Thursday, September 22, 2016

Crowdfunding campaign for the Montagne Tremolo and Dolmen Fuzz

My crowdfunding campaign for the Montagne Tremolo and the Dolmen Fuzz is finally out there!

The Montagne Tremolo is my final version of the tremolo prototype I showed you in a previous post. It is an analog optical tremolo with tap tempo and 6 different waveforms available, thanks to the TAPLFO digital chip.

The Dolmen Fuzz comes from my love for EHX Big Muffs and especially the green russian version. I tried different prototypes and circuits, and it is quite close to a previous build I made as well.


I decided to make these pedals available fully assembled by me, but also as high-quality kits and PCB only. The crowdfunding campaign will allow me to make a small series of each pedals and lower the price of the components, PCBs and enclosures.

If you want more infos, you can check the Ulule campaign page:

https://www.ulule.com/codaeffects/

read more

Friday, September 16, 2016

Boss Tap Tempo DIY

Here is my latest build, a very simple tap tempo pedal for a Boss DD7 pedal (or any other pedal with external tap tempo). It is very simple : one mono jack, one momentary SPST! Very easy build, I think it is the perfect build to begin with DIY! Tap tempo is very useful if you play in a band, so I think this is really a great way to improve your beloved DD7 guitar pedal.

I used a Hammond 1590LB enclosure, which is really small. However, I did not centered the momentary switch because of the lack of space.
Boss tap tempo pedal
Unfortunately, these kind of enclosures are not available in a pre-painted form, so I had to paint it myself. I really do not like to paint enclosure, for many reasons, however I applied 3 layers of a very nice paint (Games Workshop Chaos Black spray ^^), that is actually quite nice for painting aluminum. It makes very thin layers that can last long I think. Then, I applied 3 layers of mat varnish. Lets see how it will age!
Boss tap tempo pedal

How does it work?


Ok, so the schematic is very simple, I have warned you:

Boss tap tempo schematic

No polarity here, very simple as I said. Only problem: some manufacturers use normally open switches, others uses normally closed switchs (Boss)! Pay attention to it.

It is a simple momentary switch that connects the 2 ring of the jack. Usually tap tempo is detected by a numeric IC by changing temporarily a 5V tension to 0V by connecting the pin to the ground while pressing the switch:
tap tempo schematic

This way, the microprocessor can calculate the time between each tap and adjust the tempo of the effect! This is the way my tap tempo Montagne Tremolo works.
read more

Monday, August 29, 2016

Create your own pedal company: good or bad idea?

If you already have made a few pedals yourself, you surely have thought about selling them or at least build some of them for other people. Create your own guitar pedal brand seems like a good idea on paper, however there are many pitfalls.... Lets talk about it!

Disclaimer: I make effects myself, and this post is not intended to "kill competitors" (with my 30 pedals a year...)! On the contrary, I think it is way better to be transparent and to talk about it: this is only my opinion, and feel free to express yours in the comments section :)

It is a complex matter that is not always easy to discuss peacefully because of money, and there are many different opinions on the subject. It is also the source of really long yet exciting threads on DIY forums (check this one!). The simplest option for me is to discuss it from my point of view as a builder. Thus, I will talk about Coda Effects, and well, just once will not hurt, about me, and give you some tips if you want to jump in it!

Early 2013, I started to show interest in guitar pedal building: after opening a Fuzz Face, I was quite astonished by the simplicity of the circuit (there is almost nothing in there!), and I realized that building guitar effects might be simpler that I thought.
Fuzz Face inside
I quickly discovered a parallel universe full of people passionate about building guitar effects, and sharing a lot of  information and tools for other peoples: guitarfxlayouts, madbeanpedals, diystompboxes...etc. I decided to be part of this community by creating a blog about the effects I build and sharing my (little) knowledge about DIY guitar pedals.

I made my first pedals, with the classical issues that go with it: no sound at all, lots of noise, not very good sounding...etc. And finally, my LPB1 worked out :)  What a great feeling when you plug and play your first guitar effect!

I started this website a bit later, at the beginning of 2014, with the idea of sharing advice and my builds. I created my own brand to have a bit more visibility, and maybe create a small community around it... Coda Effects was born!

