quick question about gooping

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by Polynitro, Sep 20, 2008.

  1. Polynitro

    Polynitro Member

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    I'm not trying to start a heated argument about the ethics of the goop but just wondered if one can't just xray the goop to see what's underneath?
     
  2. Structo

    Structo Member

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    X rays would not show the values of the components.
    That is why Mr. D gooped his preamps.
     
  3. IvIark

    IvIark Member

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    But it's reasonably easy to take off anyway, just time consuming.
     
  4. Uma Floresta

    Uma Floresta Senior Member

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    True. I order to hide a design nowadays you'd need to weld the enclosure shut. And even then...
     
  5. Axekisser

    Axekisser Member

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    I degooped my Hotcake so I could mod it. Took some time but since Paul Crowther uses RTV it was pretty easy. BTW my modded HC rocks!
     
  6. semi-hollowbody

    semi-hollowbody Member

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    i think its ridiculous...these copyright laws...pretty soon it will be ILLEGAL to let someone else watch a dvd you bought or let someone else listen to a cd you bought...

    If I was buying a truck and Ford gooped the engine so GM and Chrysler wouldnt steal their design I wouldnt bother with them...same with pedals...


    Ive never bought a gooped pedal but have read its pretty easy to de-goop them, just takes a bit of time...
     
  7. IvIark

    IvIark Member

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    Builders with "new innovative designs" take note ... :)
     
  8. IvIark

    IvIark Member

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    If copyright had anything to do with it the builders wouldn't need to goop the PCB. It would be nice to believe that most builders goop the product to protect their innovation but the cynic in me believes that in many cases it's more likely to hide an origin.

    Full marks to people like Paul C who don't bother with the goop, sells his wares at very reasonable prices and seems to have enough repect in the DIY community that no one seems motivated to copy them.
     
  9. slopeshoulder

    slopeshoulder Senior Member

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    I am going to goop my hands so no one can steel my licks.
     
  10. amp_surgeon

    amp_surgeon Member

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    Taking an xray of a gooped circuit board will give you some idea of what type of components are underneath, as well as the circuit board connections between them, but it won't tell you the component values or (in the case of the semiconductors) the part numbers. Even then, what you see may not be 100% reliable. A resistor and a diode can look very similar, and a large capacitor can hide circuit traces.

    For what it's worth, a circuit design can't be copyrighted. You CAN copyright a schematic drawing or a circuit board layout - they are both considered original art - but the actual circuit can't be copyrighted.

    A circuit CAN be patented, but only if it's a truly original design, or an original improvement on an existing design. This is pretty hard to do with effects pedals, though. Pretty much every useful way you can hook up a transistor has been thoroughly documented in electronics textbooks.

    I personally think there are two reasons some builders goop their pedals.

    One reason is because they think they're on to something truly original in terms of tone, and they think that discovery has some intrinsic value that is considerably more than the cost of the parts. In other words, they know you could build one for a lot less, and they want to do everything they can to stop you (or anyone else) from doing that.

    The second reason is because it adds a bit of mystery to the product. The mystery increases the perception of value. People are inclined to pay more if they think they're getting something which is "secret".

    Also, not all circuit board potting materials can be safely removed. Acrylic and epoxy based coatings are difficult to remove without also damaging the circuit board and components inside.
     
  11. soulsonic

    soulsonic Member

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    If you can't patent your design, then it ain't worth hiding because it's already been done.

    Unless of course you're trying to hide the fact that it's something that's already been done.... heh, heh, heh...
     
  12. amp_surgeon

    amp_surgeon Member

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    Yeah, I don't think there's any doubt that they're doing something which has already been done. You could pick just about any section of any circuit in a discrete component effect pedal and find a schematic of that circuit section in at least one of the thousands of electronics textbooks.

    What they ARE doing is choosing particular component values that create a specific tone. Changing the component values in a conventional circuit design is not a patentable invention. It's just a variation on prior art.

