james david low

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Two changing tables from one

Another IKEA hack, this time turning a single SNIGLAR changing table into two lower (and safer) ones by sawing the legs just above the second shelf:

2:01am / Jan 28th / 16 Comments

New Underdesk Laptop Draw

I recently saw this IKEA hack and realised it might be an improvement on my last laptop mount. The Macbook Pro 13″ fits perfectly in the IKEA Dokument letter tray, and the mesh design allows better cooling than a flat shelf.

1:55am / Jan 28th / 16 Comments

2 Channel Guitar Amp In A Pedal

I’ve been experimenting with some of the cheap class d amplifier boards available on eBay from china. This is the PAM8610 board with a Wampler Euphoria clone as a preamp. I added a footswitch that footswitches between clean and overdrive. It switches between two separate gain pots for clean and overdrive, removes the clipping diodes for clean, and adds a lead master in overdrive mode. I did some tests with this setup in separate enclosures, and there was very little hum, but as you can see from the video, there is tons when in the same enclosure. Maybe I have something poorly soldered, or maybe things are just too close together. Still it would be cool if a real manufacturer did something like this and sorted out all the issues because it doesn’t sound bad other than the hum. I might get another one of the boards and put it by itself in it’s own box. I’m powering it with a Mooer 2000mA power supply, but a one spot or anything over 1000mA should work, and it should take anything up to 12V.

Here’s some pics of the project. Notice I had to cut some of the plastic housing from the input jack, as well as bend the legs to make it all fit. The chassis is grounded, but the speaker output is isolated from the chassis. I kind of wish I’d used the deeper 1590BS instead of a 1590B so that there was a little more room.

11:46pm / Jan 9th / 16 Comments

List of DIY Guitar Pedal PCB Manufacturers

After building a 2 in 1 overdrive, I’ve got interested in building more pedals, so here’s a few of the PCBs manufacturers I’ve found. Please let me know if you have more to add.

Title Description
BYOC The classic kit shop
Aion Electronics Large selection of PCBs with detailed analysis and history
Fuzz Dog UK based, large selection of PCBs and kits
Delyk PCBs Unique selection of PCBs including an effects tester
General Guitar Gadgets Huge number of PCBs
Musik Ding German based site
Arcadia Electronics Good selection of PCBs with board mounted jacks and footswitch
Muzique A few boost/drive PCBs
Jeds Peds Another UK based company
MadBean Pedals Another great site
Tayda Electronics
Rully Wow
GuitarPCB.com
MusicPCB.com
JMK PCBs
1776 Effets
Pedal Parts and Kits
Lectric FX

6:26am / Dec 28th / 15 Comments

Mid Boost/Cut Overdrive

I had the idea that it might be more useful to have an overdrive with a contour control rather than a traditional tone control on it. I found this mid boost/cut circuit and added an overdrive section to it. It’s no the best sounding overdrive in the world, but here’s the schematic and a quick demo.

Mid-Drive

7:36pm / Dec 26th / 15 2 Comments

Best Guitar Effects Pedals 2015

6:26am / Dec 16th / 15 Comments

Volume Pedal Ideas

Just a couple of volume pedal ideas I had; To modify something like the Hotone volume/wah, and instead of having it manually switchable between a wah and volume, to use the built in footswitch to determine what mode its in.

1) The first idea I had was to have a volume pedal with a built in footswitch (like a wah). When you use the volume pedal normally its between 0 and unity gain. When you click the footswitch a boost is engaged.

2) The second idea I had was to have a volume pedal/expression pedal in one. It would have in/out jacks for the signal, then and additional TRS jack for expression. When you click the footswitch the pedal changes to become an expression pedal (and the audio signal just goes straight through).

2:45am / Dec 14th / 15 Comments

9V 5-10W DIY Guitar Amp (PAM8610 Class D Amplifier Board)

I’ve been wondering about tinkering with a guitar amplifier that runs of a 9V power supply for a while now. I tired a Diago Little Smasher which was loud and great for distorted tones, but not quite loud enough, or enough bass for clean. There are some cheap preassembled boards on eBay using the PAM8610 chip, they rated 10W, but this is probably only at 12V into 4ohm. I got a couple and these are the results:

Summary:
Red board:
– More expensive
– More bass
– Treble roll off
– Quieter (but can be as loud with a boost/preamp before it)
– Smallest enclosure probably a 1590LB

Black board
– Cheaper
– More hum
– Less bass
– More Treble
– Louder (without preamp)
– Smaller, would fit in 1590H enclosure to make a tiny but loud amp!

Overall I think I liked the tone of the red board more, but I’ll probably put both in some projects.

11:26pm / Dec 12th / 15 Comments

Aldi Crofton Cast Iron Enamel Cookware

I’ve been looking for some non aluminium/non ptfe frying pans for a while. I’ve found stainless steel stick too much, and it’s too hard to keep them seasoned all the time. I also tried ceramic coated stainless steel, but these were expensive and still didn’t last that long.

Eventually realised it’s worth paying for cast iron enamel cookware, but this is normally really pricey. However this week Aldi have their 2015 range of cast iron enamel cookware on special. I ended up getting the 28cm frying pan, 24cm frying pan, 28cm wok and 30cm shallow casserole to add to my two Le Creuset casserole dishes. While the quality is never going to be on par with Le Creuset, they still feel very solid, have stainless steel riveted handles that stay cool, and a decent thickness of enamel.

