My debut

Posted: 7/26/2015 2:39:57 PM
ThereminCat

Joined: 7/13/2015

So the point is to ground yourself by forming a connection to a grounded metal object such as your amp? And the purpose is to get rid of static, like one does before taking apart a computer or building a circuit? Do you have to be grounded constantly or would it be acceptable just to discharge static before and after playing, by touching a grounded metal object?

I've always been pretty sensitive to capacitance, getting static shocks to the point of pausing before touching anything metal :P I wonder if it affects my performance at all? Maybe that is why my theremin and I are so close - after all, that transfer of electrical energy is the means of communication between a person and theremin ;)

Posted: 7/26/2015 3:23:24 PM
rkram53

From: Northern NJ, USA

Joined: 7/29/2014

Actually you have to be careful in the winter as I found out all too well and damaged my theremins. I haven't had a problem in the summer when the humidity is high.

I got an anti-static mat and use that now when I can see that I'm creating discharges. Certainly touch something grounded before you play in the winter or if you see you are collecting a charge. I did knock out my Etherwave Plus and had to send it back for repairs last winter so be careful when it's not humid out.

Rich

Posted: 7/26/2015 5:47:43 PM
dewster

From: Northern NJ, USA

Joined: 2/17/2012

Theremin "antennas" really shouldn't be bare metal.  And, unless it's got tubes inside, there should be some kind of ESD protection.

Posted: 7/27/2015 1:11:39 AM
ThereminCat

Joined: 7/13/2015

Ahh noooo! I'd feel terrible if I accidentally static-shocked my poor theremin! :( I will make sure that never happens to my Etherwave Plus - my next shopping trip will include an anti static mat or wrist strap! What resistance is ideal? Where do you ground one to? 

How about would insulating the antennae, or my hands (with computer repair gloves perhaps), solve the static problem - or would it hinder my performance?

I understand the science behind what you're saying because I used to do a little bit of circuitry building and repair (including a basic frequency generator) :D But I also know that playing the theremin is based on capacitance and static electricity. How does this relate to static buildup/discharge? Does playing the theremin ungrounded cause any of the static buildup? Is it only touching the antenna that is a problem? 

I guess my theremin and I share that in common, susceptibility to and fear of static shocks ^^

Posted: 7/27/2015 2:30:27 AM
rkram53

From: Northern NJ, USA

Joined: 7/29/2014

You don't have to go overboard. Just be careful. It's likely not going to be a problem until winter. Forget a wrist strap.

It's time to start playing that thing.

Posted: 7/27/2015 1:41:00 PM
dewster

From: Northern NJ, USA

Joined: 2/17/2012

Static electricity doesn't really enter into the equation with normal Theremin operation - though it unfortunately can with abnormal operation!  ;-)  

Grounding your body could help give more consistent response, though you might have to "tune" the Theremin for optimal response in this scenario.

I'd cover the antennas in braided insulated sleeving, or heat-shrink tubing.  Except for the response you get when touching the bare antennas, insulation shouldn't noticeably interfere with operation.

Posted: 7/27/2015 6:10:20 PM
ThereminCat

Joined: 7/13/2015

Rkram53: Haha ok! I am playing quite often, I'm working on a cover of "Funeral For a Tree" from The Lorax :) https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/dr.-seuss-lorax-original-motion/id504942257 But I am still considering insulating the antenna in order to protect my theremin from my static problem :3

dewster: Thank you very much, I did some research and can buy a whole spool of sleeving or tubing on Wirecare.com! What material is best? I'm allergic to fiberglass so I hope one of the other materials such as rubber tubing or plastic thread sleeving insulates just as well. I heard the Etherwave antenna is 3/8" (I should probably measure it) and I'll start a thread to pick a color, because I will have lots left over and can distribute the extra to TW members :)

Posted: 7/27/2015 6:37:05 PM
dewster

From: Northern NJ, USA

Joined: 2/17/2012

Here's a thread where people are talking about insulating Theremin antennae:

http://www.thereminworld.com/Forums/T/29403/insulating-the-volume-loop-antenna

I think I'd go with heatshrink, maybe a couple layers, though the woven cable cover stuff is more easily removable.  If you decide on heatshrink, use a heat gun to apply it rather than a flame (don't want to discolor it).

The material most likely doesn't matter at all in terms of playing the thing.  Much like an air gap in an otherwise closed ferrite coil former, the permittivity of any free space between your hand and the insulator should swamp the relative permittivity of the insulator.

Posted: 7/27/2015 9:38:56 PM
ThereminCat

Joined: 7/13/2015

Thanks a lot! That thread was very helpful! :) I'll let you know how I end up protecting my theremin from static, I'll write something on the other thread too. I did find a cheap computer repair mat and wrist strap if necessary.

Posted: 7/27/2015 9:52:15 PM
oldtemecula

From: 60 Miles North of San Diego, CA

Joined: 10/1/2014

Hello Everyone,

I thought I would do a weekly stop by and see the action. ThereminCat you bring great enthusiasm in all your posts, very refreshing.  Rkram53 you have exposed a missing dimension in the theremin community that you are filling nicely, you do know music and a natural born teacher, your contributions have been wonderful.

In the current discussion two topics are being intertwined about covering the theremin antennas with an insulating material that I want to clarify.

In terms of the volume loop, a chirp can happen in some theremin designs when grabbing it directly as this really loads down the operating circuit. Covering the volume loop with a non-conductive sleeve adds personal artistic flair and avoids this direct contact with the metal loop.

Most coverings "do not" protect effectively against electro-static discharges as I have measured it to sometimes be as high as 10,000 volts which can have a leap distance up to one centimeter which is over ¼”. This discharge would pop through or break down the insulating qualities of most common material.

I have my own methods of ESD protection but that would need another thread.

Good Luck

Christopher

I love the roll-over!

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