Basic Workflow Tips for Building a PedalPCB

Jbanks

Member
This debate has been summarized as box before you rock or rock before you box? I’ve gone both ways. I usually try it before boxing. But given various ground issues and wiring shorts in pots, you might not see a problem until you box it up. You’ll end up doing both anyways. I’ve learned that 99% of my problems are in the off-board wiring issues. Surface mounted pots have helped greatly in reducing errors in wiring.
 

DGWVI

Active member
I always test outside the box, both to make sure everything works, and to see if there's anything I may want to alter
 

Chuck D. Bones

Well-known member
I usually, but not always, get away with boxing it up first. It is very satisfying to power it up the first time in the box and have it work. But I accept the fact that sometimes the board will have to come out of the box to fix or mod something.
 

Cucurbitam0schata

New member
Just found this awesome post, thanks @Jovi Bon Kenobi ! Will be very helpful for my first build.

3PDT Breakout Boards - I'm really pumped to get my first pedal project going, and I'm waiting on the breakouts to get back in stock.

I figure it's worth the wait, so I'll just chill and be patient... But, while I'm waiting: for all you pros out there, what are your perceived advantages to the breakout boards?
 

Barry

Active member
Just found this awesome post, thanks @Jovi Bon Kenobi ! Will be very helpful for my first build.

3PDT Breakout Boards - I'm really pumped to get my first pedal project going, and I'm waiting on the breakouts to get back in stock.

I figure it's worth the wait, so I'll just chill and be patient... But, while I'm waiting: for all you pros out there, what are your perceived advantages to the breakout boards?
Are you in the USA?
 

Pissbread 2000

New member
What is all of this business about cleaning the boards and using a flux pen? I’ve built pedals for over a decade at home, and for well known company and I’ve never used a flux pen. Ever. Good quality solder and proper iron and a steady hand are all you need.

I do touch up my finished boards with a bit of isopropanol if they need it. But they usually don’t.
Adding flux is just making things unnecessarily messy.

Good tutorial otherwise. Fantastic beginners resource. I must say rocking it you box it is preferred for the less experienced builders. Building a testing box is super easy and incredibly useful.
This one is is cheap and easy, and the audio probe is incredibly handy for troubleshooting. http://tagboardeffects.blogspot.com/2014/09/test-box-20.html
 

Jovi Bon Kenobi

Well-known member
What is all of this business about cleaning the boards and using a flux pen? I’ve built pedals for over a decade at home, and for well known company and I’ve never used a flux pen. Ever. Good quality solder and proper iron and a steady hand are all you need.
Cleaning the boards before using them takes seconds and is just one small step in ensuring that you start with an uncontaminated surface, i.e. body oils, possible tape residue from when they were shipped from PedalPCB, flux residue from pre-soldered fv-1's, etc. It also makes them look nicer before you start so your finished product looks nicer. In some cases, I even sand the rough edges of the boards smooth from when they were snapped apart. So I'd clean after that as well.
With all due respect, I suggested using a flux pen because it really does make solder flow nicer and adhere better. This basic workflow thread was intended as just that, "basic". For people who haven't been DIY soldering for years. I'd reckon that some people just starting might not have a high quality iron and correct tip and not know which solder to even start with. I didn't elaborate on these points but maybe it would be helpful, though that might belong in a separate "soldering technique" thread. Thoughts?
That is an awesome DIY test box. Thanks for posting the link here.
 
Last edited:

TomShadow

Member
A soldering technique thread would be incredibly helpful. I am yet to build my first Pedal, my PCBs are on their way and I am collecting all the information I can find. On the soldering side, I am planning on getting a Weller WLC100 with a small chisel tip. A Kester 60/40 solder .020"/.50mm, a flux pen, solder wick and some blu-tack. Any and all suggestions are welcome :)
 
A soldering technique thread would be incredibly helpful. I am yet to build my first Pedal, my PCBs are on their way and I am collecting all the information I can find. On the soldering side, I am planning on getting a Weller WLC100 with a small chisel tip. A Kester 60/40 solder .020"/.50mm, a flux pen, solder wick and some blu-tack. Any and all suggestions are welcome :)
I use the Weller WLC100 and it's a pretty great iron for the price! I'd recommend the Weller ST7 tip as the smaller size is really helpful for PedalPCB boards. I think that's the same as what JBK was recommending. And I second getting the brass tip cleaner instead of the sponge.
 

mywmyw

Member
i've never used a weller, but i have a nice xytronics iron and a hakko (i think its the 8-- something. its the $100 one everyone recommends). i used the xytronic for many many years and love it, but the hakko iron has become my favorite for pcb projects. it has a much slimmer shaft than the xytronic, very easy to get in tight spaces and not burn anything. i now keep the xytronic loaded with a fat chisel tip strictly for working on guitars.
 

zgrav

Active member
I just use a 9v wall wart that I used to use for some pedals. Ideally you will want to have something at the voltage that matches what you plan to use for the pedal you are building.
 
Top