Home Forums Show Off Your Build Best Ever O.D. – A step at a time…

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    I thought I would share the final stages of preparation in regards to testing a final board before release.

    Forum participation will likely yield more or less detailed results depending.

    1. Soldering the board in steps according to height.

    Phase One: All resistors, diodes and pF value caps is what I like to do first. You will note that there are still places for D1, D2 & D7, D8 unpopulated. I will do these next along with the IC Sockets since they call for the smaller 3mm LEDs to be used for clipping.

    Special thanks to BruceR. for the super tight layout that will fit into a 125B depending on skill.

    I will update later with Phase 2.

    Anyone notice what we are doing now with the In and Out Pads?

    Thoughts or curiosities?


    Big O

    I solder the components in a slightly different fashion.  I usually solder the centrally located components first and then work my way outward.  This gives me a chance to more easily anchor down a component to the board while soldering (such as using a heat sink clip).  Also, for me, soldering components center to the periphery makes it easier to get the soldering iron tip closer to the component being soldered with less or no interference from nearby components already on the board.




    @ Robert – Very Cool – agreed there are a lot of ways to fish and I am glad to see people reading the forum.

    For testing on a final board before release for me it is slow and one component at a time.

    No other thoughts or curiosities out there?


    The only thing I’ve started doing recently that seems to make completion much faster is I go through the BOM and make a list by value

    So starting with resistors as Barry does I
    list each amount by value greatest to least eg 10 x 10K, 6 x 1K, 3 x 22K and so on

    Making a list like this

    10K – R2, 3, 7, 9, 12, 20, 21, 22, 24, 26

    Then I populate the greatest amounts first

    This isn’t a new idea some BOMs are listed like this already but I found populating 4 of the same value at a time I got through my builds a lot quicker and it drove me on seeing 10 resistors soldered on quickly and as you go down the list it spurs you on when you see you’ve only got 3 x 2K2, 2 x 470K and a 100R to go


    @ Billy I also do the same value as I go down the BOM. If I come up on 10K next then I do all the 10K and in the case of a verification build I take my time and triple check everything.

    So aside from soldering styles etc.. is anybody seeing any other elephants in the room?



    Bruce R

    Great idea Billy! When people order kits from Pedal Parts and Kits, the bag for each resistor value shows the location of all of that value. I agree it makes it very easy.

    FWIW, I typically wire short items first, followed by taller items, so resistors and diodes (except LEDs), sockets, then the shortest ceramic and box caps, etc. I guess pretty similar to Barry’s method.

    Barry, I’m as excited about this project as you are. I can’t wait for you to fire it up and make a demo. I’ll be ready to carry it in my kit store as soon as you send some over. This thing is going to be one of your Best, umm, Ever! LOL


    Bruce is putting a white square on the “T” pad to make it more visible.  GREAT IDEA!!


    Forgot to say I tick it off on the printed BOM as I go as I’m sure everybody does

    But yeah when its a brand new baby you’ve got to take extra care

    As Ray says the white box on the tip pads is a great idea and I’ve noticed Barry boy has made it fairly obvious with big red arrows what goes where in the build docs

    That said I’m sure in the excitement of getting a build finished we’ll still get the odd T in ground pad error to keep us going, its our bread and butter innit

    I’m really happy to see you all posting you are all like old pals to me although we haven’t all met

    I reckon after all this madness we should pick a city and all meet up for some shenanigans and lotsa beer

    Me and my 2 sons are going to Berlin like we’ve been saying we would for about 3 years after all this hopefully stops

    Make sure you all take extra care and I hope one day we’ll all get together as Barry’s wee gang of desperados



    Well Bruce,

    Denver is just about in the middle (almost) of the USA.  So, maybe I’ll host a GPCB convention here?  We could include a live concert at the famous Red Rocks Park.  Barry enjoyed it.  We also brew my favorite Coors Light beer along with about 400 other micro-brews.


