Advice for clean amp wiring

Discussion in 'Shock Brother's DIY Amps' started by teek_s, Sep 26, 2020.

  1. teek_s

    teek_s TDPRI Member

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    Hey all! With my ongoing 5F1 build, a point has been brought up that the wiring isn't clean by any standards. I have a few questions: would the wiring of the amp in its current state be salvageable? Are there any rules on amp wiring? And with another amp build somewhere on the distant horizon, what should be done from the start to make sure the amp turns out as clean and noise-free as can be?
     
  2. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    imho, this question; would best be asked 8n that thread where one might find the pictures and the comments on the lead dress problems.
     
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  3. Dennis Perusse

    Dennis Perusse Tele-Meister

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    Where I haven't seen any pics or even a url to an amp thread at all I'll give some basic advice. Now keep in mind the point to point amps were a rats next of wires going everywhere and those old things sounded great. The best advice I can give you for turret/eyelet board is this;

    1. Get Merlin Blencowe's book "Designing Tube Amp Preamps for Guitar and Bass". Great book and very concise in its subject manner.
    2. If no on the book then look at a lot of layouts and gaze at their wonder and notice how they do things. Basically, keep things like filament wires twisted and grid wires short if you can. If your grid wires can't be short then use shielded cable to keep the noise down. Plus use color coded wires to denote certain things so debugging them becomes easier. Example: Where the filament wires are usually green then use green color wires to denote them throughout the filament string. Other things like plate wires use a specific color only to denote them like blue for plate wires and say orange for cathode wires for example. Whichever color you want to use doesn't matter in my opinion but pick a color and stick with it. In other words get to know the circuit of your amp so that it makes you more detailed of where things are in the circuit. That not only keeps you safer it will almost make it better for you in the long run if you build more than one amp. Their you will have a process that anyone can understand should you need help just by the color coding. It is very easy for us to get confused if we see an entire tube socket with only one color wire being used.
    3. If you can run some wires under your board do so. Having everything on top can give you a visual nightmare to some people, but not all.
    4. Look at a ton of other build threads. It's great fun, time consuming, and puts your build in perspective if it is the same circuit as yours.
    5. Lastly, make sure your soldering is good. I can't tell you how many times I have had problems that were cleared up just by re-flowing a bad solder joint.

    I hope any of this helps you and best of luck in your build. :)
     
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  4. Dreadnut

    Dreadnut Friend of Leo's

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    All depends on how you define "clean." Are you talking about residual flux, wire connections, or?

    Photos?
     
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  5. galaxiex

    galaxiex Tele-Afflicted

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    Would you consider this to be "clean" wiring?

    I know it's not as pretty as some of the builds I've seen....

    100_2443.jpg

    Shot of the heater wiring...

    100_2432.jpg
     
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  6. jsnwhite619

    jsnwhite619 Friend of Leo's

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    That was your Blues Jr hand wire project, wasn't it? Awesome job in there!
     
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  7. teek_s

    teek_s TDPRI Member

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    That has got to be some of the cleanliest wiring I've seen.
     
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  8. teek_s

    teek_s TDPRI Member

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    Thanks for all the tips, @Dennis Perusse! I really don't have much experience building amps, so I'll soak up all the information I can!
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2020
  9. galaxiex

    galaxiex Tele-Afflicted

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    Yes indeed, the Blues Junior project.
    Thanks! :)
     
  10. galaxiex

    galaxiex Tele-Afflicted

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    Thanks very much! :)

    To be absolutely honest... some of the wiring is hidden under the board.

    ... actually.... a lot of wiring is hidden under the board....

    Mostly grounds and B+ and a little bias wiring.

    .

    100_2409.jpg
     
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  11. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    "Clean" wiring is probably 80% aesthetic and 20% necessary.
    Example 1: I have on old Princeton that came to me as a basket case, with chassis cut up in places and a wiring mess. The first thing I did was change it back to stock Princeton without making things neat and tidy. Just to see h ow it sounded. The result was the quietest amp I own! I just haven't done too much to it since, albeit it's an embarrassing mess inside.
    Example 2: If you look at old Hammond amps and etc, the wires go everywhere, it doesnt seem to effect them.
    Example 3: If you dont route the wires like Fender did on some Tweed amps, they will be noisy as heck.

