It's Chop Shop Time! Building The BYOC Optical Compressor

ChopshopOK, I had so much fun building my pedal last year that I’ve decided it’s time to bust out my trusty old soldering gun and start working on a new project––the .

If you’ve ever wanted to build your own pedal then I highly recommend you join me on this adventure. The complete kit from BYOC will set you back $69.99, and with their well-written directions you don’t need to be able to read schematics or have the engineering chops of a rocket scientist.

Besides the kit, all you really need are patience, very basic soldering skills, and a few simple tools:

  1. Soldering Iron – decent quality, probably $20 – $30 from Radio Shack or the like.
  2. Solder – a roll of medium duty resin-core solder, not too thin, not too thick.
  3. Desoldering Braid – an easy way to clean up minor screw-ups.
  4. Wire Clippers – something small for getting into those tight spaces.
  5. Heat Sink – may not be necessary for this project, but good to have just the same.
  6. Power Source – 9v battery, or ac adapter with 2.1mm ‘center pin negative’ powerjack.

If you decide to follow along, make sure you’ve purchased the right kit––BYOC sells three different compressors. I’ll be building the : it’s supposed to be a simple build, and the sound quality is getting good reviews from other BYOC users.

I ordered mine last night, so I’ll probably start posting my progress next week, along with photos and basic directions. You’ll want to print up the full PDF directions from BYOC, though, so you can really follow along.

Oh yeah, I also picked up a few replacement knobs from Small Bear Electronics… I’m not a big fan of the small ones that BYOC is currently shipping with their kits, so I thought I’d grab something a little more to my liking. Small Bear’s got like 40 different styles of knobs, so you’re bound to find something over there that you like.

Alright, that’s it––next step, populating the printed circuit board.