recent DIY/repair projects: guitar pedals, Bliptronic 5000

Here are some recent projects I’ve been working on. After receiving a Big Muff guitar pedal from my cousin Jamie (from The Press Delete), I started thinking more about building up a pedalboard again for my guitar playing. I’ve been quite happy with the Line 6 PodXT Live, but there’s something special about guitar pedals: they typically do one thing, and do it well.

pedalboard before repairs/positioning

As such, I got out my case of unused guitar pedals and started going through them. I ended up selling one (an old graphic EQ pedal that I never used any more) and looked more closely at the other two. I have 3 pedals currently: the Big Muff clone, an Arion SAD-1 analog delay pedal, and an Arion SCH-1 chorus pedal. Combined with my practice amp (a Vox Pathfinder 15R), I’d have a fuzztone, chorus, delay, tremolo (built into the amp, and quite nice!) and spring reverb (also built into the amp, and also really nice!). This suits my style of playing pretty well, so I figured it was worth doing a bit of repair work to get the two Arion pedals in good shape.

Arion SCH-1 analog delay: needed new 9V clip
Arion SCH-1 analog chorus, in need of a new 9V battery clip

Arion SAD-1 analog delay: before repair
Arion SAD-1 analog delay, with a flaky “repeat” potentiometer and bad 9V battery clip

Both Arion pedals needed new 9V battery clips, which is an easy repair – snip off the old ends, trim a new Radio Shack 9V clip to size, twist the wires together, and solder. Easily done:
Arion SCH-1 analog chorus: 9V clip fixed!
Arion SCH-1 analog chorus: 9V clip fixed!

I also had to remove the bad potentiometer from the SAD-1 analog delay pedal, so I did that while repairing the 9V clip:

Arion SAD-1 analog delay: 9V clip fixed, bad potentiometer removed
Arion SAD-1 analog delay: 9V clip fixed, bad potentiometer removed

I now have to locate a source for a new potentiometer that fits the SAD-1, which may prove difficult. Worst case, I end up getting a new enclosure for the pedal and rehousing it completely. That wouldn’t be all bad, as the existing enclosure is plastic, but it would mean spending more money and time on this little guy. The analog delay is really nice, though, so I think it will be worth it in the end.

Arion SAD-1 analog delay: bad potentiometer removed

I also started thinking about the Bliptronic 5000 music box (see related 52 things posts “42/52: Bliptronic 5000!” and “43/52: new video – ‘a bliptronic day’“). I like it a lot, but the 1/8″ miniplug output means having to use a cable with an adapter to change it to 1/4″ if I’m going to plug it into a mixer or my audio interface. I think having a 1/4″ output jack instead might be nice, so I opened it up to see how feasible it is:

bliptronic 5000: side view

bliptronic 5000: internals

Verdict? It’s incredibly tight in there. I might be able to squeeze a 1/4″ jack in there, but it’s going to be tight. I may have to re-route the headphone output if I do put one in. I’m still undecided about whether or not I’ll pursue that. Lots of other mods are possible, so I may wait before tackling a more ambitious project with the bliptronic and roll the 1/4″ output into a larger project.

Posted February 24, 2011 by Bill Van Loo in gear