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Topics - p_wats

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General Questions / NoMoJo Tonebender issues
« on: November 30, 2020, 10:15:13 PM »
A few years ago I built the initial NoMojo fuzz board that I got as part of the Function F(x) fundraiser as my first SMD project. I recall it working somewhat, but one side having issues and not knowing how to troubleshoot SMD very well. Fast forward to now and Stomptown was kind enough to send me an extra NoMojo board, so I could try again.

The Fuzz Face side works fine and the Tonebender side was good initially, but then I biased both and now I get nothing out of the TB side. I seem to recall something similar happening the last time. Is it possible that my biasing could have fried Q2 or Q3?

Continuity traced well. Using a probe the signal seems to die around Q2/Q3. The bias 2 trimmer has very little effect.

I'm pretty sure I used 5088s on this board (whatever was provided in the group buy parts kit from years ago).

(I cleaned the board with isopropyl alcohol--it just looks dirty in the photo for some reason)

I can't lose this battle twice so any suggestions are appreciated!

Build Reports / JMK Test Rig
« on: July 23, 2020, 01:48:19 PM »
Finally built myself a proper test rig after years of using a little makeshift bypass box. The JMK Test Rig is great. The built-in probe and headphone output are going to be very useful.

Let's look past the weird way the test leads double back on top of the board and proceed through holes that look a lot like they were meant for in/out jacks that didn't fit with how the board was placed (shh). I hope to replace this with a speaker terminal connection block and a banana jack for the probe, but we'll see if that really happens.

Instead, let's focus on how I used a salvaged enclosure and filled a huge hole with JB Weld (you almost can't tell).

Also worth noting is the masochistic decision to replace the bypass toggle with a stomp switch, necessitating all that extra wiring (I sometimes like to test a circuit on my board with other pedals and stomp it on/off, etc.)

How Do I? Beginner's Paradise. / SMD projects to practice with?
« on: July 11, 2020, 03:05:11 PM »
I've done a bit bit of SMD soldering (FV-1 chip, the dual sided fuzz from the Function(FX) pack), but am interested in others, as I am tempted to get into DIY eurorack, but figured I'd go with a few more SMD pedal builds first.

Any suggestions on PCBs/projects I can order beyond just the FV-1 chip?

Build Reports / Double FV-1 mega pedal
« on: April 22, 2019, 08:50:08 AM »
(This was original posted on the PedalPCB forum, but folks around here have been helpful in my quest to learn how to work with FV-1 pedals, so figured it would be good to post here too.)

"I'll just build you a double pedal", he said. "It will be easy", he said.

Last year I built an older PedalPCB Arachnid pedal with a custom EEPROM for my wife/band mate to use with her Nord Electro keyboard. She has really enjoyed it, but two things always stuck out to me:

  • The non-rotary mode knob of the older board resulted in her having issues finding the right patch between songs
  • 90% of the time she's got a delay running after her Arachnid no matter the patch
The first point is easy, as I can just build a new board with the 2019 revisions. While I'm at it, why not just build a second one with a delay, but maybe some other things too for extra fun? Thus, this beast was born:

I haven't finalized the patch selection yet. Right now it's a mix of an EEPROM from PedalPCB and another filled with random patches from SpinASM forums (there are some fun, weird ones out there).

Some hopefully useful additions include:
  • Toggle switch to select the order of the 2 PCBs
  • Send/return jacks for an effects loop (inserted after the 1st PCB, so less useful when the order is flipped)
  • Master bypass stomp (middle switch) that bypasses the entire thing (including effects loop)

Many mistakes were made along the way, like:

  • Not checking the build doc and assuming all pot values were the same as the old board---it was a real pain to realize I'd used B100K for the mix pots on both well after I'd gotten to the boxing up stage.
  • Assuming the effects loop would be easy to insert, but forgetting that I'd also decided on the order switching toggle. This resulting in a lot of trial and error
  • Would probably prefer LEDs on the order switch toggle, but couldn't be bothered with the extra wiring
In any case, I tried it on guitar last night with my original PedalPCB Octagon in the effects loop and it sounded great:

Now to spend some time choosing patches!

