Sunday, 13 July 2014

Idiotbox Blowerbox


There are few manufacturers that raise an interest to simply go and get the original. I have no idea who the person behind Idiotbox is, but his designs, workmanship and artwork do please me to some degree. Plus his pricing seems to be on solid ground too. This one sounds particularly good. It has some wild distortion/fuzz tones for both, guitar and a bass...

This layout was originally based on a traced schematic by p.eat on FSB. That schematic had a few errors, which johnk helped to sort out. For this layout, i've subbed the parallel polarity protection for a series one and replaced the 10K JFET drain resistor with a 20K trimmer. This way you won't be able to kill your board with a reverse polarity and you'll be able to get everything you can out from that J201. JFET has also a 1M resistor path from gate to ground. This resistor isn't present in the original, but it will keep the JFET operation stable and it will not affect the sound.

A word about the original:
 The Idiotbox Blower Box Bass Distortion was designed with recreating the classic tone of Blacky from the early Voivod albums. It does everything from a mild grind to full-on massive distortion. It's awesome and you should have one...






BUY A KIT

95 comments:

  1. as the rat pro co, can i use LM741 ?
    keep on rockin'

    nico

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    Replies
    1. Nope. Not as a direct, drop-in replacement. LM308 has compensation between pins 1&8.
      http://www.ti.com/lit/ds/symlink/lm308-n.pdf
      Which LM741 doesn't have.
      http://www.ti.com/lit/ds/symlink/lm741.pdf
      In that configuration just about every other single opamp will squeel like a pig if tried on instead of the correct LM308.
      +m

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    2. a 741 should work, but you'll need to take out the 30pf capacitor between pins 1 and 8.

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    3. ok, just like the rat
      thanks to both
      keep on rockin'

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  2. hey mirosol, do you have another simple overdrive layout for bass?

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    1. http://tagboardeffects.blogspot.fi/search/label/Bass
      +m

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  3. I built this vero today and it's not working properly. I just traced my original one and i'll give it another try tomorrow.

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    1. Don't bother just yet. I'll put this on hold until i get to redraw it later tonight. Original schematic has a number of errors, but one of them is preventing the circuit from working. There's no decoupling after the IC output, which means that the clippers kill the IC operation. Thanks for your trace John.
      Like i said, i'll be redrawing this in a few hours.
      +m

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    2. I just relocated a couple of parts and added the extra 10u cap and it's working now.

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    3. Just got back to my laptop and grabbed the updated schematic. I'll start to tweak things around. I'm still going to leave that gate to ground resistor in place :)
      +m

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    4. yep, that's what I did too.

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  4. BTW, you can verify it now. it sounds identical to the original.

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    1. Just updated it with added coupling cap. Otherwise it was already pretty much spot on. I'll tag it now too. Thanks John.
      +m

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  5. Hi I'm sorry my comment has nothing to do with this post, but I wonder if anybody can help me solve a problem I have with my pedal board?... The problem is that my Wah, Univibe clone and Phase 90 suffer a dramatic loss of volume. This problem first occurred when I built my Si Fuzz Face clone, so I assumed it was and impedance miss-match, so I added a Klon buffer to the input of the fuzz. This sorted the problem for a little while but it soon came back. I've tried several different things but the problem keeps coming back. If I take the fuzz off the board altogether and replace it with my TS 808 clone or my Throbak Fuzz Haze the problem still occurs (although neither of these pedals caused me any problems before). Also if I unplug all the pedals and put them back together, the problem goes away for a little while.

    This is my pedal chain:

    >Maxon compressor > Wah > Univibe > Phase 90 > Maxon chorus > DIY Fuzz Face > DIY LPB 1 >

    All these are powered by a Carl Martin Pro Power. Any help or tips will be much appreciated. Joe

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    1. it sounds like you have a bad cable, a bad (cold) ground in one of the pedals, or a dirty jack somewhere to me.

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    2. I don't think that's what it is, but will check...

