup/driver.

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Hey pete, while on the subject, I've been wanting to build a center driver. I was wondering if you have a good working design and circuit. (I tried to read through the main thread, but I never managed to finish it)

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Hello again...

Sorry, did not configure this thread for email replies...however...

I know this is a touchy topic for whatever reasons,

Salient observation. I generally help one or two people do this project by email, so you know, the world does not need another mega wide ranging sustainer thread really. Plus, I am still getting personal stuff thrown about, these days on you tube, so... anything could offer up unwanted attention.

I support my design and the specifications of that are crucial to success with it. The symptoms described are those typical of variations. The build quality is crucial as well, especially the glue wound coil.

I will attempt to build a preamp/amp circuit and get the 32AWG wire.

That is of course a necessary criteria, however I have never endorsed the F/R design and have alternatives that are easier to build and show to be successful that are similar. I am considering offering more advanced pre-built circuits but as yet, unable to gauge interest and costs to make that worth while...perhaps even other related stuff or a complete kit...but as I say, not yet and we will have to see...as always, email is a better option unfortunately.

As to common recommended designs, yes I have always recommended a 100uF output cap, but there are other mods that are more in line with the high gain applications of the data sheet that the offerings of RoG omit to keep such circuits happy. The driver is the key component of my design as I have often stated.

Pete, did you ever find any differences in using thicker metal vs a slimmer piece, at all?

How thick is thick, how slim slim? I have generally used 3mm ordinary steel cut and ground to size and rounded on the ends. The blade is not a necessary design feature but certainly makes things easier to construct and has a few advantages in that way. The individual poles are fine, you will notice that when you bend a string there is no sudden drop in output from a pickup, the magnetic field between poles merge of course and so too with a sustainer driver. The core is a vital part of the project and too slim is not advisable, 3mm has always worked for me but of course there are alternatives that 'might' work...and obviously individual poles, even magnetic strat type coils work an inclusive of the design.

...

The easiest most reliable and recommended approach is to block and rewind a single coil strat type pickup. This gives you the bobbin, the magnets, the poles and the whole thing is invisible inside the cover and looks like a pickup obviously...it also of course has an adjustable mounting.

Here is a decent tutorial that shows a great example of exactly that of my design...

http://diy-fever.com/misc/diy-sustainer/

MDF, as far as I know, is likely to be 3mm thick and hence, the thickness of the entire driver coil...not a good idea. It contradicts the design which is to put as much of the coil as close to the string as possible and within a small condensed area to cut back on EMI dispersal. The winding pictorial shows my original made from the plastic cut from a folder that is less than 1mm thick and demonstrates how to keep this from flexing when winding..if one must make your own bobbin. For all kinds of reasons, for hand bobbin winding, PVA glue is advisable and the recommended method, you will notice that Bane's driver is made exactly to spec with that glue and is exceptionally neat, this is the kind of quality one should aim for to be successful.

Beware HB pickups, the magnetism needs to run through the core, HB pickup magnets are such that the ploes are on the thin edge, you can not stick the magnet to the bottom a a blade and expect that to work. Many other ideas that seem to be logical need to be thought through, but there are numerous design ideas and expressed in typical single coil pickups like fenders or P-90's that will achieve those ends. Do not be tempted by rare earth magnets or attempt to cut any magnets, particularly the former. This is a bad choice of magnet, more magnetic strength is detrimental to the sustainer and the intonation and performance of the guitar itself, so think things through, "less is more".

This also applies to circuitry and noise in the guitar, any noise, an driver or circuit deficiencies will be amplified by up to 200x with a basic LM386 and one should aim to run these things with as little power to get the results required. "More power=more problems". Others may tweak a design to pretend to be 'different' and concentrate on the circuits and offer up alternatives, I have documented many alternatives over the years but any 'specific' circuit is not part of the 'design', any circuit that is suitable is the design (for a comparison of this, read the ebow patent which takes the same perspective). The same people who need more power through a change in wire gauge or a bias against the DIY friendly LM386 have had a lot of heat problems and have failed to disclose important information in this regard about modern chips that offer more power through things like BLT and other methods. They are not intended to carry the continuous power of a sustained note nor run a coil like this. Not only does the coil heat up, so too the circuit.

Such chips have inside as standard an auto cut off that shuts everything down to cool off and protect itself...not so the LM386 which is pretty indestructible and easy to use and why I still use and recommend them for the DIYer. Of course other circuits can work, I know these things, cause I tried them and know what is not being said there. By slightly altering the design specs of the recommendations they have had to go to using remote AC sourced power, extensive limiting and compression (in one case, the guitar has two whole stomp box compressors built into the thing) and still the chip has a flaw in it too 'shut down' which I note is never mentioned, but it typically is there or at least a risk to any performance with the things...but sure, go that way but be informed.

As far as I am concerned, if you are making my design but do not follow the design parameters which are pretty generous and advice personally and freely available, you can not expect it to work and the answers are clear...follow the design, take the designers advice, contact the designer personally if clarity is needed. If you would prefer to make someone else's 'claimed' look alike design and take their advice, well, contact them. You will, I believe, generally find no help there and a lot of bad mouthing about me and this design...then a suggestion that you can buy 'his' design when he is able to get it going properly (which has not happened despite you tube advertising) in years of such claims...for reasons amongst many...see above!

