New (home made) Pedal Day! [TC Pre clone]

Discussion in 'Gear & Equipment' started by mnemonic, Sep 27, 2017.

  1. mnemonic

    mnemonic Custom User Title

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    After repairing my TC Electronic Integrated Preamp which was sort-of-broken (replaced electrolytic capacitors and now its back in action), I decided I wanted to try to make a clone. I found the schematic and parts list online, and a veroboard layout someone had kindly made over on the diystompboxes website.

    This is the layout I used:

    http://www.aronnelson.com/gallery/main.php/v/digi2t/veros/TC_preamp/

    Which I think was based off this one, just with some holes to mount standoffs:

    http://www.aronnelson.com/gallery/main.php/v/slackers-stuff/tcpreboardfinal.jpg.html


    First things first, cut all the traces:

    IMG_0084.JPG

    Populating resistors and jumpers:

    IMG_0085.JPG

    Soldered in. I can tell you, using veroboard is much slower going than a PCB, and also not as easy to solder on.

    IMG_0086.JPG

    All the parts in and soldered.

    IMG_0090.JPG

    About here is where I thought to myself, it will be a goddamn miracle if it all works the first time.

    IMG_0092.JPG

    Here it is getting wired into the enclosure. As you can see, I originally wanted to put the input and output at the top, but the treble pot got in the way. Its even a tight fit on the bottom. The plan was to add a washer to the back of the volume pot so it was the same height as the bass and treble pots, however doing so puts the pot in the way of the jack when inserted.

    IMG_0106.JPG

    IMG_0107.JPG

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    Luckily the holes at the top are useful for the power jack, and label. Nobody's the wiser.

    IMG_0126.JPG

    IMG_0127.JPG

    Continued in next post due to image limit...
     
  2. mnemonic

    mnemonic Custom User Title

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    Here's the completed product:

    IMG_0132.JPG

    IMG_0133.JPG

    With grandpa:

    IMG_0134.JPG


    There are certainly some design flaws in my housing. The Volume pot is a different value from the bass and treble so the pot I got was a different length. All of them are too tall for the knobs I used. The knob labels wouldn't stick to the case so I put a drop of superglue on each one, which worked, but it also leached out a bit as you can see. Also, the enclosure I bought was honestly a bit too small. Thats my bad for not double checking measurements.

    I originally wanted to do all the connections at the top, and add a true bypass switch at the bottom, but there just isn't room in this enclosure. I have a ton of parts now so I think I'll make another one in a bigger enclosure, with a bypass.

    It was also a bit easier to just build it as per the layout first, before I start changing things by adding a bypass, as the original pedal and schematic have no bypass.



    On to the sound. The first OP Amp I tried was a TL071. I tried it at 9, 12, and 30 volts, and while 30 volts was the clearest, it still clipped more than my real-deal Integrated Preamp does at 19 volts. It sounded good, but not great. The real one sounded better. I thought I must have wired something wrong somwhere, but before messing around with the insides, I decided to swap the OP Amp for a LM741 (which is what the original schematic calls for anyway).

    Holy hell, what a difference! Its suddenly sparkling-clean at 30 volts, I can really wail on the strings and it stays clear. Through the distorted channel of an amp, its way bigger and clearer and tighter sounding than the TL071 sounded. Really a night-and-day difference. I'm honestly surpised as everywhere I read, people say the TL071 is better than the 741, and its basically an improved version of the 741, with higher headroom. For whatever reason that isn't the case here. I don't know if my TL071 is broken, or if this circuit is just somehow optimised for the 741, but there you go.

    Its 1:1 with the real deal, they sound the same. If anyone wants one of these pedals and is handy with a soldering iron, give the above layout a shot. And use the LM741 OP Amp.
     
  3. Shask

    Shask SS.org Regular

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    That looks very cool. It is good to see that Veroboard worked so well. I was looking at that website the other day, and there are a ton of cool layouts on there. I saw that Veroboard is pretty cheap, and I have enough resistors, caps, and ICs I could build about anything, lol. I was wondering how you would handle the enclosure, as far as the board not shorting out. It looks like you electrical taped the inside cover.

