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Thread: adding reverb to spot meant for tremolo, badly bent leads :(

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    adding reverb to spot meant for tremolo, badly bent leads :(

    Started figuring out where the components will go, to add reverb on this deluxe frankenamp. Thinking back, I should have bought the whole kit, reverb and all and just left the tremolo parts out. Mea culpa. Toyed with the idea of removing everything and starting over with a full deluxe reverb board, didn't think it was worth it.

    Everything seems to fit not too badly except for one 0.003 uf cap that goes to the reverb pot. I had to bend the leads around quite a lot to get this cap to fit the existing eyelets.

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    The wiring isn't all in yet, but would this cause a problem with the leads bent around like that? I haven't seen other builds with leads bend this much. There is one other cap that goes to the PI in this amp with bends but not so badly bent. Should I go back to the drawing board? I did order a pack of eyelets and a staking tool but Id have to remove the whole board to work with it, and that's a lot of unsoldering/resoldering.

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    Old Timer Tom Phillips's Avatar
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    The lead bending itself is not a problem. The electrons don't care if they travel a winding path.

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    Thanks Tom.

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    I will say that there was no reason to add a couple curves. I would have moved the cap closer to the eyelets, and just sent the wires direct to the hole - like angled 45 degrees rather than the extra corners. The electrons don't care, but the longer the wires are, the more freedom the part has to wiggle around. Wiggling leads to wires snapped off from metal fatigue. If you like the way this looks better, no problem, but I would put a dab of silicone sealer under it to hold it in place.

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    Education is what you're left with after you have forgotten what you have learned.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Enzo View Post
    I will say that there was no reason to add a couple curves. I would have moved the cap closer to the eyelets, and just sent the wires direct to the hole - like angled 45 degrees rather than the extra corners. The electrons don't care, but the longer the wires are, the more freedom the part has to wiggle around. Wiggling leads to wires snapped off from metal fatigue. If you like the way this looks better, no problem, but I would put a dab of silicone sealer under it to hold it in place.
    Enzo, ok, Ohh (duhh) got it, thanks <slapping forehead>. I couldn't picture it, but got it. Don't need the extra 90, just flip it up and into the hole. Shorter leads. Yes, can do, thanks. I don't care how it looks, but very concerned about how it will work, and hopefully not, but ... malfunction.

    My worst skill so far is still navigating the soldering iron tip. So, I went out of the way to put stuff in a place so I could muscle the soldering iron tip in there without melting anything. Had that problem in a few places earlier. (dang, melted a wire. Take all apart, put in new wire ... dang, melted a different wire, ...) I will re-route the cap, thanks.

    (Now if I can only get the house empty for 1/2 a day so I can open up my tiny office, put the fan in the window, and finish soldering this thing up).

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    Supporting Member Randall's Avatar
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    I like the ground bus copper.

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    It's weird, because it WAS working fine.....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Randall View Post
    I like the ground bus copper.
    Thanks Randall! Some path to get here, but this is working better than I had thought. Thanks to you for posting photos of your awesome builds for me to model!

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    The rest of the parts arrived a few days back, reverb tank, tubes, reverb transformer, and a few discrete components. (along with a fender style handle for the top). Its been bitter cold, too cold to put my makeshift fume hood exhaust out the window. Warmed up nicely this week, so with any luck channel 2 will have reverb by this coming weekend!

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    Old Timer olddawg's Avatar
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    Do you really get that much fumes? If you have a stove with a hood you can always put a piece of plywood on top of the stove top as a bench surface and turn on the hood fan?

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    Quote Originally Posted by olddawg View Post
    Do you really get that much fumes? If you have a stove with a hood you can always put a piece of plywood on top of the stove top as a bench surface and turn on the hood fan?
    Hi OD, to be honest, almost no fumes at all. A tiny puff of smoke sometimes when the rosin burns, but if I wander around the house, I don't notice it.
    My wife, on the other hand, is paranoid about "the chemical smell", so if I close my office door and open the window slightly, I'll hear from downstairs "Are you SOLDERING up there????"
    So the makeshift fume hood is mostly (99%) a peace keeping thing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikepukmel View Post
    I'll hear from downstairs "Are you SOLDERING up there????
    Answer: "Soldering? Heck no honey, I'm smoking hash!" That oughta get a rise out of her...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Leo_Gnardo View Post
    Answer: "Soldering? Heck no honey, I'm smoking hash!" That oughta get a rise out of her...
    Oh man, Id be sleeping in the back yard!

