The last project

That ugly board I posted in my first installment was supposed to be a high-end vintage-design compressor, but a few things went wrong along the way. First, I ordered audiophile resistors. For some reason, I decided that expensive resistors would make a big sound difference. I have no idea what put this into my head, but I was determined to use Roderstein resistors. I ordered the resitors online and they got shipped with my big order. When the parts arrived, it turned out that they were over twice as fat as regular resistors. When I was assembling the board, it was like stuffing hot dogs into a pencil case. Not pretty.

Fat resistors

My second mistake was in making the actual board. To make my board, I downloaded a PDF and printed it to transparency paper. I put this on top of a photo-etch board under my UV lamp, then etched it in two chemical baths. I drilled hundreds of holes and started installing parts. You start with resistors because they’re small (except in my case, see above) and then work up to the big parts. When I installed the IC sockets they seemed too big, i drilled another hole and figured I was using a different brand than the designer or something. When I finally got to installing the transformers I realised my giant error: the board was too small. Apparently the printer settings were set to “scale to page” when I printed my board (which was from Sweden and probably laid out on A4 paper). By now I had close to 50 hours into the project, maybe more, so I pressed on. I drilled more holes and ran jumpers, but it was too late. Between my giant parts and my tiny board, there were probably shorts all over the place.

I won’t even go into the FIRST project I tried to build, a mic preamp on a board I designed myself from a schematic and Analog Devices application notes. Lots of rub-on transfers and sharpie marks to create the board traces. Lets just say that one was even less successful. Or the last power supply I attempted that didn’t work before I swore off DIY for a few years.

So now here I am, several failed projects in my wake, about to invest hundreds into building a modular synth. Hopefully the last few projects have prepared me for these kits.

Even though none of them ever actually worked.

Comments (2)

  1. Ben (reply)

    August 25, 2004 at 11:54 am

    I dunno if it’s any consolation, but, if you’re interested, we have a contract with an outside company that makes it REALLY inexpensive to get PCBs printed up. Sounds like maybe you’ve already made it past that with your new kit, though?

  2. Jeff (reply)

    August 25, 2004 at 2:06 pm

    I’ve already sold the old project to finance the power supply for the new one. Thanks, though — that would have been a big help.

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Published on: 24 August 2004
Posted by: jlaity
Discussion: 2 Comments