As I made pedals, I gradually started selling my finest builds: it allowed me to continue my passion without investing too much money in it, and try riskier and more complex projects. Questions started to appear: how much should I sell my pedals? Which pedals should I sell? Is it really ethical to sell clones? How? A lot of questions which I will try to answer, with a classic "Dos and don'ts"



Dos


Take your time before selling anything
Electronics cannot be learned in one day, there are a lot of fairly complex concepts to master before creating your own circuits. At first, we usually make a lot of clones: it is a good way to learn a lot, and sell some pedals a bit cheaper than commercial equivalents. However, pay attention to the ethical aspects, check whose pedal you are cloning (is it a big company? A small builder?), and most of all keep it at a reasonable scale. Moreover, when beginning building, we tend to make small mistakes in spite of us. No rush then!

Be ethical and transparent
Today, the guitar pedal word is completely saturated by thousands of builders offering mostly the same thing, and trying to sell it with a not-always-so-honest marketing approach... Thus, there are so many "mojo", "tube-like" overdrives, which are most of the times Tubescreamer, that we cannot even count them! A transparent, honest approach is really refreshing for everyone I think, and I am very pleased to discover more and more brands with "nothing to hide", showing their circuits and strengths: vintage NOS components wired on turret boards, new technologies using digital chips, or even extreme customization with a one by one assembly system!

Create your website!
A website, an Instagram account or even a Facebook page can be a very good way to create a showcase of your work and to meet people passionate and motivated about your work. With coda-effects.com, I met a lot of different people, from the professional musician touring the world, the pedal geek with an overcrowded pedalboard or the effect collector with a lot of vintage stompboxes (like an original Maestro Fuzz!). Today, creating a website is easier than ever, so do not hesitate to make one!

Do it as a hobby
I think that it is very, very difficult to make a living from building guitar effects: margins are low, there are many competitors, it is a saturated market with hype trends that are difficult to control. The only way is to commercialize your effects on a big scale (difficult when you start, and risky), or to purpose very innovative products answering unfulfilled needs of guitarists (difficult without a deep knowledge in analog and digital electronics). However, it is completely possible to keep it as a side hobby that is completely self-financing! By selling a few effects, you can buy things to make more or them, and enjoy your hobby without spending any penny :)


Don'ts


Sell off your work
Create your own effects is very easy today, and this is a good thing! However, do not underestimate the work you do when making effects. There are many builders out there selling their work and time for almost nothing. A pedal takes times to make, you have to consider the labour force used to make it in the price. Same goes with the time you spent tweaking and designing the circuit!

Sell your "not-so-good" pedals
I have one simple rule that I use to decide whether I can sell a pedal or not: could I have it on my pedalboard? If I say "yes", then it is OK to sell it. Ask yourself: can I use it on my rig? Is it looking nice, is it easy and fun to use? Does it sound good? Is it reliable? It allow you to take a step back and judge if you pedal is salable or not.
Never, never, never sell a "borderline" pedal, with some little issues without saying it very clearly to your customers. It is very bad ethically speaking, and it creates huge trust issues with your customers!

Neglect the visual aspect of your pedals
Bare aluminum enclosures can be good to test your pedal quickly, or for your own use, but if you intend to sell a pedal, I think it is not always a good idea... It does not reflect the quality of your work inside the enclosure: why should people think that you spent a lot of time on building really nice electronics if you cannot take 2 minutes to make a nice looking pedal? Polishing an aluminum enclosure is easy, takes 15 minutes max and looks really better than the bare enclosure. There are many prepainted enclosures that have a very professional look with powder coating. Finally, with decals, or etching, you can give your pedal a nice personal look, in a very professional way!

Only make clones
Making clones is a really important part of the learning process, you always start with easy, well known circuits like a LPB1, Fuzz Face... Today, almost every pedal is cloneable (and is already cloned by manufacturers). If you only clone without trying and experimenting new stuff, there are great chances that you will not learn as much in electronics as you would when tweaking your effects: by replacing components values, you will learn more than by reading any book in the world! Moreover, you can create that way your own custom effects with the sound that you like!


To conclude: creating Coda Effects did not enrich me in a money point of view, however I really learned a lot! I discussed with amazing people, from the touring musician to the vintage stompboxes collector, I discovered new areas that were completely new for me as a biologist: advanced analog electronics, digital electronics, PCB development but also managing a website, English writing... For all these reasons, I really advise you to create your brand and website if you are into DIY effects and remember: the more you give, the more you get!

