Author Topic: Super Tidy Offboard Wiring - pros and cons.  (Read 1004 times)

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steveyraff

Super Tidy Offboard Wiring - pros and cons.
« on: November 30, 2017, 08:11:23 AM »
Hey guys,

Firstly, I'd like to say that I am quite OCD. I'd consider myself very methodical when it comes to my builds. I find it really reduces room for error. I keep my workbench very tidy and organised - and I pay attention to each and every solder joint.

I don't mind builders who prefer working really symmetrically and angular with wiring, but it does irritate me when I get a message from someone who wants me to build them a pedal, and despite all the effort I go to, despite paying that little bit extra for better quality parts, taking my time and all the rest - they just want to see "gut shots", and even though they don't build pedals and will be using it to play, they really want to see super neat and tidy internal wiring, as though it is some form of reflection of quality.

Recently, I've been having a go at this trend of super neat internal wiring. I have to say, as someone who receives quite a few orders to build pedals, I am finding it un-necessarily time consuming. I just end up getting through orders way slower - not very efficient. Also, I end up having to use waste way more cable than normal. Most of the wiring is now much longer than I'd normally have it, just to achieve symmetry and angles.

Surely this is just for aesthetics? I do appreciate how nice it looks, but I question its advantages. I actually found that by doing this, the wiring often has more tension - which I would personally have thought creates more of a risk of the wires straining and breaking loose over time.

Anyway - just wondering what others feel about this. Personally, my OCD side loves how it looks, but I feel like I am too busy to put that much into internal aesthetics that can't be seen on the outside and doesn't effect function and sound - and it really does irritate me when a buyer who knows nothing about the internal workings of a pedal wants it to look really symmetrical inside before they make a purchase. I feel like telling them that there is going to be zero difference in sound or performance, and it'll just take longer for them to receive their pedal.

Anyway - here was my latest attempt. I don't know how some people do it - this was the best I could manage, although admittedly it was a very busy build. Its a KoT clone with dual externalised diode switches on each side, and a high-gain mod to the right side (IC's haven't arrived yet). Sometimes I build an 8-knob version of these with externalised presence control rather than the internal trimmer. No idea how I'd keep that one as tidy though!

Fair play to those of you who can do neater, faster - I just can't seem to manage it!  ;D

Steve.



italianguy63

Re: Super Tidy Offboard Wiring - pros and cons.
« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2017, 08:24:23 AM »
I give it some thought... but, not a lot.

I feel I build for durability which I feel is more important.  For that reason, I crimp over all of my connections (jacks/pots/switches) and heat-shrink everything.  It makes it hard to do all that "right-angle" twisted-pair stuff... So, I just don't!

Putting tiny heat-shrink on LED and power jack connections is really a PITA, but I think worth it so the 9V batter(y) snap doesn't get pulled off the power jack, etc..

I hate the way 3PDT switches look when they are soldered up.  For that reason, I always use daughterboards to connect wiring to them.  Way nicer looking, and less likely to melt down the epoxy on the switch connections causing lots of lost time.

Anyway-- that is my .02!

MC

The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated -- Mark Twain

Perrow

Re: Super Tidy Offboard Wiring - pros and cons.
« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2017, 08:27:14 AM »
I tend to minimize the need for offboard wiring by layout. Route everything that's going to the switch to the bottom of the board and mount the pots on the board, place connectors for power together and as close as possible to the dc-jack.

This one is messier than most of my recent pedals as it has a battery. Really should have placed the dc-jack on the side, next to the connectors on the board.


steveyraff

Re: Super Tidy Offboard Wiring - pros and cons.
« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2017, 08:34:52 AM »
Pretty cool guys! Thanks :)

Yes - I think as we gain experience, we see ways of incorporating 'damage limitation', and implement build techniques that ensure added durability 

digi2t

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Re: Super Tidy Offboard Wiring - pros and cons.
« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2017, 09:54:14 AM »
Since I build mostly for myself, I tend to be a bit looser with the "standards". Not to say that I discard attention to detail completely, but I know that my stuff will go from the bench to the studio, and most probably stay there for the rest of their days. I will however never stray from certain mechanical certainties, such as heatshrink over in-line resistors, keeping leads as short as possible on flying components, etc. For example, the resistors and diodes soldered to the toggles in your picture, to me, it will be only a matter of time before those leads or solder joints break. Same for the LED resistors. Drop that puppy a few times, and inertia will do the rest.

