Amp Build – Part 3

So in the previous installment of building my amp kit – Amp Build – Part 2 – we had the turret board populated with components and wires soldered, ready to bolt into the chassis which had the switches, jacks and potentiometers and what-not bolted on from part 1.

The work to do now is connect the wires from the turret board to the volume, tone, power switches, transformers, valves etc… 

Components wired up
Components wired up
Transformer wired up
Transformer wired up

Once all the connections are made, there are 2 stages of testing to be done. The first stage goes through the motions of testing ground connections and continuity between components with the multimeter. At this point the amp has never seen electrical current so its all pretty safe.

The second testing stage is where we plug the amp in to mains power and start measuring voltages. Awesome lethal voltages. Once we can see that things are connected the way they should be and a few calculations checking the components are working correctly, its time to plug a guitar in and play through it… What a fantastic moment! After about a year of taking early morning sessions before breakfast I finally get to plug in and play… Well I hit an A chord and half a blues lick then had to stop so I didn’t wake the whole building. But even that was killer fun to hear that its all working. So I consider this project a success!

Its not over yet however, there is still the cabinet and speaker to buy. I have a test speaker (probably from a bass amp in this random made MDF cabinet) which also doubles as one end of my work bench, so I haven’t really heard the true voice of this little guy. But I can tell its loud and going to sound super geil.

The finished electronics and chassis
The finished electronics and chassis
Valves glowing nicely
Valves glowing nicely

So with the kiddies munching on some food and wifey playing her acoustic guitar, I thought I would bring it up from the cellar for some show and tell since she had not yet seen this device for which I have spent so many hours being awake this year while the rest of Bruchköbel slept.

I handed Angie my SG while I plugged in the amp and got the pedals ready for a turn later (I havent played them for a long long time since I havent had a running amp the last 3 years). Then I picked up the bass instead to have a little jam while Ange auditioned the amp. It was really satisfying hearing the amp play. Im sooooo looking forward to a cabinet and speaker, but for now I am stoked to have the most intense part done.

Test jam
Test jam
Pedals
Pedals

The Timefactor was freaking out with parameter changes all over the place totally possessed-like. What the hell!!? So I grabbed the hair dryer, set it to low heat and gave the Timefactor a blast for 5 minutes. Luckily it was only condensation causing the demon and it functioned fine afterwards. Its cold in the cellar but dry… I think it was the sudden change to a really warm living room that built up the condensation.

My favourite valve overdrive pedal
My favourite valve overdrive pedal

So this is a major chapter of the DIY PP-18 valve amp kit build at an end. Needless to say there will be photos and sound clips and videos when I am able to buy the cabinet and speaker and have the whole package completed. So for now, sit tight and I will check in again whenever the cash raises its dear little head and suggests that I go and order that stuff.

Cheers and much rock,

Aaron

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