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    How to Connect shields on RCA jacks for wiring to/from the reverb tank.

    Worked on the amp 1/2 day yesterday, unfortunately the Mrs got home when I was soldering (big frown). Almost there with the reverb mod's.

    Newbie question for the gurus on how to solder up low end RCA jacks: I got these cheesy RCA plugs: https://www.tubesandmore.com/product...or-type-3501mx
    Did not look at them carefully before purchasing. There is no solder tab for the shield. I found a youtube video where the guy stripped a fairly long piece of the inner conductor, tinned it, pushed that all the way in until it stuck out the end of the jack tip, then just put a little solder on the end, and cut the piece of wire hanging out the end.

    OK, but for these jacks, what do you do with the shield wire? Just by sheer dumb luck I had bought shielded wire that fits into the end of these jacks with a little bit of an interference fit unstripped. Should I leave the shield hang out over the insulation, twist and solder just a bit on the outside of the plug? The shield must be connected someplace?

    A related question: if the shield is connected on both ends of both cables then won't there be room for a nice big ground loop? I think that one of the shields should be connected on both ends so that the reverb tank itself will have the case grounded to the amp chassis. So, should I connect one cable shield on both ends, and the other, the shield on the amp end only?

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikepukmel View Post
    Worked on the amp 1/2 day yesterday, unfortunately the Mrs got home when I was soldering (big frown).
    Mike, with the fan in the window, don't forget make up air. Hard to get any air to move out without a way for more to get in. I had a latch for my shop door to the garage for a one inch opening when I ran my exhaust fan.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikepukmel View Post
    leave the shield hang out over the insulation, twist and solder just a bit on the outside of the plug?
    That right there, exactly. Don't worry about ground loop here, Fender never did, how many millions in service with no complaint? DO make sure you mount the tank with the output end away from the end of the chassis with the power transformer. Of course you can place it "backwards" for a quick experiment to hear how much hum you'll pick up, then you'll know why you want to place the tank right way 'round. I use these RCA plugs all the time. Bigger fancier plugs just stick out the back too far and inevitably get damaged.

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    Thanks Leo! Can't wait to get this finished and give it a listen!
    Re mounting output away from PT, thanks, will do.
    Do you solder the shield to the outside of these teeny plugs?

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    Old Timer Leo_Gnardo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikepukmel View Post
    Do you solder the shield to the outside of these teeny plugs?
    Yes, luckily the metal takes solder easily. If you want to be doubly assured, place a dot of solder on the plug first, you'll see it stick to the metal and spread a little. Then take your tinned shield braid & solder it on there, should take 2 seconds.

    Some folks try to copy Fender's method, and spread the shield wires 360 degrees around the whole plug. Good for you, those who can manage to do that. It isn't necessary, and if the wire is plastic insulated between shield and signal wire, likely that insulation will melt before the task can be completed. Who wants to remove, re-strip, clean up the plug to try again. Not me! Been there, done that, got frustrated, now I don't do it anymore. Keep It Simple, Stupid! is what I tell myself. And anyone else who will listen.

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    Old Timer Tom Phillips's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikepukmel View Post
    ...how to solder up low end RCA jacks: I got these cheesy RCA plugs: https://www.tubesandmore.com/product...or-type-3501mx
    Did not look at them carefully before purchasing. There is no solder tab for the shield. I found a youtube video where the guy stripped a fairly long piece of the inner conductor, tinned it, pushed that all the way in until it stuck out the end of the jack tip, then just put a little solder on the end, and cut the piece of wire hanging out the end.