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    3. Measure the power supply outputs. Play for a while and measure again.
      +m

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    4. It did occur to me it might be something to do with the power supply, but how do I measure the outputs? I have a multimetre, where would I put the terminals?

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    5. Set the meter for DC voltage and point the leads to center and sleeve of those outputs.
      +m

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    6. Hi, I've been running my pedal board for most of the day and the voltages of the eight power outputs are between 9.20v and 9.44v. The problem I mentioned above hasn't occurred at all today (sod's law!), but as soon as it does I'll post the new voltages if they change...

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    7. That doesn't quite confirm it yet :) If and when the issue appears again, measurethe voltages then. Even the best power supplies may die. And about 90% of all pedal issues i've seen are more or less power supply related. Quickest way to kill a supply is to have a tiny short in one pedal.
      +m

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    8. The problem happened again this morning so I was able to measure the voltages on all eight power outputs:

      Output..................1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

      Volt. before...........9.29 9.20 9.33 9.21 9.44 9.35 9.35 9.33

      Volt. with...............9.30 9.20 9.33 9.24 9.44 9.36 9.33 9.34
      problem

      There only seems to be a very slight fluctuation, but the volume on my Phaser, Wah and Univibe drops quite dramatically, and it is always these three pedals. Thanks for your help so far, do these readings indicate anything to you?

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    9. If you've got over 9V on every pin then something is extremely wrong with the build and it doesn't even give any clue as to where the problem may arise. Take a close up front and back pic of the board and also one that includes the offboard components so we can see how it is wired up.

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    10. Hehee Mark. This is totally off topic help thread about pearl blues' pedalboard and power supply :) I guess i should have mentioned that the question would have been better placed in the forum :)

      To pearl blues - nope. Voltages seem to be fine. I guess you should try to omit one of those three and see if the behavior comes back.. If not, then another.. Once you know which pedal does it, it may be easier to pinpoint the cause...
      +m

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    11. Ha ha right, I should have read back further, I couldn't work out how the hell you could get 9V on every pin! :o)

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    12. Apologies for putting my comment in the wrong place, I only realized there was a separate forum from mirosol's comment above.

      I've tried every combination of the pedals that I can think of, even taking some off the board, but the problem remains. So I've gone back over the FF I built (this is what started the problem) and have found I used a 100k for the volume instead of a 500k. Not sure if such a small mistake would cause the problems I've had, but I'll put the right pot in and see what happens... Thanks for your help, at least a potential power source problem has been eliminated. Joe

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    13. Does the problem go away when the FF isn't in the chain?

      You could post the question to the forum too. I bet you could get more comments/suggestions/solutions out of it...
      +m

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    14. No, but it only started happening when I built and started using this pedal. Initially if I put my ts808 in it's place the problem would go away, but now it happens whatever pedal is there, it comes and goes...

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  6. Thanks for the layout chaps, this is an AWESOME effect. I'm planning to put a 47kΩ resistor across the gain pot (switchable) for a 'low gain' mode too…

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    1. Since you're at it, you could also take the clippers on a switch :)
      +m

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    2. Down that road, madness lies...

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    3. that sounds like an awesome idea. how are you adding the low gain switch? are you going to use a dtdp on-on switch, and have one side be the resistor, the middle is in and out to the pot, and the other is blank? i was thinking about trying to add a low gain option, but wasn't sure if what's in my head make sense and will work.

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    4. I've got lug 1 of the gain pot to the board as directed, then the wire from the board that should go to lugs 2&3 go to one of the centre lugs on the DPDT switch, the other centre lug goes to lugs 2&3 of the pot. the bottom 2 lugs have a 22kΩ resistor across them, and the other two are shorted together. I've replaced the Gain pot with a 22kΩ pot, so that the switch alters the range from 0Ω to 22kΩ, then 22kΩ to 44kΩ.

      Basically you're using the switch to double the resistance (by wiring them in series), and therefor the gain in the feedback loop of the opamp.

