|HOME| |DIY FAQ| |GEO FAQ| |Debugging Page| |Links| |Schematics| |Wiki| |Layouts Gallery| |STORE|
|AMPAGE| |GEOFEX| |AMZ|

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?
October 25, 2014, 09:35:32 PM
971854 Posts in 103609 Topics by 33047 Members
Latest Member: letschaochao
Home Help Login Register
DIYstompboxes.com  |  DIY Stompboxes  |  Building your own stompbox  |  What's your success ratio? FRUSTRATED 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
Pages: [1] 2 Go Down Print
Author Topic: What's your success ratio? FRUSTRATED  (Read 1548 times)
Styles
Posts: 22


What's your success ratio? FRUSTRATED
« on: April 30, 2012, 06:07:57 PM »

Hey, what is yalls success ratio for pedal building, ie fires up first try w/o any issues?  I'm about 2/7 on my latest round of builds and still debugging what should be pretty simple stuff.  Getting so frustrated I'm about to start ripping out my hair and/or smashing these things with a hammer.  ARGHAGHGHHG, my patience is being stretched thin these days!!!

Sorry for the venting!
Logged
Richard6
Posts: 22


Re: What's your success ratio? FRUSTRATED
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2012, 06:12:41 PM »

When I first started my ratio was about 1 in 10. I've thrown, stomped, and even beaten pedals with a hammer (my younger days). Now all of mine work.....eventually!!
Logged
chromesphere
Posts: 1131


Paul - Australia


WWW
Re: What's your success ratio? FRUSTRATED
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2012, 06:27:40 PM »

As far as 'fires up first go' i have found that soldering neatness coupled with complexity of the circuit usually determines the success of a build starting up first go.  I'd say, half fire up first go, roughly.  99% of the ones that dont work are soldering related these days (usually bridges). Not often i accidentally use the wrong value or stuff up polarity, happens sometimes though. 

Also, if your using pcb, the designers pcb skills come into play.  I built 3 Flap Jacks that had a ridiculously small clerance between the signal tracks and ground plane.  Shorts all over the place, it was a nightmare.  He fixed the clearance and i built another, worked first shot!

Dont feel too bad if they arent starting up first shot.  Happens to the best of us.  Refine your soldering skills is my only advise.  It IS a skill.  Even after 5 years of obsessive pedal building im still learning ways of improving my skills.

Good Luck!
Paul
Logged

nordine
Posts: 422



Re: What's your success ratio? FRUSTRATED
« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2012, 06:48:37 PM »

when i started i even questioned the very justification of my own existence
such was the amount of frustration i experienced  Grin

nowadays, if not instantly working, my pedals need about 5 minutes debug, nothing more.. and, mind you, this wasnt something i got progressively, it was something i got from night to day, when i realised i was doing things wrong FOR YEARS, and started examining my practices involving pcb making, soldering and pedal mechanization, and streamlined all unnecesary stuff, and got ahold of safe/sure practices

when making pedals, i ask myself questions all the time:

are these copper tracks neat? do they touch when they souldnt? yes - then proceed
is this copper pcb really fresh so solder will stick to it instantly? no? (sand again)
does the solder tip do its job flawlesly? if not- change, for a good quality one... be cheap, and results will be cheap
do... etc

lots of questions and auto-feedback... "am i already tired? do i need to rest?" are also very legit questions when making pedals

good luck and get you some discipline and good practices, youll do fine in short time, best
Logged
Gordo
Posts: 170


WWW
Re: What's your success ratio? FRUSTRATED
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2012, 07:49:42 PM »

It definitely comes down to solder skills and also pacing yourself on a build.  Avoid building on a deadline.  I have better luck if I take a break or shelve it for the night when I'm tired.  My success ratio has probably jumped to about 80% now and the other 20% will usually get sorted out pretty quick.  This is, of course, assuming the schematic and board or layout is verified.  On the downside the One Chip Chorus has dragged down my average  icon_redface and I have yet to build a Fuzz Face I didn't think sucked icon_neutral
Logged

Bust the busters
Screw the feeders
Make the healers feel the way I feel...
Mark Hammer
Posts: 22132


WWW
Re: What's your success ratio? FRUSTRATED
« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2012, 07:52:35 PM »

Success ratio for building something for the first time: about 1 in 5.

