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Old 07-17-2007, 03:11 PM   #1
s.r.v.
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Thumbs up The Ultimate Pedal Building Thread

For links to many other great threads, check out the GB&C Central Hub.

READ THIS FOR NEW BUILDERS
then check this http://www.diystompboxes.com/pedals/FAQ.html
then ask questions

Anyways,

Pedal Kits
www.buildyourownclone.com -Kits and PCB's
www.generalguitargadgets.com -Kits and PCB's
www.tonepad.com -only sell Ready To Solder PCB's, not kits
www.geofex.com PCB layouts/projects
http://www.montagar.com/~patj/gindex.htm - Loads of schematics
http://www.olcircuits.com/index.html -buy kits to build pedals from runoffgroove

Help forums
this thread!
www.board.buildyourownclone.com
http://www.diystompboxes.com/smfforum/ - more threads once you register
www.ssguitar.com
http://www.diystompboxes.com/wiki/i...title=Main_Page

And Finally Parts (US primarily, some ship worldwide)
www.mouser.com
www.smallbearelec.com
www.pedalpartsplus.com
www.radioshack.com -overpriced, but whatever floats your boat
www.futurlec.com
www.goldmine-elec.com
www.bulkwire.com
http://www.effectsconnection.com/oscommerce/index.php
www.tedweber.com
www.tubesandmore.com
www.tubedepot.com
www.turretboards.com

UK and Europe:
http://www.fastcomponents.co.uk/
http://www.rshelectronics.co.uk/
http://www.dalbani.co.uk/index.php
http://www.rapidonline.com/home.aspx
http://www.banzaieffects.com

Australia
http://www.futurlec.com.au/index.jsp
http://www.altronics.com.au/index.asp
http://www.jaycar.com.au/
http://www.evatco.com.au/


Other Good sites:
www.beavisaudio.com -crazy big fuzz and screamer builds, noisy crickets
www.runoffgroove.com -lots of schematics and pcb layouts
HOW TO PAINT A PEDAL
on this note, i highly recommend KRYLON over rustoleum
www.fuzzcentral.ssguitar.com
http://www.geocities.com/tpe123/fol...z/snippets.html
www.home-wrecker.com
www.experimentalistsanonymous.com
www.indyguitarist.com
www.filters.muziq.be
www.affectronix.tk

Starting:
What you will need:
Soldering Iron: you probably will want a small pencil tip if you are working with PCB's, as the parts are pretty small, but really anything will work, just not as well.

Wattage: 15,20,25 what ever you want. Mine was $8 and works fine (15w and solders well)
If you plan on doing this long term, cheap soldering irons might crap out, so you might want to invest in a soldering station.
Advantages: built-in sponge, adjustable temperature-key to building pedals so you don't melt components

Solder: 60/40 rosin core works well

Desoldering braid: Copper desoldering braid works wonders. This stuff just soaks up excess solder or all solder when heated.

Clamps: Very useful for holding parts you are working on, like vise grips. Just cover them with tape or cloth so they don't damage the hardware

Drill: you will want one for when you have to drill enclosures to fit your specs, get various drill bits as output and input jacks, LEDs, Pots, and DC jacks all need different sizes.

Wirecutters, pliers, paint etc

Wire: 22,24,26 guage is standard. Make sure its stranded, as that is what works best, and insulated. Best to buy this in bulk because running out is the worst feeling, knowing you can't finish till you order more.