Build Reports / Echo Base, FSH-1, Tap Tempo Tremolo
« on: March 12, 2019, 10:09:22 AM »
These are all boards I've had populated for a very long time (years) and finally made the effort to box up. These aren't intended for anyone else, so the guts aren't exactly wonderful.

Echo Base - Very old board (pre-musicPCB), so it's quirky and the circuit has been improved since, but I love the weirdness this has on tap. It's also gone through a lot of hacking on my part to make the newer mods work, so these guts are only for me to see.  ;)

Added the following:
  • Option to switch between two delay times with a footswitch
  • Dry kill toggle
  • Square wave toggle for the modulation
  • Extra jack on the front for an optional footswitch to engage a version of the "dub madness" runaway repeats mod

Maestro FSH-1 - This one almost went in the trash several times. I originally built it years ago, but harvested it for parts in a fit of desperation and left it in a ziplock bag for later. Later is now.
  • Added a blend pot, as per some old threads, but didn't like how it seemed to let through some ticking, so I ended up tacking on a buffered blend circuit instead.
  • I also disconnected the S/H section when not in use (though in a different spot than the Sharkfin docs suggested, as I hadn't read them until after)
  • Added the "droop" toggle based on some old threads, as it adds some fun weirdness

Lots of trouble getting this going in a state that I was happy enough with and it still seems temperamental, but I'm over it. The blend knob means I can dial in the weirdest filter settings and have them sit behind my clean signal, which is fun.

Tap Tempo Tremolo - Pretty painless build. I just have other trems I like, so I took a while to get around to it. The tap function is fun to use with synths etc. though.

This almost takes care of my list of half-finished builds, now I just need to do something with the drawers full of PCBs I've collected over the years.  :o

General Questions / FSH-1/Sharkfin question
« on: March 07, 2019, 11:08:39 AM »
Hey folks,

I built a Tonepad FSH-1 a million years ago. Long story short, I was modding/rehousing it and the B2M resonance pot appears to have physically died (the mechanical turning of the pot is having issues---I've opened it up, but can't see a fix and am not confident in the longevity of using it in the new build).

All I have on hand is a B1M and it sounds fine, but I'm not convinced I'm still getting the same range of sounds in the S/H filter (sounds thinner), though there are so many variables with this circuit (noise transister, opamps, etc.) that maybe I'm just being paranoid?

If I regularly leave the S/H resonance pot wide open (ie, fully turned for maximum resonance), does it matter which pot value I use here, as it's just a variable resistor in this layout, right? Or am I missing something?


Build Reports / A pile of recent builds
« on: December 05, 2018, 05:38:29 PM »
A friend wanted me to build them a PedalPCB ThreeVerb (the red Shimmer pedal in the group shot), so I used that as a reason to get off my butt and finally finish some other half-built circuits.

The group shot includes:

- PedalPCB Haarp (Arpanoid)
- BYOC Tonebender (Raybend, as I used old Raytheon germaniums)
- Dwarfcraft Great Destroyer (on vero)
- PedalPCB ThreeVerb
- PedalPCB Roboto x2

I also threw together a PedalPCB Squidward (EQD Tentacle, hence the paint job).

Feels good to get some builds off the bench! Time to box up a few more.

(I have more gutshots, but I was over my attachment capacity and they all look pretty similar.)

General Questions / Moodring issues - potentially Belton Brick related?
« on: September 20, 2018, 10:38:16 AM »
I'm trying to clear out some old half-finished projects, so I put together a 2014 Moodring board I snatched from Rej a while back to use up a leftover BTDR-2 Belton Brick.

I thought it was working, but noticed the long Belton Brick isn't producing much reverb (if any). I'll caveat this with saying I seem to remember not using this particular brick over the years for a reason (it's been in my parts stash for a long time and I have a vague memory of maybe thinking it was behaving strange the first time I tried to use it).