What is your opinion about building for others? Post a comment!
Did you like this blog post? Like Coda Effects Facebook page for more!
read more

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Relay bypass with anti pop system: noiseless and clickless true bypass

Did you like my post about relay bypass? At least I did, and now I use it in almost all my pedals! Thus, they are longer lasting, and we avoid the mechanical noises of a 3PDT. However, I noticed something annoying: the relay bypass makes more "pop" noises than the 3PDT, especially with high gain circuits... Indeed, relays tend to switch from one state to another much quicker than big mechanical 3PDT switches, which causes the "pop" noises to appear. The more the pedal is gainy, the more it will amplify the pop and make it louder.

So I adapted a system that I have found on Stompville that suppress all these noises. Here is the result, with a (very) simple "before and after" video:


Works well!

Beware: before reading this post, I strongly suggest that you read my post about relay bypass to understand well what relay bypass and microprocessors are about.



How does it work?

It is quite simple: when the pedal is switched on, the sound is mute to get rid of the pop! The signal will be send to ground while the relay is switching. Then, when the pop has disappeared, the pedal is "unmuted" and the pedal is on. There will be a small period of 40 ms of silence, but do not worry, in practice, you really cant tell!

In order to mute the pedal during the switching, we are going to use a photoFET. What is it?

It is a small component that looks like a mini 4-pins IC, which include a LED and a switch made by 2 MOSFET that will let the current flow when the LED is on. It is kind of a switch activated by a current, with on / off positions.
TLP222A photoFET
The LED will be lit by the microcontroller, and the MOSFET part will be placed between the part where the signal exits the effect and ground. When the LED is on, the signal goes to ground: we can say bye bye to that awful popping noise!
TLP222A photoFET
When the microcontroller activates the LED, the current can flow between the pins 3 and 4 of the photoFET and the signal is sent to ground.
When the microcontroller does not activates the LED: the current cannot flow between the pins 3 and 4 of the photoFET and the signal can go out.
Basically, we got a mute switch here!

So... Why don't we use a photoFET to switch the signal instead of using a noisy relay? PhotoFET are smaller, they use less current and are virtually indestructible (non mechanical)! However, there is one downside with photoFETs: they use MOSFETs that modify your tone! Indeed, active photoFETs have a low resistance (2 Ohms), but a quite high capacitance (130 pF). If you have read my post about cables, you know that 130 pF represents almost 3 meters of a good cable! This is not very good for a "true bypass" system!
Here, it is not a problem as we only use it to mute the signal, but for a bypass signal, that would be quite awful for instance.

Here is the schematic of this "relay bypass version 2":
Silent noiseless relay true bypass schematic
Thus, it is almost exactly the same circuit as the relay bypass circuit, except that the photoFET is connected to the pin 5 of the microcontroller, and the pin 4 of the microcontroller is connected to the end of the effect circuit.
I choose to use a TLP222A photoFET, which is easy to find, and not that expensive.


How to ?

We will use the pin number 5 of the PIC to activate the LED of the photoFET.
Beware: pin numer 4 (GPIO3) is an "input only" pin, so we cannot use it to activate the LED. You must use the pin number 5!
Do not worry, we will find a use for the pin number 4 later...

Lets open MPLab to create the header, that will be exactly the same as the one we made before in the relay bypass blog post. Create a new project for the PIC12F675, and add a header file with the following configuration:

// CONFIG
#pragma config FOSC = INTRCIO   // Internal clock of the PIC is on
#pragma config WDTE = OFF       // Watchdog Timer disabled
#pragma config PWRTE = OFF      // Power-Up Timer disabled
#pragma config MCLRE = OFF      // GP3/MCLR pin is a GPIO
#pragma config BOREN = OFF      // Brown-out Detect disabled
#pragma config CP = OFF         // No code protection
#pragma config CPD = OFF        // No internal memory protection

// Defines the internal oscillator / clock frequency (4MHz)
#define _XTAL_FREQ 4000000

If you do not remember exactly what is the role of all these parts, read my relay bypass article.