Parts you want to understand: (Someone else care to define?)
Resistors- Resistors, simply put, resist signal. The most common uses in pedals are for lowering voltages to active components, keeping signal from going places, and lowering volume. They can be carbon film, carbon composition, or metal film. The carbon film ones usually have tolerances of around 5% (this means that the actual value is within 5% of the real value), and aren't too noisy. They're oftentimes a tan color. Carbon composition are the types used in vintage amps and pedals. They're a darker brown color, and are usually a hair bigger. They tend to 'drift' over time, meaning that their value will change after a while. They can be noisier, but have an effect which can sweeten the tone when used in amps. Metal film resistors are blue, and the same shape and size as carbon film. They have much less noise than either carbon type, and better tolerances- around 1%, usually.
Capacitors- Capacitors are components which pass treble frequencies more easily than bass. They also can block DC signals, making them useful when you want guitar signal to get somewhere without letting DC get there. They come in two general types- electrolytic and non-polarized types. There are many non-polarized capacitors, but I'll leave them off for now. Electrolytics can have much higher capacitance ratings than other types, and are polarized. This means that you've got to put them the right way round or they won't work. Non-polarized have smaller values, and (obviously) aren't polarized.
Diodes- Diodes are interesting little buggers. They only let signal through one way, making them useful as polarity protection devices (they can shunt signal to ground if it's the wrong polarity). They also clip very similarly to tubes, making them useful in solid-state amps and overdrive/distortion pedals.
LED's (light emitting diodes)- LEDs are diodes that produce light. They can be used to indicate if a pedal is on or off, and can also be used in place of diodes in a circuit sometimes. Generally, you can replace the ordinary clipping diodes with red LEDs for a different tone.
IC's (intergrated circuits)- ICs are chips which contain circuits in them. They can be used for all different things, like delays, amplification, and timer circuits.
OP amps- Op-amps are integrated circuits which amplify signal. They're used in many pedals for this reason.
Transistors- Transistors are three-legged components which also amplify signal. They come in many different flavors, like bipolar junction, JFETs, and MOSFETs. Bipolar silicon transistors also come in two types- germanium and silicon. Germanium transistors were used in older pedals, due to the fact that they were all that was made at the time. They have a nice warm tone to them, and are most always PNP (I'll get to that later). Silicon transistors can be a bit harsher-sounding, but are more reliable and easy to make. In situations where the transistor itself doesn't provide distortion, they're more often used. They can still be used, though, in fuzz pedals and overdrive pedals. Now, why are bipolar transistors called bipolar? They've got three leads- the emitter, collector, and base. With an NPN transistor, the emitter needs negative polarity, the collector positive, and the base negative. N...P...N! With a PNP, the polarities of all of them are reversed.
Potentionmenters- Potentiometers, or pots, are behind nearly every knob you've got on pedals, guitars, and amps. They've got a track of resistive material, attached to a solder terminal on either end, and a wiper which shorts out to the middle terminal. The wiper can be moved by the shaft which is attached to a knob. They can be used for volume controls, tone controls, and gain controls, to name the more common uses.
3pdt, SPDT, DPDT switches- Switches are classified by the number of poles and the number of throws. A pole is like one single switch. With a double-pole switch, you've essentially got two switches being switched at once. Throws are the contacts being switched between. Thusly, a 3PDT switch is one with three separate switches being switched between two different things.
PCB's (printed circuit boards)- An epoxy or fiberglass board which is covered in copper. The copper can then be etched away by acid, forming a series of traces which will be connected by components to form a circuit. Used in just about every mass-produced pedal ever.
Perfboard- Very useful for prototyping, perf is. It's a board with a grid of holes, each one with its own solder pad. None of the holes are connected together. You can stick component leads in the holes and solder them on to the board, then connect them to other components using bits of bare wire and blobs of solder.
^thanks COKEISBETTER


Beginner Projects:
A/B box (simple!)
Boosters (dallas rangemaster, booster from DIYstompboxes
Ruby Amp
really any kits from GGG or BYOC can be considered beginner projects if you take your time and read directions, start with simple boosters, orange squeeze compressors
beginner project: fuzz face clone http://smallbox.zeonhost.com/projects/fface/

As you get better start doing simple schematics projects, then move to harder stuff, amps, univibes etc.

Other ideas:
-start a folder and save schematics, layouts, mods to it. You will thank yourself later
-practice soldering a little before you dive right into building pedals

Anyways, if anyone would like to post tutorials, questions, define/explian stuff do it here.

Also, anyone care to start a list of people who aspiring pedal builders should look to for help? I know there are a few people who really know there stuff on here.

Well, thats all i can think of, i can add pictures of what different parts look like.

Ask away, someone on here is bound to know!

Last edited by s.r.v. : 11-10-2008 at 06:26 PM.
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Old 07-17-2007, 03:15 PM   #2
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Gerainum trannies, in the UK - where do i get them from??!
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Old 07-17-2007, 03:43 PM   #3
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Last edited by s.r.v. : 07-17-2007 at 03:51 PM.
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Old 07-17-2007, 03:55 PM   #4
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cheers.

hopefully this thread will pickup speed soon cause it looks like you worked hard on it!
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Old 07-17-2007, 03:57 PM   #5
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Great idea s.r.v. Add www.bulkwire.com to the parts supplier list. Any gauge in any color in spools of 100 feet or more. Really cheap too.

I think you'll want to add some of the builder's sites as well. Dan's site always has some amazing conceptual work on it...check out www.beavisaudio.com. Hopefully Kerry might check in here as well...the kid knows his stuff I've learned as much as possible from the guy.
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Old 07-17-2007, 05:43 PM   #6
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Just a little correction... tonepad doesn't sell kits, they just sell RTS (ready to solder) PCB's.

A regular soldering iron is good but once I got my 50w soldering station I realized how much better they are... I would recommend that over a regular iron any day. I would also suggest not using ratshack solder... the solder was eating away at my new pencil tip like crazy, so I switched to smallbears 1lb spool of 60/40 kester solder and my tip hasn't changed at all since.
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Old 07-17-2007, 05:47 PM   #7
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thanks TwoString and L_Z_Nut ill add that in
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Old 07-17-2007, 05:53 PM   #8
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Ooopps.. sorry but I forgot one thing. It's a 50w adjustable temp soldering station with a surface for the sponge... my bad.

