After assembling your first PCB, you must be very excited; the PCB works perfectly and you could even make it sound! Just be patient, we’ll finish the job and put this thing in an enclosure. Thanks to this tutorial you will learn how to assemble an effect pedal like a chef!
- Your kit with your electronic board finished, your true bypass ready, the jacks and the enclosure. To learn how to prepare your true bypass, read this article.
- Your soldering iron. We propose you this iron from the Japanese brand Goot, adapted for some kits from time to time.
- Tin to go with the iron! This is lead-free tin, it’s better for the environment.
- A cutting pliers! Suitable and thin enough to access the difficult areas of your box when you have your board mounted there.
- A beak pliers! If you had only taken the universal model it would be fine but with the curved model it would be even better for this tutorial!
- An adjustable spanner to fix the board to the enclosure. It will be used to tighten the pots, the switches, the footswitch and the jacks. If you have some box wrenches at home it helps too! 10, 12 and 14mm for the different diameters.
- Something to strip your cables. Lighter, cutter, knife… Or a simple stripping pliers!
- A third hand to hold your 3PDT while you solder it to the board. You’ll realize it’s very useful!
- A tip cleaner. To clean your solder with a metallic sponge.
- A tip refresher wax. If you care and want it to last.
assemble an effect pedal
There are few possible sources of errors during this stage, but caution was preferred. Thus, we apply the FX teacher method and test the pedal at each step! Quality control required!
the board and the enclosure
If you have a standard kit with 3PDT, follow this tutorial. If you have taken the softswitch and relay option, go directly to the relay step and ignore the following.
Look how beautiful it is, we promised you, no cables and no worries! The pots and switches fit perfectly on the PCB and it fits directly into the enclosure! You just have to pay attention on the previous step to solder your pots and switches at 90° from the PCB.
Then, we think about keeping the wires out of the box, so as not to be bothered later. And here we go!
- Once the card is placed in the enclosure, the various elements must be screwed in. Be careful, the brutes are leaving right away! We spent several hours soldering, now is not the time to ruin everything.
- For the potentiometers, you start by placing a washer. Then, a nut and you tighten it by hand. If you have a pipe wrench it’s great otherwise with the adjustable wrench you put yourself on it and tighten it. Be careful to always tighten by holding the element (the pot or the PCB) on the other side and not too tight! We’ re not at the garagist’s workshop!
- For the toggle switches, just the nut! And the same work.
- Be careful, the white surface does not like dirt and scratches, wash your hands well before and avoid sliding with the tools. Hence the fact that you don’t force like a bully.
We now have to combine the motherboard and the 3PDT board. So you can finally test the true bypass. It is therefore necessary to start by screwing the 3PDT to the box, then connect it and solder it to the main board.
- Start by leaving a tightened nut by hand on the 3PDT. Do not force it with a tool as this may weaken it.
- Insert the footswitch PCB card on the pins soldered to the main PCB.
- Flip the enclosure over and screw in the footswitch using an adjustable wrench.
- Soude la carte du 3PDT aux pins de la carte mère. Ne sois pas inquiet si la carte du footswitch ne s’enfonce pas jusqu’au bout des pins, c’est normal. Il y a une différence de hauteur entre le 3PDT et les potards. D’où l’utilisation des pins et de 2 PCB différents.
There you are! Your motherboard is screwed to the enclosure, the biggest is done and without effort…. Thank you FX teacher! Why don’t you go on?
softswitch and relay assembly
You have decided to buy a relay system for its performance and lifetime? Come on, let’s go! (If you followed the 3PDT tutorial, go on here)
- You followed the tutorial on the true bypass article and your kit is already soldered.
- First you screw the softswitch to the enclosure. It must be perfectly vertical! You can use the hexagonal nut with your adjustable wrench or the toothed nut that can be screwed in with a toothed pliers or stripping pliers.
- While waiting to move on, leave the board and wires on the side of the enclosure.
- Now, insert the motherboard into the enclosure and screw in the pots with a thumb wrench or an adjustable wrench. Then screw the switches by hand only and turn them a little with an adjustable wrench to make sure they are placed in a star pattern.
- You must now solder the mini PCB of the true bypass to the motherboard. It holds almost alone in place by pushing it in well then you just have to solder it.
Congratulations! We can now proceed to the test!
testing the true bypass
Once again closer to the goal! If you have soldered the 3PDT to the pins on your PCB, you can test its good functioning!
- Get your FX Teacher tester with input, output and power jacks.
- This time you won’t need to solder your input and output wires to the components. We’ll take the ones you soldered directly to the top of your card. So, the white and the green.
- Connect the testers’ ground to the G1 and G2 pins as you did before.
If the true bypass works and the LED lights up, you have done a good job. Let’s move on!
Have you ever seen an antenna? It is in some cases, a simple wire twisted on itself! In a pedal you can find the same phenomenon. The input jack has a ground, the output jack has a ground, the PCB has a ground and the box is grounded. It is therefore important to use star wiring and not a loop! This avoids creating a loop, i.e. a noisy antenna.
So be ready to follow our wiring instructions or your pedal will also serve as a radio alarm clock!
power supply wiring
- For a power jack, the long pin gives you the “+” and the short one the “-“. Do you remember that?
- Well, we solder the red wire on the long leg and the black wire on the short leg. To do this, use your nose pliers to slide through and solder on each pin.
- Cut off the excess leg to prevent it from bothering you later.
Super easy, isn’t it?
power supply testing
Go to the last test. The next one will be on stage, I promise!
To make it simple, this test is the same as the previous one except that the power tester is removed.
- Plug your power supply directly into your new power supply jack.
- Use the FX teacher tester to connect to IN, OUT, G1 and G2 as before.
Does it light up? Does the true bypass still work? Perfect! Perfect! Go on to the next….
The input and output jacks are not mounted exactly the same. For the input jack, you need the white and black wire from the board. For the output jack you only need the green wire.
We could put a ground on the output BUT it already gets its ground from the enclosure and by adding this ground you would create a ground loop.
So you can cut the excess ground wire G1 or G2 because you won’t need it anymore!
- Input Jack: the white wire that starts from the card goes to the tip, the black wire that starts from the card goes to the sleeve.
- Output Jack: the green wire from the card is to be connected to the tip of the jack, and that’s it!
Finally, we put the jacks in the enclosure! The cables are placed in such a way that they do not create tension that could damage them over time. Your spout pliers will once again be useful for moving the cables. Place them at the bottom of the box so that they do not interfere with its closing.
Outside the housing the washers are placed, and the nuts are screwed in using the adjustable wrench.
That’s it! That’s it! Your pedal is functional, you can quietly plug it in with jacks and play!
Now we move on to the dressing and fine tuning.
We turn the pots to the minimum, and we push the knobs on them. Of course we do not press them in any way, the cursor should be placed on “0”, which would correspond to 7 o’clock on a watch.
Classy, isn’t it? If you’ve made it this far, you can be proud of yourself and share this with all your friends! Otherwise you can also comment the article and call for help if you are stuck at a step….
Before closing the cover, check the documentation of your kit, there are many possible sound settings. Between the trimpot settings and the terminals, you have a choice.
We provide you a bag of components allowing you to design the pedal yourself! So we plug in the pedal to try it and then we’ll have fun testing it all!
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