I have to differ with Mark on the 3PDT switch daughterboards. While neater, I don't think that there's any mechanical advantage that can outweigh the aesthetic value. First of all, two solder joints is not better than one. Soldering the wire directly to the lug means one solder joint to deal with. Soldering a daughterboard to the switch, only to have to solder the wires on 3mm further over, makes no sense to me. The heat required to solder the daughterboard to the switch is another issue. I find that heat needs to be applied for a much longer period of time to adequately fill up the crater hole around the lug. In my opinion, there's a greater risk here of overheating the switch potting than would be if you simply solder the wire to the lug. For me, unless the switch will be part of what will be securing the circuit board, those little daughterboards are a colossal waste of solder and time. But... to each his/her own. Speaking of securing boards...

Unattached boards, that worries me more than the wiring. While some folks try with reckless abandon to shoehorn the mostest into the leastest, I prefer to have a board that's a little bigger, offering me mounting holes for stand-offs, rather than have a board floating around inside an enclosure. If that means a larger enclosure, than so be it. Don't care. For me, there's only two options; either it's a board that has board mounted pots/switches that secure the board, or mounting holes for stand-off's. That, for me, is primero over neat wiring, any day of the week, and twice on Sunday's. Amen.

Insofar as builds for paying customers are concerned, my main criteria;

1 - Does it work?
2 - Will it work after being kicked, dropped, stomped on, falling out of the back of the van, handled by (insert name of most hated courier company here), zombie invasion, 2 year old using it to hammer on his/her Fisher Price toy, etc?
3 - Is the wiring neater than anything John Schumann ever put out? (OK, that one's pretty easy to cover. I mean, is it secured well enough to endure point 2.)

Three yesses, and it's out the door. :icon_cool:
"No matter how many times I cut it.... it's STILL too short!!

Asian Icemen rise again...
http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=903467

marcelomd

Re: Super Tidy Offboard Wiring - pros and cons.
« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2017, 10:58:52 AM »
Hi,

Pete Cornish seems to be the industry standard for reliable pedalboards/multieffect boxes. Correct me if I'm wrong.

This is an example of his work. Lots of wire, but they are neatly bundled and organized. Looks like something done by NASA.



If I can't mount something to the board I try to do it like this. Also, sometimes I use flat cables. Not sure if this is bad for noise, but looks neat.

One thing you can do is build one effect in several styles, measure time taken, noise and effort. Then you show this lot to your clients, as examples, and let them decide.

EDIT:

Found the gutshot of a single effect by Cornish. Wires are bundled and protected with heatshrink.

« Last Edit: November 30, 2017, 11:03:24 AM by marcelomd »

italianguy63

Re: Super Tidy Offboard Wiring - pros and cons.
« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2017, 11:11:48 AM »
I have to differ with Mark

:)  It's why I love you Dino!!

MC
The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated -- Mark Twain

italianguy63

Re: Super Tidy Offboard Wiring - pros and cons.
« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2017, 11:13:57 AM »
Corish's stuff does very much look like avionics wiring....

(Or, MIL SPEC)

MC
The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated -- Mark Twain

steveyraff

Re: Super Tidy Offboard Wiring - pros and cons.
« Reply #8 on: November 30, 2017, 11:56:11 AM »
Cornish does great stuff. He sent me a funny cease and desist letter once. It was all typed out in caps so that I knew he was very angry, and had a lot of spelling mistakes - I guess he typed it in a fury. It was because I had a pedal on eBay and mentioned in the description that it was based on a model of his - but in the description I also clearly stated I had modified it as my own take on it. I told him it was similar to how his own version was a modified Big Muff. He never responded. Still, respected his wished and removed any mention of his name from the description.