Lets switch for the code now! We have to add a sequence when the effect is going to change its state (on or off), with 4 steps:
  1. Turn on the photoFET: signal goes to ground
  2. Activate the relay : the "pop" noise goes to ground through the photoFET
  3. Wait a bit until the "pop" is completely gone
  4. Turn off the photoFET
These 4 steps will be in the code. Basically, we are going to tell the microcontroller "when the switch is pressed, turn the effect on or off with these 4 steps"

To do that, we will use a variable "changestate" that will tell the microcontroller when to change state, that we will define at the beginning of the code by writing:

    uint8_t changestate; // changement d'état (pour couper le son avec le photoFET)
    changestate=0;

    Initially, the value is 0. When the value of changestate is 1, the microcontroller will change the state of the pedal (on to off or off to on)
    On lui donne la valeur de zéro initialement. Lorsque la valeur de changestate sera de 1, le microcontrolleur activera la pédale.

    For instance, changestate will be equal to 1 when the switch is engaged (with debouncing):

    if(GP1 == 0) { // if the switch is pressed
       __delay_ms(15); // debounce
          if(GP1 == 0) {
             __delay_ms(200); // switch is off
             if(GP1 == 1) {
                changestate = 1; // changestate = 1
              }
              else {
                 changestate = 0;
              }
           }
        }
        __delay_ms(10);

    }

    Then, we will have to precise the 4 steps we have defined earlier in the code when changestate is equal to 1, depending on the state of the pedal. If the pedal is on (state =1), it is turned off, and if it is off (state = 1), the effect is turned on:

    if(changestate == 1) {
       __delay_ms(20);
       if(state == 0) { // if the pedal is off
          GP2 = 1; // activates the photoFET (step 1)
          __delay_ms(10);
          GP0 = 1; // LED on
          GP5 = 1; // relay on (step 2)
          GP4 = 0;
          __delay_ms(30); // wait for the pop to go to ground (step 3)
          GP2 = 0; // photoFET off (step 4)
          state = 1; } // pedal is on
       else { // if the pedal is on, same steps
          GP2 = 1;
          __delay_ms(10);
          GP0 = 0; // LED off
          GP5 = 0; // relay off
          GP4 = 0;
          __delay_ms(30);
          GP2 = 0;
          state = 0;
          }
       __delay_ms(20);

       changestate=0; // reset changestate to 0 (otherwise it will switch continuously)
    }
          

    if (state == 1) { // effect on
       GP0 = 1; // LED on
       GP5 = 1; // relay on
       GP4 = 0; }
    else { // effect off
       GP0 = 0; // LED off
       GP5 = 0; // relay off
       GP4 = 0;
     }
        
    It adds a small delay during activation of the effect (40ms), but while playing, you cannot tell at all. However, there is no more "pop" noise, which is completely audible!

    It works really well, and we only need to add one component! Finally, we have a true bypass system that is reliable, with clickless switches and absolutely silent!

    Here is the full code. Do not hesitate to read again the relay bypass post to understand which part does what.

    #include <stdio.h>
    #include <stdlib.h>
    #include <stdint.h>
    #include <xc.h>
    #include "header.h"

    void main(void) {
       ANSEL = 0; // No analog GPIOs
       CMCON = 0x07; // comparator off
       ADCON0 = 0; // AD ND converter off
       TRISIO0 = 0; // output LED
       TRISIO1 = 1; // input footswtich
       TRISIO2 = 0; // output TGP222A photo FET
       TRISIO5 = 0; // output activated relay
       TRISIO4 = 0; // output ground connection of the relay

       GPIO = 0; // set outputs as low level (0V)

       uint8_t state; // set the on or off state of the pedal
       state=0; // pedal off at the beginning
      
       uint8_t changestate; // changing state

       changestate=0;

       while(1) { // main loop
          if(GP1 == 0) { // if the switch is activated
              __delay_ms(15);
              if(GP1 == 0) {
                  __delay_ms(200);
                  if(GP1 == 1) {
                      changestate = 1;
                  }
                  else {
                      changestate = 0;
                  }
                  }
              }
              __delay_ms(10);
          }
         
          if(changestate == 1) {
              __delay_ms(20);
              if(state == 0) { // change to on
                    GP2 = 1; // PhotoFET on
                    __delay_ms(10);
                    GP0 = 1; // LED on
                    GP5 = 1; // relay on
                    GP4 = 0;
                    __delay_ms(30);
                    GP2 = 0; // PhotoFET off
                    state = 1; }
              else { // change to off
                 GP2 = 1;
                 __delay_ms(10);
                 GP0 = 0; // LED off
                GP5 = 0; // relay off
                GP4 = 0;
                __delay_ms(40);
                GP2 = 0;
                state = 0;
                }
              __delay_ms(20);
              changestate=0;
              }
         
            if (state == 1) { // effect on
                GP0 = 1; // LED on
                GP5 = 1; // relay on
                GP4 = 0; }
            else { // effect off
                GP0 = 0; // LED off
                GP5 = 0; // relay off
                GP4 = 0;
            }
          }
       __delay_ms(10);
    }

    There it is! I hope that everything is clear. I know it is not an easy subject, but guess what? You can ask any question you like in the comment section!

