Update: Project Box, Reading, Bench

Need to check evergreen for box drilling! None of my friends in the area have a proper drill, and I don’t have time to go to my parents’ to drill… Maybe the metal shop?

Having a good look at the book this week, as there’s nothing else to do except wait for parts to arrive, and I’m seeing that, until later in the book and peppered here and there, there’s not a lot of information I don’t already know. I’ve read (without taking notes the first three chapters, and the useful information was in the form of a list of things to have on hand and a workbench supply list. Everything else was covering, “what does voltage controlled mean” and “what is a filter” etc, things I already have a firm grasp of, at least to the extent that he is trying to explain them. Peeking into later chapters it does look promising, but thus far I feel like I might have picked the wrong book. I hope it gets better.

Also, check one thing off the want list! My dad found a little mini chest of drawers for components.

Adding to the list:

  • tool box

DS-8 Clone Part 1


Having received the majority of a DS-8 clone from Synthrotek in the mail, I decided to get started. I say a majority, because I found out that it doesn’t come with a case, so I had to order one. I have an idea about the layout, I just have to find a way to drill into the enclosure.

I first checked all the parts with the B.O.M, they actually sent me an additional zener diode! I separated all the passive components (resistors, IC sockets) into groups into the slotted plastic project box that I have and started soldering the IC sockets and the resistors.



Getting used to using a PCB was fairly quick, I didn’t have to hold as many things while soldering which was helpful.


Half of the passive components in and I’m finding it way easier to solder at this point, bending the leads is a trick I don’t want to keep using, but for now it seems to be the best way to keep things in place with the board flipped.


All of the resistors and IC sockets soldered. Moving on to and sorting out active components. Also, looking at this picture, I think it should be noted somewhere that the IC socket notches and the board printout notches SHOULD BE ALIGNED. I did this naturally, but replacing ICs is not something I want to have to do, so the pinout should be checked at all stages of construction, and I didn’t think about it until I had gotten this far.


One thing I don’t like about this board is that the pads are tiny holes and not pads at all, meaning that there’s very little room for solder to flow around the components, and it looks like I’ve just done a horrible job with dabs of solder here and there. I don’t know if this is standard, but this board could use a handy dandy rework from that perspective. It’s hard to apply the iron tip to the very small ring around each hole.


The electrolytic capacitors were realllly hard to get out of the cardboard protectors. I hated it so much I thought to take a picture of it… Why protect something when it’s going to take a lot of handling/touching of the part to get the protection off?



Forgot to take pictures, it went so fast – all the active components in place and soldered (minus the ICs).DS8-11

One little LED, and that’s literally all I can do without a hole-y project box.

Workbench Review

All of the tools I had on order came filtering in this week, I opted to buy a multimeter from ERI instead of waiting for the one I ordered from China to come in as I need to properly test the Verb Deluxe pedal.

Current workbench consists of:

  • Weller WLC-100 40-Watt Soldering Iron
  • PanaVise Model 201 “Junior” Miniature Vise
  • A massive multimeter, bought at ERI called “MY60”, has diode checking and a transistor (PNP, NPN) checker.
  • Lead trimmers, bought at ERI
  • 1/2 lb of 23 gauge rosin-core solder
  • A screwdriver kit, needle-nose pliers, wire strippers, etc tools
  • A Dremel (bought prior to this quarter)
  • A parts sorting box

Some future purchases?

  • A whiteboard
  • A labeler
  • One of those little parts storage drawer things made of plastic
  • flux pen

Verb Deluxe Part 2

Before receiving my new soldering station, I attempted to solder a few more things. These didn’t go on well, so after wiring up the large components, I decided to wait until my Weller came in the mail.


After I got the Weller set up, I immediately tinned all the terminals and lugs. The Weller made a big difference, and soldering things was much easier due to the better tip that came with the Weller, the increase in heat output on the iron, and the ease of tip cleaning using the supplied sponge.




The above image is what my work bench looks like now. Since the footswitch made it near impossible to keep the enclosure steady, I set it inside a spool of solder I hadn’t cracked open yet. I would have used the vise, but the enclosure was both too heavy and too large.

I found terminal soldering difficult at first, because each time I would have to heat up a terminal lug a second time, the part I had already soldered would shift and sometimes fall completely out of the solder. What I did to combat this, was to simply shorten the amount of time I heated up the solder, and the rest of the build seemed to go smoothly. What follows is the rest of the build:

Modkits12  Modkits13  Modkits14

Modkits15  Modkits16

Modkits17  Modkits18

Overall, and after working on a bit of the DS-8 clone, I can say how much of a chore it actually is to wire up a terminal strip. I don’t like that the components are in the open, and I didn’t particularly enjoy soldering them directly to each other. The build instructions did not make the process easier, either, as the last bit of wiring was done after the reverb module was installed, making it difficult not to burn the thing.

After completion, the pedal worked fairly well, it had a clean output, and the reverb sounded natural.

A week later, I tested the pedal and the reverb stopped working. After looking up how to diagnose issues, I did a few tests with my multimeter and found that the voltage all over the pedal was off, but the voltage to and from the Accutronics reverb unit was the same. I’m going to have to replace some parts, as I noticed that everything has been soldered properly, the battery is charged, and no wires or parts have been disconnected or visibly broken.

Verb Deluxe Day 1

After unpacking, checking off, and separating all the components into my project box, I figured that I would complete the first few solderless steps of the construction, which included mounting the potentiometers, the switch, the mono input jack, the stereo jack, the LED, the DC power jack, and the terminals.







Even though I’m waiting for a desk vise and a new soldering iron, I prepared the Acutronics reverb unit with my Radio Shack iron and an old tip. Even though I could continue building the unit, I feel that I might be better off using the new iron and tip.





The 4th pin is shielded as it’s not used. I removed shielding from some of the wire it came with and used that.

I might continue building this without the new iron (it’s supposed to show up on the 10th).

Verb Deluxe Parts Check Off

Verb Deluxe Parts Check Off

Received the Modkits DIY Verb Deluxe pedal kit in the mail today, checked off the parts to make sure everything was there. Noticed that there is a very slight difference between brown and violet on the resistors, and I mis-checked a few. Must make sure I have the right resistor value before soldering. Tomorrow I’ll separate the parts into my project box.

Note: the Acutronics reverb unit is not a chip, it is a thick black box that will sit inside the pedal without being mounted to anything.