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    5. The guy builds everything in his home garage.
      They sound great and they are really cheap.
      If wish there were more schematics around.
      You can find more infos here:
      http://idiotboxeffects.bigcartel.com/

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  7. Built one today. Yup. Definitely better with a bass. As a bass rat, a winner.
    +m

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  8. I just finished etching the enclosure for mine today:

    http://johnkvintageguitars.homestead.com/Effects/Fuzz-ODs/Idiotbox/BBoxclone-01.jpg

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  10. Are the polarised capacitors displayed correctly in the strip board diagram, I've bought the linked kit and I don't want to destroy them.

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  11. What kind of capacitors are the red ones in the schematic? Are they film radial? I've a bunch of mylar ones, can I use them?, Thank you

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    1. We use the red ones to depict the Panasonic brand metal film poly caps. It's just a habit.. There's nothing wrong with green mylars, so use those if you have 'em.
      +m

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    2. I'll will try with the greenies then. Thank you.

      I've been trying to figure out where the out is, but I'm such a noob and I didn't find the vol2 nor the output. ty again.

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    3. I've made a promise i would never do this again, but here we go.
      You see the Volume 1 and Volume 3 points on the board? Those connect to volume pot's lugs 1 and 3 respectively. There is still the middle lug, the lug 2. You take a wire and solder one end of it to this middle lug. The other end of that wire is your output. All this equals to "Volume 2 to output".
      +m

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    4. Thank you. I promise to that I'll 'try' not to make silly questions. I've read the "offboard" article and everything is more clear to me.

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  12. is the schematic available?

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Check freestompboxes.org forum.
      +m

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  13. I'm assuming the blue circles are double bridges in a sense? Hence the "double link" on the right of the layout?

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  14. Hi, I've just built this but I'm having a problem.

    The bass and treble controls aren't affecting the sound at all. I've checked over my wiring of the pots several times, and the wires are definitely in the right place on the board and definitely going to the correct lugs on the pots, the pots are also definitely reverse log 100k.

    Any idea what could be causing the problem?

    Thank you

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    1. The output also seems really low, the volume and gain have to be on full for the output to be the same as when the effect is bypassed, and even then it's not still not quite as loud as when it is bypassed..

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    2. you MUST have an error somewhere. the treble and bass controls are very effective and it has plenty of output

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    3. I know, from the videos I've seen on the pedal the tone controls seem really responsive so I know I've gone wrong somewhere.. Just a matter of finding where.. I only asked in case there might've been some where obvious that could cause the problems I'm encountering.

      I'll continue to search, I'm going to check the trim pot incase I have it oriented the wrong way..

      Cheers for the reply though, has gotten rid of any doubt in my mind about the output of the pedal, was beginning to think the pedal might just have low output.

      Any more ideas on what it could be are most defintely welcome haha

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    4. I've checked the orientation of the trim pot and it's correct.

      I've gone through and checked the position of every component and I really cannot see anything out of place, same for the cuts and the links, I've been very thorough and I honestly can't see anything wrong.

      I've tried switching round the wires on the lugs of the pots, and it literally changes nothing, the pedal sounds exactly the same and works in exactly the same way no matter which way round the wires to lugs 1 and 3 of the treble and bass pots are wired.

      Also, I tried switching round the orientation of the transistor, and again nothing at all changes, still sounds and operates the exact same way.

      Please can someone help? I haven't struggled like this with a pedal for a very long time, and I need to try and get this done tonight as a friend needs it for tomorrow morning.

      I would be massively grateful for any help.

      Thank you

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    5. It appears the issue is with the 1M Ohm resistor having been moved to pin 3 of the LM308, whereas it was below it in the previous layout. This seems to be the only revision too and I do not see why it was made. I can verify the previous version, https://www.dropbox.com/s/7k5aoupkqxznrqk/Idiotbox-Blowerbox.png?dl=0 DOES work, so try it and see if that fixes your problem.

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    6. ? Isn't the image in your dropbox the same as in the post? In the tracing process there was some confusion whether the VREF via 1M was straight to pin 3 or to the input cap's opamp side. Either way, this doesn't affect the operation. In both cases the reference voltage will get to non-inverting input.
      ++m

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    7. Yes mate, I swapped it back after reading the post on FSB. I had the old version saved so thought I would just do it.