    OK, but for these jacks, what do you do with the shield wire? Just by sheer dumb luck I had bought shielded wire that fits into the end of these jacks with a little bit of an interference fit unstripped. Should I leave the shield hang out over the insulation, twist and solder just a bit on the outside of the plug? The shield must be connected someplace?
    Mike,
    You have described the basics to solder shielded wire to the old style RCA phono jacks. However, the technique requires practice and good soldering skills as well as good wire with insulation that wonít melt during the soldering. Yes, the shield is soldered to the outside of the connector. Iíll add a photo of the finished vintage Fender assembly if I can locate one.


    Quote Originally Posted by mikepukmel View Post
    ...A related question: if the shield is connected on both ends of both cables then won't there be room for a nice big ground loop?...
    In general itís a potential path for a ground loop. However, it doesnít cause a ground loop in this case because the ground path is interrupted at the reverb tank connector. That is, if the correct reverb tank configuration is used.

    Cheers,
    Tom


    Note that the old style RCA phono connector is not really necessary unless you want to duplicate the vintage style Fender reverb cable construction. In that case, for the correct look, you would want to use the vintage style coax wire with heavy the bare braded shield. For practical purposes on new builds or repairs it is easier to use pre-fabricated cables with right angle connectors. They are inexpensive and, of course, donít change the sound.

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    Thanks Leo: yeah, simplest thing I can do, that will work. I will twist and solder the shield on the outside, in one spot as you suggest. I barely remember what the vintage cables looked like, will google them, but yeah, no reason for me to try something that requires that much skill!

    Thanks Tom: Re premade cables, I wasn't sure what to buy. As you wrote, something like 20 bucks for pre-made, wasn't sure if they'd fit, so I bought stuff to make the cables myself. We'll see how badly I melt things and maybe end up buying premade anyway. The replacement meter is on its way, so should be able to test the home made cables this week, as well as get a better idea what the bias is on this amp.

    I didn't look carefully, but it sounds like the reverb tank doesn't connect the shield all the way through? Still too worried Im going to break something. The tank has 2 pieces of shipping foam, one over the springs and one under. The outer one slides out easily, but Im worried Im going to ruin something getting the one under the springs out. Its sitting under a storage bench where I can't damage it.

    The tank has mounting holes, but I bought a bag as well (is the bag for vibration?). Do you guys slide the bag over the tank, and punch holes in the bag to put a loosely coupled mount on the tank so it wont flop around if someone tips the amp over (like slightly longer screws that don't hold the tank down tightly)?


    Akkk, should a bought right angle connectors. <frown>

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    Old Timer Leo_Gnardo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikepukmel View Post
    Im worried Im going to ruin something getting the one under the springs out.
    Lift the springs carefully with a pen pencil chopstick whatever, and slide that foam out. Don't throw those foam blocks out, they may come in handy some other time for instance mounting pickups (says mister never throw anything away.)

    The tank has mounting holes, but I bought a bag as well (is the bag for vibration?). Do you guys slide the bag over the tank, and punch holes in the bag to put a loosely coupled mount on the tank so it wont flop around if someone tips the amp over (like slightly longer screws that don't hold the tank down tightly)?
    First cover the open side of the tank with a rectangle of corrugated cardboard, you can razor cut one from a discard shipping box. Then plug in your cables, slide the tank into its "sock", use a couple screws (washers help distribute pressure so you don't tear the sock material) at each end. You can tighten the screws fully. That's all that's needed in most applications, again straight out of the Fender standard operating procedures.

    Don't sweat angle RCA connectors, they're really no better. I've seen many of them damaged, plus you can't easily bend the shell "fingers" to grab the panel connector tightly. Late 70's on plastic angle plugs started to show up factory installed on Fender and other amps. There's nothing superior about them except they save time in factory assembly. Just another so called "solution" that's worse than the problem it's trying to solve.

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    Thanks Leo!

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    Finally got the right board in. Due to my own mistake, I ordered another non reverb board. Got that in, figured out what I did, then ordered the right board. Got that in. Turrets are awesome! Everything sits up high, like a jeep with those big tires.

    Pulled the components off the old board, carefully, straightened them out trying not to ruin them. Reformed the parts, soldered them in to the new board. Drilled mounts for the new board, dry fit (akkk one pin is off a little, will have to file one hole out a bit)

    Removed the huge mess of solder, wires and lugs near the input jacks.

