Author Topic: I suck at DIY  (Read 6154 times)

playpunk

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I suck at DIY
« on: August 25, 2013, 03:04:15 PM »
I am not the only person who feels this way, right?

I tried to make a green bean and failed horribly. Probably not a good first project. I got a better soldering iron, went slower and more carefully making an ego driver, and it doesn't work either.

I even tried to "rock it before I boxed it" but my tests just show that it doesn't work. At first it passed signal, but the circuit didn't work, but now it does nothing.

I ordered the stuff to make a testing rig, which will go in the repurposed green bean enclosure, so I am going to try to test the ego driver before I throw it out.

I am a little frustrated. Should I try something simpler, like the byoc confidence boost or a fuzz before I do anything else? Is failure just part of the process?
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jimilee

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Re: I suck at DIY
« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2013, 03:08:12 PM »

I am not the only person who feels this way, right?

I tried to make a green bean and failed horribly. Probably not a good first project. I got a better soldering iron, went slower and more carefully making an ego driver, and it doesn't work either.

I even tried to "rock it before I boxed it" but my tests just show that it doesn't work. At first it passed signal, but the circuit didn't work, but now it does nothing.

I ordered the stuff to make a testing rig, which will go in the repurposed green bean enclosure, so I am going to try to test the ego driver before I throw it out.

I am a little frustrated. Should I try something simpler, like the byoc confidence boost or a fuzz before I do anything else? Is failure just part of the process?
naah, post some pictures as directed in the tech help thread and your new buddies will help you start enjoying your new found hobby! Welcome to the forum.
Pedal building is like the opposite of sex.  All the fun stuff happens before you get in the box.

catfud

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Re: I suck at DIY
« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2013, 03:18:02 PM »
I know how you feel, I built my first projects last week, and I got into a real mess with one of them.

But I ordered simple project boards - only taking on the ones marked 'noob' in the projects page in the hope that I wasn't jumping into deep water. If these are your first projects I'd say definitely take it slowly. And read loads about it beforehand. And then read some more. Make it easier for yourself.

I found the Rangemaster with the Road Rage to be a good basic build pair, where I didn't feel excessively out of my depth, but I still learnt quite a bit. But YMMV, the voltage inversion baked my noodle somewhat.

And yes, failure is definitely part of the process. A really important part - failure, and then failing more. Fail FTW. Because that's a great way to learn.

slacker775

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Re: I suck at DIY
« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2013, 04:25:13 PM »
In my pedal building career, I've found a BYOC kit to be probably the best starting point.   All of the bits are included and there are step by step instructions.   Once you've built a pedal or two, its much easier to tell the common bits from the less common (wiring the off board stuff is pretty standard, biasing trannies an be a bit more circuit specific).

The most important thing though is that if its not working, take some good quality pics and post in the support forums.  Heed the advice given, don't get all defensive if someone says your soldering skills suck - if they said it, it's true!   We'll all help you get it working.

midwayfair

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Re: I suck at DIY
« Reply #4 on: August 25, 2013, 04:35:57 PM »
Pictures are rarely the best way to troubleshoot a circuit. The stuff that's really useful is all things you gather using an audioprobe and multimeter.

Do you have a multimeter?  There are trouble shooting instructions on this forum and others that teach you how to diagnose why a circuit doesn't work. I urge you to read them thoroughly. If you don't have the tools necessary to troubleshoot, you need to get them. A testing rig is only a tiny portion of that.

I've build almost 100 pedals, and the simple circuit I made today didn't work when I first plugged it into my testing rig. But using a few simple tools and comparing the layout, schematic, and my build allowed me to fix it in short order. That's a skill that needs to be learned over time. I can't tell you the amount of frustration I had in early builds before I got the right tools and learned how to use them.
Myself's music & things I make: http://jonpattonmusic.com. My band: http://midwayfair.org. PCBs of my designs from: http://www.1776Effects.com (Bearhug Comp & Cardinal Harmonic Trem); http://www.jmkpcbs.com (Hamlet+ delay & Blue Warbler envelope vibe); Snow Day OD/Flabulanche: www.madbeanpedals.com

gordo

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Re: I suck at DIY
« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2013, 05:03:54 PM »
As Jon says, learning to use a multimeter becomes critical.  Just stupid stuff like checking continuity from one end of a wire to another to make sure something simple isn't buggered.

Stick with it, it's frustrating to start but your first success will wipe out all the frustration.

