A couple of questions…

Jeff M.

New member
Hi folks!
I’m pretty new at building pedals; I just started doing them this year.
I try to absorb as much info as I can and keep plenty of notes along the way, but I have a couple of noob questions:
  • I like using the 3PDT breakout boards, but I see a lot of folks skip those and wire the stomp switch direct. Is there a benefit to this, or is it just something along the lines of “Ahhh, I just do it that way since I’m used to it”?
  • I socket transistors & ICs, but since I’m not 100% confident in my soldering skills, I also heatsink/alligator clip diodes just to be safe. Easy to spot a heatsinked diode since they often look like they sit on stilts above the board! Is using a heatsink an unnecessary precaution for diodes or should I keep doing what I’m doing until I get more comfortable with delicate components? I solder at 370c and I can get in & out reasonably fast for the most part.

Dan M

Active member
I've only built 15 pedals, so I'm no expert.
I didn't use 3PDT boards in the beginning because I didn't have any. I can't think of a benefit to direct wiring, unless it is so tight that the board won't fit. I did break a footswitch by overheating it while direct wiring (I kept misaligned the wire and spent too much time with the heat applied), so in that case the board would have saved me.

I've always socketed IC's and usually transistors. I've never socketed diodes. No trouble, other than I did break a glass case germanium while bending the leads :mad:


Well-known member
If you don't mind wiring directly, you can save a bit of money on parts, and that's the only benefit of not using one I can think of. I prefer the convenience of 3pdt boards. I used to do it the old fashioned way and I don't miss it.

I've never used a heatsink and never had an issue. Nevertheless, it's probably a good idea, so if you're already doing might as well keep it up. Precaution is rarely a bad idea.

Jeff M.

New member
Thanks, guys. There’s a lot to learn, but I’m getting there!
Sometimes I think I’m a bit too cautious, but as you say, that isn’t a bad thing!


Well-known member
Always good to socket transistors and ICs Jeff you can't be too cautious

With transistor sockets you can audition different types easily and if you accidentally mix up your pinouts and put it in the wrong way round no problem turning it around

I'll usually socket until I know it works then just solder 1 transistor pin into the socket to keep it in place

I don't socket diodes unless it's for clipping and I want to try different types

The rule I use is apply heat to the pad and component leg for around 4 seconds until you see a nice solder flow and get a good connection

3PDT boards I only use if I'm building to sell it looks a lot tidier or for combo builds where it's easier to connect several circuits in series or paralell

If I solder direct to the pcb like yourself I'll use a small croc clip

So I'd say you're definitely doing it the right way


Active member
I never used breakout 3pdt boards since I never bothered to order them. I got some for free from a pcb order with a different company and they do seem to slightly speed assembly, so in the future I’ll use them if I have them but doubt I’ll go out of my way to order them.

I always socket IC’s, I don’t want to have to desolder an 8 pin or 14 pin ic if there’s a problem. I usually don’t socket transistors unless it’s something that might benefit from auditioning multiple transistors. Jfets in a preamp? Socketed. Buffers in a tubescreamer? Soldered.

Also never used a heat sink, with transistors and diodes I just try to work fast and I’ll hit one leg, then come back to the other once it’s cooled, and solder other parts while I wait. Just make sure you remember to come back to them!