    Cleaned up the new board a bit, re-measured all of the resistors to make sure I didn't screw up putting the parts back down. Almost close enough for folk music.

    Ran out of time this weekend . Next weekend: double check the wire routing, mount the board, solder up the board to the pots, jacks, and socket pins.

    The good thing is, the NEXT Deluxe Reverb AB763 I build will go MUCH smoother!


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    I ran out of blue wire for the bass pot wiring. I wonder how red will sound.
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    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikepukmel View Post
    I ran out of blue wire for the bass pot wiring. I wonder how red will sound.
    Red will sound hotter. Blue is a "cool" color. Red is a hot color. It will sound "hot". Not necessarily higher gain, but thermatically. It will SOUND like a higher temperature because the COLOR of the wire is similar to fire, which is hot.

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    Old Timer Leo_Gnardo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck H View Post
    Red will sound hotter. Blue is a "cool" color. Red is a hot color. It will sound "hot". Not necessarily higher gain, but thermatically. It will SOUND like a higher temperature because the COLOR of the wire is similar to fire, which is hot.
    You bet, another well known hmmm, "fact." The hi fi nuts know enough now to avoid black wire, it's obviously bad for the sound. Red on the other hand, for the guitar crowd, can be a very positive thing. Red wire, yeh that's for high voltage, must do something good for the guitar signal too. And everybody knows red amps are louder. Red guitars too. And your guitar's louder when you use a red pick. It is possible to overdo it though. When everything you play comes out sounding like King Crimson then you know you've gone a step or two too far.

    Gotta wonder whether this works for color blind guitarists?

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    It is easy to joke, but this is important. As you know, red color is from longer wavelengths of light.. And light is part of the electromagnetic spectrum. But what makes the light longer wavelengths to appear red to our eyes is that the molecules of the red wire are longer. And longer molecules can align easier, resulting in smoother flow of electrical current. And that is why the red wires sound better, especially on bass notes.

    Ever notice how on many two way speaker systems, the woofer is wired with a red and black, but the higher frequency tweeter had a blue wire? This is because the tweeter need higher frequency sound, and thus shorter wavelengths. Blue has shorter wavelength than red.

    For some reason Peavey chose to wire their woofers with blue wires and the tweeters with red. This results in a sound with less emphasized bottom end and a less pronounced high frequency spike. Fender on the other hand used black and white wires for speakers. The result is a less colored sound than speakers with red and blue wires. Compare a Fender Twin Reverb with a Peavey 5150. See how much less distorted the black and white wires make the Twin compared to the 5150?

    It's all right there in your physics book.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Enzo View Post
    It is easy to joke, but this is important. As you know, red color is from longer wavelengths of light.. And light is part of the electromagnetic spectrum. But what makes the light longer wavelengths to appear red to our eyes is that the molecules of the red wire are longer. And longer molecules can align easier, resulting in smoother flow of electrical current. And that is why the red wires sound better, especially on bass notes.

    Ever notice how on many two way speaker systems, the woofer is wired with a red and black, but the higher frequency tweeter had a blue wire? This is because the tweeter need higher frequency sound, and thus shorter wavelengths. Blue has shorter wavelength than red.

    For some reason Peavey chose to wire their woofers with blue wires and the tweeters with red. This results in a sound with less emphasized bottom end and a less pronounced high frequency spike. Fender on the other hand used black and white wires for speakers. The result is a less colored sound than speakers with red and blue wires. Compare a Fender Twin Reverb with a Peavey 5150. See how much less distorted the black and white wires make the Twin compared to the 5150?

    It's all right there in your physics book.
    That's it, Im gonna start all over, tear out all that wire and put in all red!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Leo_Gnardo View Post
    You bet, another well known hmmm, "fact." The hi fi nuts know enough now to avoid black wire, it's obviously bad for the sound. Red on the other hand, for the guitar crowd, can be a very positive thing. Red wire, yeh that's for high voltage, must do something good for the guitar signal too. And everybody knows red amps are louder. Red guitars too. And your guitar's louder when you use a red pick. It is possible to overdo it though. When everything you play comes out sounding like King Crimson then you know you've gone a step or two too far.

