Vox - V816 Distortion Booster: GE an SI versions!  [schematic]

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modman
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Post by modman »

Note their are three incarnations of this exact V816 Distortion Booster plugin
Red Vox version with germanium transistors
Red Vox version with silicon transistors
Silver Thomas Organ version with silicon transistors (schematic in this post)

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#153 Distortion Booster - The #153 JMI Vox Distortion Booster "fuzz tone" was also introduced in the November 1965 JMI Vox price list. The steel case sported a dark red painted finish. The booster utilized a battery operated gain circuit driven by two silicon transistors and featured a three-pole power switch that offered true signal bypass. The UK retail price in 1965 was 4£ 4s. The #153 Distortion Booster provided a less costly alternative to the germanium transistor powered JMI Vox "Tone Bender" fuzz tone.

Thomas Organ produced the nearly identical but chrome plated V816 Vox Distortion Booster for the North American marketplace. Like the V806 Treble Booster and V810 Bass Booster, the Thomas Organ eliminated the true signal bypass feature in the V816 Vox Distortion Booster as a cost saving measure.
http://www.voxshowroom.com/uk/misc/boosters.html

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Vox - V816 Distortion Booster schematic
Vox - V816 Distortion Booster schematic
Vox - V816 Distortion Booster made in UK
Vox - V816 Distortion Booster made in UK
Vox - V816 Distortion Booster made by Thomas Organ Company
Vox - V816 Distortion Booster made by Thomas Organ Company
Vox - V816 Distortion Booster made by Thomas Organ Company
Vox - V816 Distortion Booster made by Thomas Organ Company
Vox - V816 Distortion Booster made by Thomas Organ Company
Vox - V816 Distortion Booster made by Thomas Organ Company
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Electric Warrior
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Post by Electric Warrior »

The red ones come with two different circuits: One is germanium and FZ-1 based, the other uses a MK1.5/Fuzz Face topology, but it's different from the american version of which you posted the schematic.

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Post by lolbou »

Was it the built-in effect in the very early age of Brian May's Red Special guitar?
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Post by Electric Warrior »

Yes. If this is the one, it's a germanium one: https://forum.seymourduncan.com/showthr ... ar-or-Bass

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Post by modman »

Electric Warrior wrote:The red ones come with two different circuits: One is germanium and FZ-1 based,
I did not find any guts for the red Vox Distortion Booster unit... but you are saying there is a version with 3 germanium transistors?
Electric Warrior wrote:the other uses a MK1.5/Fuzz Face topology,
Vox Tonebender V828 Mk 1.5 = 1966
Arbiter Fuzz Face = 1966
Vox Distortion Booster V816 = in the 1965 Vox catalog.
Electric Warrior wrote:but it's different from the american version of which you posted the schematic.
I don't know, you might have a point that these factory schematics these were redrawn from, come from a US source and might have originated at Thomas Organ Co. But still I would like to see some guts :D
Electric Warrior wrote:Yes. If this is the one, it's a germanium one: https://forum.seymourduncan.com/showthr ... ar-or-Bass
Isn't that the earlier, and indeed germanium, Vox Treble Booster?
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Post by Electric Warrior »

No, the germanium unit only has two transistors. They omitted the first stage, kinda similar to the WEM/Rush Pepbox, but with additional tweaks.

Actually the article no. in the 1965 US catalog is V86. I guess could have been the UK version as it appears the US version was still in the works in Oct/Nov 1965 but the price list dates to Sep 65? https://www.voxac100.org.uk/jennings_mu ... osters.htm

The Sola Sound Tone Bender MK1.5 was most likely in production by Feb 1966. This could be the Tone Bender the UK catalog refers to, as Vox and Sola Sound had a distribution deal going on. At some point Sola Sound relabled their MKIIs to Vox and stopped using the Sola Sound name for quite a while, but I doubt it was as early as mid-66. I guess it's unlikely, as there was a magazine ad for the Sola Sound Tone Bender MKII later that year.

The italian made V828 (I wouldn't call it a MK1.5 as it's not a "missing link" between two versions of Vox products) was probably only made for the US market at first.

The Fuzz Face was first shown at a trade show in mid-66 I believe, but I haven't seen pedals with pots earlier than Sep 66.
modman wrote:
Electric Warrior wrote:but it's different from the american version of which you posted the schematic.
I don't know, you might have a point that these factory schematics these were redrawn from, come from a US source and might have originated at Thomas Organ Co. But still I would like to see some guts :D
Electric Warrior wrote:Yes. If this is the one, it's a germanium one: https://forum.seymourduncan.com/showthr ... ar-or-Bass
Isn't that the earlier, and indeed germanium, Vox Treble Booster?
A scan of the factory schematic (dated June 1966) can be found here: https://www.voxac100.org.uk/jennings_mu ... ooster.htm

The guts I linked are from a distortion booster. The germanium Vox Treble Booster only uses one transistor. :)

I'll ask the owner of a red Distortion Booster to post some pics..

