Pointers to understand pedal builds?

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Pointers to understand pedal builds?

Postby eds0n » 09 Jan 2016, 12:32


I've been building pedals from kits (BYOC) and doing an occasional MOD along the way. But it is like building Lego.

My question is,

can you guys recommend something to read, or projects where I can understand how these things work?

From the basics?

A project I should start with?
A project that makes me understand the schematics better?
Somewhere that explains how to use breadboards, and what the symbols mean? :)

I had physics way back in high school, and bachelor in computer engineering. Meaning, I've had some of the basics, but it is a while ago, and I do not remember much :)


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Re: Pointers to understand pedal builds?

Postby phatt » 11 Jan 2016, 13:26



And that's just a couple which took me a few clicks to find.

It's all over the web, :secret:
Cricky google is loaded with instant results, some useless but others are gems Just suck up as much as you can.

You need to start with basic magnetic s, transformers, rectification (diodes) then transistors.
This is one covers most of it; http://www.fcctests.com/neets/neets.htm
Some understanding of electron basics is also helpful. google "valance"
Learn how electrons move around. [smilie=new_microwave.gif]

Regards Schematics;
Just keep in mind when looking at a schematic that You are looking at TWO separate circuits in one drawing. There is a DC path and an AC pathway.
DC is what powers the device and sets the bias for each part so that AC (Signal you wish to amplify) can pass.

In really simple terms; The AC signal floats on the DC potential.
Just look at early valve amps (preferably the really simple ones) and note how the DC voltage is (Usually) at the top and passes from the plate (Anode) down through the valve to the cathode. Those resistors on the plate and cathode is what sets the DC and bias points for that valve. Then the AC signal can pass and if done right it makes the signal bigger at the output. See,,,Two circuits on one schematic. kool ay? :applause:

Transistor circuits are a bit different to setup but the basic principal remains the same. Set DC and then tweak the AC for more bass or treble or bandwidth and many other tricks. So what you learn about one is relative to the other.

Just read one bit until you find a key word that you do not understand ,, then google that word,,, like above I used "Valance" as it's a unique word.
If I google Diode it's too general and common and will only return crud answers.

My advice,,,Go find a Cad program,, quite a few freebees around, just use the samples and frigg around,, heck you can't blow up anything but you will learn. :thumbsup :thumbsup

I actually started with this one, (free up to 50 components) http://my.ece.ucsb.edu/York/Bobsclass/2 ... _maker.htm
I still use it today,, for basic pedal type circuits it's all you probably need.
You might want the instruction manual as well,, tough going at first but you crawl before you walk :blackeye

There are quite a few sample circuits to get you started,, even has a Valve power amp in there as well. 8)

Hope it helps,, Phil
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Re: Pointers to understand pedal builds?

Postby thejewk » 12 Jan 2016, 11:42

Another new builder here.

My first project, which I finished yesterday, was an Electra Distortion variant using this Premier Guitar guide:

http://www.premierguitar.com/ext/resour ... _Final.pdf

It was especially helpful because it taught me how to breadboard along the way, and I also now have a reasonable idea of how to put together a perf board circuit.

I know it's a relatively simple end product, and a far cry from what is easily put together using PCB kits, but I have learnt a lot, and even ended up adding a few mods of my own to the circuit as my understanding increased.

Using the knowledge I got from that, I have copied and altered a Bazz Fuss type circuit I saw online, have written it up as a schematic, and I am going to have a go at breadboarding it without any external resources to see if I can easily replicate what I have already done without the hand holding.
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Re: Pointers to understand pedal builds?

Postby mictester » 12 Jan 2016, 12:14

Probably the best electronic theory book is "The Art Of Electronics" by Horowitz and Hill.

It's a big, fat book and very expensive, but if you look around, you may find a .pdf of it on line. It's a superb book - used in many Universities - and starts with the basics (what is a conductor and what is an insulator? - and why) and then goes through all the principles involved in electronics. There are suggested circuits to experiment with, there are "bad" circuits that either won't work or will destroy components - thoroughly described, so you won't make the same mistakes - and lots of test questions at the end of each chapter so you can find out if you've understood each section!

Basic electronic education is very lacking these days, so the "teach yourself" approach of the "Art of Electronics" is very useful. It has the mathematics involved - and assumes a basic understanding of algebra - but it doesn't blast you with endless formulae: they're more interested in explaining the underlying concepts.

Good luck with your learning!
"Why is it humming?" "Because it doesn't know the words!"
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Re: Pointers to understand pedal builds?

Postby deltafred » 12 Jan 2016, 16:17

+1 on The Art Of Electronics" by Horowitz and Hill.

There are pdf downloads on the net, I grabbed one to have on my PC and save getting my hardcopy out of the loft (where it lives with all my college notes).
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