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[Build Log] Bottlehead Crack destruction and rebuild...

post #1 of 58
Thread Starter 
I bought a Crack off ebay some time ago, pre-built. It came with AΞON output capacitors, an ALPS potentiometer, and one of the tubes appears to not be stock. I've since replaced the RCAs with Neutrik ones and the headphone jack with a Neutrik latching jawn. The octal tube socket just plain sucks and the signal started becoming intermittent, so I took the amp out of commission and I am going to do a whole slew of things to it.

  • I ordered new tube sockets. They are the teflon composite type from Parts Connexion. They have a silver-plated crown springs inside the contacts made of beryllium copper.
  • The capacitors came dangling. I just used packing tape to keep them held up. It works and can't easily be seen because it's clear. It's not ideal so I designed some brackets in SketchUp and are having them made at shapeways for $3.96 apiece. They made specifically for my capacitors, and you can see the slots for the zip tie. Click this sentence to visit the site and maybe purchase them. I don't get anything for it. I designed them and put them up for everybody.
    The headphone jack is crooked and could use some mounting work. I am going to look for a machinist to just nip into the top plate a tiny bit to the shape of the jack's flange so it absolutely will not move.
  • I am replacing all hardware with torx hardware. I haven't found a place where I can get all the same alloy for all of the sizes I need and inexpensive. McMaster-Carr has them all for cheap, but in different alloys. Aaron's has any size you can imagine and in whatever alloy you want, but small quantities are expensive. I would maybe go for larger quantities if people would go in on a buy (hint hint). Fastenal doesn't really have anything, anymore.
  • I am going to have the top plate and transformer end bell powder coated.
  • I am looking to build in an audio spectrum analyzer circuit I bought some time ago. I would like it to be after the volume control. Will there be any impedance problems?
  • I am looking to add a timed relay circuit that won't connect the headphone jack to the output until a set amount of time after the power is turned on.
  • The Speedball upgrade will be done. Does anyone know what hardware (screws) that kit uses? If I have excess quantities from the bulk I order for the Crack itself it would be nice to have these used for mounting the Speedball.
  • I am thinking about solid silver wire with cloth insulation, and not with PVC or teflon innards. Does anyone know of a place that sells a decent selection of sizes and colors (red, white, and black)? I found a place in the UK, but I would prefer somewhere in North America. I wouldn't mind getting uncoated wire and just getting the cloth separate.

So far I'm impressed with the amp. I didn't think the sound would change that much from the on-board amp on my STX card. Naysayers obviously don't understand that impedance is only measured at one frequency point and high-impedance headphones like my HD-650s are quite demanding of power for bass. You need a healthy reserve of power to drive low frequencies.

When I got it:
2012-05-01_18-13_thumb.jpg

After I fiddled with it:
2012-05-07_19-25_thumb.jpg

More updates to come later today regarding the teardown of it and what I found.
Edited by ramicio - 6/13/13 at 12:09pm
 
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post #2 of 58
Thread Starter 
I got it all torn down days ago. I haven't decided if I am going to get another top plate laser cut or just modify this one. I want to go with a Bulgin switch, and not in the stock location. It's in a bad location where I have the amp sit I burn myself on the tube reaching for the switch to turn it off. I have a top plate designed in AutoCAD. I'm just waiting to hear from a place about laser cutting and if I need to add any considerations for beam width (maybe someone here could help me?). I drew everything literally the size I want it to wind up. The new tube sockets are smaller in diameter, so I ended up shrinking those holes in the drawing. I will still need a few more holes to mount a board that does the on/off latching and delays the signal to the headphones because I don't feel like putting the massive effort into pressing the latch to remove the headphones every time I turn it off, and I don't feel comfortable leaving them plugged in when I power it on.

The transformer end bell is fugly and rusty. I don't get why they wouldn't coat it with something, being that it gets hot and accelerates the rust. Oh well. That's getting powder coated.

2012-08-06_19-41_thumb.jpg

top_plate.png
 
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post #3 of 58
Thread Starter 
Does anyone here do any kind of microcontroller programming? I need something to mimic how a computer's power button behaves. One press to turn on, and holding it down will turn it off. Building a circuit to do a basic toggle is easy. Things get iffy with them if you keep the button held. The circuit could become large, and I can't have that. I have very little space here and I need to build power supply on this board, as well. I saw there were some PIC ICs that were DIP-8 that would do wonder. It probably would take but a few minutes for someone to write such a simple program and flash it to the IC for some money.
 
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post #4 of 58
Thread Starter 
I got the capacitor brackets from shapeways today.

2012-08-08_17-12_thumb.jpg 2012-08-08_17-13_thumb.jpg
 
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post #5 of 58
I have a question? What is it? (Srry I truly want to know)
post #6 of 58
Thread Starter 
A headphone amplifier.
 
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post #7 of 58
Oh, Ok I thought maybe it was a radio. It has a cool look to it anyway.
post #8 of 58
Thread Starter 
Some updates conglomerated from a few months:

Work on the 9-pin socket and mounting LEDs:

2012-08-12_18-06_thumb.jpg

Some alignment washers for the tube sockets:

8-pin_washer.png 9-pin_washer.png

Circuit to do on/off:

schematic_thumb.png

Top plate back from the laser cutter:

2012-08-24_18-33_thumb.jpg

On/off circuit assembled on PCB:

2012-10-04_20-47_thumb.jpg 2012-09-27_21-44_thumb.jpg

Speedball:

2012-09-28_21-09_thumb.jpg 2012-10-04_20-24_thumb.jpg 2012-10-04_20-26_thumb.jpg

Bracket CNCed for the 9-pin socket:

2012-10-05_18-47_thumb.jpg

I still need powder coating done, some machining to the top plate, and to order the Torx hardware I have planned, and then it's ready for assembly.
 
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post #9 of 58
Looks very nice thumb.gif

What is the output tube? it looks like there is no output transformer?
post #10 of 58
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jvjessen View Post

Looks very nice thumb.gif
What is the output tube? it looks like there is no output transformer?

The stock output tubes are listed as 6080/6AS7 and from what I've seen they are usually a Tung-Sol 6080 that come with the kit. The one that came with mine is an RCA 6AS7G. It's a transformerless output amp.

My 7mm end mill(s) came in the mail today. They sent me 2 when I ordered one. I've been getting a lot of bonus stuff from businesses lately. I have 9 more of the on/off PCBs that are sitting around collecting dust that I will sell. I ordered 1, they sent my 10. The ALPs PCB I ordered 1, they sent me 6, and so I have 4 extra (my math isn't wrong, I just put the silk screen on the wrong side and had to remove the potentiometer from the board and flip it around, so I just used a new board).

2012-10-11_17-07_thumb.jpg
 
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