    In a next blog post, we will see how to add a "temporary mode" like in my Montagne Tremolo!

    If you liked this post, thank me by liking the Coda Effects Facebook Page!


    To go further:
    Stompville post that helped me a lot!
    Datasheet of the TLP222A
    read more

    Thursday, August 4, 2016

    Ultimate guide to guitar effect wiring: how to wire DIY guitar pedals properly?

    Your guitar pedal circuit is finally populated and ready to rock! However, you still have to solder all the wires... I noticed that it was during this step that beginners encounter most of the issues that go along with guitar effects making. Especially with veroboard, you can quickly get a huge mess of wires going everywhere in the enclosure, with the so-called "spaghetti wiring" that we all achieved at least once when starting to make guitar effects!
    Moreover, the wiring step is often the root-cause of many errors and mistakes that prevent your pedal from properly working, making guitar effects making really frustrating at the beginning. In this post, I want to show you how to make a good wiring, and what you can do to avoid mistakes.

    First of all : always wire in the enclosure! I know a lot of people are saying "rock it before boxing it", but I personally think that wiring directly inside the enclosure helps to make beautiful wiring, because you can adjust the size of the wires more easily. However, it is a bit more risky (if your pedal does not work, it will be a bit more difficult to repair), and complicated (less space). Try to wire as much as you can outside the box (especially potentiometers).


    1. Which wire should I use ?

    First, and important question of course! There are two types of cables : solid-core wires, with one copper wire inside the cable (black cable on the picture below), and xxx wires that have many copper wires inside (in red): 
    I prefer solid-core wires, because it is possible to twist them to make the overall wiring more aesthetic, or to maintain firmly some elements in the enclosure, which is super useful with veroboard plates to avoid false contacts.

    Only use isolated wires to avoid false contacts. Finally, a 0.24mm2 cross section wire is big enough, no need for bigger cables.


    2. Potentiometers and switches


    Always start with potentiometers. Thus, you can easily fix the PCB / veroboard inside the enclosure. It is very easy with PCB: just solder each lug of a PCB-mount potentiometer inside the holes on the PCB. It should look like this:
    PCB wiring is waaaay easier than veroboard, and this is one of the many reasons that make me prefer PCBs to veroboard. Indeed, with a veroboard circuit, you will have to wire each potentiometer, which quickly generate a high amount of wires (4 pots = up to 12 wires!). I will show you the technique I use to avoid a complete cable mess when using veroboard.

    We are going to use a piece of cardboard to wire the pots, that uses the same template as the pedal enclosure: drill holes the same way that you drilled your enclosure, and place the potentiometers in mirror order, as if it was inside the enclosure. Here is an example for an overdrive pedal:
    Do not forget to reverse everything, especially the legs of the potentiometers. I strongly recommend to write the name of the pots and the number of each potentiometer pin in order not to make mistakes. Then, place the potentiometers in each holes and you should have something like this:
    Once you are done, solder a wire longer than needed on each potentiometer leg that you have to connect to the board (Gain 1, Gain 2...etc). I strongly advise you to use solid core wire that will firmly maintain the veroboard above the pots and prevents false contacts that way. Another thing that could be useful to avoid mistakes: use a different color wire for each pot so you do not mix them up!
    Double check that they are no mistakes (typically, soldering Gain 3 instead of Gain 1 for instance). Place the veroboard above the pots, and start cutting the wires to the righ length, then solder them to the veroboard. You should have something like this now:
    Please check again that all your connections are correct! It is the best way I found to make veroboard wiring that are not completely messy, and avoid quite a lot of mistakes that you can make. Once you are done, unscrew the potentiometers and place the whole circuit inside the enclosure. Lets finish to wire everything now!


    3. Power supply wiring


    Simple stuff now: the power supply DC jack! Most of the times, it looks like this:
    DC jack input
    Behind it, there are 3 legs that are used to connect the power supply to your circuit. There is the ground connection, +9V connection, and a +9V battery connection that will disconnect the battery if a power supply jack is connected to the DC jack input.

