Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

February 26, 2020, 10:24:40 AM

Login with username, password and session length

Recent Posts

Author Topic: Prototyping Pedals - Would you use em?  (Read 3374 times)

flashbandit

  • Chipper
  • *
  • Posts: 3
  • Chip Points: 0
    • View Profile
Prototyping Pedals - Would you use em?
« on: February 02, 2013, 08:10:47 PM »
I'm  trying to figure out if these things are worth building, Occasionally you see prototyping pedals where all the dials and switches are built into a pedal, and you get to arrange all the electronic guts (ICs, resistors, caps etc.) to make any pedal you want, and fully customizable. So basically it's a shell of a pedal, where without soldering you get to make/modify any pedal you want, and you can even build/tweak exact replicas of almost any pedal. If it was easy and cheap enough to do:

Would you ever use one to sculpt your unique tone?
To learn electronics for fun?
Or if you're electronics savvy already, would they seem useful to streamline pedal projects?

phatt

  • Legendary
  • ******
  • Posts: 2082
  • Chip Points: 249
    • View Profile
Re: Prototyping Pedals - Would you use em?
« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2013, 05:16:32 AM »
Not sure what you refer to exactly but this has protod dozens of successful circuits that I have designed and built.

The big one will cost you around $30~$40 but they pay for themselves pretty fast. :tu:

The gut shot of this rather big and complicated pedal was designed and built using the BB on the bench.
Phil.



Phil.

Roly

  • Legendary
  • ******
  • Posts: 2184
  • Chip Points: 288
    • View Profile
    • Australian Valve Amps
Re: Prototyping Pedals - Would you use em?
« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2013, 10:21:38 AM »
On the bench?  Sure.  But I would never think of using any of the "no solder" arrangements I've seen on stage.  Firstly because the connections are too unreliable for any sort of road use, and secondly that it is easy and cheap to make up a securely soldered stripboard or even home brew PCB version.  The expensive bit is the hardware, box, pots, sockets and knobs.

You prototype to build properly later when you are satisfied with your circuit arrangement (per Phil's pix).
If you say theory and practice don't agree you haven't applied enough theory.

flashbandit

  • Chipper
  • *
  • Posts: 3
  • Chip Points: 0
    • View Profile
Re: Prototyping Pedals - Would you use em?
« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2013, 02:45:15 PM »
Good advice not using it on stage, the breadboarding that some people have posted is totally what I'm thinking about, and this solution is more for prototyping and hobbyists.

So for something like this, would you prefer ease of use, and simple options? or would you prefer it to be way customizeable, and tons of options?

phatt

  • Legendary
  • ******
  • Posts: 2082
  • Chip Points: 249
    • View Profile
Re: Prototyping Pedals - Would you use em?
« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2013, 09:17:02 AM »
Your answer could be interpreted in at least two ways,,but I take it You still have your heart set on this proto thing?
Then how about a link or a pic or something so we can work on the same page.

I googled "proto pedal" and a got a page full of funny looking bicycle bits ???
---

Here is how it works for me:

You pick a circuit poke in a few chips/transistors, then poke a few R and C's.

Then fire it up and play/tweak/play/tweak, till you find your tone nirvana.

Special note:
At this point the novice will layout big bucks and a fancy expensive case and think he has found a new religion.
That will only last about one or two gigs and you will likely end up back at the bench poking new ideas into holes.
Don't worry that silly stuff will pass and you will be better served by being patient and learn to understand what the hell you are supposed to be listing for! *TONE* (and THAT is a whole thread on it's own) xP

Meantime;
Try and plug into as many different Amps that you have access to and use several different guitars as well will help.  Don't forget speakers as they account for much of the magic.
Add the style of music you wish to play will dictate what direction you need to go.

Whatever you do there is no short cut.

Example;
I fixed a broken pedal for a local chap and when he came over to pick it up I tested it out through my gear and he was very happy with what he heard.
That was 10 AM.,,,, by 6PM I get a phone call.

"Phil it sounded brilliant at your place but I've been friggin with the knobs all arvo and it sounds like crap through my Amp,,What happened???"

He then asked,, Can you explain what is happening here?
(implying he wanted the short answer) ::)

I just laughed and said, If you've got a spare 30 years ,, I'll explain it. :lmao:

Sadly most people are not circuit savvy (not their fault) and fail to realize that this game is a culmination of many factors not just some hot rod pedal with a fancy mojo name
Marketing hype does not help much as they often imply that owning one of their brand new wizz bang pedal gizmo's will suddenly turn you into a red hot guitar player and you won't need anything else,,,

Yeah right life would be so easy if that where true.  :crazy2:


I've just in the last few weeks rebuilt a couple of cheap and nasty Amps and via a few simple circuit tweaks made a crappy old SS Washburn (cost me $50) sound so good I've now got 3 other players asking,,,, can you fix mine to sound like that!!

Does that make ME great? NO way as I'm not formally trained but it just shows what you can achieve once you catch onto how and WHere to change a few things.

Do I think a proto pedal (live or on the bench) with everything tweakable is a good idea? NO way you will just get lost unless you have good grounding in the technology that is in front of You.

So No!  Sorry There is no free lunch. :'(

You either go spend big money on all the latest gear (That will be so last year in a month) And hope like hell you will like it long enough to pay it off.
OR knuckle down and do some reading of books,, bread board a few ideas and slowly grasp what is really going on inside Amplification.

Many roads lead to the same/similar result.
You can build a stomp box a dozen different ways and after about a year you may come to realize they all sound much the same,, just a bit different.

TONE Shaping is what you need to get your head around as that is the key to the success of anything you build.

