SOLVED Aion Xenotron / Lovetone Flange no BBD modulation

Kris100

Member
Hey, hope I can ask you All for a bit of help and / or advice - Finished this build yesterday... and surprise surprise it doesn't work :) I've built 150+ pedals and never ended up with a build that doesnt work (including couple Aion Lovetone builds) so I really hope I can get this one working as well.

Pedal has 3 separate 3PDT's where 1 is for the effects loop, 1 for time modulation and 1 for space modulation. Time and space LEDs follow rate of modulation set by the pot. There are several internal LED / LDR combo - 2LED / LDRs for the Space on the main PCB, 1 LED / LDR for Time and additional LED / LDR for time on the BBD sub board.

3PDT LEDs light up, space and time ones pulse in tempo with the rate, SPDT switches seems to work, pedal passes signal through but there is no BBD LFO modulation. Space switch engaged works as a tremolo but Time doesn't seem to create any chorus / flange modulations. When I max out Manual control I can get some weird faint modulations with the internal BBD trimpot tweaked right but nothing that resembles typical chorus / flange vibes.

In terms of troubleshooting - I checked IC orientation, polarity of all components, triple and quadruple checked all wiring. I made sure I used a working MN3207 and MN3102 set from a chorus pedal I built a while ago. I also checked both PCBs for shorts or bridges, cleaned them with IPA and reflowed the few components connected to the LED3 that's connected to main 3PDT time f-switch. I tried to connect to Time Out jack and tweak the bias and all controls but I get nothing that sounds like a chorus / flanger.

Looking inside I noticed couple of things
- Space 3pdt engages the internal LED 1&2 which pulse along Rate control (the 2 LEDs which are inside a "fence" made of film caps),
- Time 3pdt turns the internal LED 3 on but this one doesnt pulse at all (bottom left corner of main PCB). Neither bias nor regen trimpots do any difference. I tried to follow the biasing instructions from build docs but having no LFO on any BDD trim setting not much I can do.
- The LED on the BBD sub board lights up and pulses with varying speed depending on Manual, Rate and Depth.

My guess is the LED3 on the main board should also pulse following rate but cannot see or measure anything obvious that could stop it from working. I am adding few pics of the build and schematics from Aion's build docs (pages 21-23).

For reference below a link to a build of another forum member that works perfectly, there's also few photos of internals and a short demo.

 

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Solution
I needed to take a break from this one and built the Ring Stinger which was another intimidating Aion board that was waiting it's turn. Turned out perfect, no issues whatsover :) Freakish yet very musical pedal.

I plan to come back to the flanger once I get correct clear LED for BBD board - after some checking I am sure the ultrabright one I used is way out of spec for this place. The recommended one has brightness around 80mcd while the one I used is I think 10000+mcd... :) which surely affects my issues with Manual control and better bbd biasing. I just cant find anything locally like the transparent green LED Aion recommends so until I get the correct one this project fix is on hold. To be continued!
Short update - I swapped...
Alright. I'm officially a bit puzzled.

The issue with my board is definitely in LED 1 & 2 for me. They won't light up on their own, but they are reading voltage on A and K sides. LED 1 8.54v anode, 6.38v, which is the same as the footswitch indicator LED, which is on. LED 2 reads lower at 6.84v at A, and 5.35v @ K.

When I run a multimeter continuity probe and touch the cathode side of LED 1 or LED 2, the LEDs light up (because the MM is sending current) and it changes the intensity of the indicator LED, and the LDRs make a tremolo thing happen.--so... a ground fault somewhere in the LFO loop? Tried jumpering from the ICs and from Q13 and Q14 to the anodes, and nothing doing.

VC (LFO voltage) is constant in the LFO loop at 8.6v; VD (LFO reference voltage) can go from 0.360v to 0.788v depending on LFO rate pot cranked to off.
 
The only thing I can say is where is Aion support for their PCB's if they are the Bees Knees in PCB documentation & bom implementation?
Is it my understanding they don't offer support or a Help option if the build go South!
 
The only thing I can say is where is Aion support for their PCB's if they are the Bees Knees in PCB documentation & bom implementation?
Is it my understanding they don't offer support or a Help option if the build go South!
100% with you on this. I really love their build docs and they have a lot of interesting projects. But they make a really clear statement that they will not offer support.

That's what make this community so special, the fact that it's PPCB forum but is open to any builder no matter the origin of the board. That's what now makes me chose the PPCB over the same Aion board if it's available.
 
Now that I think of it, I've spent most of my painful troubleshooting hours in Aion boards: oscillation in the Sunn Beta Lead and Bass, anemic sound in the TS-50b, oscillation in the DZ-4, my philosopher's tone pedal is not working correctly, and now this... flangetastrophy.

I feel like it's time to focus/music6000 some stuff!

