A Wondrous Adventure: SLO Clone Build (Now with Clips)

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by FourT6and2, Jun 5, 2014.

  1. FourT6and2

    FourT6and2 Supporting Member

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    Clips toward the end.

    Because my Metro Super Lead build-thread went so well (seen here: https://www.thegearpage.net/board/index.php?threads/799547 ), I've decided to do the same with a SLO100 clone. I'm still waiting for most of the actual parts to come in. But let's get thangs goin' with a rundown of all the tools I'll be using. First, I'd just like to give a shout out to some of the peeps that gave me helpful advice and info during the research phase of this build: Rob at C3 Amps, Olaf Krampe, The folks at SLOCloneForums (Wartime-Novelty, Joey, and mjtripper), and Joachim at Tube-Town.de.

    The build will basically be a stock SLO but with two possible mods: 1) Elevated AC Heaters and 2) A switchable, loop bypass.

    First up is a gun to bring da heat:

    [​IMG]



    Some wire stripping tools. I'm using teflon hook-up wire. So I had to get a new hand-stripper because teflon wire has much thinner insulation than normal PVC. So I needed s stripper that could go smaller than the one I had, even for the same AWG. The tool on the left is a special RG-188 coax stripper for the Belden shielded cable I'll be using. It strips in three levels (outer jacket, braided shield, inner insulator) in one fell swoop. Handy.

    [​IMG]



    Basic hand tools. Pliers, flat cutter, round-nose jeweler pliers for bending wire and component leads smoothly, and a wide, flat, non-serrated pliers to perfectly straighten leads/wire.

    [​IMG]



    Other misc. stuffs. Component lead bender for resistors and caps and such on the PCB, supercool sharpie, orange wood sticks for (anal) probing, and an x-acto for zee slicin' unt dicin'.

    [​IMG]



    The super pretty mil-spec, silver-plated, teflon hook-up wire. I chose the color palette for number one tone!

    [​IMG]



    For years I've just been using cheap, ******, pain-in-my-ass soldering irons from Radio Shack. They get the job done. But the tips always corrode and melt away after like a week. And the temperature isn't regulated so the iron's tip fluctuates all over the place with regard to temperature. I decided to do it right this time and get a decent iron. I narrowed my choices down to Weller and Hakko. Weller has a good name. But the only two readily available irons were the WES51 and the digital version. Both pretty good. But this Hakko FX-888D has a ceramic heating element, has more features, is of much higher quality, and I got a bangin' deal on it that included a bunch of replacement tips of various shapes/sizes and a spool of Kester 44 Eutectic (63/37) solder—the good ****—all for less than the cost of the Weller unit alone. This iron makes soldering much easier, faster, and way more funtastic.

    Oh and it LITERALLY (no joke) heats up from totally cold to 750 degrees F in about 20 seconds. It's magic, y'all.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Stay tuned for more updates. Parts should start rollin' in soon.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2014
    lexreverb and coldengray like this.
  2. big mike

    big mike Plexi Loving Admin Staff Member

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    Been pondering a build myself, thanks for sharing and letting us follow along!

    Subscribed!

    50 or 100 watt version?
     
  3. FourT6and2

    FourT6and2 Supporting Member

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  4. Mattbedrock

    Mattbedrock Silver Supporting Member

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    Nice. I'll be watching!
     
  5. wizard_23

    wizard_23 Member

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    Yes yes yes, this is relevant to my interests.
     
  6. FourT6and2

    FourT6and2 Supporting Member

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    lol :)
     
  7. PlinytheWelder

    PlinytheWelder Member

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    I use a butane soldering iron and a Teledyne hot blade stripper for Teflon wire...
    Good luck! It will be a great amp!
     
  8. FourT6and2

    FourT6and2 Supporting Member

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    The only difference is a butane iron can't regulate the tip temperature. And you don't have precise control over the exact temp. Hot blades are cool though. Hakko makes one too but it's overkill. I'm fine with good ol' hand tool.
     
  9. eddy999

    eddy999 Member

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    Good luck with the build! My 50w SLO clone from 2010 is still going strong (thread) - a great project. I was happy with the stock AC heaters in mine, didn't bother experimenting with elevation as the hum was negligable.
     
  10. cardinal

    cardinal Member

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    Are elevated AC heaters suppose to be a way to reduce hum? If so, I'd give them a shot with a SLO clone. My only real complaint about the SLO was that its noise floor wasn't as low as most of the other amps I've used.

    Very interested in this build! One day, I'd love to build an amp.
     
  11. FourT6and2

    FourT6and2 Supporting Member

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    Nice work! Yeah you've got the power board with the mod section on it so should be easy to to DC or elevated heaters. If I have any questions I'll be sure to ask you ;)

    Your PCB didn't come pre-populated did it?

    And why did you run the preamp heaters (purple wires) from the pilot light instead of from the power tubes and under the preamp board?

    Yeah, elevated heaters should help to reduce AC hum a bit. But it also serves to reduce the cathode-to-heater breakdown voltage so your preamp tubes last longer (most of the Russian-made tubes fail in CF positions). The SLO uses CF positions so elevated heaters can help in that regard. You are basically raising the heater's ground reference from chassis-ground to something around 40-50 volts.
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2014
  12. eddy999

    eddy999 Member

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    No it wasn't pre-populated.

    A couple of reasons:

    1. It was my first build so I basically copied the layout from Rob's (C3 Amps) build.
    2. Running the wiring around the edge of the chassis keeps the heater AC away from the sensitive preamp section (a good idea in a high gain amp like this). I could have probably run the wiring between the choke and the preamp board and wouldn't have noticed a difference in noise, however see point 1 :)
     
  13. FourT6and2

    FourT6and2 Supporting Member

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    Hmm, the photos and layout I have from C3 show the heaters being run under the board, just like in the real SLO. :dunno
     
  14. eddy999

    eddy999 Member

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    Do you mean the preamp or power supply boards? I've just had a look at the pictures on his site again. He ran his heater wiring to a terminal strip under the power board, where he splits to go to the lamp and the preamp sockets. I didn't have room for a terminal strip so just ran around the outside to the lamp, and on from there to the heaters.

    You can see in this shot the white wires run down from the strip to the lamp, and separate wires running to the edge of the chassis for the preamp sockets
    [​IMG]

    and the other angle
    [​IMG]

    My wiring was just pushed out closer to the edge of the chassis

    [​IMG]
     
  15. FourT6and2

    FourT6and2 Supporting Member

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    Nah, not those photos. I have other ones from other builds, along with photos of a bunch of real SLOs and the layout diagram from C3 which shows them run under the preamp board from the PI to between V7/V8, like in real SLOs. I wonder if that method actually induces hum or not?
     
  16. eddy999

    eddy999 Member

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    Ah that explains it. It'd still rather branch off at the artificial ct and run either around the chassis or between the choke and preamp board
     
  17. FourT6and2

    FourT6and2 Supporting Member

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    Transformers arrived today. The mailman complained about the weight of the box. So I guess that means they're beefy enough. :)

    I think I might degrease the outside and paint the covers with some high-temp automotive paint (flat black), just to clean 'em up a bit.

    [​IMG]
     
  18. big mike

    big mike Plexi Loving Admin Staff Member

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  19. FourT6and2

    FourT6and2 Supporting Member

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    Yup. Currently degreasing them, then on to painting. Should be done with that by tonight sometime.
     
  20. big mike

    big mike Plexi Loving Admin Staff Member

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    I'd be tempted to paint the bells some wacky color.
    Bright chevy orange or something.
     

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