Just finished my PO-modular build and wanted to share some notes for anyone receiving theirs and starting the build.
Tools - A Torx-8 driver is provided with the kit. Needlenose pliers are a must. The pliers will be necessary for screwing the standoffs to the frame as they are difficult to hold and screw into at the same time. A set of snips, and a second larger T-8 driver is also recommended. The snips are for cutting the standoffs in half when you need to attach the power distribution module. The second T-8 is useful for tightening the modules in place.
Time - Set aside at least 2 hours for this if you have all the tools required, or longer if you don’t have the tools. I took about 3.5 hours total to build mine because I didn’t have needlenose pliers or a second T-8 screwdriver when I started, so I had to finish the build in a second session the next day. I think you could build this in under an hour if you have good, grippy needlenose pliers available, and use the method of attaching modules I describe below.
Bending & Screwing the panels - The paint is going to crack, so don’t worry about that when it happens. When bending the faceplate, I recommend keeping only bending the sides about 80° (not the full 90°) before you put the modules in. This allows you to more easily install the modules before you do the final assembly. I also recommend pre-screwing all of the holes with one of the screws using the larger T-8 driver. It is a pain in the ass to try and attach the front panel without pre-screwing the holes before final assembly, especially with the provided T-8 driver.
Modules - As you’ll see in some of the build videos, the most efficient method is to remove all the modules and install the standoffs on the frame first.
I recommend this order of operations:
- Add all standoffs to the frame
- Install the power distribution module (cut the standoffs in half)
- Install all modules. Order doesn’t matter except that the speaker should go in last (tuck the speaker wire between the module and the faceplate; it’s easier than trying to squeeze it in the gap between modules).
- Wire everything into the power distro panel. I recommend starting with the lower modules since those cables are a bit tougher to place, and end with the upper modules.
(Note: The power module can be plugged in anywhere on the distro panel. I used the end socket closest to the LED so it is easier to unplug if I need to remove the panel.)
Screw it all together and power it up - If you’ve pre-screwed the holes in the panels this is easy. If you haven’t, you’ll want to do that before you try to assemble everything. Then plug in the batteries and I used this power adapter with interchangeable bits and it works to power the PO-400 pretty well.
- The output of the PO-400 mixer is mono (TR) output, even though it ships with stereo (TRS) cables. You’ll need a converter or signal splitter into a mixer to get a stereo sound out of it. I’m using a Hosa Knucklebones splitter into a Maker Hart Just Mixer L/R so that I can use headphones with it. (Obviously there are easier methods but this is what I had available)
- Some of the potentiometers are out of alignment with the holes and are difficult to turn. I haven’t done anything about this yet, but from what I’ve seen you may need to use a rotary tool to widen some of the holes in the faceplate if you run into this issue.
- You may want to get some extra patch cables. TR cables work fine.