The 4000AD Board

Operational Instructions

Please consult the image below for the basic operation of the 4000AD board. To increase volume, twist the dial clockwise. To decrease volume, twist the dial counterclockwise. When the on switch is pointing to the left (or the 'OFF' text), the device is powered off. When the switch is pointing to the right, the device is powered on. To move between tracks, simply switch the device off and on again. There are five tracks in total; it can be difficult to know which track you're listening to as they're cyclical. As such, I've included the track list below with their defining features to orient you (I should have printed this on the back, but I hadn't finished the composition when I started manufacture!):
  • 4000AD (8 minutes, blues solos, funk section, slow bit, more solos, dramatic end)
  • Baroque Paper Scissors (Paganini-esque introduction)
  • Cambrian Explosion (a more upbeat version of 4000AD?)
  • Goose Communications (sounds like credit music)
If treated correctly, the 4000AD board should work in temperatures between -55℃ to +125℃ and will continue to be operational for up to 100 years at 25℃. The electrolytic capacitor technically only has a guaranteed lifetime of only two years but, if you're not worried about the DC offset, you can simply bridge the connections across the capacitor and enjoy a century of tiny music!

Please read the following instructions to ensure safe operation of the 4000AD board:
  • The 4000AD board is designed to drive headphones only - use with amplifiers, soundcards and other outboard gear is certainly possible, but has not been tested, nor electronically protected against.
  • Although unlikely, it is possible to short circuit the 4000AD board by placing conductive material over the top of the device. This can lead to over-heating and, potentially, damage to the device and materials around it. Please ensure that no conductive materials (such as: aluminium, water, carbon nanotubes or super-cooled compounds like bismuth strontium calcium copper oxide and yttrium barium copper oxide) are touching the top of the 4000AD board. With this in mind, when transporting the 4000AD board, it is advised that the battery is removed.
  • When operating the device with any new set of headphones attached, please switch on the device with the volume turned completely counter-clockwise. As the device is designed to drive headphones, it can be quite loud on those headphones with lower impedance. It is better to start the volume low, then adjust to your comfort level.

Constructing The 4000AD Board

If you've bought a kit, assembling the board is simple and can be approached in any order. Most of the components are unique, so assigning parts to the correct positions can be done visually. Even so, there are a few important things to note during this process:

  • Please ensure that the notch in the microcontroller/DIP socket is positioned at the top of the board (when the board is oriented so the picture/text is the right side up). If reversed, this will cause the microcontroller to overheat and may damage it.

    I've done this this using a 5V supply a few times, everything was fine, but it gets really hot really fast.

  • There are two ceramic capacitors (the little orange/brown ones), the larger one goes towards the bottom of the PCB. If you've got a first revision board, these are probably spaced too widely for the holes. You'll need to bend the capacitor's pegs inwards and gently push down so that the capacitor is flush with the PCB's surface.
  • Be aware that the large, black, electrolytic capacitor must be inserted so that the white stripe is facing the left of the board (towards the audio jack). Or, the long wire goes through the right-hand hole. If inserted the wrong way around, nothing will break, but you won't hear any audio.
  • Finally, if you are unsure on anything, don't risk it, email me (hello at protodome dot com)! I'm happy to help out.

Fun bonus extra as you're here: here's the earliest experiment written using the MML dialect created for this project. Went on to become this.