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Topics - mjg

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Build Reports / The Brütalist (Aeons)
« on: March 30, 2017, 06:32:49 PM »
This is something I've been mucking around with for months now.  Last year I was working in a town centre that has lots of 'Brutalist' style architecture.  Lots of exposed raw concrete.  It doesn't really float my boat, but one day while sitting eating lunch looking at concrete, I thought "hey wow, that's an idea for a pedal!"

First attempt was a complete failure.  Second attempt has held together. 

The process was painful, slow and frustrating.  I'm sure with better equipment and more experience you could get this looking quite spiffy, but I don't think I'll be giving up on the aluminium enclosures just yet. 

I'm also not sure how durable this finish will be.  I keep finding bits of concrete dust where ever the pedal is used... so it may not last long. 

Effect is the Grind Customs FX 'Aeons'.  It's insane.  Perfect for all the metals.  Hence putting the dots over the 'u' in the pedal name.  Nothing says heavy metal like dots over random vowels.   

Anyway, some pictures... depending on interest I will post more about the process, or you can read it on my blog:

General Questions / Backwards marked LEDs...?
« on: March 16, 2017, 02:52:08 AM »
I've just spent about half an hour trying to work out why the rate LED on my "Shark Fin" build wasn't flashing. 

I tried some other coloured LEDs, and they worked fine.  But as soon as I put in a blue LED, it would stay on, rather than flash.  Tried resistors in series, which made it dimmer, but still didn't flash. 

After stuffing around for a while, I accidentally tried the blue LED 'backwards'  - it started flashing.    $&@&!!

Looking closer at the blue LEDs I've got, they are marked with the flat edge on the side with the longer leg.  Which is totally wrong isn't it?   :o  I was using the flat edge to judge polarity, but the legs were telling a different story. 

I then went through all the LEDs I got in that batch (yes, a cheap eBay buy from China).  The blue and red LEDs have the flat edge on the longer leg... the yellow and white LEDs have the flat edge on the shorter leg. 

So I guess I've learned two things - look at the leg, not the flat bit on the body... and don't buy cheap eBay LEDs from China? 

Open Discussion / Punk death of a 70s console
« on: March 05, 2017, 05:16:55 PM »
Thought this story might interest some people around here - what happened to the mixing console used in one of the first punk recordings in the 70s.

(Have to admit, I'd probably have done the same thing...)

Build Reports / Current Lover build
« on: February 04, 2017, 07:10:57 PM »
Just finished up a Current Lover - first pedal I've managed to finish and box for months. 

It's pretty much a stock standard build - only small changes I made were to use the rate indicator as the 'effect on' LED, and wired the flange/matrix switch off board, because I couldn't handle it not being in line with the knobs.  OCD FTW. 

I've used smaller 3.5mm sockets for the send/return loop. 

Thanks to Govmnt_Lacky for pointing out I had a cap in backwards, which would explain why it was leaking brown liquid.   :-[

I've tried a white Tayda enclosure on this one, with sticky printed plastic.  Damn these white enclosures show up every little bit of dirt that I managed to get stuck on the back of the plastic.  I'll have to be neater next time.  Sprayed with a few coats of clear on top. 

Tayda aluminium knobs, which personally I'm not impressed with - I can't get them to tighten and stay level.  The grub screws don't seem to be centred, and the knob twists as you tighten.  Maybe I'm just doing it wrong. 

This pedal is for my kid again, so we've gone with a Simpsons theme.  The Ned Flan-diddly-anger is born. 

General Questions / Burst capacitor
« on: January 29, 2017, 04:01:10 PM »
I got out a finished Current Lover this morning to think about boxing it up.  I've had it sitting on the shelf in a plastic bag for about 2 weeks.

I noticed some brown liquid in the bag.  Uh oh.  Turns out one of the capacitors has bulged up on the end and is leaking. 

I'm assuming this is a bad thing.  I should replace that one huh?

The weather has been quite warm here this last few weeks, would that have done it?  Should I be checking all my other builds and stock?  Or is this just something that happens occasionally for random reasons?

Open Discussion / Pedal building workshop - Brisbane, December
« on: November 01, 2016, 02:45:45 AM »
I'll be running a pedal building workshop at a conference in Brisbane (Australia) in December.  It will be a basic introduction to electronics, and then build a simple distortion or fuzz face on breadboard to take home with you.  Followed by info on where to buy components, enclosures, PCBs, etc, and where to find help from friendly people - i.e. this forum.   ;)

Anyone in Brisbane area might want to check out the conference:  It is aimed at creative types.  They've also talked me into running a session on Arduino and music, so time to brush up on my MIDI commands. 

Has anyone here run pedal building workshops before?  I'm interested to see if you think I'm trying to cram too much into an hour and a half.  I've done programming sessions at conferences before, but this will be the first electronics / pedal building one I've tried. 

Build Reports / Germanium fuzz build
« on: October 22, 2016, 08:42:57 PM »
This weekend's project was finishing a FaceMaster germanium fuzz from with some AC125 transistors.  Thanks Paul - sounds good!

The PCB is seriously small - made to fit in tiny enclosures.  So of course I stuck it in the biggest box I could find.   :o

I had a metal box that a watch came in - thought I'd try that out as an enclosure.  It wasn't great to work with - the drill tended to tear or bend the thin metal, rather than cut a nice clean hole.  The knobs aren't mounted parallel as a result, as the top of the enclosure is bent around the holes. 

Finished by going nuts with black then silver spray paint.  Originally was going to call it "Fuzz Space" but the name "Galactic Fuzz" seemed to stick in the end. 

Introductions / Hi from Canberra
« on: September 29, 2016, 02:20:51 AM »
Hi, I'm Matt, from Canberra (Australia). 

I got into pedal building this year, started out as I was too cheap to buy a pre-made distortion pedal for my kid, and went from there.  Had fun building my way through some schematics from earlier in the year, and more recently found 1776effects, and from there this forum.  Have also found recently, hooray, and Australian source for stuff. 

I'm trying to get all my pedal builds written up on a blog somewhere - will put it in my signature once it is ready.  :)

Next big project is to build a bass guitar from scratch.  I've done furniture before, but I think a guitar may be a bit more of a challenge.  It may end up being a very pretty doorstop.  Or even a very ugly doorstop.  Anything is possible. 

Build Reports / Auto wah build - Ducky von Quackenstein
« on: September 26, 2016, 05:04:06 AM »
One I finished recently - kind of a mix between the Dr. Quack and the Nurse Quacky.  I breadboarded the Nurse Quacky first, then added some of the bits back in from the Dr. Quack, such as the normal/bass switch, and used a TL071 for an input buffer.  Yellow LEDs of course, to go with the duck theme.

Knobs are decapitated bath toys.  I think it cost me $1 to get 10 of them.  My kid was a bit distressed when I cut the head of three of them, he has 'saved' the other seven from my evil scissors.  He still enjoys the pedal though.  :)

Short video demo -


I've done a few electronics projects over the years, but just getting into pedal making. 
In every other electronics area that I've worked in, convention seemed to be that the DC power plug/socket is centre(tip) positive, with outside negative. 

*After* building about 6 pedals for my kid, I realised that pedals seem to be wired with DC centre negative.  For compatibility with popular pedals of the past? 

So... should I rewire all the DC plugs on the pedals that I've done so far?  Will my kid turn up with his pedals and find he can't plug them in to anyone else power supplies?  Or is it acceptable to have either way?  :-\

Just wondering if it is better in the long run to rewire the pedals I've done already.  (And also rewire the power supply too!)


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