1701459592951.png
 
Now that I think of it, I've spent most of my painful troubleshooting hours in Aion boards: oscillation in the Sunn Beta Lead and Bass, anemic sound in the TS-50b, oscillation in the DZ-4, my philosopher's tone pedal is not working correctly, and now this... flangetastrophy.

I feel like it's time to focus/music6000 some stuff!

View attachment 62008
Aion builds reliable PCB's, it's just the way they are implemented that I dont like.
No values on the PCB just buggs me especially on complicated Builds!
Top Mounted jacks and Power supply are Great but all the connections are on the dedicated footswitch PCB at the Bottom???
 
Hey comrades in flangetastrophy, I'm going to start a new thread, since it seems like your issues center around the BBD, and mine are centering around the LFO.

Sounds like you might all be on your way. Me... not so much. And who knows, if the LFO ever kicks in, maybe I'll be back here with BBD questions.

You can always stop by for tea and crumpets, though.
 
So, I will be adding to my "really stupid stuff I did" thread for posterity.

Currently have a 100% functional and really amazing pedal.

I did do my major eff-up all on my lonesome, but I honestly couldn't have solved it without the interactions on this discussion thread. Thank you very much to you all. I will still check back to see what's up with you all.
 
Hello lads/ladettes. How go your travails in the land of BBD/Clock/signal summation problems?

I needed to take a break from this one and built the Ring Stinger which was another intimidating Aion board that was waiting it's turn. Turned out perfect, no issues whatsover :) Freakish yet very musical pedal.

I plan to come back to the flanger once I get correct clear LED for BBD board - after some checking I am sure the ultrabright one I used is way out of spec for this place. The recommended one has brightness around 80mcd while the one I used is I think 10000+mcd... :) which surely affects my issues with Manual control and better bbd biasing. I just cant find anything locally like the transparent green LED Aion recommends so until I get the correct one this project fix is on hold. To be continued!
 
Ok cool. Was looking at the schematic, and all of the switching and signal out routing looks to be happening after the "time output f" on p. 21. If you have effected signal back into the bbd loop at c38, you know it's something on the right hand of p. 21. Could run an audio probe forward through and/or check all continuities to ground and then continuities between components and switches in all positions, as well as wiring, at least to c7-10 in that central ldr cluster.

I'm not quite understanding why the mono signal is associated with the ldr1 loop and the stereo with ldr2 since they both seem to go to Q4. And through r19. Not getting the time a and time output "f" time trs jack relationship
 
I needed to take a break from this one and built the Ring Stinger which was another intimidating Aion board that was waiting it's turn. Turned out perfect, no issues whatsover :) Freakish yet very musical pedal.

I plan to come back to the flanger once I get correct clear LED for BBD board - after some checking I am sure the ultrabright one I used is way out of spec for this place. The recommended one has brightness around 80mcd while the one I used is I think 10000+mcd... :) which surely affects my issues with Manual control and better bbd biasing. I just cant find anything locally like the transparent green LED Aion recommends so until I get the correct one this project fix is on hold. To be continued!
Short update - I swapped the ultrabright LED I had installed originally for another clear one with much closer spec to Aion's recommendation and the pedal works perfectly. For anyone reading this far into the thread - mind your LED specs when not buying a full Aion kit! I was an idiot to pick a random clear one and not even consider importance of brightness to pedal performance...

I didn't even need to re-bias the BBD, suddenly I have full Manual control with no weird glitching noises, I could tweak reaction trim feedback pot for my taste etc. I still have the Time signal mixing to understand but for now I am more than happy. I don't plan to set a stereo rig anyway. I think I owe you Guys few pics of the thing so here we go. I painted the enclosure myself so it's very much imperfect (and already scratched and botched through so many removals of the pcb etc). It's glorious though and I think my biggest achievement to date.

To anyone that posted a reply and offered their help - thanks a million. You Guys rock. Wish you all happy holidays, Merry Christmas or whatever else you wish yourself for the end of 2023 and the 2024! :D

P.S. I just got a package with Madbean PCBs - including his Stereo Memory Man, Electric Mistress, and few other interesting projects. 2024 is shaping to be the year of a lot of pain and perhaps some good sounds ;)
 

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Solution
Short update - I swapped the ultrabright LED I had installed originally for another clear one with much closer spec to Aion's recommendation and the pedal works perfectly. For anyone reading this far into the thread - mind your LED specs when not buying a full Aion kit! I was an idiot to pick a random clear one and not even consider importance of brightness to pedal performance...

I didn't even need to re-bias the BBD, suddenly I have full Manual control with no weird glitching noises, I could tweak reaction trim feedback pot for my taste etc. I still have the Time signal mixing to understand but for now I am more than happy. I don't plan to set a stereo rig anyway. I think I owe you Guys few pics of the thing so here we go. I painted the enclosure myself so it's very much imperfect (and already scratched and botched through so many removals of the pcb etc). It's glorious though and I think my biggest achievement to date.

