Author Topic: Rules for getting tech help  (Read 8661 times)

madbean

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Rules for getting tech help
« on: December 30, 2010, 07:20:41 PM »
These are the rules you need to follow to get tech support in the forum. I've tried to stay away from anything like this but now with so many members here needing assistance, I think it's necessary to lay down a framework for how to get help. Here we go!

To get tech help, in the first post of your thread, you must include:

(1) Project Name
(2) General description of the problem
(3) Steps that you have taken to try to resolve the issue
(4) List any substitutions you used for parts/values


And the #1, most important rule of all time: DON'T BOX IT UNTIL YOU ROCK IT!!
Never, ever, ever, and really I mean never, box it up until you test the board first. There's no point in wiring a board in an enclosure if you don't know that it works. All you need is a breadboard, a couple of wired jacks and a battery to do this. There is no reason not to!

If you have already boxed your board and are having an issue, then you will be asked to take it apart and test it before getting help (unless it's something directly related to wiring, of course).

Hopefully, this isn't too painful of a request. It really is good practice!
« Last Edit: December 31, 2010, 12:26:42 AM by madbean »
I own madbeanpedals (duh). I am part owner of Function F(X).

jkokura

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Re: Rules for getting tech help
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2011, 07:37:20 PM »
Here is some information that will best help us help you get your pedal fixed.

This is the procedure you need to follow BEFORE you post here. Please don't ask us for help until you have done these things:

Double check your wiring
Double check your part values
Double check your part orientation
Double check your soldering job (Bad joints and bridges)
Triple check your wiring
Take a break (for hours or days)
Check it all again.

Everytime you find something wrong, fix it then start over again from the beginning. Don't assume anything is correct, even if you're sure it is right, assume it isn't correct then check it again.

If after all that you still don't have it working, there are two steps you can take. The first is, take DC measurements on all the IC and Transistor pins and post them in a new thread in the tech help forum. Attach the black lead of a Mulitmeter (MM or DMM) to ground, reliable power to the circuit and measure these things:

Positive lead at jack/battery.
9V in at board
Ground in at board
Each pin of ICs (1, 2, 3, etc)
Each pin of Transistors

Write them down, post them in your thread along with some VERY specific details about what your problem is. If you can, make an effort to take high quality pictures of your solder side on the PCB, your wiring (if it applies) and the part side of the PCB. Don't post really big pictures on the forum, but take them and if you need to, link them for us at a site like imageshack.

After that, look up how to build an audio probe. That is the number one tool for debugging circuits. It is simple, cheap to build, and easy to use. It WILL help you find the problem.

Also, you can skip some of the earlier stuff if you have an audio probe.

Jacob
« Last Edit: June 07, 2012, 03:41:45 PM by jkokura »
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jkokura

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Re: Rules for getting tech help
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2011, 07:41:21 PM »
Also, since there have been questions about this, here are some details about where things are at for getting info on how to build a testing rig. Brian is totally correct in saying that you need to "Rock it before you Box it" - these are some details about how to accomplish that.

A test can be as simple as a pair of jacks wired to your board using alligator clip wires along with a battery. Don't forget to connect all the jacks and power to ground appropriately.

For those that build more than one pedal, it's worth the time and effort to make something a little more permenant without spending a lot of money - a simple box with in and out, power in, and four aligator clip wires coming out of a hole in the box for in, out, ground and power that you can attach to a board will suffice. This is the bare minimum, and there will be a tutorial on how to build one of those very soon, including some video on Youtube for how to use one.

For those looking to build a LOT of pedals, and who are interested in learning how circuits work, the breadboard and breakout box rig found at Beavis Audio (link below) is the way to go. It allows you to totally test and make all sorts of adjustments to a circuit BEFORE you commit it to a PCB.

http://www.beavisaudio.com/bboard/

This is a diagram of how you can build one for yourself

http://www.beavisaudio.com/bboard/images/io_diy.jpg

Jacob
« Last Edit: January 07, 2011, 07:44:00 PM by jkokura »
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pedalman

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Re: Rules for getting tech help
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2013, 12:59:59 AM »
better yet, socket & rock it
I mod cheap guitars because my local music store said not to.

smolder

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Re: Rules for getting tech help
« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2013, 09:55:58 AM »
is there a reference or list of critical voltage readings/measurements and location for any of the projects? That would be a great tool for trouble shooting.