...

Hey pete, while on the subject, I've been wanting to build a center driver.

Bad idea, many people have tried and I know of only one that has been successful (dizzy1) and few details exist. I can tell you that it was largely a clone of the sustainiac patent on such a device with a large bi-lateral driver and sophisticated and secret circuit with a lot of phase compensation. I've made a few different attempts, some have been better than others, none have been satisfactory. After toying with the idea and building other more successful devices like the 'wafer coil' or even the telecaster surface mounted versions of the DIY thing, the perceived benefits of that configuration is simply not there. Many people feel that their bridge pup is not the sound they would like with the sustainer or that they want the variety of a neck pickup...whatever the reason, it seemed to me to be misplaced...in fact, the sustainer as described, takes the signal from the bridge and you can only use the bridge pickup with the sustainer on, but it is driving from the neck position and as such has quite a diverse range of sounds all of it's own and sensitive to technique and controls. If a more mellow tone is desired, use of the tone control can be used to provide even more range.

These kinds of things was demonstrated in some of my now old sound clips and little improvised tunes that can be found here...

Blueteleful1 sund clips of sustainers and tele

The first two tracks was a 'jam' direct to the computer with headphones to a drum machine and demos the tele for which there is a timed comentary if interested...

Blueteleful 1 at GN2

For a track that demos a more mellow tone from the original 'sustainer strat, the river of which is featured in the pictorial and made in 2004 along with these clips...this guitar featured a strat style bridge pickup and used on all other clips on that page...

tunes like 'the yearning' and 'aire' display a more 'woodwind like' tone for instance, the tune beckistan was the first thing I played and still stands fairly well, all three tunes are using the very basic cheap strat of 2004 and direct ton the computer wiht a bit of echo, beckistan with a bit more 'warmth to it and generally a bit of delay because I was using a little digital AX1G into the soundcard and audacity. The tele clips were recorded on a BR600 and transferred by playing that through the sound card but all are very clean and unedited on takes to demonstrate things without any kind of editing or trickery of distortion to mask or enhance performance. The bass on the first track was added later and all tracks feature just one guitar as I say, there is no overdubbing of multiple guitars.

I was wondering if you have a good working design and circuit.

No. It is a significant problem to do and the desire perhaps misplaced. By putting it that close to the source pickup, perhaps two, you will have to have performance and EMI suppression that is clearly not a feature of the DIY project offered by me, nor anyone else. I tried a few things, multiple coils and the like as did others but that was not really enough and while I am not saying it is 'impossible' it is extremely difficult and beyond an average person's skill set to construct.

Details of circuits therefore is mute, but I would suspect one might need to use calibrated phase compensated circuits and limiting at least to drive whatever kind of driver that could possibly work that close to the source pickup...so for me at least, not desirable and a bit of a lost cause.

One other aspect of my design. of which there are many, but generally over looked. The battery is an important part of my circuits and the simple circuits generally used. t has often been commented that most of my circuits do not have limiting, but the power of the battery is the limiter by design, use a wall wart or other power source and you are defeating this aspect and will likely need to have limiting and compression and other methods to reduce the power required.

There are many unique and desirable features of this design, even over commercial offerings. I have never claimed it to be the only possible way and have personally made many working sustainers as have others over many years to prove that.As can be heard though, even the very first one provided creditable performance and displayed the 'problems' that people claim of it. A lot of that was malicious and clearly false to the evidence that had already been there for a long time but the perception was propagated by a preponderance of threads and comments that the design does not work I am having problems, all entirely a result of not following the design criteria and not the design or the designers (me) fault. The reality is that dozens have been made successfully and many with consultation with me and that of course I have made and demonstrated for almost a decade this fact.

...

So there you go, but as I say, and billm90 acknowledged, any threads on the sustainer things publicly are at least contentious and from me attracts attention I don't need and this forum does not want and I don't intend to 'poke that hornets nest' here nor any intention to. As I say, I allow email contact and support my design for personal use...not proposed commercial ventures or claims of some minor 'improvement' to suggest that the basic design elements and specifications are no longer mine and don't warrant credit in exchange for the wealth of information I provided. I do not see people replicating other designs and any I have seen that is almost successful' is not offered as DIY nor can deny the lineage directly to design principles on record from before 2005 in this forum and elsewhere.

...

However, col has presented an interesting alternatives with dual coil designs and more complex circuits that might be of interest. For me, that approach did not meet my overall design aims, in that case the use of a neck pickup, nor really the response and performance I personally prefer from the things, all of which is subjective) and I'd be happy for people to do that or develop things that completely ignore and do not borrow from my design...go at it, I had already moved on to things like the wafer coils by then. If wanting to build something like col's design, his appearance here is an indication of an ongoing interest and one of the few who genuinely did explore alternative dual coil designs and innovative circuitry. My designs were always designed to be run from pretty generic basic circuitry and a driver that works under those conditions and can be easily DIYed and has been successfully replicated independently many times with success.

...