 All my voltages are within expected range given my PSU and all controls work to some degree:

Space increases the pre-delay
Dwell interacts with the Space control to increase the zaniness of the signal
Mood changes the tone
Ring increases or decreases the mix of pre-delay/reverb (though the reverb is minimal)

Basically, all that's missing is actual reverb. It sounds like the brick is trying, but not getting there and what gets through sounds a bit nasty.

I'm not too married to making this work, as I don't need another reverb and could use the parts for something else as I wait for an order from Tayda, but figured I'd post here before admitting defeat and tossing it.

How Do I? Beginner's Paradise. / Best hookup wire source
« on: September 18, 2018, 10:38:16 AM »
My favourite hookup wire to use is Barry's from, but he has limited orders for that to USA only, based on shipping costs to Canada.

Anybody know of any alternatives for good tinned, stranded wire that is bendable, but solid and reliable? I'm open to other options too, but really like this wire. Thanks!

General Questions / PedalPCB Roboto weirdness
« on: May 23, 2018, 10:18:56 AM »
Hey guys,

This is a strange and frustrating one that I've entirely caused by being in a rush and making dumb mistakes, but here goes:

I populated a PedalPCB Roboto PCB ( recently and it worked perfectly fine (and sounded really cool), but I soldered the board-mount pots on backwards, so the volume sweep was off. I knew it would nag at me, so I decided to flip them around to correct their orientation.

Of course, after doing that it has never worked correctly since. My assumption here is that, because everything else was already populated I may have fried a sensitive component, so I replaced all nearby electrolytics, 3.3v regulator and even the TL072 & 8950, just in case.

This brought things somewhat back to life, but now I'm more confused, because out of the 4 modes only the 1st and last work (fuzz and arp). The middle positions (up and down) sound like they are trying to work, but have very little volume.

All knobs respond in a seemingly correct manner too. The only thing I can think of is that something is happening when the microcontroller switches into the 2 middle positions, but why would it only affect those 2 and not the others, as the circuit is pretty simple. In any case, I've beaten my head against a wall and was hoping for some advice before I masochistically replace all the rest of the passives.

Here's the schematic:


General Questions / Moodring tone control advice
« on: April 02, 2018, 09:41:18 PM »
Hey guys,

I picked up an old 2014 Moodring board recently and populated it. It sounds great and does some cool things, but I'm curious if anyone has suggestions for the hiss that seems tied to the tone (Mood) control. 

 I've socketed C21 and experimented with values (currently using 68nf), but mostly feel inclined to keep the tone control almost all the way down to avoid a prevalent hiss that begins fairly early. The hiss is not present with the tone or Ring controls at low values. It is also still present without a PT2399, so it's not coming from there.

Overall the controls are far more interactive than I'd thought as well (initially I was also asking about the Dwell control, but now hear it thickening the reverb quite a bit depending on the other knobs positions (and T1 trimmer).

That said, I'd still love to lower the hiss if possible. Anyone have any experience with that?

Build Reports / Octagon FV-1
« on: March 28, 2018, 04:12:24 PM »
Finally got my pedalpcb Octagon boxed up after already using it on recordings via a test rig.

Lots of awesome sounds to be had here and soldering the FV-1 wasn't as dauntin as expected. Highly recommended.

General Questions / Nomojo fuzz stomp switch options
« on: February 27, 2018, 12:43:38 PM »
Hey guys,

I finally populated my Nomojo fuzz board from the fundraiser way back (was scared of SMD for a while). Now I'm curious about how I should wire the stomp(s). The options I've considered are:

- One bypass for each effect (which would result in both off, 1 on/1 off, both on)
- One bypass and one effect selector (which would result in both off, 1 on/1 off only)

Do you think there's ever a reason to want both the FF and TB on at the same time or would it be more fun to be able to quickly toggle between them?

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