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How to build your own Midibox SID

“Will you build me a Midibox SID?”

I get this asked via email a few times a year and I figured this time I’d write something to help everyone. The short answer is “No”, but the long answer is that I promise you that no matter how slow, cheap, illiterate, or busy that you think you are, there is no question, you can accomplish building one yourself. It’s not that hard. It really isn’t!
So you won't find Midibox people willing to build things for other people. We just don’t do that for various reasons. The biggest reason it that it’s not that hard for you to build yourself, and when you do build it yourself you grow the community of people that can help others do the same. It’s really quite communist I know. Get over it, or go build something else is pretty much the attitude. You CAN do it, and it will all make sense, and you’ll be far more equipped to answer many of your own questions once you are done. You will always find help when you think you are in over your head. Just stay calm and visit the IRC channel, or the forums and say hi.

So I can definitely give you help and encourage you to just go for it.  It’s really not as hard as you may be thinking.  You can get boards and parts kits here.  Then just buy a soldering iron, some solder (I prefer the nasty old rosin core), and a volt meter so you can make sure you did it all correctly before putting any chips in.   A few hours later you will have a SID synth that you built all yourself and you'll be very proud of it.  Just take your time, ask questions when you don’t understand something, stay positive, and stay calm. You’ll have to really work at it to create an unsurmountable disaster to happen if you follow the plan I have laid out here.

So what should you build first?
I’d recommend something simple like single SID setup. This will give you the foundation to move on to bigger things. Sure you can go for it and just build the 8-SID MB-6582 as your first project, and people have done it and succeeded. But when things go wrong there your stakes are higher. Mistakes are potentially more costly, and problems more difficult to track down. I’m not going to recommend it as a first project. Go for a single SID and work your way up.

So you would simply need to buy the following:

Parts and Boards:
$26.95 Core Kit with PIC18F4685 (just leave the PIC ID values as 0000 0000 0000 0000)
$15.00 SID Kit
$.050 16 pin Female IDC Connector
$( less than $40 ) An LCD screen - say (2x16), (2x20), or (4x20)
 Whatever you'd like there. Check on eBay.
$2.50 16 pin ribbon cable

$22 Soldering Iron
$6 Solder
$20 Volt Meter
$3 Wire strippers
$9 Diagonal Cutters

Thats the minimum to get a SID that will be playable and programmable via midi and you'll have a display so you know that it's working.  Once you get that working you can buy other boards and parts to add a control surface, and a lot of what you have will be reusable.

So there you have it. Get crackin’, and keep us posted of your progress.
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