If interested, I still develop things with several interesting project at the moment including a radically different pickup design that is 'divided' to provide a range of options that are unique, such as separate signals for each string or a stereo spread...but very much in the prototyping stages, expressions of interest can find me at GN2 perhaps along with a thread on my multi-tuning concept guitar and several other guitars in the gallery there.

Again, and for obvious reasons noted, email is best, find that link in my profile....cheers... :D

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Thanks Pete, I may end up emailing you once I get moving along for further circuit ides.

I have no doubt it will work. I had 3 low strings working. Both sustaining and harmonic mode. (by flipping the magnet)

Just need to get the other 3 strings working.

I ordered the 32 AWG wire this morning.

I have 3 single coil bobbins ready to be wound, as well as more steel to DIY some more.

Now to track down some parts for a few circuits, or try and mod the one that worked decent for me, which had the 386 in it.

I am just trying to get a base line one working, then I will stray off the path.

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Just remember...

As I say, I allow email contact and support my design for personal use...not proposed commercial ventures or claims of some minor 'improvement' to suggest that the basic design elements and specifications are no longer mine and don't warrant credit in exchange for the wealth of information I provided. I do not see people replicating other designs and any I have seen that is almost successful' is not offered as DIY nor can deny the lineage directly to design principles on record from before 2005 in this forum and elsewhere.

Painting it green, changing the amp chip, installing an LED or otherwise exploiting my generosity and years of work does not imply ownership or 'invention' of the design any more than sticking a chevvy engine in a model-T ford of an HB in a strat makes you 'henry' or 'leo'...all you are making is a 'green' version of a psw sustainer.

It takes a lot of work and energy and determination to come up with this kind of thing and it is original in concept.

If one wants to make something of their own or even improve the design and explore the area...and of course, doing so on the back of my work demands credit and disallows profiting without reward.

Really though, as I did and most designers do, you need to set out some goals, what is it that you want to do...

I am just trying to get a base line one working, then I will stray off the path.

How many 'sustainers' can you personally use? What skills and research can you honestly offer at this stage? I ask this because like many before, this thread started out by detailing almost every possible and naive and seemingly 'lazy' excuse for not adhering to the design and then turning to others, and by that it follows me, for the answers why. There are reasons this elegant and simple design works and they have been specified over and over. Yes, you need to glue the coil, yes you need a suitable circuit, the LM386 is not a 'magic chip', the driver design is at the heart of things, the wire gauge does matter. When you vary these things, you will get different results...like your high strings wont work...is that really a surprise?

If you use my design as the basis for things, then you raise ethical and moral and legal questions if you seek to profit from it or aspire to make it 'your own'. But, I am not stifling creativity in this, anyone can buy pre-made necks and bodies and build themselves a strat, they can not suggest they 'created it' nor create a company called 'bender' and seel the things or claim the invention...even if you do have a novel colour scheme or wiring scheme.

Any 'path' you take really should be taken because you have a destination in mind, some goal you are trying to achieve. There is typically a distinct absence of this kind of thing it is safe to say. Col, is a notable exception in much of his work and approach, his aims were a little different in the response he sought, he wanted, at one time, a clean and very controlled sustain. Worked on developing dual coil designs to cut back EMI (my approach in this basic DIY design is to address that through a powerful but compact design)but more specifically a fair degree of creative work and design skills to make forward feed compression and the like (the circuit is available).

Without the considerable work and research and knowledge to understand what one is doing on many levels, to be able to answer for oneself questions like 'how thick do I need to make the core' then it is like the many who claim proprietary rights over this thing because they used a different glue than that recommended for the average DIYer and shown to function better than most proposed alternatives or stuck some other amp chip in there, usually cribbed from designs that they have cobbled together from other peoples work.

One really should, I believe, give credit where credit is due and this is standard practice and expected whether writing an essay say to add citations or in the patent process to cite all related sources. However, many seem to want to vary this design purely to make 'something different' and call it their own, or even specifically to profit from my work, even as they require my or others assistance or draw directly from the published material. There are many examples of this about the web and on you tube and the like where there are no 'significant changes' really, other than they made it themselves.

Now, of course that if fine and I am flattered and pleased that someone personally got this to work and I am extraordinarily generous in my ideas and time and only published and offered these things so that people can take it further. But in the almost decade since that, have we really seen anything other than variations of this design anywhere? Did anyone replicate Col's original work a circuits which have some great ideas and shown to work?

...

Otherwise, the device does work when made as described and as I say many people have succeeded and I have spent countless hours helping people achieve that goal. A complete document is being prepared to assist people to successfully build for their own use a successful sustainer to the basic design. If people have ideas for improvements or goals that are not covered by the design or other work I have shared, well then, do share. Those that do claim such attributes have conspicuously not been forthcoming by enlarge with any details and many are asking for money in exchange for 'unknown' products with significant flaws...many of them creating confusion and making wild claims against this design in an effort to justify their actions and used the public calls for assistance when the thing does not work for them as a justification for claims that I, personally, am promoting something that does not work, is deficient, and even can not work all the way to being a 'fake' despite all the evidence to the contrary. In this thread, we see plenty of examples of this kind of thing...