With the collective experience of some great minds here you will learn much faster than I ever did.
Heck When I started out it was just a few books and a block of wood with nails and back engineering a few old hifi stereo's I found at the dump. No internet :'( 8|
Have fun.
Phil.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2013, 09:41:16 AM by phatt »

flashbandit

  • Chipper
  • *
  • Posts: 3
  • Chip Points: 0
    • View Profile
Re: Prototyping Pedals - Would you use em?
« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2013, 05:01:35 PM »
A good example of a proto pedal would be something like the Beavis board, but that doesn't seem quite like what I want. Phatt, I plan on this being a sort of learning tool for me because it will help me create a ton of different pedals even if I don't settle down on one which I want a permanent copy of. Then I can tweak and learn with a ton of different designs.

Before I order everything I want to nail down my plan. Would this work for you? I want to install 2 pots, 2P3T rotary switch and a stomp switch. The pots would be A100k and B250k. I figure with a couple R on the breadboard I can turn the 250k to whatever I could need (while changing the taper just a bit...).

My intent is to have a project that would help me prototype 90% of any likely projects I could do. Then if needed I could throw some trim pots/misc switches into the breadboard. Would this setup seem like it'd work for you?

J M Fahey

  • SSGuitar Global Mod
  • Legendary
  • ****
  • Posts: 4142
  • Chip Points: 429
    • View Profile
Re: Prototyping Pedals - Would you use em?
« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2013, 02:03:49 AM »
Quote
prototype 90% of any likely projects I could do.
That sounds like a sandwich way too thick to bite. :(
Do what phatt did: kludge a sort of "chassis" with a lot of holes in the front, for any combination of jacks, pots, switches and even a couple Leds.
Semi permanently mount a good sized Protoboard, add some screw terminal strips in the back for safely  mounting power and ground wires, and start building and hacking what you want.

I'd suggest (later on, of course) building a couple more, you don't want to dismantle a killer-but-still-tweakable project just to have free space to build "something else"  :loco

Believe me, I have 4 or 5 small protoboards *now* with half baked projects which I don't have the time to finish but don't want to dismantle either, so I had to keep buying small cheap Protos, how's that?.

THERE IS a solution, of course:
these guys make small PCBs which have the exact layout and row/column coding of small Protoboards, they even paint them white !!
So after you tweaked something on regular solderless Proto, you transfer it, exact same size and layout to one of these *solder* PCBs, which are strong enough to go onstage or wherever needed, even inside a finished project you sell  :o
They make full , 1/2 and 1/4 size boards to fit what you need.

http://www.adafruit.com/blog/2011/11/18/adafruit-perma-proto-half-sized-breadboard-pcb-3-pack/

Roly

  • Legendary
  • ******
  • Posts: 2184
  • Chip Points: 288
    • View Profile
    • Australian Valve Amps
Re: Prototyping Pedals - Would you use em?
« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2013, 08:15:45 AM »
Fust up, I agree with @phatt and @JM, BUT I have never used proto boards and my only experience of them was with a student trying to get a D/A converter project going that we spent more time chasing dodgy connections than circuit problems.  I solder stuff together, "birdsnest" or "aeroboard" style, tag strips, or stripboard.

HOWEVER the idea of laying an identical PCB on top of the protoboard before your start is a bloody good one because it allows you to take your magic creation, and using a sponge to hold everything in place, pull it off the protoboard and solder it up error free to make a robust version.

This sort of thing is called "breadboarding" because that is almost literally what we used to do, take a breadboard or similar lump of timber, some scrap ali "L" extrusion, drill a bunch of holes in the tall side of the "L" to take pots, switches, sockets, whatever, and screw it down along one side of the breadboard (better, one each side).

In the original form everything else was held down with wood screws and cup washers, but we got refined and used a few rows of tag strips.  Add a protoboard or two to taste.  You may care to add a stomp switch(s) somewhere/somehow on one end so you can take the whole "stomp from hell" and actually put it on the floor for testing; it's really up to your needs and imagination.

I don't want to dump on the fine folks at Small Bear, but if you are going to build stuff you may as well start with building your test rig; reliable power, firm mounting for pots, sockets, stomp switch(s).

Parts are cheap, cases and knobs aren't, so build up a stash of different value resistors and caps, a selection of pots, common transistors, diodes, and IC's.  Assortment packs are an economical way to get a spread of values; and you'll need some "craft" or "fishermans tackle" plastic boxes to keep some sort of order so you can find stuff.  For example I sort my resistors into decade ranges in each compartment.

There is a criminal amount of good electronic stuff going to landfill, and old ghetto blasters and Hi-Fi's etc., are a rich source of useful bits for free.  Generally speaking the more modern something is the fewer useful parts it will have (unless you are in to microscopic SMD's), but after ripping into a few things you should quickly work out what is trash and treasure.  At worst you only have to throw it out again, but things like old VCR's are a rich source of LED's for example.  Even a dead computer power supply has a useful case and a heap of coloured hookup wire (not to mention a fan, an opto-coupler, lots of resistors and caps that are normally perfectly serviceable).

Design is not (as some might have you think) a random process of blindly trying different values.  I start off with an idea, concept, or request, do a lot of thinking and doodling (these days in LTSpice), and once I think I have something workable, knock it up on a tagstrip or Vero/stripboard/dab-board an see how it works out.  Often it's back to the front end of thinking and doodling, but frequently (if you have done enough thinking and doodling) you get a result; something that fills the bill, delivers the required goods.

Two things you have to do if you want to dabble in electronics; learn to use a multimeter, and learn to solder properly.  There is simply no avoiding these.  Sooner or later you will want a creation o hang together for more than half a gig or practice, and this means soldering.

HTH
If you say theory and practice don't agree you haven't applied enough theory.