Okay, circuit benders: a key part in warping electronics to new and strange places has vanished from the face of the Earth. Reed Ghazala, father of bending and the field’s best-known personality, writes CDM with the news as he passed it on to experimental/bending music forum oddmusic. That’s the bad news; the good news is Reed shows you via flickr schematic how to make your own replacement part.

I’m sad to report the premature passing of part # 12-0104-0000, GC Electronics.

This, as some of the half-electrocuted among you know, is the resistance substitution wheel much-sought by benders.

The product manager informs me that the molds have been lost, and that they disappeared in a puff of green smoke that hung, luminous, in the plant for days.

I made that last part up.

Anyway, in response to all the requests here for departed part # 12-0104-0000, I’ve put up another flickr thing, a DIY Resistance Sub Wheel. There’s also a link for an EICO box, surplus, in Canada, and get ’em while they’re hot!

And now, the solution:

Do-it-Yourself Resistance Substitution Box

For more on circuit-bending how-tos, Reed has a terrific book out:

Circuit-Bending: Build Your Own Alien Instruments (ExtremeTech) [Amazon.com]

  • J Donald

    I think I'd prefer to use a pot, which gives you almost infinite resolution within its range. If you want to know the value, just measure it with a multimeter, and select the closest fixed resistor.

  • I have an Ohmite Ohm-Ranger I never use, if someone needs something like this. This is the absolute perfect device for doing this sort of thing.

    (It's 1%, too.) Drop me a line via Analog Industries if you're interested in it.

  • Electronix Express has a kit for a box like this. I may need to get one of these myself…

  • My recent student brought the EE kit with him – just saw it today. He was new to soldering and had no trouble assembling it. Nice kit. I use a pot & meter too – if I don't have the GC wheel handy. Was just at Mendelson's (Dayton OH, blow your mind!) and parts for the DIY SUB were under $3. Any electrobrain, bent or not, OWES THEMSELVES a trip to Mendelson's, 3rd floor, Dayton, OH. Go with someone who knows CPR… http://www.meci.com/aboutus.php?osCsid=0fb4197dc0… …I've been shopping there for 20 years and still haven't seen it all.

  • Wow, thanks for the tip, Reed. I'm going to have to start watching for those $50 airfares to Dayton that come up some time. 🙂 We've been lamenting the lack of just such a shop in NYC, though maybe there's one I don't know about. (Outer boroughs? Jersey City?)

  • I have NYC roots, remember the glory days of Canal Street, hung in the Village Mews, Chinatown, various boroughs, lofts, parks and undergrounds. My recent student WAS from NYC: Mendleson's left him speechless! I’m used to this.

    No – crossing the river does no good either. Mendelson's is unique in the world (I've poked around the planet a little – colored bakelite, fine brass and blue glass make you do this, as well as explain your stash at the border).

    There are a lot of really nice smaller outlets with really cool components. They’re great! Mendelson’s, however, is like walking into a vast museum of rare surplus as opposed to an electronics room whose ends can be seen (Mendleson’s is a maze of isles, rooms, counters, bins, racks, spools – and you usually CAN’T see the ends of it all: too distant and too much stuff in the way).

    But let me tell you the really bad news, and I'm sorry to be the bearer. My deep connections in surplus tell me the whole thing is dying. And I can see this in the outlets. I'd like to sound the rallying cry, "Support them!," and I do. But this is a reflection of the general trend in user alienation… which end of the screwdriver do I use?

    A good example is tin toys. Tin toys, early 1900’s, began the trend in metal tab closure. Shocking at the time. They were not meant to be opened. They were not meant to be REPAIRED, and were routinely discarded. They were garbage.

    Cobblers, watch shops, seamstresses – these and countless other repair shops were everywhere. They’re about gone. The repairman-tinkerer is rarer today than ever.

    And I don’t limit this to “old timey� industries. My top-of-line SONY DAT deck (K890ES) was bumped back and forth across the country as SONY tried and tried and tried again to fix the tape transport. My contact inside SONY told me “They might have one guy and one guy only who really knows something about the deck, you finally hit that guy.�

    BTW, my example of the screwdriver is fact, reported to me by a MIT professor teaching electronics, “Which end of this do I use?�

    Anyway, the places I buy surplus are either trying to present themselves as designer shops (Goodwill now asks $14 for “trendy� lamps that they used to price at $2, and that sell elsewhere, new, for $8). Or, as in electronic surplus, prices are rising to “cover� declining sales, which, sadly, spells disaster. To those in the industry, this is scarier than PCBs.

    A picture is conjured… what would the Victoria’s Secret crowd think of a surplus shop’s radioactive meters, gigantic wire spools and cathode ray tubes tumbling out onto the polished mall floor, right next to the pretty Sharper Image store? The underbelly of technology, even if parked next to the shining sibling Apple store fully dependant upon this hardware, is unacceptable. But it’s a cool picture, eh?

    Anyway, at Mendelson’s, project costs are: box $1, rotarys 50¢, pins 25¢, and you have the resistors already (or get a sack for another $1). And the quality makes Radio Shack’s stock look like the sham it is (get a mini NC PB switch and note the lousy casting, poor metals, loose joints, rough plastic moldings and grotesque feel).

    Still, this again reflects the trend in question. High-quality, expensive electronic parts don’t sell well in shopping centers aimed at our fashion-struck public. At least RS is there, and provides tools and parts often harder to grab quickly otherwise.

    Subversive, too, is considered the nature of artwork and technical knowledge in fascist societies, should one work outside the order. But that is another subject, and until all art materials are considered contraband, Mendelson’s is open. Like I said, get ‘em while they’re hot.

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  • Bill

    After shipping to the US, this Resistance Substitution Wheel is $35; got mine today in the post.