Monday, 23 May 2011

ant vs. impedance problem

Spent today correcting new problems in pedals I thought were finished. Actually, not 'correcting', more just 'detecting'. Weird feedback appears - at low volume - and when I adjust the guitar's volume pot it changes in pitch. Plus disappears when I turn the pedal's volume down... But it's NOT a volume thing. I think it's to do with impedance - but the circuit is all buffered up (input and output), and shouldn't be affected by these things.
I'll consult the guru...

My Catalinbread Teaser Stallion pedal makes a feature of this syndrome, the guitar's volume control acting like a strange kind of tiny rotational theremin, but I'm not quite at that point yet.

Meanwhile, here's a photo I took on holiday of an ant struggling to pull a cheerio - which I can seriously relate to at this moment.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

waveforms/college forms

Bought an oscilloscope! A neat little thing that I have no idea how to use, but hopefully soon I'll have a clear picture of what's going on signal-wise in circuits.

Fixed the blown up Dr Freakenstein (just replaced the ICs), sent it back, got some more orders... ('orders' plural, so that means two).

AND I had an interview at a college to do a two-year electronics course. I took along a Dr FF, and Compactotron, plus the inside circuits to show them... They offered me a place on whichever course I fancied! They do project-based ones, and apparently I could say things like 'so my project will be the world's first distortion pedal with portamento'.
Analogue and digital they do, plus microcontrollers and a load of other stuff... including a health and safety module.
I have managed to get by without 'health and safety' so far, but probably only just.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Charcoal and fried board

Just got back from holiday, and raring to go.
When hanging around in airports on the way home, I'm always aware of how much I love getting back to my regular life - and that's a truly fantastic thing; I know some people who get quite depressed over the last few days of their escape...

Spain was good - lots of guitar playing out in the sun on the veranda, some reading and lots of drawing. Here are some trees on a hot hill nearby - done with my lovely charcoal pencil.
Several pictures I did took hours, but this took about 30 seconds - and I think I like it more.

A couple of packages waiting for me - one, boring parts I'd been waiting for, and one a broken Dr Freakenstein Fuzz someone had sent back. I'd got an email about it - which I'd opened very worriedly (did I fuck up in the making??). But they'd plugged in an 18V power supply by mistake and fried it - so I'm quite relieved, and interested to see what it's like inside.
Fixing it's fine (I hope), but if they do it again I'll ask them to record the sound it makes as they do it.

Actually that's pretty much the sound it makes anyway.

Friday, 6 May 2011

Smells Like Dub Spirit

I've been working on the dubstep pedal, and the frequency/voltage bit of the circuit is being very temperamental - which is odd, as it's actually part of a car speedometer; should be fairly foolproof. Anyway eventually I got it to work really pretty good - still need to iron out some bits of behaviour, then put the whole thing together (on the breadboard).

I've got to try and remember - the original idea was to do something original, cheap and quick. I'm aware that by the time the first one is finished, dubstep may be deeply out of fashion - so I need to give it a different name. Also, if you walk into a guitar shop, you don't hear many kids playing dubstep versions of Teen Spirit... Anyway, today I'm not discouraged; I'm just trying to make a new sound.

Other pedal makers seem to bring out new models every month... I've no idea how. They have a ton of different products on their websites; are they all variations on a theme (new names and artwork)?

No picture again today - I'm out and about.

Me and J are off on holiday to southern Spain for a week tomorrow - to do nothing. Except drawing, reading electronics books, playing guitar.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Intermittent broadcast

A time of soldering of large numbers of components, lots of struggling with prototypes. Dr Freakenstein Fuzzes everywhere...

Weirdly, I don't loath soldering yet. There's something mindlessly satisfying to it. However I'm getting very pissed-off with intermittent faults on the prototype breadboard; how are you meant to work out problems when the circuit is coming and going??

Weekends, bank holidays, royal weddings - all have been swallowed up in the big push to get to a new stage of Rainger FX.