Success ratio for building something for the 2nd or 3rd time: about 4 in 5.

Success ratio for building something for the 4th or 5th time: about 11 in 12.

There's always something to go wrong.  You learn what it is will llikely be, bit by bit.
Logged
R.G.
more
Posts: 16212


WWW
Re: What's your success ratio? FRUSTRATED
« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2012, 07:58:45 PM »

Hey, what is yalls success ratio for pedal building, ie fires up first try w/o any issues?  I'm about 2/7 on my latest round of builds and still debugging what should be pretty simple stuff. 
Fires up first try, no issues? If you have to have both of those at the same time, I'm probably at a lifetime average of 50%, over the time from late 60s to today. What can do is get through the soldering and wiring problems quickly. I'm down to about 30-45 minutes on debugging and getting what I expected on those.

Finding design issues is another matter. I pretty much don't build preexisting designs any more at all, so pretty close to 100% of my "... STILL doesn't work!!" shrieks are little gifts I've left for myself.

As some advice, stop counting your scores. Practice your soldering, practice your wiring. Develop the attitude that the finished product is just the garbage left over from doing the work. Think about how to make solder joints you're *proud* of.  Print schematics, layouts and parts lists and mark over the parts, traces, and wires as you put them in.

Remember - you haven't failed until you give up.
Logged

R.G.

Every single NASA manned mission starting with the Gemini series has carried a roll of duck tape.
Yes, really. Look it up.
Processaurus
Posts: 2981

Ben Milner


WWW
Re: What's your success ratio? FRUSTRATED
« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2012, 08:07:33 PM »

It's frustrating, but debugging stuff is when you start really learning and getting a feel for electronics.  Without debugging and reasoning your way through the circuit it is just assembly.  A circuit that fires up the first time will usually remain a mystery in its operation, whereas one where you been through every component looking for a mistake will be part of your electronic vocabulary from then on.

Logged
oldschoolanalog
Posts: leet


leet forever!


WWW
Re: What's your success ratio? FRUSTRATED
« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2012, 09:34:27 PM »

I judge success by what sounds good enough to make it onto (and stay on) one of my pedalboards.
Honestly, most of my stuff (~80-90%) fires up and works on the first shot. Maybe 1 or 2 out of 10 (max, being generous here) sound good enough to be a "keeper". Frustrating is when something sounds "meh".
I have loads of f/x that have been put in the "strip for parts as necessary" box. The other so-so ones I just give away to friends that think they like the sound.
This really is a hobby of love.  Grin
« Last Edit: April 30, 2012, 09:44:27 PM by oldschoolanalog » Logged

Mystery lounge. No tables, chairs or waiters here. In fact, we're all quite alone.
CodeMonk
Posts: 627


Rob J.


Re: What's your success ratio? FRUSTRATED
« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2012, 10:03:04 PM »

I judge success by what sounds good enough to make it onto (and stay on) one of my pedalboards....

^^^Using that as a yardstick, my success rate is maybe 0.01%  Smiley
I get bored really easy and I enjoy the layout design and build process.
I enjoy the layout design process more than any other part of building pedals by at least 1000%   Grin
I REALLY REALLY enjoy designing boards.


These days my success rate of firing up first time depends on the circuit.

On something I have never built before...
(Success rates may be lower if I get any distractions during the build process)
If its a new layout of an existing circuit, probably about 80% - 85%.
If its an existing circuit and a verified layout, these days probably 90% - 95%
New circuit, new layout: about 75% - 80%. After verifying the circuit on a breadboard first.

I started working with electronics and on circuit boards and cables (building MASSIVE cable harnesses) since 1981.

When I first started building pedals (5 - 6 years ago?) my success rate was much lower, maybe 40% - 50%

I think I have a pretty good success rate.
But when working on a build I have never done before, I work very slowly and methodically.
Same with something I have built before, but distractions have a less drastic effect on me then.
Logged
frank_p
Posts: 2182


WWW
Re: What's your success ratio? FRUSTRATED
« Reply #10 on: April 30, 2012, 11:03:20 PM »


