Bottlehead Forum

Bottlehead Kits => Crack-a-two-a => Topic started by: CORedhawk on March 09, 2022, 04:36:11 PM

Title: More than a little intimidated
Post by: CORedhawk on March 09, 2022, 04:36:11 PM
Ordered the Crackatwoa today and after reading the instructions I am fearful I’ve bitten off more than I can chew. Really no experience with this, but I am a quick learner. You may be getting lots of questions! Thanks in advance!
Title: Re: More than a little intimidated
Post by: Mucker on March 09, 2022, 05:12:18 PM
You can do it! Do not be in a hurry is my best advice .. the "do it nice or do it twice" mentality goes a long way ...  :-*
Title: Re: More than a little intimidated
Post by: Larpy on March 10, 2022, 07:59:30 AM
What makes Bottlehead instructions intimidating to a first-timer is how detailed they are: page after page after page of "do this" and "do that."  But once you start building, all that detail makes the process easier, not harder.

Just go slow and check off each step as you complete it so that you don't inadvertently miss a step.

My first build was a tube-based guitar amp that came with parts, a schematic, and a layout (of components).  No instructions.  I figured it out, though there were many missteps along the way. I think my next build was a BH Foreplay III, which was a breeze by comparison.
Title: Re: More than a little intimidated
Post by: CORedhawk on March 10, 2022, 08:42:28 AM
You can do it! Do not be in a hurry is my best advice .. the "do it nice or do it twice" mentality goes a long way ...  :-*

Thanks - I plan to  take it slow as you suggest!
Title: Re: More than a little intimidated
Post by: CORedhawk on March 10, 2022, 08:43:58 AM
What makes Bottlehead instructions intimidating to a first-timer is how detailed they are: page after page after page of "do this" and "do that."  But once you start building, all that detail makes the process easier, not harder.

Just go slow and check off each step as you complete it so that you don't inadvertently miss a step.

My first build was a tube-based guitar amp that came with parts, a schematic, and a layout (of components).  No instructions.  I figured it out, though there were many missteps along the way. I think my next build was a BH Foreplay III, which was a breeze by comparison.

Good point! I think the instructions are something like 70 pages and that was a bikt overwhelming. Checking off each step is a good idea. Thanks.
Title: Re: More than a little intimidated
Post by: Paul Birkeland on March 10, 2022, 09:04:58 AM
If you do the build in two hour chunks each evening and really focus on making your build look exactly like what's in the manual, that tends to help a lot.

If things don't work out, the repair service is also available provided the kit is built stock.
Title: Re: More than a little intimidated
Post by: CORedhawk on March 10, 2022, 11:26:08 AM
If you do the build in two hour chunks each evening and really focus on making your build look exactly like what's in the manual, that tends to help a lot.

If things don't work out, the repair service is also available provided the kit is built stock.

I'll plan on doing that. Thanks!
Title: Re: More than a little intimidated
Post by: Mucker on March 10, 2022, 04:46:26 PM
I built an S3X recently and was meticulous but still missed soldering a couple points. It seemed like there were a couple hundred things to do in the lengthy instruction set. Usually 198 of 200 is pretty good by any standard .... EXCEPT ... 200 of 200 is required for a working amp  :-*

Well worth it!
Title: Re: More than a little intimidated
Post by: kgoss on March 11, 2022, 04:19:25 AM
Be sure to watch all the how to videos on the forum.  Those take a lot of the intimidation away and build confidence,  They are great visual examples of how to build any Bottlehead kit correctly.
Title: Re: More than a little intimidated
Post by: oguinn on March 11, 2022, 05:25:12 AM
It helped me tremendously to organize all the parts in advance and work on a page or so at a time. Still messed some stuff up but it was better than it could've been.
Title: Re: More than a little intimidated
Post by: CORedhawk on March 11, 2022, 05:43:16 AM
I built an S3X recently and was meticulous but still missed soldering a couple points. It seemed like there were a couple hundred things to do in the lengthy instruction set. Usually 198 of 200 is pretty good by any standard .... EXCEPT ... 200 of 200 is required for a working amp  :-*

Well worth it!

Very true :-D
Title: Re: More than a little intimidated
Post by: CORedhawk on March 11, 2022, 05:44:15 AM
Be sure to watch all the how to videos on the forum.  Those take a lot of the intimidation away and build confidence,  They are great visual examples of how to build any Bottlehead kit correctly.