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  15. if you've reversed the transistor and the lugs to the pots and it's the same, then obviously you have an error (or possibly more) somewhere. you might take some voltage readings and post them. or take some clear pics of the top and bottom of the board and post them.

    asking what's wrong with your circuit is kinda like saying 'my car doesn't run right, what's wrong with it?' ;-)

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    1. Thank you for the reply. I know it's stupid of me to like, as that haha I totally know what you mean, I'm just kinda desperate for help as my friend really needs this for tomorrow and I promised I'd sort it out.

      I don't have my Multimeter with me, which is another reason this is being so difficult, I have no way of testing the board that way. I'll upload some pics now, hopefully they'll be clear enough for some help.

      Thanks again for your reply I can't express how much I appreciate it.

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    2. http://postimg.org/image/qb3y0fqk1/

      http://postimg.org/image/mlpfc27wp/

      http://postimg.org/image/tnncy9bih/

      http://postimg.org/image/a4irowcqx/

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    3. first, I would 'knife' between all of the rows to make sure that nothing is shorting out.

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    4. I've just finished knifing between all of the rows, made sure there's definitely no shorts, but it hasn't changed :/ ..

      any other ideas? :/

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  16. Okay I got my multimeter back today.. So I took some voltages..

    The transistor:
    D - 8
    S - 0
    G - 0

    IC:
    R L
    4 6
    8 0
    3 5
    0 0

    All of the lugs of the pots read 0 apart from gain, which reads 4,3,4

    Any ideas based on these? :/

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  17. Sorry to keep spamming with questions, but I am really struggling with this pedal, I've made no progress as of yet to solving my problem, despite having spent the past 3 days trying to get it to work properly.

    Any help would really be massively appreciated.

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    1. It looks to me that the 1.5k resistor that goes to the source of q1 is going to the gate instead.

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    2. Ah man, you're right! I don't know how I've missed that!! :/ Thank you so much for you reply, I can't believe I missed that, I've been over it at least 6 times..
      I've just corrected that, but it hasn't changed anything, the output seems slightly higher, but the treble and bass controls still aren't doing anything.. :/

      Can anyone spot anything else I've missed? I'm gonna go over it again and keep going over it until I figure this out, any help will still be massively appreciated!!

      Thanks again!!

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  18. I've just found that the pedal still functions in the same way even without the transistor completely removed.. :/

    Why can't I see where I've gone wrong!?

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    Replies
    1. Start again from scratch, lol. When this happens I just begin again and try not to get frustrated.

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  19. Quick couple of questions. Firstly, would it be ok to use an OP07 instead of the LM308? I would like to avoid paying $5 for a 308. Secondly, can I sub a 1n4001 (or similar diode) for the 1n5817? It is just a polarity protection diode right? Or am I missing something?
    Thanks for the help! You guys are excellent!

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    Replies
    1. yes in both. 1n5817 is for polarity protection.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WsJ9tE6j1jc

      $5 for an lm308???!!!
      the first thing i found on ebay was this!

      http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/New-10pcs-LM308N-OP-AMP-IC-for-guitar-effect-pedal-/220812768199?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_3&hash=item33697773c7

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    2. Thanks man. I am never 100% on substitutions.

      That's a good deal for the 308s. I am hesitant about buying from china though. I have heard that there a lot of poor counterfeit chips coming out of there.

      Delete
  20. Hi!
    sorry for stupid question, but whats mean "rev log"? what characteristic: A, B or C?

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  21. Think I found the solution to the lost tone controls (I have the problem & I haven't fixed it yet.)
    The 10uF electro that goes to the gate from the long jumper I have it plugged into the Gain 1 strip. I've got 2 built this way... Gotta verify, but I'm sure it doesn't look right.