    Gotta wonder whether this works for color blind guitarists?
    Cool, I could sound just like King Crimson just with wiring changes?

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    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    back to Mike's question about bends in the component leads:

    I see an awful lot of turret board and eyelet board amps being built today by DIY types who appear to stress the layout's visual appeal as a most important trait. In those builds you tend to see components that have ultra-straight leads that are wired taut from one anchor point to the next, as that creates a layout that is visually appealing. what's interesting bout this is that it's absolutely the wrong way to wire up a turret board. it seems that some of the nuance associated with the old military spec wiring techniques is becoming lost as inexperienced DIY builders mimic other inexperienced DIY builders. in some cases it gets so bad that it looks like the blind are leading the blind.

    proper old-school milspec wiring techniques require a gentle S-curve to be placed into the component leads, so that expansion and contraction of the leads during thermal stress does not create tension where the leads insert into the passive component. the idea being that the curved shape of the lead allows room for expansion/contraction without tugging on the component itself. in some respects that sort of wiring technique is similar to using an expansion joint in concrete to avoid cracks.

    I've seen some other pretty lame attempts at turret board wiring, like this thread at TGP that popped-up when I was looking for photos to illustrate the "S" shaping that I mentioned in the preceding paragraph:

    http://www.thegearpage.net/board/ind...hnique.693587/

    In that thread, the OP asked which soldering method was proper, A or B:



    My response would be that both are dead wrong. both A and B amount to bad technique, where someone is treating a turret as if it were a tall eyelet.

    The proper way of wiring up a turret is to wrap the lead spirally around the turret to provide stability at the point of attachment. Optimally, the wire lead should be left long enough when it is clipped so that it sticks out of the solder joint, to allow the next guy to use a pair of needle nose pliers to grab the lead for removal when de-soldering. But nobody does this any more. Everybody tries to make things look "neat" and as a result their "neat" projects become unnecessarily difficult to service later on.

    Interestingly, there are stories that quite a few Fender amps that went out the door without having solder on some of their terminals, and the amps worked properly for decades in spite of having no solder on the connections. That just goes to show that a well-made attachment is based upon a solid physical connection, not using solder as glue.

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    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    Absolutely right! The ideal is that there is metal to metal contact and the solder is conductive only for the purpose of not getting in the way. It's intended job being to hold already connected things in place. And yet I trust the conductivity of solder all the damn time. I make eyelet boards. On an initial build I under bend component leads so there is always lead to eyelet contact. Then after soldering I snip off the excess. BUT... Once the build is complete and the board is mounted, if I need to make changes or effect service I don't suck the eyelet clear and lift the board to make the same under bend in the new component. I do like the rest of us, including you. I pre bend and snip the component leads to reach eyelet to eyelet, heat the solder and just stick them in. I usually put a dot of fresh melt flux core on the joint to flow it. According to your rundown above this is entirely wrong. Don't lie though. I know you do it too

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  30. #30
    Old Timer Leo_Gnardo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob p View Post
    Interestingly, there are stories that quite a few Fender amps that went out the door without having solder on some of their terminals, and the amps worked properly for decades in spite of having no solder on the connections. That just goes to show that a well-made attachment is based upon a solid physical connection, not using solder as glue.
    Not just stories, I've had actual encounters with a few of these. And not only Fender but surprise - McIntosh! In Fender's case, on very rare occasions, say 2 or 3 over the course of decades, a board or tube socket eyelet someone just forgot to solder. Wire ends crammed into the eyelet, no bend, no attempt at a good mechanical connection, as they do. OTOH, McIntosh did have mil spec wire bent into hook and crimped, or wrapped around a terminal post, then oops no solder. Makes me wonder how may owners passed these amps along, maybe having experienced intermittent noises or signal dropouts, until someone - me - had a look inside and fixed the problem.

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  31. #31
    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    Right! I forgot to mention the other job solder is doing. It insulates the contact from oxygen. Unsoldered contacts will typically fail prematurely because of oxides on the contact surfaces. That's why jack and switch contacts are plated with something more durable than tin and less prone to oxidize than copper, tin or brass.

