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PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2022 4:14 pm 
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Hey! I need some help as fast as possible. I got a BYOC tremolo pedal that i soldered together yesterday. Today im plugging it in and trying it out. The LED lights up and displays the rate, i plug in my guitar and quickly realise that there is only a very very quiet tremolo pulsation. The depth and volume is at max but still not working. Whyyy is this!?!?

https://ibb.co/qx6KhH6
https://ibb.co/q5WtNh6
https://ibb.co/rZj1FV6

I need help as fast as possible as im playing in a couple of days.


Last edited by Country guitar on Thu Feb 10, 2022 9:48 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2022 4:58 pm 
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I'm sure that the team here will tell you that the most effective way to accelerate the support process will be for you to post large, well-lit, in-focus photographs of both sides of the PCB, including all the wiring connections (i.e., to the foot switch and the jacks). You can either upload them as attachments to your post and link them inline, or upload them to an image sharing site and include the link(s) in your post.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2022 10:07 pm 
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Yep, that's what we tell 'em! :mrgreen:

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2022 9:05 am 
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Sure! Got 3 pics, posting them below. I personally dont think that my solders look cold or bad. But please tell me if you think otherwise.

https://ibb.co/qx6KhH6
https://ibb.co/q5WtNh6
https://ibb.co/rZj1FV6

These are the links to the photos.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2022 10:07 am 
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I don't have time right at the moment to check all your component placement, but someone else might.

That said, I can quickly say that my recommendation is a reflow of all your solder joints. It's far from the worst we've seen, but there are some problematic spots. Look at the four joints in a square to the left of the middle pot on the back side of the PCB. They are dull gray and rounded, more like a blob than a cone. (Are you perhaps using lead-free solder?)

So: try reflowing all your solder joints. This post has lots of details about that.

Stephen's Tips For A Successful Build has a lot of photo examples of exemplary soldering. Not everything in the thread is relevant, but the basic soldering info is worth a look.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2022 11:08 am 
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Hey, thanks for the tip!

Im 15 years old and just learned to solder, so i dont expect it to be the best. I tried reflowing the joints you mentioned and some other ones. I plugger my guitar in and noticed that if i turn all knobs to full on the pedal, then play a note and turn the volume on my guitar off. You can hear the tremolo very very quietly. Why is this?


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2022 11:27 am 
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I don't see any components misplaced. In addition to reflowing all your solder joints, clip off any long component leads at the tops of their solder joints, and trim any stray/protruding wire strands, of which I see several. These can cause signal or power shorts. The footswitch looks particularly concerning in that regard!

Country guitar wrote:
I plugged my guitar in and noticed that if i turn all knobs to full on the pedal, then play a note and turn the volume on my guitar off. You can hear the tremolo very very quietly. Why is this?

Sounds like a poor solder connection somewhere in the build, or perhaps a signal short taking much of your output to ground rather than to your amp/output device.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2022 3:46 pm 
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I trimmed the Wires on the footswitch to no avail, any more suggestions? Also reflowed some solder joints that looked cold.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2022 7:08 pm 
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Country guitar wrote:
Also reflowed some solder joints that looked cold.

My suggestion is to reflow them all. PCB, pots, switch, jacks—everything. Even very experienced builders often can't identify bad joints by sight. This method has gotten hundreds of pedals working in the past, including many builds by each one of the moderators on this forum. It doesn't take too long. Make sure you're cleaning the tip of the iron regularly as you go.

Some updated photos after you've done that would be great. Never fear, we'll get you working.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 12, 2022 6:51 am 
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I took your advice Scott, some of the joints i couldnt reflow so i sucked the solder out and resoldered them, i took some pictures of it. I used a different solder wire this time. It is a bit thicker but it made joints that didnt get cold as easily. I tried it and it was the same as before. Any other advice?


Here are the photos.

https://ibb.co/ds9VCjQ
https://ibb.co/1Gzv6Jd
https://ibb.co/GQWyhXg
https://ibb.co/kM4fXfw
https://ibb.co/T0jPndV
https://ibb.co/tKFCcqM
https://ibb.co/YbFQY29


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 12, 2022 8:52 am 
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Thanks for the updated photos; they are helpful.

