Sunday, 3 December 2017

AB utility box : A new approach

So I've been designing / building this thing off and on for about a year now (mainly off haha). New PCBs arrived the other day, this thing is up to v1.4 (me making stupid errors on the boards and also not understanding how the particular attiny85 module works). I made it all fit today and just wrote the code for it.
PCB Front

PCB Rear
OMG it actually all fits into a 1590B

This is an AB box that can do [A] and [B] or [A] or [B]. A and B means that both loops work off their respective footswitches [A] toggles [A] and [B] toggles [B]
A and B mode in with red LEDs
[A] or [B] means that [A] footswitch will turn on [A] and off [B] and [B] footswitch will turn on [B] and off [A].
One button change over.

Switching between loops
Switch between the two modes is done by holding down either button for 750ms ( I may adjust this)

This is built on a digispark attiny85 module. It's using Neopixel LEDs so it only needs 1 data pin for full RGB LEDs. The code is written in the Arduino IDE after installing all the necessary digispark drivers etc.

This came about more as a testing rig thing for my test board (quickly switch between pedals to compare A to B ). What do you reckon about the cyan and magenta LEDs? Took a bit of fiddling with values to get them looking nice.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Builds #379 - #408 Russian Doom Machines (RDMs)

I have been pretty busy lately. Far too buys to write blog post. I hit pedal number 400 in my last lot of RDMs. These green machines are becoming quite popular. This is my take on the classic Big Muff Green Russian. I have added a few little mods in the form of a diode clipping toggle switch and a mids scoop, flat, boost switch. Also I'm using higher gain transistors in the input buffer amplifier and the output recovery stage after the tone stack. Gives it that extra little bit of doom!

Anyway. Here is a bunch of pictures of me building 30 of them.
40 x RDM PCBS ready to fill with components
The 100NF caps used in RDMs. I recently used this image for a competition to win a RAD. It was a guess how many thing. 234 was the right answer.
40 x RDM PCBS parted out and ready to go into boxes
30 x 1590BB enclosures ready to be drilled
Cider and drilling

30 x drilled enclosures. About 1.5 hours work. I have a drilling template that makes a huge difference in speed.

More cider and off to the powder coat station.

Out Gassing in my custom modded oven

Powder fully cured on the first one

Two Down
Applying Decals

That's a lot of decals. This took about 2 hours

All graphics on and powder coated clear for durability
Ready to start assembling
Hardware all mounted ready to drop boards in and solder up
Gut shots of the RDMs all ready to be tested
Another angle of the guts
The platoon of DOOM
Doom as far as the eye can see

Working vs not quite working. Sorting out the problem children

Putting the backs on
Dated and numbered

Putting the backs on with a little help from a minion. 2 years old and can already do righty tighty.

Heading to the for sale shelf. A big box of doom

BUY ME!!!!

Edit 22/11/2017

I have some of these left and they are available to purchase. They are $96.66USD + Shipping from New Zealand.

Email :
Facebook :
Instagram : @peperspedals #peperspedals

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

0 to 345 in 3mins. All my builds to date 6thSeptember2017

I took some time recently to hunt out pictures of all my builds. I found most of them in various places, old cloud storage, emails, PMs stuff like that. I managed to get photos of pretty much all of my builds. I'll add in the holes as I can. Looking back at old builds is great. It's great to see how far I have come with my builds.

Bring on the next 345!!!

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Designing a better 3PDT Daugther board


3PDT Utilty -  Panel of 4 Daughter boards x 10 (minimum order)

3PDT with LED Ring - Panel of 4 Daughter boards x 10 (minimum order)

