December 23, 2015

Project: Pico Paso Kit - Light Controlled Analog Noise Machine

We attended the 2015 Bay Area Maker Faire in San Mateo, California back in June 2015.  It was a day filled with amazement and wonderful creativity.  It was one big show and tell event.

As you would expect, there were plenty of great kits for sale and we picked up a few including the Pico Paso by Bleep Labs.  The Pico Paso kit is a light controlled analog noise machine and is based on the Atari Punk Synth concept.  It is powered by a 9V battery.

This photograph shows the loose components and PCB prior to assembly for the Pico Paso kit
NJ2X's Pico Paso kit opened and ready to be built
Kit assembly was straightforward with only a small number of components in the circuitry.  The Pico Paso kit is suitable for beginner builders.  The only trouble we had during soldering was when we inadvertently installed the audio jack on the wrong side of the board.  A quick desoldering followed by a reinstallation of the jack on the proper side of the board resolved the issue.  It does indeed help to follow the kit instructions as this was plainly explained.

This is a photograph of the fully assembled Pico Paso kit (top side) showing two knobs, two buttons, two photocells, and other assorted components installed on a PCB.
NJ2X's finished build of the Pico Paso kit

This is a fun little kit to build and play with after construction.  We fed the 1/4" mono audio out from the Pico Paso to our vintage Fender Champ amp using a standard guitar cable and it sounded amazing.  The kit is not designed to work with headphones.

By manipulating the knobs, buttons, and photocells, all manner of interesting sounds could be created from tweeting bleeps to house rumbling oscillations.  We highly recommend this kit for anyone interested in kit building and having fun with knob-twisted synthesized sonic mayhem.

Happy Holidays!

Good DX and 73, NJ2X

© Michael W. Maher and NJ2X.COM, 2015.

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