Building The BJFE Pale Green Compressor Kit

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:

  1. Because it’s easy to see where the cuts are at on both sides of the board.
  2. It makes it less possible for solder to wick between the cuts and provides better separation.

BJFE Pale Green Compessor Kit Build - Veroboard Preparation

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.

BJFE Pale Green Compessor Kit Build - Veroboard Resistors and Diodes

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.

BJFE Pale Green Compessor Kit Build - Veroboard Capacitors

Installing the Optocoupler and NE5534 Op Amp

The Optocoupler has two sets of leads:

  1. The Long Leads – These are for the LDR (light dependent resistor).  They are not polarized.
  2. 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.

BJFE Pale Green Compessor Kit Build - Veroboard Complete

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.

10 thoughts on “Building The BJFE Pale Green Compressor Kit

  • November 15, 2014 at 5:42 PM

    I have a few questions:
    How is the LED supposed to be wired? There is a mark on the diagram that says LDR, but I don’t understand how this is actually supposed to be hooked up.
    I can’t find any good explanation of the 6 pin pot, in the diagram the connections to it say “Tone B1″ and “Tone A1″ would this refer to the top and bottom row of this pot? Which is which?

    • November 16, 2014 at 9:00 PM

      Hey Alex, look at Step 2 under Installing Optocoupler and it describes the white dot on the side of the optocoupler and to arrange it where it is closest to the 1uF capacitor, which is the one below it in the photo.
      As far as the duplex potentiometer goes, which row is “A” or “B” doesn’t matter. just as long as you keep it the same for each pin whichever way you choose, for example, don’t put A2 on row B. As far as the numbering goes, it follows the same numbering convention as any other potentiometer. With the pins facing towards you and the shaft standing up, they are numbered 1-3 from left to right.

      • November 16, 2014 at 9:30 PM

        Thanks for the reply! Sorry but I still don’t know exactly where that means I would hook up the LED itself, would it be wired in the same slot as the long leads of the optocoupler? I am not familiar with the component, and this is my first time building a pedal so I’m still learning the basics.
        The pot explanation makes a lot of sense thanks

  • January 7, 2015 at 12:07 AM

    Ordered one and finished it a week ago.
    This is the best pedal you can make!!!!

    You just leave it on all the time.
    You’ll understand why this compressor is the one for those don’t like the compressor.
    I can’t explain why, but this pedal sweetens your tone.

  • May 28, 2015 at 12:08 PM

    I’ve built this pedal twice, and in both versions, I have trouble hearing any difference as I turn the compression or tone knobs. I’ve checked lug orientation, optocoupler polarity, and double/triple checked the circuit. I know I must be missing something but can’t find it. Volume works and I can hear a subtle enhancing effect when the pedal is engaged, but comp and tone have no discernible effect. Any suggestions?

    • May 28, 2015 at 1:01 PM

      On a side note, there is a noticeable difference when adjusting the tone pot on my build. The compression is the one I cannot notice the difference on.

      • May 28, 2015 at 5:09 PM

        I did notice that there is a 22uf capacitor in line right before the lead to comp 1 that is not in any schematics I found. Not sure what it is there for… HPF? though the layout and value don’t seem right… I also noticed that in the pic you provided of your build, the 1uf cap in the lower left of the board looks to be off by one strip, it should be going to ground but instead skips the ground strip and connects to the 200k resistor.

        • July 14, 2015 at 11:29 PM

          Hi, i just finished and boxed mine, and i have the same symptoms : no real difference betwen switched on and off. Can you Please send me the fix ?

          • July 14, 2015 at 11:49 PM

            Hey Gilles,
            If you will remove the 22uF capacitor on the Comp 1 wire and then move the Comp 1 wire up one strip so that it connects with the 5.6K Ohm resistor, this should fix the problem.

  • July 17, 2015 at 6:32 AM

    Doh, I assembled the kit with the printed template you sent with (John Kallas’s layout). So none of the mods you suggest can be applied. I wonder if the optocoupler is in the right way. White dot pin in the minus slot for the LED. Is that correct ?


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