    To give them a little credit, they might have spent months figuring out the specific circuit configuration and component values to give them that exact tone. While it wouldn't be illegal for someone else to come along and copy that circuit verbatim, I can understand how they might feel like they were getting ripped off after spending all of that time.

    On the other hand, understanding why they feel like they need to protect their design is not the same thing as believing that protection is justified. Spending a lot of time at the bench trying to perfect a circuit design is part of the R&D process. All engineers have to do it, and customers have a right to expect that the appropriate amount of research went into the product's development.

    Any circuit design that actually works can be explained by means of engineering science, and any engineer who understands that science could recreate the same circuit. Covering the circuit with goop and charging astronomical prices is practically a guarantee that someone is going to rip off their design and sell it for less. These guys are thinking like artists, and not like businessmen.
     
  13. starfish

    starfish Member

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    http://www.pedaldoctor.com/Diaz.html

    I posted this a long time ago in another pedal degooping thread. Somebody already made a "how-to degoop and repair" page with a Diaz trem.

    The page basically mirrors my own experience with degooping. It's not really difficult, but can take some time. With care, epoxy can be removed without damaging anything.

    I can understand why some builders choose to go this route. But if you think about it, anybody who would plan to make a wholesale copy of a unique circuit for profit doesn't practice ethics and isn't going to care about the $$$ start up cost of buying the pedal that they plan to copy, and then dissect it to find reveal each part code and measure components to confirm each value.

    I view gooping as being akin to locking your car door. With tools and expertise, the protection is circumvented. In the end, only ethics is the watchdog.
     
  14. Polynitro

    Polynitro Member

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    I just don't get why some pedals are gooped and then other's like D*A*M give you the schematics/values and encourage people to clone which is cool IMO.
     
  15. this1smyne

    this1smyne Member

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    well put starfish. well put.
     
  16. amp_surgeon

    amp_surgeon Member

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    Not quite. It's his car - he has every right to lock it in order to protect it. Would you buy that car from him if he didn't give you the key to the door? I think it's more like welding the hood shut, and then selling it to someone else. Not only can the buyer not repair the engine, they can't even look under the hood to see what kind of engine they have. In order to do this, they have to get a torch and cut the hood open.

    On a personal level, I agree with you about ethics. From a practical viewpoint, ethics is no protection. While most businesses would never stoop to stealing their competitors designs and selling them as their own, it would be naive for a business owner to believe that nobody is going to do this to them. That locked car door will help keep honest people honest, but it's only a minor annoyance to a car thief. Likewise, gooping a circuit is only a minor annoyance to a circuit thief.

    Your best protection in business is to design and build great products, and to sell them at fair prices. If someone can build an exact copy with the same or better quality, and sell it for dramatically less, then the price of the original is too high. If someone feels they need to seal the circuit in goop in order to keep those "unethical" people from stealing their designs, then they probably already know their prices are too high.
     
  17. jcat

    jcat Member

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    I'm going to ask no one in particular if there might be other reasons to goop other than secrecy. Heat transfer ? Vibration abatement ? ...
     
  18. whoismarykelly

    whoismarykelly Oh look! This is a thing I can change!

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    Almost every D*A*M pedal is an exact clone of the most cloned pedals in the world. The stuff he is building isn't secret in any way.
     
  19. whoismarykelly

    whoismarykelly Oh look! This is a thing I can change!

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    You could say that it protects the PCB from humidity, damage, temperature change to some extent. All those might be valid reasons to goop but they are rarely the actual reason.
     
  20. starfish

    starfish Member

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    I think you misread my point. I am pretty sure we mostly agree on all the same points. The locked car is only an analogy to illustrate that it (gooping) is a poor theft deterrent.

    I wasn't really delving into the pedal owner and serviceability aspects though those are good, valid points you raise and that is why most of us are dismayed by the gooping of circuits after buying an expensive pedal. I own quite a few pedals that are gooped and some of the builders are long gone. So service is a real problem.

    The basic point of my first post was to show that someone who is determined to steal a circuit design is going to do it regardless of the deterrent, ...and I would go so far to say even if (un)welding were involved. :) Good discussion.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2008

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