Retired, now going to make an attempt at building a pedal build

robistro

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As the title says, I have some time on my hands, like to tinker so thought Id learn a little about pedals.
Not sure if anything can teach an old dog new tricks, but is there a good website that would explain for a newb and website to get parts ? If nothing else, I figure I will learn a little about what makes them tick.

Was going to attempt an amp build, but I dont want to die from electrical shock just yet. :)

Thanks in advance
 

Robnik33

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Check out Aion FX at https://aionfx.com/

Great pedals and very good documentation, perfect for starting out. Also many of them are demoed by RJ Ronquillo, so you can get an idea what the finished product will sound like. I built their Refractor (Klon clone) from just the board and the Luna optical tremolo from a complete kit.

Buy the complete kits, especially if you are just starting out. You can just buy the board and source your own components, but I calculated only about a $10 savings and you need to do your own graphics, which likely means it won't look as good as what they supply with the kits. Also it is very easy to mess up a component order and you end up frustrated while waiting and having to pay shipping for another order, which negates any savings.

If you want to learn about tube amps and later build one, Rob Robinette's site is a wealth of information and a great place to learn. I built a Fender Princeton clone with 12" speaker, added a midrange control and master volume. Super sounding and I can dial in distortion at bedroom volumes with the two added controls. And yes, a tube amp is not a beginner project. You mess up with 5 volts, you may burn out a few components. Mess up with 300+ volts, it might be your last mistake.

 

Robnik33

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This is the Aion FX Refractor I built from their PCB. My brother is an artist into robots and he painted it.

2F9F91E3-6DF2-4BD2-A09D-DFCA1BDA5FC4.jpeg
 

RetiredUnit1

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I ordered a kit from StewMac for their "Ghost Drive" which is a Klon layout. I would have it finished on Saturday but I didn't like their white LED and am waiting for Blue which just shipped via eBay today. I have like maybe 15 minutes left to finish it.

The kit was EXTREMELY well documented, and made it a piece of cake. However, it was $125 on sale. It has a fully documented bill of materials so that alone is really helpful for the next one I make.

Only thing I didn't like about it was the use of metal film resistors and the original used carbon film.

I use all carbon film in my amps, but I use 1 or 2 watt, so I bought *another* 64 drawer organizer for the 1/4w resistors I'm going to buy in bulk (probably from Newark, they've always had the best prices, but sometimes mouser is lower).

It was really easy, but then I've built over 50 amps, and I started building those by buying a 5e3 kit and learning how from that. I draw my own layouts now in Visio....

The strangest thing on the pedal board was getting used to using so little solder, and having to wear 4 power glasses just to see the tiny things. My eyes are 66 years old, when I was young I used to make super intricate hand wrought silver and gold jewelry without any visual aid.

Klon board complete.jpg


Klon chassis.jpeg
 

owlexifry

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if you feel like challenging yourself and going full DIY without having to wait for PCBs to be shipped, could always have a go at vero building (slightly more difficult, but more fun and satisfying IMO).



having said that, PCBs are a great place to start.

Tayda has PCBs of some common/classic effects (not the biggest range), but they also have just about every part you would ever need in stock.

 

RetiredUnit1

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if you feel like challenging yourself and going full DIY without having to wait for PCBs to be shipped, could always have a go at vero building (slightly more difficult, but more fun and satisfying IMO).



having said that, PCBs are a great place to start.

Tayda has PCBs of some common/classic effects (not the biggest range), but they also have just about every part you would ever need in stock.

The StewMac board was from PEDALPCB and they have quite a few interesting projects and the boards for them.

 

owlexifry

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old wrench

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I'm just wrapping up one of the Ghost Drives myself - it's a cool little project

First time pedal build for me too - except I retired about 15 years ago - we're never too old to learn something new! ;)

Lots of tiny components on pedals - even if your eyes are still good, you'll probably want to get yourself a decent magnifier

If you want to do a nice clean soldering job - make sure you have a right-sized tip for your soldering station or soldering iron -

The tip I usually use for amp work and guitar wiring was just way too big - for the tiny components and tiny soldering pads, I ended up using a 1.2mm wide chisel point tip for my Hakko station - tiny, but it works just right!


I believe the StewMac Ghost Drive uses the same board as this one from PedalPCB -



Something I learned from my amp building experiences, is to put my meter to good use - and test all of those little components as I go along

Measuring and verifying the values of each component seems to improve my focus and pull me into the build a little tighter - and it helps me avoid at least the "dumb" mistakes that otherwise turn into trouble-shooting problems later on.

.
 

owlexifry

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Something I learned from my amp building experiences, is to put my meter to good use - and test all of those little components as I go along

Measuring and verifying the values of each component seems to improve my focus and pull me into the build a little tighter - and it helps me avoid at least the "dumb" mistakes that otherwise turn into trouble-shooting problems later on.
+1 agree.
this is a great habit to get into.
 

robistro

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Thanks for the info...good start. I did work in an electronics assembly company years ago and have a solder station, solder, etc. Unfortunately, I didn't learn what all the components do :(

The company had automated machines that punched all the components onto the pcb's, then we ran the boards on a tray through a soldering and cleaning station.