Cooked with them today, and the surface doesn’t stick too much with some oil. They’re also a little lighter than other cast iron cookware, which is maybe why they’re cheaper. It does make them slightly easier to handle, although their still noticeably heavier than stainless steel or aluminium cookware.

Overall very pleased, and I think they’re worth the money. They should certainly last longer than the ceramic or other nonstick pans I’ve used in the past.

1:20am / Dec 11th / 15 Comments

Boutique vs Chinese Made Pedals And Everything In Between

Another one of those contentious topics that seem to have strong supporters on both sides. I can’t change what most people think, but it helps me to just get my ideas out somewhere. Here are a few random ones:

  • Are boutique pedals that much better than mass produced pedals (whether made in the west or in the far east)? Probably not, but that doesn’t mean that the price isn’t justified. Labour costs are more in the west, as well as more stringent environmental practices.
  • So is it just ethics and there’s no difference in tone? I would say no to this too. There will be some differences. The amount you pay for a product made in America is also going towards skilled designers that spend more time tweaking a pedal till it sounds good. This not only includes the circuit, but the layout of the PCB, which can affect things too. Some boutique companies also individually test components to find the ones within really tight tolerances.
  • Which should I buy then? Buy what you can afford, support people doing new designs, because part of the cost of the pedal isn’t just the components, but the time taken to design it, which fewer people will do if their designs just get made for cheap in China. Finally think about how a company is treating it’s employees or the environment. There are some places in China where electronics waste is just being dumped, hurting people there, but eventually all of us as it gets into the food chain.
  • Are there any people doing unique designs in China? J. Wong who has worked with many of the well known Chinese brands now has his own pedals with Tone City. Some of these seem to be unique designs. JOYO too seem to have moved on from just copying other designs to some more unique products in recent years.

12:45am / Dec 10th / 15 Comments
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Two changing tables from one / New Underdesk Laptop Draw / 2 Channel Guitar Amp In A Pedal / List of DIY Guitar Pedal PCB Manufacturers / Mid Boost/Cut Overdrive / Best Guitar Effects Pedals 2015 / Volume Pedal Ideas / 9V 5-10W DIY Guitar Amp (PAM8610 Class D Amplifier Board) / Aldi Crofton Cast Iron Enamel Cookware / Boutique vs Chinese Made Pedals And Everything In Between / True Bypass vs Buffered Bypass / True single coil and true humbucker in one / Gear Tube Mobile App / Why Tube Amps Are (Seem) Louder Than Solid State amps / Gear Tube Is Live / Rocksmith 2014 without Real Tone Cable / Pedalboard Panel Mount USB With Hub / Hybrid Special & S-Bucker 5-way Switch / Guitar Amps In A Pedal And Other Micro Amps / Fender Blues Jr. Presence Mod / Ultimate Strat / Gibson 5 Way Pickup Switch Wiring / Pedaltrain Mini/Nano/Metro Power Supply Options / Klon vs. Wampler Euphoria vs. Mad Professor Sweet Honey / Mount MacBook Pro Underdesk / Best Solid State Guitar Amps 2015 / Fender Blues Jr. Standby Mod - International 230V Models / Pedaltrain Mini Built In Jacks / Cheap China Pedal Clone Comparison List / Michael Kelly Hybrid Special Mods / Fishman Aura Spectrum DI Preset Footswitch Mod / Humbuckers with good single coil split sounds / Fender Blues Jr. Fat Footswitch with LED / Custom Neunaber ExP (3 Switches and other variations) / Fender Superchamp XD Line In/Mute Switch Mod / Changing Batteries on a Mobee Power Bar / Custom Neunaber ExP Controller / World's smallest true bypass looper / Western Digital BlackĀ² in a Apple Macbook Pro 13" / Third Culture Parent / Presonus iTwo with Garageband on iPad / Dumble in a box pedals list / Low cost made in China pedals / Small single-pedal sized multi effects / Pedal and amp list / Fulltone Fulldrive 2 Circuits / Ikea Standing Desks / Who I'd like to see in the dunk competition / Top 10 things I am missing about HK, enjoying about the UK / Simultaneous MIDI/Audio with Apogee ONE for iPad / iPhone Repair Bristol / Disable Git in Eclipse / A New Language for App Engine / iPhone Push Notifications with JavaPNS on Google App Engine / Midi Keyboard Velocity Curve Calibration With Pianoteq / Top 10 things I will and won't miss about Hong Kong / List Apps To Update After Moving iTunes App Store Countries / DynDNS via curl on Apple TV 2 / iOS-WebStack with Apple TV 2 firmware 5.2 (iOS 6.1) / Fast Track Ultra 8R in Mountain Lion / Google DFP with Appcelerator Titanium / Alternatives to Google Apps / Digitech iStomp and the new iPhone 5 lightning connector / The case for wired keyboards / Cornerstone vs. Versions vs. SmartSVN / Use of Foxconn and other manufacturers / iPhone Screen Setting / Pedal Board / New Family Friendly Homepage / Tip for efficient living / Detecting Quercus / Amazon S3 for WordPress with CloudFront / Database Read Replicas / Force User Login Multisite / Moving Church / Top 10 things I love about living in Ocean View / My Paper / iPhoto '11 No Place Smart Album / Creed / Random OSX Hacks / Getting Married :) / Diddy Feet / Very helpful error message / Apple LED Cinema Display with a PC / Simply Christian - N.T. 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