    There are also metallic versions of the DC jack. They look good, but I suggest that you do not use them because they are made for center positive power supply, and the external part of the jack is often connected to the enclosure. Thus, if you use it to wire a negative center power supply (guitar pedals standard), it will create a short circuit!



    Here are the different pins of a classical DC jack:

    If you use a battery, do not forget to connect the positive wire of the battery snap to the "battery +" of the DC jack, in order not to use the battery when a jack is plugged in.

    For the wiring, I suggest that you follow this method, that is closed to the one used for potentiometers:
    1. Place everything in the enclosure: screw the potentiometers and PCB/veroboard, screw the DC jack input, audio jack inputs...etc
    2. Tin the legs that you are going to connect: fill the holes of each leg with solder.
    3. Prepare a wire longer than needed (1 cm/ 0.5 inches more is enough), tin it with a bit of solder (it helps to solder it)
    4. Solder it to the leg.
    5. Twist it with tweezers like you want (I find that square looks good), then cut it to the right length, and solder it to the PCB/veroboard!
    I use the same method for jacks and 3PDT, it is quite easy to make clean connections and an overall clean wiring with this way.



    4. Input and output jacks


    Another part that is not very difficult to wire. It exists at least 3 different versions of jack inputs: open (good for crowded builds or 1590A enclosures), closed "amphenol-style" that I like a lot, and "amp-style" that are used for PCB-mounted jack builds.
    I will show you the connections for each type of jack input.

    Open jack
    It should look like this:
    The metallic central ring is connected to the ground, whereas the small leg and the tab are connected to the tip of the jack that conduct the signal. If you are not sure, you can check it with a multimeter.
    These jacks are nice for crowded builds because they do not take that much space, however it is easy to mess it up. Moreover, they are not of very good quality most of the times, except if you go for expensive Neutrik jack.


    Amphenol type jack
    Here are the connections of this type of jack:
    I really like this kind of jack: it is hard to mess it up, and they are though as rock!


    Amp-style jack
    They look a bit more complicated because there are at least 4 connections for a mono jack... I usually avoid to use this style of jack, because they take a huge amount of space inside the enclosure. However, they are the only type of jack that you can use to mount it on a PCB. Two connections are only used to detect whether there is a jack inserted inside the jack input. It can be useful if you want to disconnect the battery when there is a jack inserted in the input.

    Solder the legs that are on the "blade" side, these are the ones connected to the jack:

    The ground is conducted by the leg closer to the input, whereas the signal is conducted by the leg that is the farest from de input.

    For the wiring, use the same technique presented for the DC jack to connect the ground to the ground of the PCB, and the signal to the 3PDT.


    5. The 3PDT switch


    If you use true bypass switching, you will probably use a 3PDT switch, which is the "error generation pack" for beginners... Take your time when wiring this little beast!


    First, I think it is really important to understand how the 3PDT switch works, read my post about 3PDT and true bypass.

    You need to make all these connections:
    I suggest that you make the connection on the top left outside the enclosure,it will be easier that way. Then, proceed like the input jacks and DC jacks.
    Be really careful in order not to create false contacts between the different legs of the 3PDT, which happens quite often!


    6. LED: let there be light


    Nearly the end! Last thing to wire: the LED.
    This drawing can help a lot in order not to mess with the polarity of the LED:
    Always wire a resistor in series with a LED, it should be connected to the +9V pad of the power supply, and to the long leg of the LED. The short leg of the LED is connected to the 3PDT. Here is a schematic:

    Usually, a resistance between 1k and 10k is fine, depending on the LED color. Indeed, blue or green LED can be a bit agressive for your eye with a low value resistor. Another solution is to use a 50k trimpot, so the user can set the intensity of the LED himself!


    7. It does not work, what can I do?


    I like to say that it never works on the first attempt, so if you are in this case, it is perfectly normal! There are many potential mistakes that you can made, fortunately there are many ways to find them.

    I suggest that you read these two posts I made that should help you to sort everything out:

    There it is!

    I hope that this post was useful to you, if you have any question, post a comment!
    If you liked this post, thank me by liking the Coda Effects Facebook Page!

    read more

    Friday, May 27, 2016

    Other Vemuram Jan Ray variants

    Since I designed my own Jan Ray circuit board, I assembled quite a few. The PCB is quite small, so I have made different variants of various sizes and colors, and I though you migh enjoy it. Here are some of them!