I have been wondering about that 32 gauge wire a lot. I wish I could just go pick some up opposed to internet ordering.

the things is, some guys say they got it to work. hmmmm

Yes, some guys, and we know who those guys chiefly are and why they choose to make a minor alteration and then have to use excessive mains sourced power to run the thing, find heat from the driver excessive and fail to disclose that the circuits are shutting down. These would be the same guys or supporters that go on you tube to personally name me and had to have altered only last month as an extension of the kinds of things that specifically stopped all public discussion of my design? Who are you going to believe, why not track down those guys and see if they can provide the help required...or, perhaps ignore them, stick to the design principles and make yourself a fully functioning working sustainer that you can be proud to own and use and to have built? Be aware that many of these 'guys' were in fact the same person under different names and have followed me with the same BS across every forum that I have contributed to on this subject for years now...I can give you his contacts and aliases if you want to quiz him on such aspects.

But, you know, it is a good place to start with something that works, but just keep in mind that tweaking it does not make it your own and this project is offered as an open source thing, but not for commercial application. The base line is that you make this thing as described and up to the ultimate performance that it offers, no claims of 'improvements' can be made until you at least achieve that. From my perspective, most of which is now done privately of course now, those that do that, no longer seek 'improvements' because those are largely born from the faulty perception that the design is deficient, they make the things and they work and they use them for what they are intended and get the desired results. There are different ways to create such things, dozens have been illustrated that I myself have built for consideration, an infinite circuit variations that will run them that are essentially the same things...but what exactly are people looking to achieve. My criteria was quite open and went about achieving many of those goals, some I failed along with everyone else (like centre mounted drivers, external boxes, etc) and many that I rejected as they did not meet the criteria even if they did work. There is some requirement I believe, to set out some ideas for what and why you are seeking alternatives and a deeper understanding of the principles underlying things in order to meet those goals.

Anyway, reading my posts are of course optional (for those prone to migraines, this is probably not a field one should enter perhaps) and as I say, not here to 'start' another flame war nor encourage it. I have an email address, I suggest that the opportunity is there to get assistance should I chose to assist and that the public exposure of this topic, especially with my involvement (which was invited here and is about my area of expertise as the designer) is only likely to create unwanted attention and the forum does not want anything of that nature to occur and I respect that, there are other forums and at this stage, private correspondence is the best option as their is just too much misinformation and bad advice about with a range of motives. Many people have continued to correspond with me and brain storm ideas for years now and who I value highly, this is an option. I work on many things and of course took the sustainer thing even further than the public has access to, yes, I have and there is no obligation to 'tell all' and many times I feel that all I have gotten from sharing is...well, you can see for yourself the way things panned out there...hmmm

I wish you all success and if people follow the original design specifications, they will achieve it. I can warn you or others (many people follow these threads and so address the wider viewers) of what lies down many of these 'paths' and every right to try and correct and protect my own work as anyone is to repeat my many mistakes and frustrations in taking many of these alternate routes. Even if to the extent of making your own, I am more than generous...I can take donations, but I don't recall anyone ever offering any rewards LOL...

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Pete, your work is amazing and the fact that you designed it to be (somewhat) easily recreatable is beyond me. Hopefully sustainers won't be as taboo around here as they have been in the past, I've seen some increased interest recently(including my own). I've also been interested in/following your new project, although you have a different username on GN2 so I wasn't even aware it was you till today! Good luck with your work, and thanks for all your contributions!

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Thanks DA

I've always tended to use my real or consistent names and appreciate you interest and comments. I have most likely spoken too much already publicly on these things but the offer to anyone to contact me directly is open to anyone and limited only to the intent of the builders and my available time.

There have always been people seeking help in this regard and manner and there have been many proposed ways devised to assist further. I am currently working on just such things including a professional and concise illustrated PDF and some proposals for various kits that should alleviate the problems associated with locating parts and building circuits and the wire and likely end up being 'cheaper' for most.

This is not the place to proffer such things, but if there are enough people interested in such a proposal, I may be more encouraged to follow through with those ideas.

...

And thanks too for the interest in some of my new ideas, they are coming along as well as my new acoustic electric, multi tuning, alternate material, triple pickup system (piezo,mag,hex,)concept guitar and the trio of LP, Strat and of course the blueteleful tele sustainer guitar.

I am hoping to avoid a repeat of the 'sustainer saga' in the hex things, but it is something that may well of interest to many. It is based on the 'secret' technology developed for the old 'hex sustainers' of 2004 and coming along fairly well. In my simple incarnation, this pickup system will allow for the separate output of selected string sets to be processed in various ways along side the other guitar pickups and systems. So, in my case, I can say pitch shift the low two strings to create a following bass, or add delay or other effects and processing to the high strings...others might wish to have distortion on the lower strings and clean tones on the higher perhaps. But this is the simplest application of such a new concept in compact string sensing.

...

The sustainer things, well, that is a long saga, almost a decade now, and I certainly have made a lot of mistakes and got burnt quite badly in the whole thing in so many ways. For some reason, I do feel some responsibility to assist where I can. I think what people can see though, that when building the design I created here, that things are very sensitive to the specifications and other area's and workmanship and mainly, the main threads once this design had been adopted, were from people who were having problems and all of those problems are easily traced back to not following the design or a lack of workmanship. There have no doubt been those that chose to chime in for reasons of their own to discredit something that they have never seen nor attempted (and me personally) and largely citing the evidence of people having problems from not building the things properly to support this view. A few of them have gone on to continue this strategy to this very day.

