music, guitars & other obsessions

Setting Up An Electronic Prototype Workbench

For DIY speaker projects, I’d love to set up a lab, stock it up with drivers, crossover parts and really experiment and build some of these projects instead of just reading them online. After all, nothing beats the real thing!

Well I quickly realize that I lack the skill or space to build speakers at home, so I will just ask the carpenters to build the cabinets based on my designs, it is not the quickest way and I have to explain to them on how to properly build the speaker as most of them have never build speakers before, but it will have to do for now.

But for my electronic projects, after months of thinking about it, I finally done it! The lab has been setup in Gaby’s room, I stocked up on parts, test equipment, tools, etc. Now I can begin prototyping various guitar amp and stompbox designs, as there are so many to try. Since 80% of the work in building amps/pedals is actually the final assemby, i.e., putting all the parts into a nice-looking chassis, it is much better to quickly build a prototype on the bench, make sure the design is good before committing the time and energy to actually put the whole thing together.

The basic test mule chassis will have various connections made via EU-type terminal strips, with all the parts easily accessible from the top of the chassis. The chassis itself can accommodate upto 5 tubes simultaneously, the PT and OT will be mounted on separate sub-chassis to make the whole thing more modular.

I have also purchased some basic test gear for the lab bench – a digital multi-meter, a dual trace oscilloscope (20MHz), and soon a waveform generator. Since I will be working on high voltage, I also got a variac, so I can adjust the AC line voltage. On my shopping list at the moment are – heat shrink tubing, hot air gun, chassis punch, amp gauge (up to 5A), automatic wire stripper, alcohol for cleaning PCBs and solder…

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