To anyone that posted a reply and offered their help - thanks a million. You Guys rock. Wish you all happy holidays, Merry Christmas or whatever else you wish yourself for the end of 2023 and the 2024! :D

P.S. I just got a package with Madbean PCBs - including his Stereo Memory Man, Electric Mistress, and few other interesting projects. 2024 is shaping to be the year of a lot of pain and perhaps some good sounds ;)
Great job! Glad it is working well!
 
Congratulations.

I managed to solve my issues too, a few days ago.

Not sure what was wrong. I know i made mistakes with the transistors, confusing J113 and BC549C, i reflowed a few pads and it worked... or at least i hope so (this circuit can do lots of things so i am still not entirely sure).

Besides, i soldered the 3PDT board upside down... right at the beginning of the building process, i did something very singular and creative, thus decreasing my chances of success by at least 60%...

I knew it was going to be the source of many doubts, but i wired the 3PDT board accordingly instead of desoldering three footswitches.
Looks ok though, everything is working.

Let's remember that I did it on purpose, to add some mojo. It sounds much better this way.

Here, have a good laugh, i deserve it :
IMG_20231209_025424.jpg IMG_20231212_223441.jpg

Looks like this circuit is going to be amazing. Nothing like some simple and boring flanger with 3 knobs... I didn't spent much time on it yet, but i am guessing it's among the ultimate tools to play some experimental, ambient, noise sounds.

Aion's instructions are suggesting to read carefully the original manual, there's a link on page 3. There are lots of informations there, it's a bit hard to assimilate everything quickly, but it's also useful if you try to debugg this circuit without any previous knowledge about the controls.


It was a musikding kit, so at least now we know they are all right.

Only downside : i am not sure that 6 controls, 4 toggles and 6 outputs are nearly enough for a good modulation ?
 
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I managed to solve my issues too, a few days ago.

Not sure what was wrong. I know i made mistakes with the transistors, confusing J113 and BC549C, i reflowed a few pads and it worked... or at least i hope so (this circuit can do lots of things so i am still not entirely sure).

Besides, i soldered the 3PDT board upside down... right at the beginning of the building process, i did something very singular and creative, thus decreasing my chances of success by at least 60%...

I knew it was going to be the source of many doubts, but i wired the 3PDT board accordingly instead of desoldering three footswitches.
Looks ok though, everything is working.

Let's remember that I did it on purpose, to add some mojo. It sounds much better this way.

Here, have a good laugh, i deserve it :
View attachment 63613View attachment 63614

Looks like this circuit is going to be amazing. Nothing like some simple and boring flanger with 3 knobs... I didn't spent much time on it yet, but i am guessing it's among the ultimate tools to play some experimental, ambient, noise sounds.

Aion's instructions are suggesting to read carefully the original manual, there's a link on page 3. There are lots of informations there, it's a bit hard to assimilate everything quickly, but it's also useful if you try to debugg this circuit without any previous knowledge about the controls.


It was a musikding kit, so at least now we know they are all right.

Only downside : i am not sure that 6 controls, 4 toggles and 6 outputs are nearly enough for a good modulation ?
I love the extra mojo!

I wish they would have added an extra jack. I there there is room for that mod! 🤣
 
I wonder if the effect connected to the Loop send & return can be activated when Time is switched off ?
Couldn't find anything about that in the original instructions.

An Hydra delay is connected to the loop on my build, the repeats are quite low in volume, if i try to increase Hydra's volume it goes quickly into self oscillation.
Tried to find some settings with clean repeats from the delay, increasing Hydra's Mix, Volume, and Repeats controls, but it always goes into mad oscillating noises...
All i can do is some sound with discrete echoes from the delay. If the repeats are far away in the background, Hydra on low settings, it works.

The delay connected to the Loop isn't audible in the signal chain when Time is disengaged. If i switch the Loop on and off on its own, i can't hear it.

I wonder if it's to be expected, or if something is wrong with my Loop section ? At first i tried it with an overdrive, i didn't notice any lack of volume or presence...

I read :
"The Fx Send output will also contain any regen. signal as
dialled in on the Reaction control, but only when Time mode
is selected by the central footswitch. This enables the loop
to be included in the feedback path" (...) [Does it imply that the Loop should work, although differently, with Time switched off ?]

"The optimum signal level at the FX Loop insert point is
lower than that at the pedal outputs. When patching in any
equipment the operating level is ideally -10dBm. This is the
same operating level for most effects pedals and semi-pro
tape machines etc."

Does it mean that the delay must be set on very low volume, 10db under the original signal, very quiet repeats, otherwise it goes into self oscillation ?

Dbm = dB milliWatt,. Never heard of it. I am confused with these instructions, what do they mean exactly ?

Is there some sort of volume level requirements for the Loop to work correctly ?
 
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