I did get to solder misc components and fix some bad tracks on some pcb's It was really cool experience.
 

robistro

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Question - are there some components I could buy to have on hand to swap out to see how they affect the circuits tone ? Ex.) germanium and silicon transistors ?

I'm not sure what values would be needed, I'm sure this comes with experience, but I was thinking if I had some on hand I could swap in/out of a circuit to see how it affects the tone.

Maybe a breadboard would be good for this? Im probably getting way ahead of myself, lol but just some thoughts.

I'll buy a couple kits to start out with. :)
 

pedro58

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Start with a fuzz, maybe? I've built some pretty complicated stuff, but I still love working on a simple Fuzzface. Because there are so few components, you can hear the difference in any little change you make to caps, resistors, transistors, pots, and bias. It's a playground and a school.
 

WalthamMoosical

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"Build Your Own Clone" sells complete kits (basically everything you need except the solder and the soldering iron; some of the kits' enclosures are already painted) and they have a very active discussion board where you can get superb help in case something goes wrong with your build. They are also nice about sending you replacement parts.
 

robistro

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Thanks everyone! off to the interwebs to spend $ Want to try to get me some things in for some winter projects to keep me busy, in between trying to play guitar.
 

RetiredUnit1

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In addition to testing I also use rubbing alcohol and steel wool on all the contact surfaces to remove any solvents, plastic sealing or acids from my fingers. Polished leads on all my builds. I also test the jacks, because believe it or not I found a whole batch of *switchcraft* jacks that had so much plastic on the switch they weren't making contact....
 

igor5

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I ordered a kit from StewMac for their "Ghost Drive" which is a Klon layout. I would have it finished on Saturday but I didn't like their white LED and am waiting for Blue which just shipped via eBay today. I have like maybe 15 minutes left to finish it.

The kit was EXTREMELY well documented, and made it a piece of cake. However, it was $125 on sale. It has a fully documented bill of materials so that alone is really helpful for the next one I make.

Only thing I didn't like about it was the use of metal film resistors and the original used carbon film.

I use all carbon film in my amps, but I use 1 or 2 watt, so I bought *another* 64 drawer organizer for the 1/4w resistors I'm going to buy in bulk (probably from Newark, they've always had the best prices, but sometimes mouser is lower).

It was really easy, but then I've built over 50 amps, and I started building those by buying a 5e3 kit and learning how from that. I draw my own layouts now in Visio....

The strangest thing on the pedal board was getting used to using so little solder, and having to wear 4 power glasses just to see the tiny things. My eyes are 66 years old, when I was young I used to make super intricate hand wrought silver and gold jewelry without any visual aid.

View attachment 1017424

View attachment 1017423
I love my StewMac's TS kit ("screamer").
 

RetiredUnit1

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I love my StewMac's TS kit ("screamer").
I have an ibanez mini TS and a Klon clone (cheap one from china). I just felt the need to build a pedal, lol. I'm getting ready to build a 5F6-A 59 bassman amp and just wanted to do something different before I stick my head into that for the next month. I'm disabled with arthritis and it's hard for me to do a lot in one day like I used to 20+ years ago... Sooooo I watch a lot of reruns and spend about an hour a day on projects.....
 

Robnik33

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Question - are there some components I could buy to have on hand to swap out to see how they affect the circuits tone ? Ex.) germanium and silicon transistors ?

I'm not sure what values would be needed, I'm sure this comes with experience, but I was thinking if I had some on hand I could swap in/out of a circuit to see how it affects the tone.

Maybe a breadboard would be good for this? Im probably getting way ahead of myself, lol but just some thoughts.

I'll buy a couple kits to start out with. :)
For overdrive or fuzz, you can experiment with different diodes or transistors. The Aion FX Klon clone documents a few options regarding diodes and tone resistors.
 
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old wrench

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I finished up the Ghost/Kliche pedal kit tonight

What a great sounding pedal !!!

I really don't use many pedals, I've been using a Soul Food and a Flint pedal for the last three years or so, and that was all I needed or wanted

I usually play through a 5E3, so the reverb and trem from the Flint is a nice addition, and the fairly clean boost from the Soul Food was really nice for a little extra drive

But now - the Soul Food is out, and the Ghost is definitely in :)

Now I understand why the Klon is so sought after

I lucked out and bought the kit from StewMac when it was on sale for $90 bucks, but if my Ghost were to somehow disappear, I'd gladly pay $125 for another kit

It's good enough to be "always on" -absolutely beautiful harmonics and sparkle


If I can build one -so can you @robistro !!!

.
 




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