I've been doing that in prep. No idea when to expect the kit, so I have some time to watch a few times. Thanks.
Title: Re: More than a little intimidated
Post by: CORedhawk on March 11, 2022, 05:45:21 AM
It helped me tremendously to organize all the parts in advance and work on a page or so at a time. Still messed some stuff up but it was better than it could've been.

How did you organize things?
Title: Re: More than a little intimidated
Post by: Mucker on March 11, 2022, 08:54:26 AM
Another important thing for me was making sure to use the correct gauge when wire stripping. You want to avoid nicking the wire. I'd recommend using a high quality stripper .... cheap one's will be a real headache especially with a lengthy build.

This Hakko stripper is a good affordable one: https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00FZPHMUG/ctmakerupdate-20/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&linkCode=sl1&tag=ctmakerupdate-20&linkId=bb05b0f554aacb90a7847d422a5e582c&language=en_US&th=1

I had a bad wire strip that caused a tube not to glow and troubleshooting it was difficult. I had conductivity everywhere but apparently the barely together nicked wire wasn't allowing enough juice through. After enough poking around, the wire finally broke off and I knew I found the problem.

After soldering a wire and letting it cool I use a pair of tweezers and give it a good tug making sure it's a rock solid connection. But I obviously missed that one. Practicing wire stripping beforehand could make it easier for you.
Title: Re: More than a little intimidated
Post by: CORedhawk on March 11, 2022, 09:58:29 AM
Another important thing for me was making sure to use the correct gauge when wire stripping. You want to avoid nicking the wire. I'd recommend using a high quality stripper .... cheap one's will be a real headache especially with a lengthy build.

This Hakko stripper is a good affordable one: https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00FZPHMUG/ctmakerupdate-20/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&linkCode=sl1&tag=ctmakerupdate-20&linkId=bb05b0f554aacb90a7847d422a5e582c&language=en_US&th=1

I had a bad wire strip that caused a tube not to glow and troubleshooting it was difficult. I had conductivity everywhere but apparently the barely together nicked wire wasn't allowing enough juice through. After enough poking around, the wire finally broke off and I knew I found the problem.

After soldering a wire and letting it cool I use a pair of tweezers and give it a good tug making sure it's a rock solid connection. But I obviously missed that one. Practicing wire stripping beforehand could make it easier for you.

Coincidentally, I just ordered a good wire stripper. I've done enough of that in other applications to know I needed something better. Thanks for the suggestion of testing the connection with tweezers!

Appreciate all the tips I'm getting from everyone!
Title: Re: More than a little intimidated
Post by: oguinn on March 11, 2022, 11:11:26 AM
How did you organize things?

I bought a set of drawers for small parts, numbered each, then divided the parts into drawers. I had an Excel sheet with the location for each. That way when I needed a screw or a resistor of a certain size, I knew exactly where it was and that the part was right. It also had a secondary effect of making me go slower since I had to retrieve the part.
Title: Re: More than a little intimidated
Post by: Phippers on March 11, 2022, 02:47:23 PM
Hi CORedhawk,

Welcome and congrats on ordering your kit!  I'm sure you'll enjoy the build.

What I did when I built my Mainline was to get ziplock sandwich bags, and when the kit arrived I checked off all the parts against the parts list, and eg.  put  #4 nuts in one bag - and labelled it, #6 nuts in the next bag and labelled it, #6 lockwashers in the next..... etc.

So I ended up with all the parts checked off the parts list - all present and correct, no lost screws on the floor :) and super easy to find the right part as I followed each step in the build.

I also tested all the components that I could do easily - eg resistors with my multimeter - before I soldered them into the kit.

It can be easy to mistake a 1K for a 10K   or a 200 ohm for a 200K ohm if you're not familiar with reading the colour codes and much better to get it right first time, than have to troubleshoot and de-solder / repair etc.

Does the above slow you down?  Yes and no. The build is slower, yes, but the troubleshooting can be reduced to none.

As others have said, take your time and enjoy it. If you're not sure, stop and post a question, there are plenty of folk on here that will jump in to help.

Have fun!
Title: Re: More than a little intimidated
Post by: CORedhawk on March 11, 2022, 04:31:56 PM
I bought a set of drawers for small parts, numbered each, then divided the parts into drawers. I had an Excel sheet with the location for each. That way when I needed a screw or a resistor of a certain size, I knew exactly where it was and that the part was right. It also had a secondary effect of making me go slower since I had to retrieve the part.