However, I try to innovate and create new things. The sustainer was just a small area of interest that got a lot of attention and early on some great discussion and interest, but it is not the 'greatest things since sliced bread' and in many respects, not what people think it is either.

On my new guitar, the ability to retune every string to three pre-sets at the flick of a lever is I suggest at least as cool, if not cooler LOL. The hex thing has many potential applications and there is interest from some people with some very clever ideas 'if oly they could get an independent signal from each string'. Just a completely new magnetic pickup that surface mounts, is only 10mm wide and 5mm deep in itself is at least 'interesting', for developing genuinely new guitar ideas, there is a lot in just that.

Ah, but this is not the forum for such things...

...

Again thanks to Billm90 and DarkA and anyone else of interest in such things and hope to learn from the things that perhaps you create or could inform my own ideas... pete

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Pete, I am not trying to steal your thunder. I don't wish to market anything. I would not be a douche like that.

Honestly, if anything ground breaking came out of it, I would just email you the info so you could run with it.

My build is flawed because I threw it together in 20 mins with crap I had. I had not even went out to buy anything to build it. I picked up 2 pieces of steel to build a rail, since I can get that at home depot when I was there.

I have 65 guitars, so I have a use for more then 1 sustainer. lol

I guess I am a bit if a 'what if' guy. as of right now, I am chopping a few guitars up and doing a bit of DIY to them. Some just based on looks, other involve more strings. I would like this 1 guitar based on looks and LED's to function like a normal sustainer would, so I can get a feel for what it can do. It is also just a bridge humbucker guitar without a headstock. It would probably look better with something in the bridge position once I get it together.

My bigger goals would be to involving not so much me making a break through on your design, but more or less, using it differently. Allow me to explain.

I have been getting into multi string guitars. I have already began to build 2. All from seeing 1 particular guitar built in 1925 ish... that has a ton of stings on it, and some inside the acoustic body with a hand lever to mute them. I have been thinking about this for years... Not that I am trying to invent what is already there, but to play something that I will never see in a store because it is a museum piece. Then I wonder, what if I put spring reverb in the body. Wind chimes? or just more stings... how would they play... perhaps a sustainer could get them working???? Could I play a string that drives other strings, then I could hit a switch and have those strings drive them selves.

Could I further make this insane idea work with push button activation to trigger one string at a time like your hex driver could of evolved into? Or would it work better with a kill button. Could I make it change chords? I have no idea. would it be electric, or acoustic, or hybrid... Just something I want to hash out.

Then when I pulled out my zoom unit (effects and practice amp with 3" speaker) I wondered what would happen with delay on a driver? Could I get it to pulse?

I read the whole sustainer thread. even the how to post. I have seen all the youtube vids. I have been all over the net. and I even found the pics in your photobucket account of the sustainiac autotopsy which led me to wonder about thickness...

The sustainiac goes against what you have working. It looks like it has several hack saw like blades as a pole pieces. With windings that reach down the whole height. *** is the top made of???

It led me to some page about george lynch perfering the susatiniac model B or C that clipped to the headstock... I began to wonder if this could be built hidden into a guitar, such as what I am working on now.

So it is not that I want to steal you stuff and put a copy on youtube/ebay. I am far more selfish and want to make my own crazy sounds for my own amusment.

So if I ask off questions... it is more or less I have way too much info input.

Sorry it seems like I want to rip you off.

BTW, what would you sell one of your sustainers for?

How about one of those plastic acoustic guitars you building? I kind of like it.

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... sheet that the offerings of RoG omit to keep such circuits happy.

ROG didn't design the 'fetzer ruby', and should not be held responsible for it - their designs are top notch IMO, and it's very unfair to criticise them for something they didn't design or endorse.

As far as I am concerned, if you are making my design but do not follow the design parameters which are pretty generous and advice personally and freely available, you can not expect it to work and the answers are clear...follow the design

Sorry Pete, going to have to pull you up on that one.

Your 'design' is not (to my knowledge? correct me if I'm wrong) publicly available, so to suggest that it is and imply that other peoples problems are a result of not following that design is unfair.

A functional sustainer is a system. All parts of that system are equally important to the success of the project. The driver is important, but the circuit is equally so and must be matched to the driver. According to you, your driver specs work well with your circuit - which is great. unfortunately, your circuit has to my knowledge not been published, and as you so often repeat, you do not endorse the fetzer-ruby, so why do you continually tell folk to follow your design ?

They can't, it's not available!

One other aspect of my design. of which there are many, but generally over looked. The battery is an important part of my circuits and the simple circuits generally used. t has often been commented that most of my circuits do not have limiting, but the power of the battery is the limiter by design, use a wall wart or other power source and you are defeating this aspect and will likely need to have limiting and compression and other methods to reduce the power required.

A wall wart based circuit will 'hard-limit' voltage peaks similarly to a battery.