Anyway, it definitely is very satisfying, I just don't have the time to put that much effort into the appearance of inside. As long as the soldering is done with care, and everything is safe and durable, I'm happy. I just find it odd when people buying pedals with no knowledge of how they work want it to look pretty inside. It strikes me as a strange request which I have received a few times. I think cork sniffers like showing off the insides of their pedals - maybe its their version of porn. It is kinda sexy looking to be fair...

digi2t

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Re: Super Tidy Offboard Wiring - pros and cons.
« Reply #9 on: November 30, 2017, 12:08:03 PM »
I have to differ with Mark

:)  It's why I love you Dino!!

MC

Right back atcha bro!

OK... enough of that. It's getting weird.  :icon_redface:

Cornish does great stuff. He sent me a funny cease and desist letter once. It was all typed out in caps so that I knew he was very angry, and had a lot of spelling mistakes - I guess he typed it in a fury. It was because I had a pedal on eBay and mentioned in the description that it was based on a model of his - but in the description I also clearly stated I had modified it as my own take on it. I told him it was similar to how his own version was a modified Big Muff. He never responded. Still, respected his wished and removed any mention of his name from the description.

Imitation is supposed to be the greatest form of flattery... unless the name Pete Cornish is entered into the equation, I guess. :icon_rolleyes:

After hearing that, I'm going to dump all my Cornish stuff.

Wait....

I don't have any.

OK.

I'm good.
"No matter how many times I cut it.... it's STILL too short!!

Asian Icemen rise again...
http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=903467

anotherjim

Re: Super Tidy Offboard Wiring - pros and cons.
« Reply #10 on: November 30, 2017, 12:10:47 PM »

  That shows the proper way to dress screened cable ends (grey cable). Sleeve over the screen wires and shrink over the breakout from the cable sheath. The solder terminations are not sleeved.
Myself, I only sleeve over joints when there's a big risk of shorting to something - otherwise no one can inspect the soldering.
  It also shows that, although it's inside a screened enclosure, screened cable can be a good idea for sensitive connections.

  I don't believe in tight bundling of wires. If you do it, it can cause damage if the binding is too tight or any wires are too tight.
In large installations such as a pedal board or multi-fx box, I'd use spiral wrap. It keeps the wires in the route without pinching and it can be unwrapped if it needs work.

"So lets stay within the limit of sureness: lets consider the fuses you have available and lets see what you have to do to light them up..." Farfisa Partner 15 drum machine manual.

steveyraff

Re: Super Tidy Offboard Wiring - pros and cons.
« Reply #11 on: November 30, 2017, 12:14:47 PM »

Imitation is supposed to be the greatest form of flattery... unless the name Pete Cornish is entered into the equation, I guess. :icon_rolleyes:


I did actually also mention that in the reply   :)

marcelomd

Re: Super Tidy Offboard Wiring - pros and cons.
« Reply #12 on: November 30, 2017, 12:19:15 PM »
Anyway, it definitely is very satisfying, I just don't have the time to put that much effort into the appearance of inside. As long as the soldering is done with care, and everything is safe and durable, I'm happy. I just find it odd when people buying pedals with no knowledge of how they work want it to look pretty inside. It strikes me as a strange request which I have received a few times. I think cork sniffers like showing off the insides of their pedals - maybe its their version of porn. It is kinda sexy looking to be fair...

Are you familiar with Parkinson's Law or "bikeshedding"?

From Wikipedia:
Quote
The concept was first presented as a corollary of his broader "Parkinson's law" spoof of management. He dramatizes this "law of triviality" with the example of a committee's deliberations on an atomic reactor, contrasting it to deliberations on a bicycle shed. As he put it: "The time spent on any item of the agenda will be in inverse proportion to the sum [of money] involved." A reactor is so vastly expensive and complicated that an average person cannot understand it, so one assumes that those who work on it understand it. On the other hand, everyone can visualize a cheap, simple bicycle shed, so planning one can result in endless discussions because everyone involved wants to add a touch and show personal contribution.

I work with software and I experience it every day. The trick is to put up something trivial (like font colors) for people to argue about, so they get the warm feeling they contributed to the project, while you do the real work somewhere else =)

anotherjim

Re: Super Tidy Offboard Wiring - pros and cons.
« Reply #13 on: November 30, 2017, 12:21:24 PM »
Quote
Cornish does great stuff. He sent me a funny cease and desist letter once.
How does any body find out if their name/brand is being used? Does he have a search-bot scanning the interwebs for instances of "Cornish"?

