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Area 51 build complete

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by ChickenLover, Feb 18, 2008.

  1. ChickenLover

    ChickenLover Member

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    I had an empty shell from an old Crybaby that died long ago and decided to get the Area 51 Vintage Italian Wah kit and install it. Everything went without a hitch...I added a DC power jack and protection diode.

    It sounds pretty good but it's still not as nice as my Teese Wheels of Fire wah that I've modded a bit (I haven't modded this one at all and I'm not sure if or how much I will). That wah is magic though...far and above the best sounding wah I've ever had.

    These DPDT switches that we use for true-bypass are way noisier (mechanically) than the typical Crybaby switch...so that when your rocking the wah near the 'toe' end of the sweep you can hear the switch mechanically clicking. Anybody have a good fix for this? I'm almost certain this isn't a matter of adjustment...every wah with a DPDT switch that I've had has done this. I think if I could figure out a way to hold the switch down just a tiny bit then that would do it...the noise comes not from when the pedal 'taps' the switch down a little...but rather when the pedal releases the switch and it clicks at the stop.
    [​IMG]
     
  2. stinkfoot

    stinkfoot Member

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    Nice build!

    Every 3PDT switch I've installed in a wah has made that noise, and no amount of adjusting on my part has made it go away (while still keeping the switch within the operating range it needs to be). I've since switched to using the Carling 316PP switch for all my wah mods, and it works much better IMO.

    /Andreas
     
  3. ChickenLover

    ChickenLover Member

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    Thanks Andreas. Yea, I meant 3PDT.

    I'm wondering if a strip of thin leather with holes at each end and at just the right spacing could be used. Loop the strip of leather into a circle with the holes lined up...slide the holes onto the switch shaft...put the washer and nuts on the switch shaft and tighten them down on top of the leather which pulls the top part of the switch down and holds it just below the stop.
     
  4. stinkfoot

    stinkfoot Member

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    To adjust the switch height (which sets the "feel" - how hard you have to push the pedal down to make it switch over), add or remove washer(s) from the switch (inside the pedal).

    Remove the top nut using a 14mm (I don't know what that is in inches) wrench, and pull the switch down/out, making sure you don't drop any washers that might be there. If there's a nut, screw it closer to the switch body to raise the switch (make it switch over faster) or farther from the body to lower it. If there's no nut there (usually, a 3PDT won't allow that), remove a washer to raise the switch or add one to lower it.

    But - I've never been able to "dial out" that click. If I set the switch low enough for the thing not to click when I go near the toe end, it ends up too far down for me to be able to turn the wah on/off... As I said, a properly adjusted 316PP will feel exactly the same as the stock wah did, without that click.

    /Andreas
     
  5. mistercoffee1

    mistercoffee1 Member

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    Hey, did Area 51 change inductors? That's not quite the same as the one with the white casing.
     
  6. ChickenLover

    ChickenLover Member

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    I dunno mistercoffee. I just bought the Vintage Italian Wah kit with CTS Icar pot upgrade. It certainly looks very different than what is pictured on the site. The trannies look different, the inductor looks different, the .01uF caps look different, and the switch looks different.

    Is the switch in this pic the Carling switch Andreas (stinkfoot) was talking about? That would suck if they used to use the good not-noisy switch and then switched to the noisy switch since this problem is so well known.

    Heck, now that I look at the picture you have me wondering what I got mistercoffee.
     
  7. mistercoffee1

    mistercoffee1 Member

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    I was going to mention that the trannies and the 0.01 look different. Previous models had some BC trannies and Polystyrene caps. What type of transistors does it have? The switch looks to be the blue 3pdt switch which I guess is more durable than current Carling Dpdt. And yes, that clicking of the 3pdt switch sort of comes with the territory.

    Well, all builders continue to evolve with their builds, whether it's due to availability of quality components, or to become more compliant with regulations.

    Regarding the inductor, I found this at his site:
    "Another item of interest: Last year, my inductor manufacturer informed me that they could/would no longer be able to wind my inductors to the tolerance that I required. So, I started looking at alternatives. What happened next was a truly great thing (although it didn't seem that way at the time!): First, I designed and built a coil winder so that we could make them here. Then, I began to experiment with inductor designs. I tried a multitude of cores, wire types/gauges, and winding/assembly techniques. The end result: We have a new inductor that takes what the old one did - and goes beyond it. Improved resonance and harmonics are the result. These inductors are only available in our Area 51 wah, wah kits, and wah boards. (they have a different footprint and pinout, and are not a drop-in replacement for any other type) I've been using these with all kits and wahs for the past few months now."
     
  8. ChickenLover

    ChickenLover Member

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    I didn't look at anything on the trannies...they're just the regular black plastic casing though.

    I might get a couple of those Carlings and try them...if it weren't for that noisy switch (which IMO is a design flaw...it's just unacceptable to have such a glaring flaw in the realm of 'good design' IMO) then my Teese WoF would be about perfect.
     
  9. mistercoffee1

    mistercoffee1 Member

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    In my experience, the Carling DPDT make a little bit of noise, just not as much as the blue 3PDT. Keep in mind that none of these were likely designed to be used on a wah where they would be partially depressed while playing at the toe end of the sweep. The height of the DPDT makes them easier to activate (don't have to press so hard). The clicking is not even noticeable at gig levels.
     