You can actually get them pretty cheap (under $50) on ebay if you look around.
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Old 07-18-2007, 04:44 AM   #9
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hump de bump.....


so has any one here made any pedals that theyd like to share with us?

what about people planning on building any?
i want to build a roger mayer classic fuzz and a dxunlop wah.
i want to use geranium transistors, orange drop caps and probably metal film resistors to get the best sound i possibley can.

do different types of solder have any effect on tone or the amount of buzzing?
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Old 07-18-2007, 04:48 AM   #10
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I'm about to start work on a 10-band EQ if that counts?
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Old 07-18-2007, 04:49 AM   #11
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yeah that counts sounds really cool, do u have pics or clips of it or any links of the schematic?.
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Old 07-18-2007, 04:52 AM   #12
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no, it's printed at home atm. It's a reasonably simple pedal, just basic filters etc (like just about every EQ). After this, i may start work on a tube overdrive (using 12AX7's) or a tubscreamer
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Old 07-18-2007, 04:58 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcw00t
no, it's printed at home atm. It's a reasonably simple pedal, just basic filters etc (like just about every EQ). After this, i may start work on a tube overdrive (using 12AX7's) or a tubscreamer


I'm actually modelling a Tubescreamer with 12AX7's as we speak onto Multisim.
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Old 07-18-2007, 05:00 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the_random_hero
I'm actually modelling a Tubescreamer with 12AX7's as we speak onto Multisim.

awesome, sound clips when you're done? Also, did you design it yourself, or are you working from a schematic from the intenet?
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Old 07-18-2007, 05:18 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcw00t
awesome, sound clips when you're done? Also, did you design it yourself, or are you working from a schematic from the intenet?



Schematic off the internet. It is running in starved plate, so don't expect too much from it. I'm still not too sure that the tube does a hell of a lot to the circuit - from what I can see most of the OD-ing is done by a JRC4558.
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Old 07-18-2007, 06:02 AM   #16
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Running starved plate isn't too bad. If done properly there's very little difference in tone between that and a 200V+ tube preamp. I've never seen a tube-tubescreamer before - is it just like a Butler tube driver? TBH, when I was a kid I always assumed a tubescreamer was some high gain monster pedal, but that was before I tried one.
Anyway, good idea for a thread - should really be stickied, as most of the newbies that come here don't bother searching for other threads.
Sticking on topic, I'm planning on building a rack mount guitar synth, a lot like the Eventide series of effects. I'm going for a mix of digital effects and analog, so I can go with whatever is easiest or sounds best for a particular thing. ATM, I'm including the standard modulation multi-fx like chorus, delay, flanger etc, looping and reverse playback, pitchshifting (both digital and analog) and ADSR control (both analog and digital) to make it more like an original analog synth. Also, it's going to output in quadrophonic sound- like surround sound but with only 4 speakers (don't need a sub or a centre), because the rest of my rig already does. I need to figure out a way to control all of them at once: The rest of my rig is MIDI compatible (the amps and the effects can take midi program change messages from my guitar), but I don't use it for everything as I prefer to step on individual stompswitches, even if it does require a little tap-dancing!

BTW, different types of solder shouldn't make a difference - as long as the joints are clean and well done, there's nothing more you can do. Having dirty joints is more of a reliability issue, but badly done joints (where the solder sticks up in a point, instead of like a flat dome) can attract or give off interference. It's not normally enough to worry about, but it's an easy thing you can get right first time.
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Old 07-18-2007, 07:43 AM   #17
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I've built overdrives, EQ and mixer/blend pedals.

I love these two sites for my parts: (one was already listed)
http://pedalpartsplus.com/
http://www.effectsconnection.com/

On the comments about the 50W soldering station, thats great if you can adjust it (as you can) but for the guy who is trying to save a buck - don't buy a soldering iron that runs at 50watts full time. You'll be melting stuff such as IC's and wires pretty badly.

I recommend you use IC sockets, anyway. Mount the socket and when you're all done soldering, pop the IC into it. That way no heat gets to the IC, and there's no chance of ruining it before you crank it up.



Those can be had for 30 cents each here: http://www.effectsconnection.com/os...products_id=245

The little half circle cutout, or dot if it has one, it always adjacent to the #1 pin on the IC. (the north end of it)
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Old 07-18-2007, 07:58 AM   #18
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I'm about to purchase a Goot 46w stick - temperature controlled to 320 degrees (just where I like it), ceramic heating element, quick heat/cool down, etc. Replacement tips are only a few dollars. The best thing - it's only twice the cost of a normal shitty soldering iron.
If you guys need some more specific advice and don't feel like posting a new thread, I'm guessing it's going to be alright PM-ing anybody in the GB&C Pedal Builders and Mod Squadron. There's only a few of at the moment, but I'm sure a few more will pop out of the woodwork soon enough. I'm happy to accept adds onto MSN (check my profile) for more in-depth help.
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Last edited by the_random_hero : 07-18-2007 at 08:01 AM.
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Old 07-18-2007, 10:41 AM   #19
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ok so heres a list of people who can be useful:
me (sometimes)
the_random_hero
zeroyon
zwound
Wyld Stallyn
TwoString
call1800ksmyazz
tubab0y
ECistheBest
cokeisbetter
forsaknazrael
MrCarrot

anyone to add? take off? ill make a better list in the first post later
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Old 07-18-2007, 11:22 AM   #20
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That_pink_queen


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whenever she can be botherd to come on UG....
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