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    "...less ear-friendly but handy for jazz." Leo_Gnardo

    "A pedal, any kind, will not make a Guitar player more dangerous than he already is." J M Fahey

    "Now get off my lawn with your silicooties and boom-chucka speakers and computers masquerading as amplifiers" Justin Thomas

    "A shot gun delivers a force that exceeds the operational range of most systems, such as pumpkins." Antigua

  32. #32
    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck H View Post
    Don't lie though. I know you do it too
    I avoid doing that when I can, but sometimes there's just no way around it.

    I prefer a different approach.

    When I have a turret board if there is a tiny part of the lead sticking out then I'll grab it with pliers, heat the turrent and give the lead a quick spin to unwind it. Then after doing both sides I'll just pick up the loose component; if there is no lead sticking out, like when somebody spins the lead after cutting it, and then solders it so that they have a smooth post, then I'll just clip the lead at the body of the passive component, remove the body, and then use the pliers and heat to unspool the lead from the turret. Nothing surprising so far.

    When I have an eyelet board, I'm not one to just heat the wire and push it through the hole while the solder is molten, if I can avoid doing that. What I try to do is to clip out the old part, leaving it's leads in place, and then use the old lead as a turret and folding it down and then clipping it when I'm done. Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn't. When it doesn't then I have to fall back to the cheating method you've described.

    I prefer building on turret boards and terminal strips because I inherited a boatload of turrets way back when, and I prefer a mechanically strong connection to the so-so mechanical connections that you get with eyelet boards. But I don't ever use the hole in the turrets like a socket, as shown in those illustrations. Although I've repaired a lot of eyelet board amps and I've populated a few eyelet boards for other people by request, I've never fab'd a board using eyelets. I just don't like them. Fender used them because they were a fast and cheap way to build an amp, not because they were the best way to build an amp.

    If I'm building a one-off design then I'll just use straight rows of turrets or terminal strips and jumper them as needed. It's a very rare case that I'll spend the time laying out a custom turret board layout because it's very time consuming.

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    "Stand back, I'm holding a calculator." - chinrest

    "I happen to have an original 1955 Stratocaster! The neck and body have been replaced with top quality Warmoth parts, I upgraded the hardware and put in custom, hand wound pickups. It's fabulous. There's nothing like that vintage tone or owning an original." - Chuck H

  33. #33
    Supporting Member Steve A.'s Avatar
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    In defense of eyelet boards...

    Quote Originally Posted by bob p View Post
    Although I've repaired a lot of eyelet board amps and I've populated a few eyelet boards for other people by request, I've never fab'd a board using eyelets. I just don't like them. Fender used them because they were a fast and cheap way to build an amp, not because they were the best way to build an amp.
    I do think that eyelet boards are great for one-offs and prototypes — cut the vulcanized fiberboard to size, draw out your design, drill the holes and secure your eyelets. IMO a big step up from the perfboard that people like Ken Fischer used...

    I do agree with you that the technique leaves much to be desired for production line amps. I do like how Howard Dumble built his amps on eyelet boards made from G10 FR-4 Garolite or a Formica-like wood grain material. I do see one possible advantage with the Fender method using a blank sheet under the eyelet board: they were able to keep the components and on-board wiring very close to the chassis which might reduce noise (although in modern high gain amps I can see how that might possibly introduce noise as well, at least in theory.)

    Diff'rent strokes for diff'rent folks, I guess...

    Steve A.

    P.S. Speaking of fiberboard it is cheapest by the sheet which is pretty darned big. With PayPal and on-line USPS shipping labels available these days perhaps the "buyers clubs" which didn't always work out so well at AMPAGE back in the day could be resurrected for items like fiberboard.

    If someone lives close to a distributor they could pick up the full sheet and cut and ship it to members here who placed pre-orders, marking it up enough to pay for their time. I think that many if not most of the desired sizes would fit in the padded USPS flat rate envelopes to keep shipping costs down.

    I think that in the past the game plan was for, say, pickup makers to buy 1,000 magnets and then sell off half of them in 100-lots so that they were essentially getting their 500 for free... a bit cut-throat but what the heck, everybody usually came out ahead.

