One of our newest kits is the BJFE Pale Green Compressor Kit, which mimics the original pedal. This is a LDR optocoupler build, relying on the Silonex NSL-32 LDR optocoupler. Since I also chose to include a 7.5mm 1oonF Cornell Dubilier polybox capacitor in place of one of the regular poly film ones, I figured I would build this kit out and photograph it to help those who might get stumped on component placement.
Beginning The Build
The first steps I like to take is to drill the holes, then solder the jumpers onto the board. To drill the holes, I discovered a 3/32″ Drill Bit is just the right size.
For jumper wire, I use CAT5E Cable due to it’s low-profile and thin insulation. 1 foot is plenty enough for this project.
Why drill the holes?
If you’re curious why drilling the holes might be better than just cutting the strips, here’s a few reasons I do it:
- Because it’s easy to see where the cuts are at on both sides of the board.
- It makes it less possible for solder to wick between the cuts and provides better separation.
NOTE: The top right hole is off by 1 space. I accidentally got this hole wrong, but it doesn’t effect the circuit so it wasn’t an issue.
Adding the resistors and diodes
The next phase I perform is adding the resistors and the diodes. It doesn’t matter which direction the resistors go, but I took the time to align them so the values are read from bottom-to-top of the board. For the stand-up resistors, I try and place the exposed lead of the resistor away from the leads of other components, which in this case is a capacitor and a transistor. This is just to prevent accidental shorting between components.
For the diodes, you MUST make sure they are facing the correct direction, otherwise it won’t work.
Adding the voltage regulator, transistors, and capacitors
The next phase is usually the capacitors, then the transistors/voltage regulator. I didn’t create separate photographs for them. Be sure you pay close attention to the direction you install your electrolytic capacitors! The polarity matters and you should double-check them before soldering them into place. The direction of the ceramic/poly capacitors do not matter.
Pay close attention to where the 100nF Polybox capacitor (white) goes. If you solder one of the poly film capacitors in it’s place, the leads will be too short to install them in their proper place.
Socketing the Transistors
Some people like installing sockets for the transistors so they can test other transistors and/or for other reasons. Our header pins are great for this. Simply trim them to the desired length and solder them in place of the transistors, then insert your transistor into them.
Installing the Optocoupler and NE5534 Op Amp
The Optocoupler has two sets of leads:
- The Long Leads – These are for the LDR (light dependent resistor). They are not polarized.
- The Short Leads – These are for the LED. They ARE polarized and the negative (-) lead is indicated by the white dot on the size of the case. This lead should be installed closest to the 1uF electrolytic capacitor.
I took the time to carefully bend the leads and install it with aesthetic appeal taken into consideration.
I chose not to use a DIP-8 IC socket for the NE5534 Op Amp. I recommend using the sockets since it helps prevent overheating/damaging the IC chip during soldering and makes swapping them out much easier should you need to do so.
Finishing up the build
The rest is pretty simple, so there isn’t a need to write about it at this time. Ok, actually I haven’t finished it yet and therefore cannot write any further, but still, I think the rest is pretty simple. I’ll post the rest once I finish building it. If you get stumped, please feel free to contact me and I’ll be glad to help however I can.