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Aion Electronics PCBs

Discussion in 'Burnt Fingers DIY Effects' started by zippofan, Nov 5, 2018.

  1. zippofan

    zippofan Tele-Holic

    807
    Mar 16, 2014
    Pennsylvania
    I got some Aion boards earlier in the summer and finally got around to building them. The two I bought, the "Radian" Rangemaster, and "Andromeda" Nobels ODR-1 are very nicely made. I finished up the Rangemaster last week with a NOS gold saucer OC44 that I picked up from Small Bear on a lark, it uses a charge pump for negative ground. Dead quiet, sounds great, box came out pretty good too.
    OldGold_Gutshot.jpg OldGold_top.jpg

    The "Andromeda" is on my bench now, I'm waiting on some box parts, somehow I ran out of switch washers, most likely under my work bench!

    This is a crazy build, and along with the Flint from DeadEnd FX used the most parts I didn't have. I ordered just about everything from Mouser including all the odd resistor/cap values. It is a modded design with the Bass control pot, so I'm looking forward to comparing to a stock Nobels.

    Everything crammed in there:

    Nobels_build.jpg

    The box is powder coat from Mammoth, it's too cold to paint now, and I'm wondering what to do about clear coat for the decals. Krylon has a low odor clear but I wonder if it will work as well as the lacquer I've been using (which stinks to high heaven, outdoor spray only).

    Anyone build other Aion PCB's? I like 'em.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2018
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  2. ahiddentableau

    ahiddentableau TDPRI Member

    62
    Jul 8, 2018
    Middle of Nowhere
    I've built quite a few over the course of the last couple of years. FA-1, DS-1, Shredmaster, Zendrive, Klon, Rat, Ross Comp, DS-830, Bluesbreaker, BMP, Crunch Box, Superfuzz, as well as the Boss Dimension C and LabSeries L5 preamp projects.

    I guess I've built a lot of them. I like the boards--they're really well thought out. The built-in mods are just about always useful. The boards themselves are well made with large pads for easy soldering. As far as quality is concerned, probably the best constructed boards out there for established/popular projects.

    He also has fantastic documentation--IMO, this is where you get the most value from Aion: the combination of the well-thought out boards and the build docs. He gives a bit of the circuit's history, a large, clean schematic, and thoughtful discussion of the bits of the build that are really going to matter the most. If choosing the right diode type is going to really matter, he talks about it. If the transistors are crucial, he'll walk you through how to get it right. That's what I really admire--he puts everything together and at a high enough level of detail that builders of all skill levels will find what they want without having to hit the forums.

    My only complaint is related to cost. In the first place, his boards are a bit on the pricey side given that you can get most of those circuits from other sellers for 20 percent less. But shipping is where it really hits home (keep in mind I am not American). He really doesn't make much of an effort to cater to international customers, and his shipping costs are very high and for lousy shipping service. This is where PedalPCB really shines--I live in Canada and I can get free shipping on any order above $45. Combine that with already low prices and it makes a huge difference for me. It also sends a good message to us, something along the lines of "international business is important to me so I'm willing to go the extra mile for you." That's rare, and probably the reason that I've made 3 orders from Bugg in the last year and 0 from Aion.

    Maybe that distorts what I wrote eariler. I don't mean to bag on Aion--as I said, I think he makes great boards and his projects are beautifully put together. I really like Aion. It's just the extra costs make him less attractive now that the competition has been stepped up (something that can probably be said for a lot of the old guard).
     
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  3. Sarde

    Sarde Tele-Meister

    122
    Apr 16, 2016
    San Pedro, CA
    I have built his aurora compressor, halo big muff pi, and the azimuth zendrive. I had a great time building them all. The design and layout was thoughtful and the ability to do mods was a draw (the halo had options for all the major muff variants I built a triangle). Top quality pcb's with good solder mask and thick boards. I can't say enough good about them. I am looking forward to the redesigns and the new pedals coming out soon; and someday I want to build the L5. P.S. The shipping is a flat $3 for the whole order if you live in the US.
     
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  4. zippofan

    zippofan Tele-Holic

    807
    Mar 16, 2014
    Pennsylvania
    I've been building quite a few vendors' boards, and Aion has great documentation, almost reminds me of my Heathkit days, though no one is that thorough any more.
    I only have one complaint and it's not about the boards themselves but their 3PDT board. I get star grounding but I won''t leave any jack grounded through the box, especially powder coated boxes. I prefer the Rullywow 3PDT boards, but otherwise I think the Aion boards are great. The hardest part is figuring out which I want to build next :D
     
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  5. ahiddentableau

    ahiddentableau TDPRI Member

    62
    Jul 8, 2018
    Middle of Nowhere
    The L5 is awesome. Can't really pump that one up big enough. A super impressive project and a great sounding preamp.
     
  6. ahiddentableau

    ahiddentableau TDPRI Member

    62
    Jul 8, 2018
    Middle of Nowhere
    Hey Zippo, could you give a bit more detail on your comment about the 3PDT boards? Is your complaint that the Aion doesn't have an extra ground pads? Or that you just mistrust using a jack as a star ground?

    I like the Rully 3PDT boards too. I like having an extra mounting option for the status LED and I like the price (still a buck a piece I think).
     