    If anyone lives close to a distributor I would be interested in buying some since I don't have a lot left.

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    Last edited by Steve A.; 03-13-2018 at 02:33 AM.

  34. #34
    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve A. View Post
    ... With PayPal and on-line USPS shipping labels available these days perhaps the "buyers clubs" which didn't always work out so well at AMPAGE back in the day could be resurrected for items like fiberboard.

    If someone lives close to a distributor they could pick up the full sheet and cut and ship it to members here who placed pre-orders, marking it up enough to pay for their time. I think that many if not most of the desired sizes would fit in the padded USPS flat rate envelopes to keep shipping costs down.
    I haven't organized a group buy since the Midway Magnetics transformer group buy blew up in my face. That was 15 years ago. Rather than repeating those headaches, I just pay more to buy what I need for myself. That way I avoid the headaches.

    One of the problems with organizing group buys is that you don't only end up coordinating a purchase for all of your friends on the boards, you always end up dealing with a lot of people that you don't know. People who lurk on the board and never post will come out of the woodwork if someone takes the time to put together a really good deal. Then instead of just dealing with people who you know and trust, you end up dealing with total strangers who want to get in on the deal. Eventually everyone and his brother is trying to get in and you end up having to spend your time worrying about details for people who you don't even know. And those people always end up placing unrealistic demands on you. It's worse than trying to sell gear on CL.

    To make up for all of the effort that's involved in coordinating a group buy, most people who organize group buys end up doing what's called a "Texas Split." That's where there's a profit built into the group pricing so that whoever does all of the work coordinating the buy ends up getting his widget for nothing. Stupid me, I didn't do that. I just collected enough money up front to pay for two legs of shipping heavy transformers to me and then out to everyone else, and when there was money left over I refunded it to the people who had overpaid. When I received two identical transformers where one looked better than the other, I always shipped the better looking one to the group buy guy, just to make sure everyone would be happy. It didn't work. No matter how much effort I spent on the project there was always going to be someone who was unhappy for one reason or another. And in the spirit of no good deed going unpunished, no matter how hard you worked to put a good deal together for everyone, there's always going to be one guy who's unhappy and makes a big stink about it.

    The first time I did the group buy things worked OK. The second time Midway Magnetics filled my order with factory seconds and rejects that were so bad that the group members didn't want them. That put me between a rock and a hard place. I was stuck with iron that nobody wanted, and to get a refund Midway demanded that I spend $200 to ship their rejects back to California. I ended up blowing most of the iron out at a loss on ebay.

    I've had no enthusiasm for repeating that experience. Today I avoid the headaches. Now I just pay whatever it costs to buy what I need and I don't waste time trying to save a few pennies -- and I wouldn't buy iron from Midway Magnetics if my life depended on it.

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  35. #35
    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    Steve, you're still in the bay area, Ca. right? I know there's a couple of industrial shops in Santa Clara that do G-10/FR-4. It's been so long ago I don't remember the name of the company, but I bought my sheet of material as a scrap. Slightly off of 4'x4' because of some custom request they filled that had them cut a full sheet. I got it for $60 and I've built every amp I've ever done with the stuff and there's still plenty left! Anyway... Worth looking into. The industrial and fabrication stuff in all those city crossover points (think near fairgrounds or along hwy237, etc.) in the bay area is full of opportunities if you call and ask. Just open a phone book instead of going on line because a lot of those sorts of shops have no use for a web presence. They don't sell widgets to the public, they sell custom shaped raw materials to local contractors. Heat treating, aluminum fabrication and all kinds of stuff. I think I even tracked down a magnetics company that had done some guitar amp transformers once. These small-ish shops are busy enough they actually DON'T want people placing on line orders, but they're usually amicable with walk ins. It's a real good ol boys, brick and morter mentality.

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    "...less ear-friendly but handy for jazz." Leo_Gnardo

    "A pedal, any kind, will not make a Guitar player more dangerous than he already is." J M Fahey

    "Now get off my lawn with your silicooties and boom-chucka speakers and computers masquerading as amplifiers" Justin Thomas

    "A shot gun delivers a force that exceeds the operational range of most systems, such as pumpkins." Antigua

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