OK, so we’ve got our TriBooster Kit from the good folks at Build Your Own Clone, and I’m happy to say they threw in a few extras as well (who doesn’t like extras?) Yeah, it’s cheapy promo stuff, but still fun: two guitar picks with the BYOC “Cloned” Sheep logo printed on them, and a pair of stickers to boot.
The kit itself is just chock full of good stuff, including BYOC’s custom printed circuit boards (PCB,) which I’ve been told are so easy to use it’s like painting by numbers. In fact, taking a closer look at the board I’d say that’s probably true––these things are thoroughly marked up to show you where everything goes, and every thing’s been pre-tinned, which means the boards don’t have to be cleaned before use, and you’re much less likely to get a bad soldering joint.
Get Your Things In Order I suppose the first thing we want to do here is head over to BYOC and download the PDF instructions (nope, there weren’t any with our kit,) and if at all possible print it out in color––if you don’t have access to a color printer, you can always follow along right from your computer screen.
OK, so once you’ve got your kit and instructions, you’re going to want to amass the basic tools required to put this bad boy together. Now, I don’t have a whole lot of experience soldering onto PCBs (read: none,) but from what I can gather all we should really need is:
- Soldering Iron – decent quality, probably $20 – $30 from Radio Shack or the like.
- Solder – a roll of medium duty resin-core solder, not too thin, not too thick.
- Desoldering Braid – an easy way to clean up minor screw-ups.
- Wire Clippers – something small for getting into those tight spaces.
- Heat Sink – may not be necessary for this project, but good to have just the same.
- Power Source – 9v battery, or ac adapter with 2.1mm ‘center pin negative’ power jack.
Of course, a tutorial on basic soldering is beyond the scope of this little walk-through, but if you Google it you should be able to learn the basics with just a bit of practice.
And wrapping up this first step––you might also want to take a run through your Tri Booster kit’s Checklist, just to make sure you’ve got every little capacitor and diode that you need before you get elbow deep into this project.
In the next step we’ll get into populating the printed circuit board.