If your circuit is current limiting due to the battery, then that is a problem, not a feature - battery life will be very poor.

If interested, I still develop things with several interesting project at the moment including a radically different pickup design that is 'divided' to provide a range of options that are unique, such as separate signals for each string or a stereo spread...but very much in the prototyping stages, expressions of interest can find me at GN2 perhaps along with a thread on my multi-tuning concept guitar and several other guitars in the gallery there.

Interesting, I'll have to take a look at the gallery

cheers

Col

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unfortunately, your circuit has to my knowledge not been published, and as you so often repeat, you do not endorse the fetzer-ruby, so why do you continually tell folk to follow your design ?

They can't, it's not available!

New here (been lurking for a while digesting all the great info - nice forum).

Like a good few others (so it seems!), I'd like to have an attempt at making a sustainer....I've read a lot of that huge thread on here (spent way too long in there reading actually - heavy going!) & numerous other related threads on other forums ...but as of yet, I couldn't find the circuit being spoken of ...is the above true (ie that it's not freely available?) or is it tucked away somewhere I've not found yet?

As far as I am concerned, if you are making my design but do not follow the design parameters which are pretty generous and advice personally and freely available, you can not expect it to work and the answers are clear...follow the design

I do want to follow your design to the letter (pointless reinventing the wheel!), since I know the driver spec, I just need to marry it up with the correct circuit design ...so can you please post that here? (or link me to it)

tks...Irky.

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Google turned up this simple LM386 design, I assume this is pete's circuit(more or less)

Unlikely, that's just a variation of the schematic from the app note in the LM386 datasheet.

It has no input buffer for starters, so connecting a guitar pickup to the input would not work well.

cheers

Col

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Unlikely, that's just a variation of the schematic from the app note in the LM386 datasheet.

It has no input buffer for starters, so connecting a guitar pickup to the input would not work well.

Could psw please confirm one way or the other whether the circuit posted above is part of his overall design that he recommends we stick to? (I need to get the associated parts ordered, but need to be sure of which components to order)

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opamp buffer

buff7.gif

This or the F/R should work if you built the sustainer correctly. Col, aren't you fairly experienced with sustainers and their circuits? I wasn't around for the 'sustainer years' but I remembered you had some interesting designs(dual coil) and circuits, although I don't think I'd be confident in attempting to replicate those designs(yet). Anyway, this topic should remain focused on current issues regarding sustainers, like updates in progress from billm90 or design aspects.

irky, here is a good read about a DIY sustainer and the end result worked well Here

Edit: forgot to say, you don't need the pot in the first circuit.

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Thanks.

PSW spoke earlier in the thread of the importance of adhering to his design, to avoid problems (which makes sense).

From the chap on the (diyfever) link ...

"I decided to go with Fetzer/Ruby amplifier that will drive the sustainer."

So does that particular circuit form part of PSW's overall design (eg the 0.2mm coil, coupled with that circuit?) - or as that comment above infers, are the a few options available wrt the final design?

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Thanks.

PSW posted earlier of adhering to his design to avoid problems (which I want to do). From the (diyfever) link ...

"I decided to go with Fetzer/Ruby amplifier that will drive the sustainer."

So does that circuit form part of psw's overall design spoken of earlier (eg the 0.2mm coil, coupled with that circuit?) - or as that above extract infers, are the a few options available wrt the final design?

The LM386 power stage is part of various amp circuits - including ones I have used. It is not useful by itself. You need at least a buffer.

Unfortunately however, it's not as simple as sticking a buffer stage on the LM386.

An important issue for a sustainer when trying to find and use a pre-existing amp design is phase response. When amplifying audio for listening with a speaker, it doesn't matter a whole lot if the phase at the output is significantly different from the phase at the input. So, you won't see phase response graphs for most amp schematics - it's not an issue for most applications.

Unfortunately, for a sustainer, it really does matter. This is a reason why the fetzer-ruby is not particularly good in this project, it's phase response is not linear enough over the required frequency range.

The component values for buffer stages, gain stages etc. need to be chosen to minimize phase distortion.

Another important point is the gain. 200x is way too much. This will cause heavy clipping which in turn will create lots of unwanted noise (aka fizz, grunge).

If Pete would publish his existing, working, simple LM386 based circuit that is already tweaked to match his driver specs, everyone could just build it and not have to worry about trying to 'design' their own. They wouldn't have to worry about deviating from his design!

cheers

Col

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RoG...

runoffgroove.com projects are provided free-of-charge to builders for their personal use. We do offer licensing for commercial builders who wish to sell pedals based on, in whole or in part, our projects. As part of the licensing agreement, the builder must clearly state that the circuit was developed by runoffgroove.com, both in promotional literature and on the circuit board. If you see a pedal for sale that seems to be based on a runoffgroove.com project and does not credit us, the builder may not be officially licensed by us and therefore, not compensating us as the developer. Please contact us with the information and we will investigate the situation. Thank you.

If I am wrong in the assumption that they 'designed/developed' and claim to own rights on their circuits, then my apologies.

The whole "fetzer ruby" thing came out of the blue with no corresponadance with me or any other working on the project at the time...

