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Any DIY pedal builders on TB? Strut your stuff!

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by SubHuman, Jun 26, 2020.

  1. AudioTaper

    AudioTaper Supporting Member

    Sep 23, 2018
    Love the artwork!
    Fuzzonaut likes this.
  2. Fuzzonaut


    Aug 27, 2013
  3. ficelles


    Feb 28, 2010
    Devon, England
    I've been thinking of building that one... I built the Echo Blue delay and made the dirt control footswitchable so I can kick in overloading the PT2399, there's a bit of a leap in volume when you hit it but it sounds great. Dirty delays are cool :)
    Fuzzonaut likes this.
  4. mdalamond

    mdalamond Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2012
    SE , North Carolina
    Tonight’s project. Just finished it up and fired it up. This one is going straight on the board. Julian didn’t have anymore kits and was kind enough to sell me the pcb and the box. He said he doesn’t usually do that but made an exception for little ol me. This sounds great. I really like the Grunt switch. I need to source a better foot switch, all I had was a X terminal. Not a very smooth foot switch but I do most of my switching by midi with an ML5 anyway so it will just stay on most the time.
    4747C6BD-AB0F-4909-A3ED-D632FFB12B7C.jpeg 7322BFA6-52EE-45CB-A84A-FFF9A92855C3.jpeg
  5. Thanks to all of you, I have a new pet Siberian Hamster. Meet Marvin, he’s a pure-bread Filigree Siberian Hamster!


    I bought the L’il Mouse PCB from BYOC a couple years ago. Last February’s Chinese New Year, I thought it appropriate to finally do something with it for Year of the Rat. I set aside all the bits needed to build it up in its own little project tin, and then the whole world turned upside down for everyone.

    Fast forward to the waning days of the Year of the Rat (following the Chinese Lunar Calendar, it ended earlier this month), and a bunch of people are having wayyy too much fun in a thread here on TB (I won’t say which one, but I think you know very well…). So I dug out my old soldering iron — using it is like threading a needled with boxing gloves on, but it can and does work, just not as well as my solder-station.

    Hand-drilled the cheapo-enclosure ‘cause my drill-press is kaput, and I didn’t have time to head over to my friend’s Atelier to use his press: so the holes aren’t as precise as they should be, but precise enough that everything fit, barely.

    Note how the jack hovers over the DPDT :whistle:

    Added 2N5817 polarity protection
    LEFT WHISKER: Clipping Switch SPDT on-off-on
    UP: Stock 1N914 /
    CENTRE: Turbo red LEDs (socketed so can try op-amp clipping or mixnmatch colours) /
    DOWN: Fat Rat BS170/BAT41​
    RIGHT WHISKER: Tranter Fat Mod Switch #2 (Retains Rat tone while retaining some bass!) DPDT on-off-on
    UP: Bass
    CENTRE: Stock

    Meant to add a minimum gain resistor, but forgot :banghead: and was too far in when I remembered. This bit me in the butt when I was first testing it and got... nada. I was bummed. Then I remembered — the Gain has to be turned up a bit, duh… ahhhh…success! Some more mad-mod-kajiggering and … dead. You’d think I’d have learned from the first time the Gain was down, and I did ‘cause the gain was up — I got clean sound but it wasn’t Ratting little Fuzzballs out the speakerage — well, these fuzzer things work much better when testing if you click the 3PDT to "on" :oops:. Hey! I didn’t have the LED installed yet, cut me some slack.

    I used a 1590A pot-helper daughterboard, which indeed helped a lot, when it wasn’t hindering things like fitting switches.

    TONE-POT (Filter-whatever)
    Swapped some tone wires around, got it wrong so went for the easiest fix with the least amount of desoldering and re-soldering — one wire — and…
    it behaves just as I’d intended, with turning clockwise giving more treble, and counterclockwise cutting treble (I can’t say it gets more bassy CCW). 
Some mods call for 50k with an associated cap swap, I opted for a B100k to the stock A100k.

    GAIN: Stock A100k, cause I forgot the dad-gum-min-gain-mod-resistor. Didn’t want to try a 500k mod I’ve seen, will try that another time with more space, but mind... 500k might make it more difficult to dial it in.