The bad news: I know you said this was urgent because you were planning to play through it soon, but I think you probably need to reset that expectation. This hobby has taught me a lot more about patience than about electronics, so welcome to the club. :wink:

The good news: I think your problem is still related to your soldering. You're very new at this, so that's nothing to be ashamed of. The reason it's good news is that you can almost always fix problems related to poor soldering.

The main problem I see with your build is that you have a lot of solder joints that look like balls. You do not want to see the solder making a ball shape, especially on the back side of the board. (Sometimes it flows through and makes a little ball on the component side, but let's not focus on that right now.) If it makes a ball, it's usually that there is too much solder, or you're not heating the joint properly, or the iron tip is not clean. If I had to guess, your build has some of all three going on.

You might benefit from setting this aside and getting a practice kit or just a pack of resistors and some perf board that you can use to perfect your skill. This short video might be helpful to watch.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 14, 2022 10:21 am 
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Thanks Scott, looked at the video.

I have done some more soldering and i think its getting better and better, i have some new pictures for you. They are down below

https://ibb.co/7p843R0
https://ibb.co/R4FHVGN
https://ibb.co/yhRbcLS


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 14, 2022 10:53 am 
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I am seeing some improvement there, yes. It might be worth taking a few minutes to clean your PCB off at this point. An old toothbrush and/or some q-tips soaked in 90% isopropyl alcohol should get rid of a lot of the burned out rosin, and you can use a small flat-tipped screwdriver to gently remove any solder spatter.

Other than that, I think it's time to do some more targeted troubleshooting. I'll probably need to get one of the other moderators to help with that. Do you have a multimeter that you could use to take voltage readings on the transistors if that should be necessary?

The other option is an audio probe, which you can use to trace the signal through the pedal and find out exactly where it's dropping out. You can make one with a spare guitar cable, or you can order the one that BYOC sells.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 14, 2022 11:27 am 
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Thank you, yeah i got a multimeter but i dont know how to use it.

Thanks again for your responses, im going to clean the pcb now. :)


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 14, 2022 11:49 am 
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Country guitar wrote:
Thank you, yeah i got a multimeter but i dont know how to use it.

No problem. We can provide the details on how to do that. It would be helpful to post a photo of the face of the multimeter so that we can see its features & settings.

Country guitar wrote:
...im going to clean the pcb now. :)

You can save yourself a lot of time in that process if you gently scrape off as much of the melted/degraded solder mask as possible before you start cleaning off the residual with Q-Tips and isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol. The 90% stuff works the best, but the more commonly available 70% stuff is nearly as good. As Scott mentioned, using the blade of a small flat-tipped screwdriver will loosen up the worst of it, which can then be brushed off with an old toothbrush or other small, stiff-bristled brush. Let the cleaned PCB dry thoroughly before reinstalling and testing. And keep in mind that isopropyl alcohol is highly flammable.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 14, 2022 1:09 pm 
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Here is the multimeter.

https://ibb.co/K9Z6Vky


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2022 9:24 am 
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Sooo... Apparently we have made progress, but in the wrong way. Now the pedal is completely dead after i cleaned it. It doesnt work AT ALL. The only thing that works is bypass, no led or anything. I tried touching some of the footswitch pegs which made a humming noise on some of them. I checked the battery with my multimeter and indeed it is working. Checked it on the pcb. I dont have access to a multimeter anymore tho


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2022 10:29 am 
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I have merged the last post back to this original thread since the latter contains important photo links and history of what's been done so far.

What happened to the multimeter? Important tool!

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“My favorite programming language is SOLDER” - Bob Pease (RIP)

My Website * My Musical Gear * My DIY Pedals: Pg.1 - Pg.2


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2022 10:53 am 
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Its not actually mine, its my neighbours. Im going to buy one for myself soon tho


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2022 1:53 pm 
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Country guitar wrote:
Im going to buy one for myself soon tho

The sooner, the better! :mrgreen:

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