  10. bandofthieves™

    bandofthieves™ Member

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    So you have a RMC Wheels of Fire that is better than an RMC Wheels of Fire???:confused:
     
  11. ChickenLover

    ChickenLover Member

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    Thanks mistercoffee. Both of my TB wahs have the 3PDT and they are both fairly easy to switch...but the days of me playing at gig levels with any regularity are probably long gone so this clicking really drives me up a wall. If there just were a way to hold the switch down a tiny bit so it didn't hit that hard stop when you release it then I think it would be OK. It would also give you a tiny bit more range before you even contacted the switch at all but it would still engage the same.
     
  12. ChickenLover

    ChickenLover Member

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    I don't understand what you mean here. My RMC Wheels of Fire is the best sounding wah I've ever had but the mechanical switch noise drives me up a wall. I basically just don't use it at low volume and that sucks not wanting to use your favorite wah because of a mechanically noisy switch. No cheap Crybaby I've ever had exhibited this problem. I guess it just bugs me that you buy an expensive boutique wah and one of the most basic things about it is a glaring flaw that the cheap mass-produced wahs don't have...and never have that I know of. And we don't even need a 3PDT switch here...we only use it as a DPDT in a TB wah anyway.
     
  13. geetarman

    geetarman Member

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    I own a Area 51(older board) and a WOF I like them both alot but for different reasons the A51 is much cleaner and more vintage sounding where the WOF has alot more growl for gainier sounds that need wider sweep to cut through. There must be a tonal difference between the newer A51 board and the previous version with those component changes.
     
  14. bandofthieves™

    bandofthieves™ Member

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    You said in your first post." It sounds pretty good but it's still not as nice as my Teese Wheels of Fire wah that I've modded a bit"
    What did you mod???
     
  15. ChickenLover

    ChickenLover Member

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    You'll probably be sorry you asked but...the mods I did to the WoF wah were as follows, with 3 caveats:

    First; this was a while back and I'm not 100% sure but pretty close.

    Second; My WoF wah is a very, very early one. Some dude on the old LPF had the first one custom made for him, made a thread about it, and I ordered one at that time. It did not have any trimpots inside...the later ones did and when I contacted Geoffrey about the trimmer he sent me one and instructions to install it. Lol...I installed it and ended up setting it pretty much exactly where the fixed resistor was before (because I thought that sounded best). I think this trimmer is the emitter resistor for Q1 and the stock value (per the Technology of... article) is 470ohm.

    Third; the WoF wah is slightly different schematically from the schemo in the Technology of the Wah Pedal article that RG Keen wrote. And I can't remember what was different but IIRC it was one of the reasons a WoF is mid-scooped.

    The mods (these might be easier to understand if you get that article mentioned above):
    The 1.5K resistor is a 1K resistor with a 1K-L trimmer in series. The setting is pretty close to 1.5K though.
    The blue cap in that feedback loop (or whatever it is...NOT the blue input cap...the other blue cap) has a .0022uF cap in parallel with it.

    Also, I'm almost certain that there was a wiring error on my WoF. (EDIT: I have since been informed that it was not a wiring error...that's the way it's supposed to work.) When I turned the 'Volume' control down I got no sound...the bottom 1/3 of the pot travel yielded no sound at all and just above that was VERY thin so only half of the range was even useable. Also, the Q control had almost no range...didn't really do that much from extreme to extreme. The 'Volume' control is in place of that 82K resistor...the 'Q' control is in place of that 33K resistor (both are right next to the inductor in that schemo). Problem was there was a 'tail' resistor (can't remember value) on the Q pot but not on the Volume pot...IMO it should be the other way around (at least). So on my 'Q' pot I put a 15K tail resistor and on the Volume control I put a 47K tail.

    But the funny thing is...no trimmer or pot is very far from the values shown in that schemo in Technology of......some are as close to exact as possible with cheapo trimmers. Even the Volume and Q are not set that different...maybe 47k on the Q and 91k on the Volume...around there.

    Maybe it's because it sits on my pedalboard running (idling) pretty much 24/7/365 for a few years now? Maybe I've 'vintage-ized' my inductor with that current going through it all that time. ;)

    EDIT: I editted (removed) some references to specific values in my WoF in this post...I shouldn't be giving out GTs schematic values.
     
  16. stinkfoot

    stinkfoot Member

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    That's the one, yes. The standard GCB-95 uses the SPDT version of this switch, and has no noticeable "click" when you push towards the toe end. The DPDT version (316PP) feels the same, and that's the one I use for all wah mods. The 3PDT works well for regular stomp boxes, but for a wah it's not ideal IMHO.

    /Andreas
     
  17. starfish

    starfish Supporting Member

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    You could also get the Carling 316-B-PP which is the same except the terminals all come out at the bottom.

    Either way, I wouldn't recommend the Blue nor the Fulltone 3pdt for wahs. The Carlings are less expensive (generally, I can't speak for large volume sales), and IME have smaller failure rate.
     
  18. playon

    playon Supporting Member

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    "...when your rocking the wah near the 'toe' end of the sweep you can hear the switch mechanically clicking. Anybody have a fix for this?"

    If it's bugging you to hear the switch clicking you obviously aren't playing loud enough. :cool:
     

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