    Big O

    I also check each component off the list after soldering it to the board.  I also double check each component with a multimeter or semiconductor tester before placement on the board to avoid placing a bad or wrong component before soldering.  When first started pedal building, I was real OCD and used to lay out all components on a piece of paper after I comfirmed the resistor values.  See below (Barry, notice anything in the upper left of the picture – I was going to invite you to State College for a meet up and treat you to a beer the weekend of the Central PA Arts Festival this year but that doesn’t look its going to happen).

    Getting ready to build my first ever pedal, a Ge fuzz face.

    I am not so OCD now, except I check out continuity throughout the building process to avoid going back and having to resolder.


    @ Robert: Awesome I am available for Beers whenever this whole thing blows over. I bought my Grand Funk Red album at Arborias when I was like 25 on a chance. One of the best album purchases I ever made. Oh and that is the tidiest shop area I have ever seen.

    @ Wilkie, Billy & Bruce: I am available for many Beers whenever this whole thing blows over!

    On 2nd thought Wilkies is the tidiest shop area I have ever seen which includes a refrigerator full of Coor’s Light

    OK Back to the other yet unmentioned elephant in the room.

    The name of the board is Best Ever OD w/ 3 ICs, 8 clipping diodes, 23 resistors & 20 capacitors.

    By itself the name is obviously a little pretentious without context so my question would be:



    I like the more clearly marked “IN” and “OUT” pads to distinguish between ground and tip.

    Another point worth consideration is the use of electroytics in SMD rather than the the standard TTH target electrolytics. I’ve found that the SMD electrolytic caps can have their leads (as short as they are) still bent slightly to fit into the hole for standard electrolytics. The SMD leads just barely expose themselves on the solder side, but with a touch of flux, the solder flows freely into the hole and makes a good connection. Using SMD electrolytics has allowed me to use ups few more of these 1590B and 1590BB enclosures I have in stock. The larger TTH electrolytics have almost always forced me to use the slightly deeper 125B or 125BB enclosures.


    Finished the next level including film capacitors, electrolytic capacitors, Trimmer and IC Chips in that order.

    Here is another image to show how everything stacks up altogether.

    Big O

    Re: The name of the board is Best Ever OD – w/ 3 ICs, 8 clipping diodes, 23 resistors & 20 capacitors.

    How about the Illudium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator?  Although that may be better suited for a super modulation pedal.


    I’ll BE having a few and hopefully none of them will get fried man


    Billy for the win!

    Here is my demo and they are available in the SHOP now.


    Because the waiting period for boards to reach here is normally quite lengthy, I print out the build guide first and spent time trying to figure out how the circuit operates. At this stage I can more or less trace the audio path, figure out which elements are power supply and which not, but deeper than that I dare not go. ‘A little learning,’ I have found, ‘is a dangerous thing.’

    Next I prepare the off-board components (pots and jacks) and try to colour-code them consistently, so that white is always the tip of the in jack, yellow likewise for out, and the pots are likewise same colour wire for corresponding terminals. Red for positive, green for ground, and so on.

    I then gather all the components together as per the BoM and once the PCB reaches here, I work much like Barry, shortest to tallest, ticking the parts off as I go. This all sounds fairly OCD, I guess, but these methods work for me.

    Nowadays I seldom try to finish an entire project in a single sitting. Onboard parts first, double-check solder joints, then maybe sleep on it and re-inspect the next day.

    Next the off-board parts, and this where I sometimes come unstuck. Stranded wire seems to be my particular nemesis.

    What I have learned from this newish hobby (three years or so into it) is that mistakes are not the end of the world. They sometimes teach one the most valuable lessons. This insight, combined with the collective help and wisdom of the forum’s elders and newbies alike, has made me less compulsive about perfection and success and more concerned with how things work, and getting them to work when they don’t.

    The fact that electronics is unforgiving (either right or wrong) becomes then one of its more welcome aspects, and failure (in relative terms) a source of curiosity rather than something to fear.

    I raise a virtual glass of cheer to you all from the deep South (of Africa) and hope we will meet face to face at some stage in the near future.

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