    I am starting to think I might have to try one of these. Build a BE-OD, or a Dr. Boogey or something.

    You could probably solder it easier if you had a better soldering iron. I think you said yours was a fairly cheap one. If you had a soldering station that would hold constant temperature, it might not take so much solder to hold the parts in.
     
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  4. kindsage

    kindsage SS.org Regular

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    Looks awesome!
     
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  5. mnemonic

    mnemonic Custom User Title

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    Yes, I have now discovered the virtues of PCB mounted pots haha.

    I wanted to secure the board to the inside of the housing but it was so tight, I settled for attaching it to the base with two small machine screws with nuts holding it on to the base.

    I bought a ton of parts when I ordered everything for this, so I have enough to build a bunch of stuff also. The tagboardeffects and freestompboxes websites also have tons of layouts of popular stuff so I may try making some of those.

    One more of these but in a bigger enclosure and with a bypass switch, and then next maybe I'll try a Mesa gridslammer. The guy who traced it said its just a TS9 with a different diode layout but it should be worth trying regardless.

    And yes my soldering iron is cheap haha. No temperature regulation so it works well for like 5 or 10 minutes, then I feel it might be too hot so I turn it off and let it cool, then sand all the junk off the tip and start again. A quality one will be the next purchase. I'll have to google to find out which ones are good. I guess anything is a step up from the one I have now.
     
  6. Petar Bogdanov

    Petar Bogdanov SS.org Regular

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    Sweet project, man! Op amps have many design tradeoffs, which is why there are so many kinds and models. Before claiming an "upgrade", the upgraded opamp must be tested in the same circuit. Sometimes the effect no longer even works with the wrong opamp! Try all the opamps you have. :)
     
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  7. technomancer

    technomancer Gearus Pimptasticus Super Moderator

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    Nice work, looks awesome :yesway: Very cool that you managed to fit it in that enclosure. Interesting findings with the opamps as well, that's the opposite of what I would have expected as well.

    I've got one of these lined up to build as well, though I'm adding a 25v charge pump so it will run on 9v standard. I'm not even attempting to go with a standard sized pedal enclosure thought :lol: At the rate things are going I might get to it by the end of the year...

    One question for the DIY guys here that I am unsure of: this pedal doesn't use a battery, and the only reason I'm familiar with to use a TRS jack on a guitar pedal that isn't running a stereo signal is to tie the battery ground to the ring so it doesn't drain when the pedal isn't plugged in. When a cable is plugged in the ring and sleeve both go to ground... so why have two separate connections for them on the pedal? Couldn't you just use one connection and jumper them?
     
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  8. mnemonic

    mnemonic Custom User Title

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    I put a stereo input jack on it just because the schematic called for one, and I had one. I could have done mono, in fact I think I will add a jumper between the ring and sleeve as when I pull the input jack I get a screechy feedback sound, probably from separating the ground.

    The original pedal can be run on 9v battery but there's no point since there is almost no headroom at that voltage. Might work if you only have low output single coils I guess.
     
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  9. Shask

    Shask SS.org Regular

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    Yeah, the physical things like painting, drilling, securing the PCB, etc... is always the pain, and I think why I put off doing more DIY. The electronics is the easy part. However, I have collected the right tools over the years, so I guess it would be easy, lol. I even have things like the stepper unibit, which makes drilling easier. I have seen some people use like little glue and stick plastic standoffs to not deal with actually drilling holes for screws.

    I use a Weller WES51 Soldering station. It is pretty nice. Usually the Weller or Hakko ones are recommended. Get one with a temperature control, and something you can buy new tips for easily.
     
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  10. technomancer

    technomancer Gearus Pimptasticus Super Moderator

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    Cool betting you get to that before I get to building mine so let me know if it causes any problems :lol:

    Yeah I know it can run at 9v but everything I've seen says it sounds terrible :2c: Figured given that I might as well add a charge pump so I can just throw it on my 9v power supply. I'll post when I finally get around to building the thing, nothing complicated in what I'm doing though basically just adding the charge pump under the existing TC layout then adding a row the 25v will bridge to and then bridging that to the power input on the TC layout. Should work, but we'll see how it goes. Worst case I can pull the bridge and reroute the power wires to skip the pump if something goes south.
     