If it was easy...everyone would be good at it...   ;D

Darkknigh_t

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Re: I suck at DIY
« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2013, 06:00:13 PM »
I know how you feel mate listen to this my first pedal when i was 14 i soldered all the parts on the wrong side of the pcb and didnt drag the parts all the way through the holes i left them in the air and probably burn every component in the process lol :)
My advice is dont give up first make sure you always clean your soldering iron on the little sponge making clean solder spots. Dont use too much solder go little by little maybe a good thing would be to get a solder pump to clean if you mess up and try again. Getting a big or a small pcb doesnt matter just take your time and go slow. Get a multimeter and check everything with the buzzer to make sure you have good contacts. To me the biggest problem was wiring and its slow but look strip the wire at ends twist them and put little solder on them. Print a wiring diagram out and go wire by wire :) all in all dont give up there are very good and smart people here who will always help :)


ch1naski

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Re: I suck at DIY
« Reply #7 on: August 25, 2013, 06:39:42 PM »
I've got twenty or thirty pedals I've built successfully, and I've got ten or so that didnt work right (or at all) at first.
Some were simple things that I overlooked, again and again.
Some were bad components, and I would never have known if not for my mmeter and audio probe.
A few remain, non working, in the "box of fail".  (Most of us have such a box.)
All were enjoyable to build and a learning experience.



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one louder.

playpunk

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Re: I suck at DIY
« Reply #8 on: August 25, 2013, 07:09:56 PM »
Well good to know. I have the stuff on order to build a testing rig with an audio probe. I think my soldering is ok, but I will try to get a picture up also
"my legend grows" - playpunk

croquet hoop

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Re: I suck at DIY
« Reply #9 on: August 26, 2013, 01:51:50 AM »
I am a little frustrated. Should I try something simpler, like the byoc confidence boost or a fuzz before I do anything else? Is failure just part of the process?

Failure is part of the process but yes, you might want to begin with something else much simpler to boost your confidence.

My first effect was Chromesphere's 7 min fuzz on vero and a 3PDT board I designed. The very low part count of the fuzz makes it hard to botch and the nature of the effect leaves no doubt as to wether it works or not. The 3PDT board was put in an enclosure with jacks and a DC in and was wired with connectors so that I can connect easily any PCB for testing purposes:



Having this kind of test rig can be really useful, especially since the offboard wiring can be a source of trouble in itself. In my case, this small setup allowed me to know that the Lunar Module I boxed yesterday did not work because of the 3PDT wiring, not the board itself, and saved me a fair amount of time.

juansolo

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Re: I suck at DIY
« Reply #10 on: August 26, 2013, 02:20:19 AM »
This was one of my first builds...



Not only is is a rats nest, none of the holes in the enclosure are right, indeed I stuck a badge over one of them that I really screwed up.

It'll come. Be methodical and patient.
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wgc

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Re: I suck at DIY
« Reply #11 on: August 26, 2013, 06:06:53 AM »
Agree about the use of proper testing equipment but pictures are super valuable too, especially for a new builder who may not realize that certain parts have polarity, or that 1/2 of their joints are cold.

Keep your chin up!
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TNblueshawk

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Re: I suck at DIY
« Reply #12 on: August 26, 2013, 10:40:34 AM »
I'm going to second the pic thing for new builders. I used to hang out more in the troubleshooting section of BYOC and I can't count the number of times the DC jack wiring was wrong and one pic and 3 seconds later the fix is in. Or trannies are backwards, 5 seconds and done. Or, the footswitch wiring was wrong, maybe 10 seconds and done and a few other things just like that.

But the most important thing in my assessment of course is how good or BAD is the soldering. One look at times and I would right away say reflow and or add/take off some solder.

I'm going to suggest pics my friend for the easy quick fix possibly especially since you are the frustration point already. Nothing will make you feel better than to get your first build fired up. It adds motivation to fix/build the next one.

And yes, I just had a simple OD/Dist not fire, pedal #40 something, and I had the trannies in backwards and I had soldered them in to boot like a moron. But I just completed a Multiplex and it fired right up. Sometimes you just shake your head and keep moving.
John

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Re: I suck at DIY
« Reply #13 on: August 26, 2013, 11:18:59 AM »
Hey man, don't get discouraged.  We've all been there and even now I still fail.  It's part of the learning process.  In fact, I have a nice big box of "fail" which still gets filled up from time to time.  In the beginning, it was my mistakes from soldering and wrong components/incorrect wiring.  Now as I become more proficient with Eagle PCB CAD, it is filling up from dumb mistakes during layout of the PCB.  In each case, I try to figure out where I went wrong and learn from it.  Each project is better than the next and you can learn a lot by looking at other's layouts and wiring for ideas on how to improve your own work.

I tell you what.  As a "pay it forward", if you PM me your mailing address, I will send you one of my Brian May Treble Booster boards and the required components for free.  It is a really simple build and will take you not long at all to complete.  I have a few extras and they work well.  Easy build.  The thread is here with pics and some info:
http://www.madbeanpedals.com/forum/index.php?topic=11179.0

If you want to take a look at the build doc it is located here:
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/73135424/Brian%20May%20Treble%20Booster/Brian%20May%20Treble%20Booster%20Build%20Doc%20v1.1.pdf
« Last Edit: August 26, 2013, 11:21:40 AM by rullywowr »



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playpunk

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Re: I suck at DIY
« Reply #14 on: August 26, 2013, 11:30:38 AM »
hey thanks so much! I will try to take pictures later tonight and get them up here.

I have ordered some fuzz components & boards, too.

Hopefully someday I'll be able to pay it forward. If you have a speeding ticket in Chautauqua County, NY, I should be able to help.
"my legend grows" - playpunk