Thanks. That’s very organized and I see how it would help!
Title: Re: More than a little intimidated
Post by: CORedhawk on March 11, 2022, 04:34:39 PM
Hi CORedhawk,

Welcome and congrats on ordering your kit!  I'm sure you'll enjoy the build.

What I did when I built my Mainline was to get ziplock sandwich bags, and when the kit arrived I checked off all the parts against the parts list, and eg.  put  #4 nuts in one bag - and labelled it, #6 nuts in the next bag and labelled it, #6 lockwashers in the next..... etc.

So I ended up with all the parts checked off the parts list - all present and correct, no lost screws on the floor :) and super easy to find the right part as I followed each step in the build.

I also tested all the components that I could do easily - eg resistors with my multimeter - before I soldered them into the kit.

It can be easy to mistake a 1K for a 10K   or a 200 ohm for a 200K ohm if you're not familiar with reading the colour codes and much better to get it right first time, than have to troubleshoot and de-solder / repair etc.

Does the above slow you down?  Yes and no. The build is slower, yes, but the troubleshooting can be reduced to none.

As others have said, take your time and enjoy it. If you're not sure, stop and post a question, there are plenty of folk on here that will jump in to help.

Have fun!

Great suggestions. Wouldn’t have thought to test the voltages at that point. Very helpful. Appreciate your post.
Title: Re: More than a little intimidated
Post by: Phippers on March 11, 2022, 07:04:10 PM
Not the voltages, but in this example, (a resistor), it's resistance value. (in ohms).

So you're just checking / identifying the component on its own before you start.

Many multimeters can measure resistance as well as voltage and current. You select resistance on the meter, and connect the two meter probes across the resistor.

To do this it is best to use crocodile clips on your meter leads rather than holding the probes across the resistor with your fingers, as the latter can give incorrect readings (and it's good to get used to using croc clips for when you come to make voltage measurements on your amp).

The attached picture shows measuring a 3k9 resistor.
Title: Re: More than a little intimidated
Post by: debk on March 11, 2022, 11:47:33 PM
How did you organize things?

I use a muffin pan to sort parts into.

Take your time, take it one step at a time.  reread things, sometimes it takes a few reads to understand a step.  If you get frustrated with a step.  Step back take a break and when you come back it is usually clearer.

I know it can seem intimidating, but take it one step at a time and you will be fine.

This community it great and there is always someone on this forum who is ready to help if you get stumped.

Debra
Title: Re: More than a little intimidated
Post by: CORedhawk on March 12, 2022, 06:49:15 AM
Not the voltages, but in this example, (a resistor), it's resistance value. (in ohms).

So you're just checking / identifying the component on its own before you start.

Many multimeters can measure resistance as well as voltage and current. You select resistance on the meter, and connect the two meter probes across the resistor.

To do this it is best to use crocodile clips on your meter leads rather than holding the probes across the resistor with your fingers, as the latter can give incorrect readings (and it's good to get used to using croc clips for when you come to make voltage measurements on your amp).

The attached picture shows measuring a 3k9 resistor.

Got it. Thanks for the clarification.
Title: Re: More than a little intimidated
Post by: CORedhawk on March 12, 2022, 06:50:47 AM
I use a muffin pan to sort parts into.

Take your time, take it one step at a time.  reread things, sometimes it takes a few reads to understand a step.  If you get frustrated with a step.  Step back take a break and when you come back it is usually clearer.

I know it can seem intimidating, but take it one step at a time and you will be fine.

This community it great and there is always someone on this forum who is ready to help if you get stumped.

Debra

Thanks Debra. I've got some of those around!
Title: Re: More than a little intimidated
Post by: 2wo on March 12, 2022, 06:33:07 PM
Practice soldering, see if you can round up some scrap parts to play with, even twisting some bits of wire together can give you a feel for making good joints...John
Title: Re: More than a little intimidated
Post by: CORedhawk on March 13, 2022, 03:52:35 AM
Practice soldering, see if you can round up some scrap parts to play with, even twisting some bits of wire together can give you a feel for making good joints...John

I don't have any spare parts unfortunately. I've wondered if I should buy one of the cheap beginner kits I've seen, just to practice?
Title: Re: More than a little intimidated
Post by: 2wo on March 13, 2022, 05:07:00 PM
Excellent idea, you might even find one that is amusing for 5 minutes after you build it ;)...John