Every pedal builder knows of the 3PDT stomp switch. It's pretty much the staple for true bypass effects. 3 Poles and 2 Throws. 2 of the poles are used for bypassing the effect and one of the poles for the indication LED. I'm not going to go into bypass methods as that's another whole rant. Many of the big name companies use them as well as most of the "boutique" (hate that word) pedal builders and most of the DIY home builder folks like myself. There are good ones and bad ones and in between ones. Usually you get what you pay for.
A typical 3PDT stomp switch
These switches are great..........but hand wiring them can be a drag and take up valuable time. Also on the cheaper ones if you have the iron on too hot and for too long you can melt the epoxy holding the switch contacts and basically ruin the switch. I'm all about making it easy for myself finding ways to improve my methods and speed stuff up. Heck in the last 4 months I made 105 pedals and this isn't my full time job. To make it easier and faster to solder up these guys some clever people have developed 3PDT daughter boards. For years I didn't use them, then one day I got some on a whim. I was forever sold on using them. Such a great time saver. There are now many pedal PCB shops that sell these little boards, delyk, Fuzz Dog, GuitarPCB to name a few.

A year or so ago I was just learning how to panalize in EAGLE and thought these would be a good starting point to make up some panels. Since then I have gotten about 400 or so 3PDT boards made up and I have been using them since them with great success.

I was having a think one day and decided to make a utility version of the beloved 3PDT daughter board. One that could be used for more than just bypass. Say for instance you have a pedal that you want to have 2 x gain settings on and a bypass on foot switches. I would have had to hand wire the gain pots to the switch and the bypass on a daughter board. Until now...

First of all I had to draw up the schematic. It has my Interlink part as previously seen in the blog. Also I had to make a special SMD part up for a bridging pad. Two small SMD pads with a 0.3mm gap between them so a blob of solder makes the connection. I just took a part from the sparkfun library and modified it to suit.
The Schematic

Once in schematic form I switched to the board and routed it. I like to keep nice big fat traces on the audio path and V+ rail where I can.
PCB Routed out ready to panalize
In Gerber viewer

Why is this a better 3PDT board than others?

Because you can use it for True bypass OR as a DPDT switch with 2 x LED indication. And here is how.

Setting it up for bypass is easy. Just chuck a big blob of solder on the two pads circled in the picture below. The bottom pad joins poles A and B together for the bypass part of the bypass. The top pads join the bypassed input signal of the effect to ground. I do it this way to ground the effect when not in use. for the LED in the configuration use the two pads that are circled at the top right of the board. The CLR and a Power Protection Diode are also installed on the board
Setup for Bypass

Setting up to use a switch is also very easy. Just don't bridge the pads. You can see in the picture below which pads the contacts of the switch end up on. This time and Dual colour LED can be hooked up to the three LED pads and indicate either switch state

Setup as DPDT with LED indication 
So with that one done and dusted I thought why stop there. There have been a few pedals around with these new LED ringed 3PDT switches. They have a built in LED ring that lights up. They look quite good. I haven't used them on any of my builds but a fellow builder has. I was designing PCBs for this guy and thought hey why not do some daughter boards that you can use with these switches. So I did.

So sticking with the same formula I drew up some more PCBs
In Gerber viewer

Just like above they are setup the same. Bridge the pads for bypass with the exception of a 3 way pad to wire to the LED
For bypass
For use as a DPDT with Dual LED indication
With the PCBs all drawn up I then put as many as I could onto a 100mm x 100mm panel.

My method of panalizing is probably the slowest but it works for me. What I do is make a copy of the .BRD file into another folder which severes the connection between schematic and board. I then draw 1.016mm or 40mil line on the milling layer for a milling cut. I also made a custom part of a row of 7 0.5mm hole to make the mouse bites. Once I'm happy with the milling lines and mouse bites on one of the boards I select the whole lot and copy it, Then I paste a copy and line it up with the original. Rinse and repeat to fill a 100mm x 100mm panel. I process the board in the CAM processor and then have a look at the gerber file. Adjust anything that needs adjusted and reprocess. You'll notice in the below screen capture of the board there are a mix of PCBs. 10 x 3PDT 2 x Miniature 3PDT and 4 x LED ring 3PDT . I'm going to do a post on how I panalize at some stage in the future. The boards are currently in production at DirtyPCBS

Panalized board put into the Seeedstudio gerber veiwer

For anyone that is interested here is a dropbox link to my switch library  PP-Switches
Here is what they look like in EAGLE. The outline is in the "TEST" layer so they don't appear on your processed Gerber