Bright young men of disheveled appearance, often with sunken glowing eyes, can be seen sitting at the soldering iron, their respiration kept and trying to melt the solder, already poised to feed the wire, at the pad on which their attention seems to be riveted as a gambler's on the rolling dice. When not so transfixed they often sit at tables strewn with schematics over which they pore like possessed students of a cabalistic text. They work until they nearly drop, twenty, thirty hours at a time. Their food, if they arrange it, is brought to them: coffee, coke, pretzels. If possible they sleep in datasheets near the scope. Their rumpled clothes, their unwashed and unshaven faces, and their uncombed hair all testify that they are oblivious to their bodies and to the world in which they move. These are stompbox bums, compulsive builder.... --Eliza

Logged
mremic01
Posts: 247


Re: What's your success ratio? FRUSTRATED
« Reply #11 on: April 30, 2012, 11:41:16 PM »

I was surprised when I first started doing GGG kits. Almost all of them worked, with a few mistakes here and there. I moved onto perf and made a lot of mistakes. Most of those sounded terrible, or didn't work. Now I etch my PCBs and they work 99% of them with very few needing debugging. I've only been at this for a little over a year, but I think after a few builds, you learn what mistakes you make and become more careful with those aspects of the building process. Etched PCBs help because you're in control of the quality of your etch, and a decent etching means less chances for something shorting.

One thing I found very helpful was building a few pedals to sell. With my own builds, I tend to not care as much and am less committed to having a finished product. If I know I won't be keeping a build, I tend to have a better idea of when I'm done, and the process of getting from the very beginning to a completed build becomes more clear cut.
Logged
kingswayguitar
Posts: 404


Rock on! Ben


WWW
Re: What's your success ratio? FRUSTRATED
« Reply #12 on: May 01, 2012, 12:59:39 AM »

i feel your pain....
my last 2 are still being debugged - 1 was simple the other had a crazy flip flop switch i wanted to try
but i sure love when they finally work. had a fuzz face dead bug that worked 1st try. i played it for hours
Logged

CodeMonk
Posts: 627


Rob J.


Re: What's your success ratio? FRUSTRATED
« Reply #13 on: May 01, 2012, 01:15:39 AM »


Bright young men of disheveled appearance, often with sunken glowing eyes, can be seen sitting at the soldering iron, their respiration kept and trying to melt the solder, already poised to feed the wire, at the pad on which their attention seems to be riveted as a gambler's on the rolling dice. When not so transfixed they often sit at tables strewn with schematics over which they pore like possessed students of a cabalistic text. They work until they nearly drop, twenty, thirty hours at a time. Their food, if they arrange it, is brought to them: coffee, coke, pretzels. If possible they sleep in datasheets near the scope. Their rumpled clothes, their unwashed and unshaven faces, and their uncombed hair all testify that they are oblivious to their bodies and to the world in which they move. These are stompbox bums, compulsive builder.... --Eliza



As I was reading that I thought "When was this bastard in my office/workshop?"  Smiley
I often site at my desk for 20 - 30 hours designing PCBs
Except for the coffee. I prefer tea or caffeinated soda.
I also prefer Szechuan dishes. Or pizza. The pretzels are for desert.

And I also probably get a good success rate with my own PCB designs that I etch myself.
That's probably because as I design the PCB, when I place a component, I trace 5 or 6 components backwards and forwards.
And before I place the last component, I back-trace all the way to the beginning.
It takes a lot longer to design that way, but it does save time later when it comes to building them.
I still make mistakes though.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2012, 01:25:21 AM by CodeMonk » Logged
LucifersTrip
Posts: 2617


^^ Fuzz Skull ^^


WWW
Re: What's your success ratio? FRUSTRATED
« Reply #14 on: May 01, 2012, 03:46:07 AM »

Judging by a bunch of the replies above, it seems there's a lack of breadboarding before actually soldering on a board.

I really think one of the biggest novice errors (other than not learning how to read a schematic...and just soldering by numbers) is buying a kit and soldering before breadboarding (especially if it's not a monster size circuit).

Breadboarding is a first test to see if it actually works and lets you tweak till you get it just how you like it.
It really means very little if it fires up on the first shot, if the sound is not great.  

To the OP: Looking at your previous posts here, it doesn't look like you've asked for any troubleshooting help. The members here are about as kind and generous as you're going to get, so ask away...after reading the debug thread, of course...

good luck


Logged

always think outside the box
digi2t
Posts: 2731


Burning stuff, since 2009.


Re: What's your success ratio? FRUSTRATED
« Reply #15 on: May 01, 2012, 06:34:03 AM »

Doing lots of research beforehand, definately brought my success rate up a few notches.

