Can I make a pedal out of some old electronics?

Ok, you got your soldering iron and nothing is going to hold you back, but you have no clue where to start or what to build. There were others before you with the same questions... read them first.

Can I make a pedal out of some old electronics?

Postby Louishr » 20 May 2009, 18:32

Has anyone ever made a pedal out of old electronics? I've got an old radio and a CRT monitor with a cracked screen. I know monitors have quite a few resistors, caps, diode, ic's, tranys, I have no idea what type of quality these are but it's going to the dump at the moment. It might be more trouble than it's worth but I don't know.
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Re: Pedal from old electronics?

Postby earthtonesaudio » 20 May 2009, 18:38

Nearly all the pedals I use have salvaged parts in them, if not all salvaged parts. It's a unique challenge, because you don't know what you're gonna get, and sometimes you have to adjust whatever circuit to fit the parts. Both of the items you described likely have lots of useful stuff inside... but watch out for the capacitors in the CRT. Even small ones might be high voltage and can give you a painful bite if they haven't leaked all their charge.
rocklander wrote:hairsplitting and semantics aren't exactly the same thing though.. we may need two contests for that.
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Re: Pedal from old electronics?

Postby Scruffie » 20 May 2009, 18:47

If you go to the first page of my Vintage component/harvest removal thread, theres a link to a page that lists the transistors of old radios, Old radios can be a great way to get some decent germaniums at a low cost.
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Re: Pedal from old electronics?

Postby Louishr » 20 May 2009, 18:57

Thanks guys, yeah the monitor has some nasty looking huge caps but it hasn't been plugged in for a month I figured it had probably all drained out by now.
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Re: Pedal from old electronics?

Postby earthtonesaudio » 20 May 2009, 19:15

A month is probably safe! But even so be careful. Often the "cap shock" danger doesn't come in the form of the cap discharging, but when you instinctively jerk your hand away and smash into something sharp or otherwise uncomfortable.

I haven't tried it yet, but a high-powered hairdryer might be the way to remove lots of components at once.
rocklander wrote:hairsplitting and semantics aren't exactly the same thing though.. we may need two contests for that.
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Re: Pedal from old electronics?

Postby Louishr » 20 May 2009, 19:56

I have access to a heat gun but i think i'll probably still unsolder them just with an soldering iron
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Re: Pedal from old electronics?

Postby salocin » 20 May 2009, 23:12

earthtonesaudio wrote:A month is probably safe! But even so be careful.

I've read they can potentially hold charge for years. Better to be safe than sorry!

earthtonesaudio wrote:I haven't tried it yet, but a high-powered hairdryer might be the way to remove lots of components at once.

I've tried this with a heat gun but had no real luck. The heat gun may have been over-kill though. Other people have certainly had success with this approach.
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Re: Pedal from old electronics?

Postby rocklander » 21 May 2009, 03:49

I use parts salvaged from 'sustainable disposal' all the time. CRTs mostly, but whatever I come across..
the wire alone is worth it for all the great colour resources in the VGA cable (including shielded 8)

in the CRT you'll prolly find a nice big high wattage, low resistance resistor that you can hook some alligator clips up to that you can use to discharge the larger caps (that's what I use) so it's win/win.


for a heat gun I bought a wee propane flame thrower pen thingy from dealextreme.com ( < US$10 :shock: ) .. works on LEDs and resistors, but melts the caps at the capacitor end before it lets go of the board (particularly if the legs of the component have been bent over before soldering.. why'd they do that? didn't they know I'd be pulling it apart using 15c of propane for a 2c component later on in life? how thoughtless!)
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Re: Pedal from old electronics?

Postby soulsonic » 21 May 2009, 07:16

earthtonesaudio wrote:I haven't tried it yet, but a high-powered hairdryer might be the way to remove lots of components at once.

In China... in those towns where they salvage electronics... I've seen that they use an overturned metal washtub with a small fire under it that keeps a shallow pool of solder molten on the surface of the tub. The guy just sits there with that between his legs, sets the board on top of the solder pool, and yanks the parts out with a pair of pliers.
Crude, but effective.
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Re: Pedal from old electronics?

Postby DiscoFreq » 21 May 2009, 09:47

soulsonic wrote:
earthtonesaudio wrote:I haven't tried it yet, but a high-powered hairdryer might be the way to remove lots of components at once.

In China... in those towns where they salvage electronics... I've seen that they use an overturned metal washtub with a small fire under it that keeps a shallow pool of solder molten on the surface of the tub. The guy just sits there with that between his legs, sets the board on top of the solder pool, and yanks the parts out with a pair of pliers.
Crude, but effective.

That must be very healthy work :)
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Re: Pedal from old electronics?

Postby earthtonesaudio » 21 May 2009, 14:59

DiscoFreq wrote:
soulsonic wrote:
earthtonesaudio wrote:I haven't tried it yet, but a high-powered hairdryer might be the way to remove lots of components at once.

In China... in those towns where they salvage electronics... I've seen that they use an overturned metal washtub with a small fire under it that keeps a shallow pool of solder molten on the surface of the tub. The guy just sits there with that between his legs, sets the board on top of the solder pool, and yanks the parts out with a pair of pliers.
Crude, but effective.

That must be very healthy work :)


The worst part is the smell of burnt hair...


Actually the worst part is that places like that probably account for the bulk of the world's electronics recycling.
rocklander wrote:hairsplitting and semantics aren't exactly the same thing though.. we may need two contests for that.
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Re: Pedal from old electronics?

Postby Electron Tornado » 25 May 2009, 17:05

I use old parts all the time. Any defunct electronics you have lying around, or any your neighbors want to get rid of, are always a great source of parts. Get yourself some desoldering braid and a heat sink and you're set.
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Re: Pedal from old electronics?

Postby RnFR » 26 May 2009, 13:02

a buddy of mine in wisconsin picks up old tv's on the side of the road or in alleys all the time. he always seems to have one lying with it's guts all hangin out in the middle of his patio. if you are low on cash, you could pretty much diy for free if you are willing to put in the work finding the parts.
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