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  11. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire tinkerer/aspiring builder/8 string hoarder

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    always cool to see more diy stuff on this site. Part of me really wants to build a BYOC OD2 (it's essentially a super modded/mosfet ts808) or an hm2 clone.
     
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  12. mnemonic

    mnemonic Custom User Title

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    Go for it, the hard part is done with byoc (figuring out enclosure drilling) and the PCB is easy to work with. Their instructions are good too.
     
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  13. Shask

    Shask SS.org Regular

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    They even include the other pain in the a$$ part, which is painting the enclosure. The BYOC Swede is one of the few kits where you can pay a little extra to get a screen printed enclosure, which is well worth the $$ in my opinion.....
     
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  14. mnemonic

    mnemonic Custom User Title

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    True, I bought the above enclosure factory-powdercoated black since I thought it looked cool. Painting aluminum is a pain.

    Though I am very utilitarian as far as pedal aesthetics go, I don't think I'd be into silk screening pedals I've made, I kinda like the rough-looking label maker labels.
     
  15. Shask

    Shask SS.org Regular

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    I think if I Veroboarded stuff, I wouldn't mind the written paint-marker look or similar. It has a more DIY feel. However, if I spend ~$100 on a BYOC kit or something, I want it to look nicer. I used the Inkjet Waterslide decal paper, which isn't bad, it is spraying the clear crap on top of it that was the pain, lol.

    Where did you get powder coated boxes? I might have to go that route. I think that with an acrylic paint marker written by someone with good hand writing could look nice.
     
  16. mnemonic

    mnemonic Custom User Title

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    I ordered most of my parts from bitsbox.co.uk so probably not super useful for people outside the uk haha.

    It's a Hammond 1590b and the model number for the powder coated black case is 1590bbk. So if you just append 'bk' to the end of any Hammond enclosure model number, that's the black one. They do other colors also, of course, but black is the cool one.
     
  17. Shask

    Shask SS.org Regular

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    It looks like Small Bear Electronics has them for $7-$10 each, which seems reasonable. About 8 color choices. Black and White are more expensive for some reason.
     
  18. technomancer

    technomancer Gearus Pimptasticus Super Moderator

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    Small Bear has them and so does Mammoth

    https://www.mammothelectronics.com/
     
  19. mnemonic

    mnemonic Custom User Title

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    Slight update as I feel I need to correct what I had said about the TL071 sounding worse even though it's supposed to be faster and higher headroom.

    The other day I was playing and it sounded a bit muddy, so I bypassed my amp model in the axe fx, and went direct into the poweramp. It was clipping like mad, like it was when I was using the TL071 (was loaded with LM741 at this point).

    I opened it up, and put a UA741 in there, played it with the case open, headroom is back. Okay, maybe I'm killing OP amps? Close the case, no headroom, clipping like mad. Open the case again, nice and clean, lots of headroom.

    Turns out something on the back of the board was poking through my electrical tape insulation and shorting on the baseplate. Grounding the baseplate by screwing it to the main housing was lowering the headroom drastically and making all but soft picking clip.

    Also, jostling the board around on the baseplate seemed to knock something loose and I was getting intermittent interference and popping.

    No visible disconnects so I just reflowed any suspect-looking solder joints (of which there were a few), thickened up my electrical tape baseplate insulation, and boom, back to functioning perfectly. Now I'll be careful not to tighten down the standoffs too much this time.

    Also, I put the TL071 back in to compare against the 741's, and it now sounds great with the TL071. Hard to hear much difference, maybe slightly more headroom? But perhaps placebo effect.

    Either way, it works for me. :hbang:
     
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  20. technomancer

    technomancer Gearus Pimptasticus Super Moderator

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    Awesome, good to know about the op amps and glad you were able to sort out the issue.
     

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