    Bumped up the input 22n>220n, coupler before transistor 22n>220n and output 1µ>2µ2. I’ve read doing so does jack-all, that the real place to tune the rat is those filters where you stick the Reutz Mod… but I’ve also seen some much Bigger Values on other peoples’ mods. It can't hurt, can it?
    C8 4µ7 Tantalum… I was going to make it a 2µ2 Film Cap, ‘cause that’s still plenty big and higher fidelity… but I chickened out and put a stock value but tantalum for arguably better sound than electrolytic, and to SAVE SPACE.
    Caps for Tranter Mod #2: Tantalums to save space.
    LM308’s slew cap: went with 33p with a 60p trimmer, just to experiment with, haven’t dialled it up to 93p yet. Stock Rat 30p vs some mods suggesting as high as 100p, so I can get close to that.
    C9 3N3 bumped to 4n7, shoulda monkeyed the associated resistor a little too, but didn't.
    C6 on the BYOC schematic calls for 1µ, it’s some power filtering for the 4v5, I bumped mine up to 2µ2.

    RESISTORS: All stock, except of course the Tranter Sw, and the CLR I dropped to 2k2 from the recommended 4k7. I was going to put in a Bi-colour LED (red=off/blue=on), but changed my mind to just a simple bright-white 5mm.

    IC: stock LM308 — I’ve got some of the metal-cans, but I didn’t even try to fit them under the lid, so plastic DIP Chip.
    Q1: stock 2N5458. Socketed, can try a 5459 or whatever...

    JACKS: Had to clearance the IN jack so the DPDT Tranter switch wasn’t shoved around.

    Marvin’s Eyes: Got a bunch of Googly eyes in different sizes to mod a pair of sneakers; for Marvin I opted large&friendly as opposed to tiny-beady.
    Marvin’s Nose: Thought I had pink, I didn’t have pink, and red was too dark, so I went with light-orange.

    SOLDER-MASK: before I started a trace looked like it was lifting, but turned out to be just the solder-mask. Could’ve left it but decided to nail-polish it (didn’t have any SuperGlue).

    Rat Fur: A large off-cut donated by my Amp-guru, he gave me enough to breed several more Siberian Hamsters. I gave the enclosure a little bit of a skirt, to hide the plate. Didn't want to cover the plate, as I want a good surface for pedal tape.

    I’ve played other people’s Rats, very briefly, but never owned one. Since it’s my first Rat build, I thought I shouldn’t get too crazy with mods and parts-value substitutions, hence the stock 100k for all the pots. Yet, I still went a little crazy and every time I did my mentor-friend tried to reign me in (‘cause he thought I was building it for our mutual guitar fiend, uhm friend. As noted, I still managed to bump up some cap values for bass).

    Next time:
    - Remember the minimum gain resistor;
    - Use a lot less wire, it doesn’t need to open like a book as shown in the instructions;
    - Plan better (some of my solder-springs weren’t needed — some work-arounds could’ve been avoided — things forgotten this time wouldn’t be next time…)
    - Don’t use thick-goopy adhesive that squeezes out the wrong end when the smallest bit of force is applied, use appropriate glue media to affix material to enclosure.
    - Even out the volume between clipping positions; Add a resistor to the LEDs, do whatever other little tricks I’ve seen in the past. I don’t mind the volume bump, but I can see where it could catch a person off guard if the switch gets bumped or you just plain forget to lower the volume.

    I really liked the sound of the Turbo’s LEDs, then the stock 1N914s and lastly the Fat Rat’s MOSFET and Shottky. Interestingly, that’s the same order of volume loudest to softest. I didn’t get to crank it in earnest, though, and while normally I test everything with my DB, thus far I’ve only tested the Hamster with my YooBaSS, and it’s a completely hollow body and wants to feedback BIGtime, more than my DB. ;-D

    The Tranter switch is more subtle than I expected, but that could be due to the neighbour-friendly feedback-fighting volume I was playing at. There is a distinct difference, just not a dramatic one; also, as the bass is bumped it causes all that much more distortion and upper-order harmonics that comes with extra gainy-wool. So while it’s bumping the bass, it feels like its bumping the upper mids and highs, too. Hard to describe, no way of providing you with sound-clips.

    Well, since I’ve got a few odds’n’ends out for this build, and a discounted blem-1590B enclosure I found online just arrived — may as well keep the solder flowing…
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2021
  6. G.Bisson


    Feb 26, 2009
    Thanks for your build report! Found your description of clipping options helpful. I was curious about MOSFET clipping option after seeing it on Beavis Audio's Mightier Mouse mods. I finished my Rat build a few days ago and will post my findings in the next few days.

