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Tonepad Piedrita Phaser - Part 1

More pedal building here in Yr Fthfl Blggr's workshop (such as it is).  You previously saw the package from El Salvador with two circuit boards - and now ve go to vurk on zhem, yes? 

Here's the relative silence before the storm of solder fumes, tiny parts, and lots of little component lead snippets.  Lots of them, because there are a ton of parts in this build.

The basis of this pedal is the Tonepad clone of the legendary Small Stone phaser.  I touched on some of the history of this phaser in my previous post about my own Small Stone, version 1. 

This build should be pretty neat since I'm going to incorporate some of the popular modifications to this circuit.  I'll describe them as we go.

The board itself is pretty small, but you can see it's going to be packed with components.  I thought I might be using my lead bender a lot - but the hole spacing is so close that I don't need it.  Most of the resistor bends, for example, are right at the body of the resistor.

Good thing I just stocked up on 1/4 watt resistors and low-voltage capacitors.  No way you could build this with 1/2 watt resistors.  They wouldn't fit!

Speaking of resistors, here are most of them on the board.  So far so good.  Ten of them have to be turned on their ends to fit - you see five of these installed here. 

I had read that there was a lot of soldering in close quarters on this build - that's the truth!

Now on to the transistors.  Fourteen of 'em.   Starting to look like a circuit board now.

If you're patient and careful with your soldering, this isn't too difficult.  In my case, having the Optivisor is a huge help in soldering those small components onto the circuit board.

An aside - Francisco Peña, who cooked up this pedal, calls it the "Piedrita."  'Piedrita' in Spanish means a problem - an annoyance.  The phrase 'Piedrita en el zapato' translates to something like 'A pain in the neck.'  I think this is a reference to the tedious build process!

I put the capacitors and the IC sockets on and start the off-board wiring.  I decided to just build the phaser totally stock to make sure it's up and running, and then do the mods.

On the left you can see the 'color' switch.  It lets you put feedback from the phaser output back into the signal - makes a dark, super swooshy sound.

At this point, I've done 225 solder joints!  There are still a few to go on the switch, the input and output jacks and the DC plug.  I put all the components on from smallest to largest and it hasn't been too bad.  Probably about 2.5 to 3 hours of work so far.

You can see how I kept track of everything - as I soldered a component on, I checked it off with an orange Sharpie on the parts list.  I also highlighted it on the layout diagram.   The yellow highlights are for components that I'll mess with during the modification stage.


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