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  22. So I just finished building this and i made sure there weren't any shorts anywhere and made pretty certain that everything was in the right spot, but when i switch the pedal on there is no signal, not even noise. I wasn't too sure about the offboard wiring (jacks and switch) so I think that might be the issue but I have tried many different combinations on hooking up a pcb to an enclosure. I have a stereo jack for my input, mono for my output, and a 3pdt true bypass foot switch. any help would be awesome. Thanks guys.

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  23. Seriously, this thing just fucking rules, one of the most badass dirt pedals I know, it certainly gets boxed.

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  24. This does sound good, but I am having issues with the output being too quiet. It's barely at unity gain with vol/gain maxed. Anyone have suggestions?

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  25. it should be a lot louder than that. you MUST have an error in your build.

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    1. Any suggestion in where to look for that? I followed the vero layout precisely. I'm not exactly sure if my ears were playing tricks on me or not, but I do seem to remember a tonal difference from testing the vero through a breadboard vs. after boxing it. Think there could be something happening there?

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  28. Hi! First comment on this blog :) I built one of these for my bassist, and it works!! Thank you! I have a question about modifying this circuit: it sounds great on (regular) guitar and I'd really like to build another one for myself, but the tone sweep of the treble knob is very abrasive and ice-picky on guitar, and have to pretty much dial it out completely. Is there a simple mod I could do to bring the treble pot into range that is more useable for guitar? Also, are there other IC's and transistors I could try swapping in and out as an experiment? Thanks in advance for any advice!!

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    1. Hey mate, I'm far from an expert on these things but to my eyes (and the little I know about tone control) and someone can correct me if I am wrong...

      You could change the Capacitors (caps) on the same row as your Treble 1 and 3 connections, the caps you are looking for are 15nf and 150nf. I would socket them and increase the value for each or the very least increase the 15nf, to my knowledge the higher the capacitor value, the more low end "Bass" frequency is aloud to "pass"

      Sockets are great and you can use them to easily swap in and out components to experiment with sounds, usually I socket my Diodes and Transistors.
      A few transistors you could try are, 2n5457 or MPS102 or 2n5484, just be sure to google the Pinout to make sure you put them in the right way.

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    2. Thanks so much for this! Will give your suggestions a try :)

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  29. Hey - I'm pretty green to building these, so forgive me if this is an obvious thing.

    Can anyone tell me which direction the IC is supposed to go? What kind of damage would I do tossing it in backwards?

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    1. if you look closely at the layout you'll see there's a little halfmoon on the IC pointing upwards. the halfmoon represents the top of the IC. in some instances you can blow an IC putting it in backwards and firing it up.

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    2. Ahh, thank you so much. I had printed the image off and that little bump wasn't showing up on my paper. Thank you Zach!

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  31. Can someone tell me if I'm doing something wrong here? No matter what I do, I can't even get a clean signal through the footswitch, on or off. I've followed the "standard pedal wiring diagram" from madbean. All I can seem to get is a a loud buzz.

    http://s61.photobucket.com/user/Rusty_Cavender/media/AC7A5A00-C52D-4F65-ACB9-D6464FD645CA_zps1f58r1xz.jpg.html?sort=3&o=2

    http://s61.photobucket.com/user/Rusty_Cavender/media/030CB7D0-C0A9-470F-85DB-A47134F28408_zpsmjc5eu2p.jpg.html?sort=3&o=0

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    Replies
    1. Try soldering a a ground wire from the ring (the empty lug)of the jack on the left to the same lug on the jack to the right, or wherever your ground wires are connected.

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  32. First time i made this it worked. But i made a second for a friend that has low output.

    Here are the voltages:

    Transistor (MMBFJ201):
    D: 1V
    S: 0.8V
    G: 0V

    IC (LM308):
    Pin1: 8,5V
    Pin2: 4,35V
    Pin3: 3,85V
    Pin4: 0V
    Pin5: 2,5 mV
    Pin6: 4,34V
    Pin7: 8,62V
    Pin8: 8,56V

    Anybody able to help me out?

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  33. Verified took 3 attempts but I showed it who runs the show

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