"So lets stay within the limit of sureness: lets consider the fuses you have available and lets see what you have to do to light them up..." Farfisa Partner 15 drum machine manual.

marcelomd

Re: Super Tidy Offboard Wiring - pros and cons.
« Reply #14 on: November 30, 2017, 12:29:36 PM »
  I don't believe in tight bundling of wires. If you do it, it can cause damage if the binding is too tight or any wires are too tight.
In large installations such as a pedal board or multi-fx box, I'd use spiral wrap. It keeps the wires in the route without pinching and it can be unwrapped if it needs work.

Spiral wrap is actually a nice idea, if you can unwrap easily. About bundling, notice that the last segment coming out from the bundles have generous stress relief, so things can move around a bit without stressing solder joints. A stretched wire/cable/bundle is just asking for trouble. I think the worst that can happen is some crosstalk.

EDIT because...
Quote
Cornish does great stuff. He sent me a funny cease and desist letter once.
How does any body find out if their name/brand is being used? Does he have a search-bot scanning the interwebs for instances of "Cornish"?

I know digital marketing agencies that offer such bots as a service. Maybe he does search for his products from time to time. IIRC he puts a tag with the owners name on each pedal he sells.
« Last Edit: November 30, 2017, 12:35:31 PM by marcelomd »

thermionix

Re: Super Tidy Offboard Wiring - pros and cons.
« Reply #15 on: November 30, 2017, 12:32:01 PM »
The right-angle stuff, I think of old Hiwatts, there can be some advantage to routing wire that way sometimes, but mostly it's done for looks.  The electrons don't give a damn.  Hell, they probably prefer gentle curves if you ask them.

davent

Re: Super Tidy Offboard Wiring - pros and cons.
« Reply #16 on: November 30, 2017, 01:38:17 PM »
I don't to attempt to do any wiring other then to the jacks, while it's all mounted in the enclosure. I drill a thin piece of plywood/cereal box, to match the enclosure layout, mount everything to that and do the wiring with easy access from all around the jig to the solder points.

dave
"If you always do what you always did- you always get what you always got." - Unknown

vigilante397

Re: Super Tidy Offboard Wiring - pros and cons.
« Reply #17 on: November 30, 2017, 02:34:32 PM »
I drill a thin piece of plywood/cereal box, to match the enclosure layout, mount everything to that and do the wiring with easy access from all around the jig to the solder points.

I remember seeing pictures of such a jig before. Looks like it produces very nice results.

I tend to minimize the need for offboard wiring by layout. Route everything that's going to the switch to the bottom of the board and mount the pots on the board, place connectors for power together and as close as possible to the dc-jack.

Huge +1 on that. I'm pretty lazy when it comes to wiring off-board components, so the less wires I do and the shorter they are the better. I try to design board layouts for minimal mess and possibility of error. My builds don't look like pickdropper's by any means (I haven't seen him around lately, hope he's okay), but they're much better than they used to be.
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davent

Re: Super Tidy Offboard Wiring - pros and cons.
« Reply #18 on: November 30, 2017, 03:15:03 PM »
Pickdropper's still frequent at Madbean's forum but i think a pedal company he has with a couple others may be taking up a lot of his former build time.

Leevibe is another name to look out for at Madbean but he may have been, maybe pickdropper too, Phoobucket casualties.

dave
"If you always do what you always did- you always get what you always got." - Unknown

Rixen

Re: Super Tidy Offboard Wiring - pros and cons.
« Reply #19 on: November 30, 2017, 03:17:37 PM »
I try to think of ability to assemble and disassemble without having to disconnect anything or stress wires, so I will choose an edge of board and enclosure that will become the hinge point where it will 'unfold' and select the wire lengths and paths to pass through that both assembled and disassembled..

end of the day, it's your build and you get to call the shots on how far to go to please the customer (or yourself for that matter)

http://www.rixenpedals.com premium pedal enclosures