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  7. zippofan

    zippofan Tele-Holic

    807
    Mar 16, 2014
    Pennsylvania
    The 3PDT boards are nice but only have one ground pad. To ground the pedal, everything hangs off the input jack ground. That's OK with open frame jacks like Switchcraft and Neutrik as they have a good sized lug, but for Lumbergs and even the plastic Switchcrafts 3-4 22 ga. wires don't fit, 24 ga isn't very easy either. I like the Lumberg jacks and use them a lot, especially for tight builds like the Andromeda, and the Flint boost from DeadEnd,

    That leads to a bit of a jumble of ground wires by the input jack, including power jack ground, board ground, switch ground and output jack ground (if you don't use the box).

    The nice thing about them is they are so small and don't take away room from a battery if you wire up a snap like I always do (whether I use it or not). The Rullywow, FuzzDog and others ground everything at the switch, though they do take up more space where a battery may go. The Rully is my favorite since like you mention, can have the LED either side of the switch. I like the FuzzDog boards too, especially since they have changed the switch lug pads to fit more snugly over the lugs.

    I have a bunch of GuitarPCB 3PDT boards to try with three pin LEDs, and some from TH Custom. The PedalPCB ones are nice as they are almost as small as Aion but have the jack grounds on board. Except for Millenium bypass with a DPDT, I'll never go back to direct wiring a stomp switch, those little boards make everything nice and neat.
     
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  8. trancedental

    trancedental Tele-Meister

    187
    Aug 15, 2010
    London
    The rullywow or any similar 3PDT switch boards are more versatile & easy to wire up, I've used them for a few builds now, even with other makes of pcb boards. It easier to supply power to a couple or more pcb's from one of those switchboards, Ideal for my 1776 Multiplex echo with the added modulation pcb & 1776 Britannia / Demented optical compressor builds. 1776 make a similar footswitch board but I've not tried that one.

    The Aion Aurora compressor sounds great but I don't like their footswitch PCB's at all, the led light instead is under the pcb, the DC connector top location with wires going over the pcb to the side jacks in the 1590B enclosure. Next up, pedalpcb Lemonade / Aion Procyon, both using similar wiring schemes!
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2018
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  9. zippofan

    zippofan Tele-Holic

    807
    Mar 16, 2014
    Pennsylvania
    I have a PedalPCB Lemonade coming up too! When I complete the Nobels OD, I have a FuzzDog Crunch Box, the ROG Supreaux Deux, the Lemonade and some more FuzzDog builds on deck. The parts are on the way, got shipping notice from Small Bear today :cool:
     
  10. zippofan

    zippofan Tele-Holic

    807
    Mar 16, 2014
    Pennsylvania
    And finished it up:
    Nobels_gutshot.jpg Nobels_top.jpg

    It's a meaty distortion box cranked to a pretty clean boost with the drive rolled back, I'm impressed.
     
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  11. beyer160

    beyer160 Friend of Leo's

    Aug 11, 2010
    On Location
    Argh- now I've got the building bug again, in spite of the fact my last build (Rullywow Serpent) looks like a drunken 5 year old did it. Between Rully, Aion and PedalPCB I've got five PCBs sitting in carts now. Plus the parts for the Madbean Catalinbread RAH clone that's been sitting in a bag for two years in my parts bin. Never mind the fact that I have a billion pedals already.
     
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  12. ahiddentableau

    ahiddentableau TDPRI Member

    62
    Jul 8, 2018
    Middle of Nowhere
    Good looking build, zippo. Makes me want to finish my Nobels board--it's been on my partial build pile for a year or so.
     
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  13. zippofan

    zippofan Tele-Holic

    807
    Mar 16, 2014
    Pennsylvania
    Thank you! There are a bunch of odd values in the Nobels which is why it took me months to do. When I had to order parts for the Flint I added all the values I didn't have for the Nobels too.
    I probably won't use a lot of the leftovers from either build, but ya never know!
     
  14. ICTRock

    ICTRock Tele-Afflicted

    Jul 31, 2014
    Tampa,FL
    the thing I liked about aion over others available at that time was the thought put into a standardized enclosure size and general layout because when he started doing that, it was a crapshoot or it was entirely up to you to figure that out when it came to other vendors ... there were outliers like madbean's baby board and 1590G series but neither of those enclosures is all that "standard"
     
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  15. ahiddentableau

    ahiddentableau TDPRI Member

    62
    Jul 8, 2018
    Middle of Nowhere
    His projects are really well thought out, no question about that. It's sort of funny, though. He basically decided on the 1590B w/side mounted jacks and top mounted power when he started out, and then people in the pedal world suddenly ran headlong in the opposite direction. What once made perfect sense as a standard is now the target of (IMO, ridiculously) frought criticism that only a 125B with top mounted everything could ever do. So now he's re-designing everything for that format (instead of finally putting out those new projects like the CS-2 and the Black Finger for certain compressor obsessives!...)
     
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  16. zippofan

    zippofan Tele-Holic

    807
    Mar 16, 2014
    Pennsylvania
    Honestly, I'm a weirdo who's not that thrilled with top mounted jacks. I know they give more room on a pedalboard, but since I have so many with the old school side mounted jacks, a mixture of both just aggravates me. My only real board (SKB got on sale super cheap and I know why :rolleyes:) has only side jack pedals. I have a small handful of top mounts, like the Archer, Voodoo Lab Vibe, BYOC builds, and my Danos, and they usually reside in the pedal chain I have on my bench. The cables between side mount and top mount twist and just look bad lol.

    Besides, from the time I started playing guitar and pretty recently, side mount was the standard. I guess I'm an old curmudgeon now but I build everything except BYOC kits with side mounted jacks. I think if I do any more BYOC builds I may just drill my own enclosures. I would like their parametric EQ...:D
     
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