Yesterday I got my new display and digital board back from Alexander at Virtual Music in Vienna. The old display had to be changed to a newer one for two reasons, even though the old one still worked.
First of all, the old one would never fit a 19″ rack since it’s too wide. The new one is 182 mm, so it will fit.
Secondly the old one was very hard to read, especially if you were not straight in front of it. Since the PPG Wave 2.2 is supposed to sit in a rack, sideways visibility is crucial.
As you can see on the pictures it’s not just a matter of swapping the old display for a new one – serious modifications must be made to the so called digital board. The digital board contains the driver for the display and the two keypads. All work was very professionally done by Alexander! I plugged it in and it worked instantly!
The encoder for the contrast was also replaced since the old one was kind of intermittent.
Virtual Music also happens to be the reseller of the newer V8.3 firmware that adds a lot of sysex and fixes bugs. V8.3 was ordered as well as new battery kit. I tried to change the eproms, but the old ones were really stuck and impossible to remove without using brutal force, which I didn’t want to. I will have to install V8.3 when the board is removed from the chassis.
The next step is to order a new 6U 19″ rack chassis.
I recently got this “racked” PPG Wave 2.2. The history of it is quite unknown, but this brutal treatment was done in Germany by someone else than me. I’m innocent!
Someone has cut this Wave in half, removed the keyboard and put the right side on top of the left side using standard screws and standoffs from a hardware store. It’s a shame since it looks as though the panel was in great condition – most Waves suffer from the graphics peeling of, especially in the area near the logo close to the push buttons.
Software wise it’s running OS V6 and has MIDI. MIDI is the way to control it since it has no keyboard. Since it’s a PPG Wave 2.2, it’s compatible with the Waveterm A – which I don’t have. There’s however an upgraded OS, V8.3, which makes the PPG Wave 2.2 compatible with Waveterm C, a software version of the Waveterm A and B.
Unfortunately, the serial is unknown as on most PPG Waves. It was hand written on a label on the back with a permanent pen that wasn’t as permanent as it was supposed to. It is probably an early/mid PPG Wave 2.2 as it has the same display as the Wave 2 but is equipped with factory midi.
I asked myself – what have I done – buying an expensive piece of junk like this that could electrocute me. And the racking procedure won’t be cheap and will take a lot of man hours. However, I’m running out of space in the studio and PPG Wave 2.2s don’t grow on trees, especially if they’re not upgraded with 2.3 voice cards. So I decided to take on this challenge and make myself a one of a kind rare PPG Wave 2.2 rack. I guess my metal skills from working with cars will be needed…
The width problem
The problem with the current “racking” is that it won’t fit in a standard 19″ rack – it’s simply too wide! A standard 19″ rack case has a panel width of 19″ (483 mm) , but the case width is often closer to about 17.5″. I’ve found a rack case supplier that has a model with an external width of 435 mm and inside width of 432 mm. This means that 432 mm is what I have to deal with.
The mainboard with all voice cards that is on the lower section is luckily enough around 430 mm. There’s also possibility to shave off a couple of mms at the far ends. The pots are placed on a board that is around 400 mm. The “Basis” and “Master Volume” pots to the far left are not on the board and can be placed anywhere.
The upper section has the power supply and MIDI and audio outputs at the back. They can easily fit within in the width. The biggest problem is the so called digital board that has the keypads and the LCD display. Together they have a total width of 460 mm so they can impossibly fit. One solution is to cut boards so one end is in a 90 degree angle (like this racked 2.3). I have chosen a different path – changing the display to a more modern and narrower one that also has backlight.
The original display must have cost a fortune back then, and it’s not directly compatible with modern displays. Therefore the digital board and display will be sent to Virtual Music in Austria to be modified.
I won’t reuse the original panel metal since a few things will have to be modified and moved around. Instead I will create new original looking graphics for the faceplate so it looks factory.