Amplifier:

The guys over at runoffgroove.com have a circuit for a small 386-based amplifier called the Ruby which is very well suited to our needs here. I built this and found that it worked great with hot pickups but did not have enough gain for lower-output pickups. Fortunately, they also have a preamp design called the Fetzer valve which is enough of a preamp to get sustain with about any pickup I've tried. The schematic is given below, and more info and troubleshooting tips can be found in the forum at runoffgroove. Thanks to runoffgroove for allowing the use of this circuit in this tutorial. The only difference here is that our "speaker" will be our driver, which is discussed next.

ROG seems to have known and authorised the use of this by GalagaMike and I made my reservations about it clear from the start. It had faulty information, was never fully implemented and deviated in many was from my design, was not designed either by the author nor for this application. It was published without the peer review of the thread or myself and it failed (poor magnets, bad circuit, ss core, etc). That people continued to use this design, was not of my doing nor introduction...I of course, when one reads the words of both Gmike and RoG have every reason they are responsible for and claims over these things...why would I assume not and where is it said that this is not the case?

The "fetzer/Ruby' was not suggested by me nor endorsed by myself, I have not built the things but there have been those that have run it successfully using that circuit and with more success if they used the widely publicized modifications suggested by me to such designs.

My mantra has always been that 'less is more' and don't need to run a LM386 at 200x but that this is the highest gain possible from this chip. I've always suggested the minimum possible gain from the circuit used and efficiency of the driver to be effective at the lowest gains...some of those modifications have been mentioned earlier in the thread, like the 100uF output cap to a typical LM386 circuit...

The DIY versions of my work have been replicated many times over successfully and obviously sound clips of my devices have been available since 2004 and still are. This to me indicates that it can work and does do what it is claimed to do.

Anyone can do come up with their own approach, but in generally what is seen are knock-offs of the driver principles if not the entire driver rational and this continues to be the case with a 'few tweaks' here and there and no detailed information at all.

The reality is, that no matter how specific I am regarding things, the more people choose to 'deviate' to make it their 'own' and generally with detrimental effects to my standards and aims. I've left the circuit things more open precisely so that those who claim and possibly do know better could improve on things...I never offered up the F/R nor poached from the designs of others, I have no problem with RoG designs (or whomever uncredited design they offer and seek compensation for) but they nor I suggested that they are optimised for this kind of high demand application.

...

But this topic has been closed down time and again, including all tutorials on the subject in the past. If someone wants to do their own thing, that's great. My message about such things seems to get lost and then so be it. If someone were to genuinely want to build my design, they should contact me for such details. But I am under no real obligation to defend it other than to point out and too the evidence that clearly shows it works. If there is another "DIY Sustainer design" available that does not resemble mine, then great, link to that, promote that on it's merits and build on that if you prefer. Have the skills to do better, go to it and create a genuinely new approach.

I set my criteria and goals, many of them I met, some exceeded and in other areas, failed to achieve those goals. The basic DIY Sustainer though, built 'right' has been shown time and again to be capable of what it claims.

Col's would appear to work, his dual coil designs for drivers typically much larger, I don't recall them ever being used with multiple pickups, the circuits larger and more complex than mine, the range of effects possibly larger, but they have a different aim and sound to what I was aiming for, from the sound clips I heard, less dynamic and intentionally so. If that is what people want, that is an avenue to follow and has been available for some time, I myself have even credited and republish that work with recommendations for some time across forums...but yet, I have never seen anyone attempt it other than the designer himself...yet the interest in this design seems to be never ending and continuous. I can't answer that question, on the matter of sustainers, I have publicly been mute for some time. One would have thought that this would leave open the pathways for others to step up and offer something even more appealing and open but it simply not has happened for all the criticism of this simple DIY version and it's creator over an extended period of time. Can anyone answer why this is so, because I honestly don't know!

But obviously, this kind of thing goes nowhere and this forum not a place to discuss anything of this nature, especially for me and by extension anyone that might be wishing to build a device modelled on the work I have done. For sure, start one's own thread detailing all the circuit and driver details and construction techniques and discuss how the 'phase relations' and such were addressed if you people wish...especially good to hear would be actual clip[s of the devices working and the criteria by which things are judged to be 'superior' to the basic version for a fair overall comparison.

Clearly the device has been successfully made by myself and many others, that in itself speaks volumes I would suggest. I've always maintained the driver/s to be paramount in my approach and the circuit to be fairly incidental. A driver similar to mine was attempted in this thread and run from various different amplifies and did apparently get some sustain on some strings in some fashion. My clips and experience with helping others tends to indicate that the closer to the intentions I set out, the closer people can get to the results that I obviously get.

And sure, over the years, I was working on more 'advanced' less DIY versions...such as that "Tom Morello" guitar and perhaps circuit variations that were smaller and had various features that I liked, I have no obligation there to provide information surely? The DIY thing is simply that, a way to make a device that will provide sustain on all strings and capable of creditable performance on all strings that I have offered for free home use and at considerable cost and generosity on my part. The 'issue' of the circuit is largely a furphy, suggestions noted time and again, photos of many circuit types and chips have been liberally photographed and discussed over many years...my perspective is very much based on the "eBow" patent in which it is clear that it could be made with any number of circuits, but it is the overall design and criteria that is the real question and novelty.