    Here is a Jan Ray in a beautiful "mirror" copper color:
    I could have this beautiful thanks to Dirty Fuel, a motorcycles workshop and repair chop (if you like beautiful custom motorbikes, check their website!). Indeed, the painting technique used for effects pedals (powder coating) is the same that the one used for cars and motorbikes!
     
    I find it really beautiful, it is a bit different from the classic colors that you get with guitar effects. I would be really glad to make more of them, however the oven that is used to "dry" the paint consumme a lot of electricity (like a lot), so you need to make quite a lot of enclosures (at least fifty). Moreover, the enclosures needs to be polished perfectly to get this "mirror" aspect. If you are interested to get some enclosures like this one, post a comment and subscribe to the newsletter. If there are enough people, I can try to provide some enclosures like this one.
    Inside, it is very classic, with a 3PDT, and my circuit board (blue!). I made a small series of this PCB. I am currently writing up a build document in order to offer them to sale like the Dolmen Fuzz PCB.
    Anyway, it is a really nice pedal, that is on my board now :)
    Here is another variant that I made in a bigger enclosure (1590BB), with top mounted jacks... It reminds me of my first Jan Ray clone

    I also used the "Golden Hour" sticker that I made. I placed it on the side to keep the look of the first one I have made.
     
    I worked quite a lot on this one to make it beautiful inside. I used solid core wire that is bendable to make a perfect angled wiring. I am really satisfied with it, one the most beautiful wiring I have done! However, I will not redo it, it was a lot of work to get it done: you have to get the perfect length, angle...etc

    Here it is! I hope that you like it!

    Any question? Post a comment!
    If you like this post, like the Coda Effect facebook page for more!
    read more

    Saturday, May 21, 2016

    Why you should NOT paint your guitar pedal enclosures yourself

    I know this is a bit against the concept of DIY, but the more I am painting enclosures, the more I notice that the results are not as great as a commercialy available prepainted enclosure. First, sanding the enclosure is a long and painful task and is mandatory if you want a clean surface to paint on. Avoid the long long hours spent carefully polishing your enclosure !

    Second, a lot of thin layers are required if you want a proper painting, and most of the time, the painting will still be fragile and sensitives to shocks. I got craks or scratches on the paint really quickly... Nice if you want a beaten-up, vintage, relic look, but not if you want something really clean and durable. You will end up having something similar to the first tall font russian big muff that had paint quality issue:
    Big muff tall font low quality paint
     (ok it looks cool like this I know... But imagine this on your new beautiful pedal that you spent hours to make!)

    Layers can be inequals, and if you spray too much paint, you will have an horrible painting with traces like these :
    painting enclosures damages 
    Whereas commercialy available prepainted enclosure will always look nice. Moreover, buying spray paint is also expensive. 12 euros for one can, which can certainly paint a lot of pedals, but in one color only. Finally, it is needed to say that spray painting is extremely unhealthy: if you do it, do it outside, with a mask to prevent inhalation of particles. With a prepainted enclosure: no risks.

    The price is usually 3 to 4 euros more, which is quite expensive, but for all the advantages listed above, it really worth it to me. Especially if you are going to make a few pedals, and not like a hundred !

    Remember that professional pedal enclosures are not spray painted. Most of the time, they are powder coated, which is a different technique that is not really accessible to common mortals like us. (like silkscreening). Powder coating involves a kind of spray gun that will project a powder on the object that is negatively charged (only works on metallic items). Then the object is "baked" in a very high temperature oven (very expensive too), and you get a proper, shiny, beautiful paint. It is the same kind of process that is used with cars for instance.
    powder coating
    Pedal part plus is based in the US and offers some super cool powder coating colors. In Europe, Banzai Music, and also musikding.de have powder coated enclosures at reasonnable prices and cool colors! Finally, if you want to go cheap, Tayda now makes super cheap black and white powder coated enclosures. However, they usually have some flow so maybe not perfect for a commercial pedal, but largely good enough for a prototype or a DIY pedal!

    Of course, this is just my advice for now, maybe I will change my mind later !


    You disagree? Post a comment!
    If you like this post, thank me by liking Coda Effects Facebook page!
    read more