    So , what's the answer? I don't know, build things neat, you dont have to be anal about it though.
     
  12. teek_s

    teek_s TDPRI Member

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    I was unaware of this, thanks! I guess I should just do what I like with the wiring then while still following the basic rules, lol.
     
  13. Paul G.

    Paul G. Friend of Leo's

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    Good lead dress is important. That being said, one of the first amps I ever built, sloppy as heck, just happens to be a great-sounding, absolutely quiet (all the way to 10) amplifier.
     
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  14. galaxiex

    galaxiex Tele-Afflicted

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    Agree with this. ^^^

    The hand wired Blues Jr above is the quietest tube amp I have,
    and I have several other tube amps....

    I was trying for neat wiring on the BJ without being anal about it.
    Noise was a big consideration tho, and I tried to keep lead dress in mind the whole time.

    Of importance is the grounding scheme.
    Distributed filtering and attention to where each stage grounds was foremost in mind.
    All grounds are "wired" and the sole chassis ground point for the entire board is at the input jack.
     
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  15. Dan_Pomykalski

    Dan_Pomykalski Tele-Meister

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    Lately I’ve been spending time rewiring my amps to try to get the layout as tidy as possible. Mostly because I want to start another amp build, but don’t have the money for it really. It’s been a good way to tide myself over while also fixing the horrendous rats nests I made earlier.
     
  16. awasson

    awasson Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

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    @teek_s,
    I think in terms of your amp. All you need to really do is clean up the wiring on your amp so that you can see that everything is going to the appropriate spot.

    I always start with the heaters. I try to make them look as nice as @galaxiex but hey, I’m just a mortal. Then I wire my output transformer to the power tube(s). Then I finish all the wiring on the output tube(s) and move back towards the preamp. My goal is to be able to look at the sockets and easily see that nothing is shorted and easily see where the wire enters the circuit on the board.
     
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  17. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Yeah, I would follow more or less what the originals were for wire routing and grounds, some of them are that way to quiet them.
     
  18. 24 track

    24 track Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    I recently did a post on the Dr, Z cure and how beautiful it was internally, a standard by which all amps should be done JMHO . the good dr posted a video on soldering techniques he uses in his builds a worth while screening if you havent seen it

     
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  19. Nickfl

    Nickfl Friend of Leo's

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    There was a similar thread recently that addressed some more specifics. I think it is important to distinguish between neatness and good lead dress. As a couple of others have already pointed out aesthetics and proper functional routing of wires are not always the same thing.

    Generally speaking: keep opposite phase AC wires as twisted pairs, keep current loops as small as possible, keep sensitive signal wires away from other wires and cross them at right angles when they must cross something else, and after addressing the above concerns, keep leads as short as practically possible.

    You'll notice that many legendary vintage amp designs from companies like Fender and Marshall ignored some but usually not all of this without major issues. How much of that you can get away with depends on knowing what is vital and what is just an incremental improvement, which takes experience. It also depends on the amp in question, some circuits are more prone to noise and instability than others, generally higher gain requires more care in building.
     
  20. awasson

    awasson Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

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    Great video! He covers a lot of stuff I just take for granted from decades of soldering. When I ran a shop, I used to use the same solder stations he’s suggesting and the same solder. What’s good, is good.

    I started soldering electronics before I was even 10 years old (thanks dad). I also had a fantastic electronics teacher in high school who taught us how to maintain our soldering irons, tips and most importantly how solder flows towards heat so you can direct the flow. That was a game changer for my soldering chops.

    I don’t know where I picked up the habit of tinning my leads. I’ve been doing that for as long as I can remember. I must have read about it in an electronics magazine.

    I also always have a strip of emery paper so I can remove oxidation from the leads of my components. All good stuff in that video.
     
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