Breadboard FIRST... enormous help to the success rate. Especially, at times, the effect doesn't meet my expectations. So, no harm done.

Any fubar's I've encountered in builds are usually always attributed to some error of my ways during the build. With time, I've been lucky, I've figured them out.

Quatifying my success rate for the baseball fan;
Works right off the bat - .500
Works "somewhat", but minor fixes required - .250
Oh man! I really screwed the pooch on this one! (but with time, fixed it) - .250

Guess I've really lucky so far. Nothings gone to the trash.... yet!
Logged

"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
petey twofinger
Posts: 969



Re: What's your success ratio? FRUSTRATED
« Reply #16 on: May 01, 2012, 07:10:47 AM »

so it seems to me , the most important thing , besides proper technique and other points mentioned that eliminate errors , would be to develop strong debug skills .
Logged

im learning , we'll thats what i keep telling myself
Govmnt_Lacky
Posts: 4467


I'M ONLY GETTING CLEAN OUTPUT!!!!


Re: What's your success ratio? FRUSTRATED
« Reply #17 on: May 01, 2012, 07:33:10 AM »

I have to say that I honestly can not remember the last time I fired up a build and it DIDN'T work. Thats not to say that I didn't need to "tweak" it to my liking but, it has been quite a while since I have completed a build and there was NOTHING!  Grin

I always follow 2 strict and unwavering guidelines when I build:

1) I do all PnP blue PCB transfers. After I have completed the transfer and before I etch, I meticulously scrutinize the circuit point-to-point with the original tranfer to ensure that ALL of the traces are complete (no pin holes) and I have my handy xacto knife to scratch away any unwanted resist. I also scratch away unwanted copper AFTER etching. This step has kept me solder bridge free for as long as I can remember.

2) When I assemble my "parts kit" for the build, I ALWAYS triple check resistor and cap values for correctness. I scrutinize each and every resistor color code and every cap value and compare to the BOM for the build. This also carries over to the build process when I select the component to be placed on the board.

Simple steps to follow which have kept me debug-free (at least broken debug..... not tweaking to my liking  Wink)
Logged

A Veteran is someone who, at one point in his or her life, wrote a blank check made payable to The United States of America
for an amount of ‘up to and including my life.’
Mark Hammer
Posts: 22132


WWW
Re: What's your success ratio? FRUSTRATED
« Reply #18 on: May 01, 2012, 07:37:49 AM »

I also recommend starting with mods, and THEN progressing to building the whole thing.

The great thing about mods is that it allows you to completely discount an extremely lengthy list of possible sources of malfunction.  After all, the manufacturer took care of them.

Research on experts, and the acquisition of expertise, indicates that what permits experts in any field to be so efficient at what they do, is the manner in which they are able to simple separate relevant from irrelevant information and considerations.  In effect, it has the benefit of giving them less to consider.  As you acquire experience and expertise in pedal-building, you become increasingly able to develop your own list of "stuff it could be" and "stuff it probably isn't".  Of course, the irony is that when the source of malfunction does turn out to be something you thought it probably wasn't, you have those little "private shrieks" RG alluded to.  

But, those moments aside, it takes a while to develop your own "expert list" of what merits a little more attentiveness during building.  That's a big part of why I cited different success numbers earlier for whether I'm making something for the first time or the 2nd, 3rd, or 5th time.

If one is early enough in the game, then you won't have such a mental list, or else it will be so big as to hamstring your ability to efficiently troubleshoot.  And THAT is why I suggest starting out with mods.
Logged
bluebunny
Posts: 1620


Marc B.


WWW
Re: What's your success ratio? FRUSTRATED
« Reply #19 on: May 01, 2012, 08:42:47 AM »

A big +1 to all the good advice that's gone before.  (BTW, I've been "lucky" enough to be in the unbelievable high-80% to mid-90% since I started doing this again.  But I put that down to old[er] age and being methodical [read "slow"].)



But this vvv has to be just about the wisest thing you could hope to read in this thread.  Thank you -  once again - R.G.

Remember - you haven't failed until you give up.
Logged

[M][a][r][c]
Ohm's Law - much like Coles Law, but with less cabbage...
Pages: [1] 2 Go Up Print 
« previous next »
Jump to: