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Topics - Ralfg

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I was wondering when / how / and if tariffs would affect the pedal industry and community.

I just got an email from Mammoth that their Pro 3pdt switches are on sale for 2.50 each. The email said that they are going to have increase their prices on a few of their items including these switches because of the tariffs. Nothing saying how much they will go up, but 2.50 is a good deal, might not want to pass that up.

Their website is acting really wonky and itís hard to actually get an order through. I just kept trying and it eventually worked.

Hey Guys,

I've been playing around with Fetzer Valve style JFet gain stages

and was wondering if there is some sort of formula or pattern that could be used to convert this to an SRPP style gain stage.

The Fetzer is nice to control the gain with the source resistor on the JFet, but I was hoping to avoid having to use a trimmer to adjust the bias.  The SRPP style booster is nice because it self biases, but in my experimentation it seems to have much more gain and I would have to really play around with the source resistor and the capacitor between gate and source of the top JFet as it really changes the overall character of the tone either more bass or less depending on the cap.

I assume there is no direct sort of conversion and I'd probably have to rely on my ears to dial it in, but I was wondering if anyone has had any experience here and if there are any sort of patterns or design decisions that would help in the conversion.  Perhaps even it isn't even worth it and you need design your circuit with one or the other.

Appreciate any opinions any may have.

VFE Projects / Custom Pot Substitutions for Patreon Projects
« on: September 02, 2017, 03:20:03 PM »
Hey Everyone,

Before Madbean started supporting the Patreon projects on this forum, I emailed Peter asking what pots I could sub for the custom / hard to find "W" taper pots.  Figured I'll share it here to prevent questions from heading his way.

He said that as a general rule of thumb replacing a "W" taper with a "B" taper that is 10 times smaller value has the closest feel to the sweep. It obviously isn't the same, but it is close. For example, try using B100K in place of W1M and B20K (or B25K) in place of W200K.

VFE Projects / Dark Horse Mids - Mids cap values
« on: September 02, 2017, 03:14:03 PM »
Hey everyone,

I ordered the Dark Horse Mids board from Osh Park.  It's one of the designs that are unverified.  I built it up, and we can consider it verified.  It sounds pretty good.  I do have a question as the two caps that come off the Mids pot were unlabeled.  Played around with some values and I used mTR - 10n and mBA - 4.7n.  I tried some others and settled on these.  It works, though the sweep is pretty big.  I was wondering if anyone who has the schematics has any other ideas for some values.  I'm stabbing a bit blindly here.

I know there are a ton of people here who could probably point me in the right direction, but unfortunately I can't really share the schematic...

Build Reports / The Aquaboys - Aquaboy and Aquaboy - BL
« on: June 10, 2017, 02:13:55 PM »
Here are a pair of Aquaboys. 

First up is the Aquaboy PCB, I jumped on the etch face plate band wagon because its just a great idea, looks great, and the enclosure I got from Pedal Parts Plus enclosure sale made we wonder how I could get some artwork on it.  I used a Road Rage to up it to 15 volts.  Kinda tight in there but worked out and sounds great too.

Up next is the Aquaboy - BL from the Etcher's Paradise.  Also sounds great.  The ghost switch option does not work, so I removed the wires for that.  I also took some artwork my girlfriend had lying around and etched that on the enclosure. 

Build Reports / Twin Peaks Tremolo
« on: June 04, 2017, 08:47:01 PM »
Finally got around to building my Twin Peaks PCB and this thing is awesome.  This is my first successful reverse etch.  I used a font that pretty sparse, which gives it a cool vibe but I think next time I do a reverse etch I'll use a more solid font.  Also might not etch as long as I did.  Technique was toner transfer, sort of bounced it in Ferric Chloride for a while and then wet sanded it for a bit to clean it up.

And yes, I know, Base vs Bass... I have many skills, but spelling is not one of them. 

Might change the knobs, any suggestions?

I got my Pale Horse all wired up and was pretty proud of how clean I got it.  Fired it up  and no bypass signal, only when the effect is on.  Then I realized the relay was upside down from the picture in the build doc.  Man... I thought I checked that.  So I started desoldering but what a pain.  I got one jack out clean and the other is giving me some trouble. 

So, I'm asking hoping there is an easy workaround?  Probably not but I figured I might ask.  Could I just swap the way the switch is wired? 

Open Discussion / VFE on Patreon - More great stuff
« on: May 09, 2017, 11:39:14 AM »
I saw this morning that VFE is now on Patreon and it looks like he is currently offering his new VFE line of pedals with some pretty cool rewards like Eagle files, pcbs, and pedal kits.  What a great idea and kudos to him for sharing all these resources to educate people and the money goes to support the education.  I am totally in to support this and hope to learn a lot by doing so.

Here is the link:

How Do I? Beginner's Paradise. / When to connect to VB vs Ground?
« on: April 25, 2017, 06:44:14 PM »
Sorry if this question is answered elsewhere on the forum, I did search but I might not be using the correct terms.  I've been breadboarding my own opamp based overdrives and I can't wrap my head around when you connect something to ground vs when to connect to VB.  I pretty much switch till things work.  I somewhat understand that for an opamp to work properly you need to connect it to VB to to adjust the input voltage so there is a difference between it and the the opamp so it functions properly.  Why?  Not quite sure.  Not sure why sometimes some circuit designs have one before each input on an dual opamp, and others do not. 

But also why on some designs are other parts of the circuit connected to vb and other circuits its just ground.  For example the Egghead which is all ground vs the 8ball which is all VB?

If anyone is willing to educate me I would greatly appreciate it.  Thanks in advance for any links or info you can provide.

Tech Help - Projects Page / Deathklaw - Not at unity gain
« on: January 27, 2017, 10:20:16 PM »
Hey Guys,

I built a Deathklaw and I really like it, but when I tried it out in the band I noticed I wasn't hitting unity gain and had a pretty noticeable volume drop when I engaged the pedal.  I wired it true bypass.  I was thinking this would be a pretty easy problem to solve with a couple or even a single mod.  But I could use some help as to where.

I think, based on what I learned so far, if I increase R3 the whole thing should get louder, but I'm worried I would push too much through the delay circuit.  If I lower R4 I think I would increase the gain slightly for the dry signal, I was thinking 15 or 10K here.  If I increase R5 I think the whole thing would get louder?  Am I on the right track here?  Thanks in advance for any help.

Build Reports / Deathklaw and Aion's Cresent (Crunchbox clone)
« on: January 19, 2017, 10:36:33 PM »
Some new builds I just finished up.  We got Madbean's Deathklaw Delay.  I'm pretty impressed with this thing so far.  Love it with the ghost switch on.  I had a bit of trouble with it because I reversed the diodes on accident, but got it all work thanks to help.  I also messed up on the holes for one of the jacks, totally used an old drill template and realized way too late that its too high for this board in a 1509b.  So, I had to drill another hole.  No big deal... I guess it gives it that homemade feel.

For the etch I found some a drawing laying around the house on the back of a spreadsheet that the lady did.  I thought it was so cool it had to go on a pedal.  Scanned it in and found a font that was pretty close to the vibe of the word "Roots" that she had on the picture.  I'm really pleased with how this came out.

Next up is Aion's Cresent, which is a modified Crunchbox.  When I tested this thing out I just couldn't stop soloing.  So I thought since I listen to Zakk Wylde's solos before every show.. like seriously just the solos, I fast forward 2/3rds  the way through the song (its very predictable always 2/3rds into the song) stick my tongue out and get amped, it's become a pre-show ritual... I thought it would be cool to stomp on that dude before my solos.  So I found a cool picture of him and built the layout around the image. 

Hey guys,

I'm having some trouble wrapping my head around this and could totally be overthinking it.  I want to create PCB with connections to an optional battery and I'd like the battery snap to be connected to the PCB.  The way I think I do this is I have an extra 9V pad that I wire the additional power jack lug to, then using the battery from the Madbean Eagle library, connect the battery to that.  Then add an extra grounding pad which I connect the stereo jack to.  Is this correct?

Here is a picture of my schematic in Eagle.  Appreciate the help.

Build Reports / Custom Big Muff / Electra Distortion
« on: January 16, 2017, 12:53:42 AM »
Just finished off and handed off a build to a friend.  He wanted a pedal that sounded like Dinosaur Jr, specifically the tone from the song Kracked.  Kinda a tough order but sounded like a fun challenge.  So I did some research and yeah as expected J Mascis is a muff guy.  From what I read he had some V1 Triangle Muff that he loved (later it was stolen) during the recording of that album.  No additional info.  Also read he has a custom muff that he added a switch to bypass the volume for solos.  I kind of felt that would way too loud, so instead I opted to add a boost at the end.  But I thought it would be kind of fun to add a modified Electra Distortion instead of a clean boost. 

I spent a lot of time bread boarding the pedal and then comparing it to the recording to trying to dial it in.  I felt like the recording had a bit more note clarity than your standard muff, so I started with a V1 schematic I grabbed off Kit Rae's site.  Then tweaked some of the caps to let a bit more highs through, I also used the Pharaoh tone stack.  Honestly I think now that I could have used a fixed resistor, but what's one more knob.  I am pretty proud to say I think I nailed it.

The Electra distortion at the end adds a whole bunch of versatility.  Gives you a nice overdrive and then you could crank on the fuzz to really smash it.  Or vise versa.  Watching the dude play it for the first time was the most fun.  I was even more surprised at the note clarity we got out of it.  Pretty happy with the results.  I hope he is too.

He asked to call it JC Mascis cause his initials are JC... I would have rather called it Dino Jr, but hey, its not my pedal.  I'll have to make another for myself. 

My girlfriend did the dinosaurs for the etch.  I think they rock, I guess not really dark like the Dinosaur Jr art, but hey...

This was also the first layout I designed in Eagle Cad and thanks to Jacob's JMK Eagle tutorial it was easy.  Thank you for that!  Yeah it could probably be more compact.  I totally had trouble with the Electra, it just wasn't working, but worked on my vero prototype.  Turned out instead of 2.2M I used 2.2K, and of course it was the last component I checked... sheese.  But got it working with minimal damage.  Never assume a part is correct if its not working.  Never!

Love this site and all the resources on it.  Here are some picture on my dirty project table. 


Tech Help - Etcher's Paradise / Boneyard - Verified
« on: January 08, 2017, 04:37:04 PM »
I've verified the Boneyard.  Didn't take any pictures of the PCB, but it does work.  It's just a bit too bright for my tastes.  Wondering if increasing the value of the last cap in the chain would fix that.  Or changing out one or both of the LEDs in the clipping section.  I tried a few ICs and not that much of a difference.  Also surprised its not as gainy as I expected.  Or maybe its just not my bag?  Anyone else experience something similar?  Any mods you suggest?

Hey Guys,

Built the Deathklaw and I notice that the delay pot really only is functional on the first half of rotation.  Everything else seems to work.  About half way up the delay time gets to be pretty long and a bit distorted, which I think is probably normal, but at the half way point it starts to click and makes a crazy knocking sound.  I double checked all my values and made sure all the resistors were correct and they look right, voltages are a bit different than the BOM, but not really too far off as I think it has to do with my 9v adapter which measures at exactly 9 volts whereas the voltages in the BOM is from a 9.25 or something like that power supply.  I also switched out the ICs to make sure they were not the problem. 

Is this a function of the delay?  I would assume not.  I checked the resistance of the pot too and it seems to be working fine.  So a bit of a loss here as to what might be happening.  Everything else works, including the ghost switch.  I did use 550c transistors, but I don't see how that would affect anything other than the volume of the delay. 

What do you guys think?  Cold solder joint somewhere?  I re-flowed most of it.  I can include pictures if it helps.  Thanks in advance. 

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