  7. Looking forward to your findings!

    A 10k trimmer would be a good way to reign in the LEDs, but by the same token, you'd have to make sure the LEDs' forward voltage was still higher than the other clipping options or reduce clipping options to two (not including op-amp clipping). It's NOT that I DISlike the Fat Rat clipping, but from everything I've read, I really expected to like the Fat Rat clipping the most, yet it was my least favourite — at least for now, 'til I get a chance to open the throttle. I have a gig in a week, and may get to do so.

    I've always wanted to try Beavis' Mightier Mouse, as well. This is similar only in that Beavis is using MOSFET and a low forward voltage diode, an IRF520 with Ge diode attached to the IRF X 2.

    For anybody not familiar with Beavis' mod, here you go:

    Diagram Courtesy BEAVIS

    (As Beavis mentions, there's something about watching those LEDs light up. When I was testing the Filigree Siberian Hamster out of the box, I was mesmerised by the red LEDs flashing as I played :wideyed:. Seen it dozens of times in videos, no big deal, but when it's you yourself doing it... I'll definitely have to build a pedal with clipping LEDs on the OUTside of the box.)

    If I understood the Fat Rat's clipping arrangement correctly, I've got a single BS170 and Schottky as its anti-parallel partner. So it's asymmetrical.
    BAT41: anode to ground
    BS170: drain to ground, gate and source connected

    image.png 1N270 shown, but should be BAT41, TBOMK. Add LEDs in the middle and that's what I've got.
    Diagram courtesy FSB

    The IRF 510/520 are huge, and there's no way I'd have been able to feed them to the Hamster, even if there were no other clipping options.

    As mentioned in the build report, I'll try pulling the LEDs for some op-amp clipping and I'll try various combos of Green Yellow & Red LEDs, too.

    As for the op-amp, I do have an OP07 I can try. I couldn't hear any difference in online shootouts between it and the LM308, but maybe in the distant future with the backing plate off, and my friend's golden ears, I'll do some "hot swapping" between the OP07, LM308 and LM308H and see if either myself or my friend can hear a difference without any Internet in the way.

    It's funny: when I first got into pedal-building and was amassing parts for all the crazy ideas I was planning, one of my first purchases was IRF520, specifically to do the Beavis clipping mod — so I've got these IRFs sitting around collecting dust and I finally build a Rat and ... still haven't used the IRFs. :laugh:
  8. mdalamond

    mdalamond Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2012
    SE , North Carolina
    Tonight’s project. I picked this up as a new kit from a member here on TB. Left over surplus, so I picked it up for a good price. Haven’t had much time with it yet. Just got it together and fired up. Fairly simple build but I’m not sure I care for the way BYOC does their kits. Nothing labeled and everything heaped in a bag. Had to sort everything before I started. But everything was there and the instructions were clear. Fired up first try. So many more projects on the horizon. Brass master coming soon. 9E28F183-EB87-4B71-8532-A0E65ADB3194.jpeg F9A691A2-1450-4FD1-9D59-359DA22F8F28.jpeg
    cosmicevan, JoeDaddio and Fuzzonaut like this.
  9. mdalamond

    mdalamond Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2012
    SE , North Carolina
    Today’s project isn’t effects but it is pedal related and it was a DIY. Just thought I would share . Made screen protectors for my H9s, Stomp and MC6. Didn’t take to long but you must take your time and not rush when drilling and cutting or else you will crack it, hmm , ask me how I know . Lol. I would like to find a different way to mount to the MC6. I had to use 3 layers of clear double faced tape. Looks kinda cheesy but it’s functional. These can be bought by another individual on line and he uses the same manor of mounting. I have a friend that works at a glass shop that’s going to give me some 1/4” Lexan. That won’t be as easy to work with. I got this stuff at Lowe’s and it’s pretty much score and cut .080 acrylic. It will serve the purpose for now.

    83BB621E-0B83-448C-BB86-A1DD8EA63632.jpeg E9354212-0C63-4998-82C3-0951C9256EA9.jpeg
    cosmicevan and JoeDaddio like this.
  10. Agreed. I'm not keen on the way BYOC labels PCBs. It's fine if you just want a pedal and don't care about modding or understanding how it works: just put a 100n cap in where the PCB says 100n cap... but there's 5 x 100n caps and I want to mod it for bass. Which is the coupling cap in the signal and which is the 100n for the LFO?

    You have to dig in the BYOC forums, but the info is there. For example, the L'il Mouse I just built...

