The road to a simple DIY Pedal, pt 9

Last night I got around to desolder and replace the transistor in my simple Bazz Fuss circuit.

Getting it off the board proved every little bit as frustrating as I had imagined, and I ended up demolishing it to a point where it could not be tested for functional errors.

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Either way, I soldered in a new one and tried it out.

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Unfortunately it made not difference. The clean, bypassed signal sounds normal, but as soon as I engage the effect I get this oddly clipped, blorring and ‘farting’ sound which increases in awfulness as I turn up the volume.

It is a distorted signal, but somewhere something is still way off….

If you have any tips or thoughts, please share in the comments.

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The road to a simple DIY Pedal, pt 6

The short is gone.

But!

I’m still not getting the signal I expect. The clean is coming through nicely, but the effected signal sounds extremely muddy and gritty. To the point where its really unusable.

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A bit unsure where to go from here to be honest.

On the bright side, I’ve added the status LED to the circuit, and it lights up just fine :)

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Solder Practice

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Lately with my focus on modular synthesizer hardware I’ve found soldering, and a basic understanding of electrical circuitry, to be an essential skill. It really helps to be able to quickly fix minor problems your self rather than rely on sending in modules for servicing by the manufacturer.

I know basically nothing about soldering when I started (which was very recently), and despite everyone saying that it’s really easy, it was actually quite a hurdle to get over the first few steps. In particular just knowing where to start and understanding the different terms and tools necessary. Sure I agree it’s not rocket science, but at the same time I at least wanted to learn the basics thoroughly.

My recommendation when getting started with this stuff is to get a solid, digital, variable temperature soldering station. Getting the right temperature and maintaining it is extremely important (especially for beginners like me) to create good solder joints.

Next, get a solder practice kit and work through the exercises. You’ll find that they are well thought through and give you a chance to practice all the basics.

Finally, youtube and the web are your friends. There is an abundance of information and tutorials out there. Study them and you’ll master the basics in no time.

Electronics, the final frontier

The hardware project that I and my secret associate (soon to be revealed of course) is working on is rapidly approaching a working prototype. My contribution so far has been more on the feature / design side of things, mostly because I so sorely lack experience in the world of electronics. I’m hoping this will change though thanks to this project, and I can already see a little bit of progress in the fact that I am getting pretty used to handling bread boards, patch cables, resistors and potentiometers.

My big hurdle though that remains a huge drawback is that I just don’t have the skills required to solder properly yet. The plan is to try and find some time to practice this week, so that I can solder the required header on to my LCD and start reading some proper output off of the beautiful mess you see in the photos below :).

I really think this is a skill that will come in handy going forward. I’ve heard countless stories of fellow synth heads needing to re-solder or otherwise fix up older gear, and now that I’ve started to accumulate some of my own I’d hate to stand helpless should any of it break. (Looking at you MS2000R…) Only recently I discovered that one of the MIDI pins on my meeblip had a cold solder joint which prevented it from receiving MIDI notes. Would have been a dead simple thing to fix for anyone with moderate soldering experience…

Anyways, soldering and a general understanding of practical electronics is something I really recommend you pick up if you are getting into electronic music making, at least if you consider ever venturing outside of the world of pure software gear :).