For all the years of people suggesting that they could do better, especially in terms of circuitry which they choose to focus on ignoring the originality of my overall design as being 'incidental' (cause it seeks their personal aims) rather than at the heart of it as I ahve continupously claimed...where are these alternatives?, where are the results?, where are the specifications and the posts in answer that actually show the way rather than focusing on my project or my words...or indeed at times my character?

Other than col's ideas and specific designs and approaches (which don't fulfil my personal criteria in application or performance, many of which are largely subjective anyway) I've just not seen anything specific like that. I have very deep respect for that, but I've not seen any independent replication of those things. I would though suggest that anyone interested in 'improved' approaches, study that approach and perhaps replicate that work which deserves to be done and to contact and credit col for that work and skill and knowledge that he brings to the table in that regard. It is fine work.

I started a thread to experiment with ideas and encouraged others to join with me in this progress but there was never any suggestion that this was in an effort to provide others with a DIY sustainer, though I presented one simple what that was successful in that. What is absent by enlarge are the many alternatives that I obviously hoped would come out of those discussions and from which I could learn, with a few exceptions, this failed to emerge.

I suggest that a wall wart power supply can provide a regular power supply in voltage, but the current can be substantially higher depending on the demand of the circuit, but i bow to people who have more knowledge than me to design a circuit that will work as mine clearly do to achieve those aims, there are an infinite number of things that could do the job. For the capacity of a battery, you limit the amount of power one can get out of the current it can provide, this limits the gain and is so in part a 'limiter' of sorts...but it is not some magic bullet and of course one can use such a power-supply if one chooses...it violates much of the criteria that i set, but perhaps the criteria of others, which is rarely/never published (this would help prevent the continual moving of the goal posts and give a means to judge success on any designs merits).

It is not unreasonable for one to set out their 'goals' when embarking on a project...perhaps as I recall Col wanted, was a more even lighter constant controlled sustain. But, that was not mine, I wanted a more expressive organic evolving sound, that is what I aimed for and achieved to a very large extent. So did col, but the results are not directly comparative. If one ants that kind of very controlled sound, go more towards some of cols ideas, if you like the kind of things that I aimed for and soucn d like, well got that direction...or, come up with one's own criteria, or purchase a commercial units...they are very good at what they do...but also fail my overall criteria for my work and results.

Publicly, I've received a lot of derision yet still this old design is being replicated and the promise of many detractors to offer and better solution has not been forthcoming. But then, I never claimed that there is one way and certainly not that the simple DIY sustainer was anything other than that, a simple solution that achieves the basic aims described and demonstrated. Many others have suggested that they 'can do better' but this has not been forthcoming and noting published by them...

I have an email, people genuinely interested in discussion things with me know where to find me and I certainly do not wish to continue those kinds of discussions that is typical and fruitless on these matters, and in particular at PG that I thought was clear and stated at the outset in this thread to be contentious and in terms of that administration, not wanted nor tolerated. The more I openly publish, the more I need to defend it and to correct all the failed attempt and misguided ill informed 'tinkering' that only dilutes the message...that the things can work can be clearly heard, if one does not like that 'sound' and response then they should seek elsewhere for inspiration perhaps, but I've not seen much really and nothing that is as freely available and 'open', proven and replicated and refined as what I have offered.

I publish "a circuit" and all of a sudden, people take that to be "it" and make deviations like a different amp of buffer stage or whatever it might be and lay claim to the entire design. I've used many circuits with success, it is designed around the whole notion of a driver that can work with the most basic amplification...no, an LM386 alone can not run it, it requires at least an appropriate buffer stage to prevent loading the signal of the entire guitar...but have I not always said so? Yes, all those things are worthy of consideration, such as phase compensations...but it is simply empirically wrong to suggest that my design needs it to work, because clearly it does not. It should also be noted that although I personally do not and never have supported the F/R 'solution' even that has from all reports shown to run these devices and at least in it's own way met the basics of a basic non-loading amplifier design.

Anyway, feel free to meander how one chooses in this intriguing subject, I've not had the rewards in many years of further knowledge and development that I hoped might result and as far as I can see, in this forum and the public arena generally, the public discussion and further development has not arisen as I might have hoped...instead, people tend to come to or call on me...I speak for my own designs and ideas and can discuss all manner of interesting things with many who chose to have such conversations without the risk of interjection from any passing multi-named troll that should seek to elevate themselves by attacking me or my work. Better that people stand up and say they have some cool idea to improve or achieve the aims, this is how and why, can someone input into this and replicate what I have done and confirm, etc...the kinds of things that I always set out to do but something that can no longer be done in open forum and especially in this forum as evidenced by the number of closed threads...if such open discussion can even be done again without reference to my work seems unlikely, certain impossible here, but sure, it would be interesting to see something new and if billm90 or anyone has some cohesive ideas for such progress and the skills to do it, that will be great to see.

I sincerely wish people well in what they seek to do and will help those of good will that want to replicate my work or approach and build themselves a sustainer to that design and within the limits of their capabilities. If their capabilities exceed mine, all the better, but do they really need me then to assist?

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