    Even searching with Google can't find it.

    I had to ask a mod on the forum, he was great, but why not make the information more easy to find and save posts/PMs about this sort of thing.

    Build Your Own Clone Message Board • View topic - Distortion PCB Layouts


    That pic should be included in the otherwise thorough instructions.

    I mean you can figure stuff out with the schematic in hand and following the traces on the PCB — but it's time-consuming.

    I'm sure if they put the schematic labelling on the PCB instead of the parts' values, somebody would complain that it takes too much time and back-and-forth with the schematic and PCB in hand to determine where to put what.Different strokes...

    Sorting through the BYOC bags is a good time to learn the resistor codes and cap codes, make sure you don't put a 102J in where a 104J should go...

    MD, two things:

    1) The lexan-plexi looks great. FYI in case you don't already know, there are bits for Dremel etc specifically meant for cutting that stuff (and glass and just about any other substance, they'll have a special bit for it). Even with the special bits/blades — due-care is still required when making the cuts/holes. ;) As you know.

    2) Did you or will you perform any mods to your PMBC ?

    New Byoc Parametric Multi-Band Compressor.
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2021
    cosmicevan and JoeDaddio like this.
  11. mdalamond

    mdalamond Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2012
    SE , North Carolina
    Yes, I do plan on doing some mods . Especially the power filter mod. I have previously bookmarked that post. I came across it while researching the pedal after I bought it and while waiting on the mailman. That post is chocked full of great info. That is the first of many compressors to come I believe. .
    JoeDaddio likes this.
  12. JoeDaddio

    JoeDaddio Supporting Member

    I'm colorblind and have terrible eyesight. A bag full of parts all mixed together sounds like an aggravating afternoon for me :roflmao:

    mdalamond likes this.
  13. mdalamond

    mdalamond Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2012
    SE , North Carolina
    yes and the resistors are tiny. I think I blew my old eyes up. Thankfully I have a lighted magnifying glass mounted on the bench but still, sheesh.
    JoeDaddio likes this.
  14. disssa


    May 6, 2009
  15. mdalamond

    mdalamond Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2012
    SE , North Carolina
    Inspired by others in this post to do better on the art work. Russian Green Muff.
    cosmicevan, Fuzzonaut and davelowell2 like this.
  16. mdalamond

    mdalamond Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2012
    SE , North Carolina
    Another great job Disssa. I bet it sounds incredible.
  17. G.Bisson


    Feb 26, 2009
    Rat built on GGG pcb into a 1590B.
    Purple glitter on high gloss black. First of many coats was painted by my daughter. Finish was inspired by her glitter glue that I had to scrape out of a coach and my jeans.
    Socketed the diodes, but their position sandwiched between electro caps makes it tricky to swap them out so I haven't experimented with changing them yet.
    Socketed the resistors for Reutz mod. Wired B1K pots clipped to a multimeter and plugged them into the sockets. Here were some settings that stood out:
    47 & 560 ohms: stock values, plenty of mids.
    100 & 560: similar to stock but tames the highs.
    270 & 560: softens highs and mids.
    560 & 560: squishy stoner doom. Cool.
    560 & 810: mushy and muddy, for sludge dwellers.


    cosmicevan and Fuzzonaut like this.
  18. G.Bisson


    Feb 26, 2009
    At quick glance the Voodoo Bass and Rat look a lot alike with LM308 opamp and 1N914 clipping diodes. I built each using stock values and put them in a side by side matchup to compare. At high gain they sound a lot alike. At gain below 3oclock the Voodoo Bass changes into an amp like distortion and the two pedals sound very different.
    They also have a tonal balance that makes it hard to get a apples to apples comparison. Voodoo Bass has a mid scoop and the Rat has plenty of mids. I could find similar settings on the tone knob, but they werent identical.
    Stock versus stock, I like the Voodoo Bass more for the low gain versatility.
    I removed the second pair of diodes in the Voodoo Bass and replaced them with jumpers to try to get closer to a rat sound. At high gain, it sounded even closer to a Rat. At low gain, the Voodoo sounded loose and flabby. I didn't like it.
  19. bass-shy


    Jan 11, 2005
    20210125_234754.jpg 20210228_143226.jpg
    cosmicevan, Fuzzonaut and mdalamond like this.
  20. bass-shy


    Jan 11, 2005
    cosmicevan, Fuzzonaut and mdalamond like this.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Apr 16, 2021

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