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Post by nightraven »

Hi,

Here are some pictures of my early v816:

Image
Image
Image

modman wrote: Vox Tonebender V828 Mk 1.5 = 1966
Arbiter Fuzz Face = 1966
Vox Distortion Booster V816 = in the 1965 Vox catalog.
As was mentioned by EW, some red units come with a germanium FZ-1ish circuit (and there are at least two different layouts with that circuit), and others have a silicon 'Fuzz Faceish' circuit. We don't know exactly when they moved over to the silicon circuit, but it doesn't appear that the Tone Bender 'MK1.5' was somehow inspired by the v816, as there is a distinct possibility that the 'MK1.5' may have been in production as early as in late-1965 (but this is unconfirmed as well), and the individual parts values of the two models don't really match either (at least, not in the same way that the Arbiter Fuzz Face and the 'MK1.5' do).

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Post by modman »

What are the transistors (thanks for the nice pics!)?
Distortionbooster01.jpg
distortionbooster02.jpg
trying to establish some resistor values -- they indeed don't match the schematic...
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Post by nightraven »

modman wrote:
09 May 2020, 22:18
What are the transistors
They're STC ASY50 transistors. I had a go at drawing up the schematic but got frustrated and gave up. After more than 10 years collecting vintage pedals, I'm still hopeless on the technical side of things. Electric Warrior did the detective work on this one.

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Post by Electric Warrior »

Nightraven confirmed my schematic. His unit has a 2.5µF instead of a 1.6µF, but I think other than that it's identical with the one I traced.

Thanks to nightraven and rafmax for helping me with this.

Enjoy!
Vox Distortion Booster (Germanium).png

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Post by drewl »

Woah, never saw any of these before.

I've worked on many Thomas Vox amps with the built in fuzz, and even a 12 string Cheetah guitar w/built in FX, but never knew these existed.

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Post by Doug B. »

Thank you Electric Warrior for the schematic and nightraven for the photos. (And modman for starting the thread.)

But i'm a little confused when comparing the EW schematic to the nr photos:

- There appears to be a 100k resistor in the photos, but that value is not in the schematic.

- Also, the blue electrolytic capacitor in the photo appears to be 1.5uF, not 1.6uF. (Not a big deal, of course.)

- Doug B.

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Post by modman »

Doug B. wrote:
28 May 2020, 05:31
- There appears to be a 100k resistor in the photos, but that value is not in the schematic.
Good call, can't believe I didn't pay attention to that... Also, there are two 1Ms in the schematic (of 8 resistors total), but only 6 resistors in the picture. I think the 100k resistor takes the place of the 82k.
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Post by bluesbreaker62 »

Here's some pics of my Red Si unit plus a quick schematic
1.jpg
2.jpg
3.jpg
4.jpg
Schem.jpg

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Post by Electric Warrior »

Here's a neat version. I can consider it confirmed now :D
Thanks again to Rafmax!
Vox Distortion Booster (Red Silicon).png

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Post by modman »

Thanks so much for drawing out that schematic, but please at least add the name of the circuit to the schematics next time.
Back to the germanium version
Electric Warrior wrote:
21 May 2020, 13:22
Nightraven confirmed my schematic. His unit has a 2.5µF instead of a 1.6µF, but I think other than that it's identical with the one I traced.
Vox Distortion Booster (Germanium).png
Can you check again what's going on with the 100k and the 1Ms in the schematic:
modman wrote:
28 May 2020, 13:07
Doug B. wrote:
28 May 2020, 05:31
- There appears to be a 100k resistor in the photos, but that value is not in the schematic.
Good call, can't believe I didn't pay attention to that... Also, there are two 1Ms in the schematic (of 8 resistors total), but only 6 resistors in the picture. I think the 100k resistor takes the place of the 82k.
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Post by nightraven »

Doug B. wrote:
28 May 2020, 05:31
Thank you Electric Warrior for the schematic and nightraven for the photos. (And modman for starting the thread.)

But i'm a little confused when comparing the EW schematic to the nr photos:

- There appears to be a 100k resistor in the photos, but that value is not in the schematic.

- Also, the blue electrolytic capacitor in the photo appears to be 1.5uF, not 1.6uF. (Not a big deal, of course.)

- Doug B.
I'm pretty certain that the 100k resistor in my unit replaces the 68k in EW's schematic. The 68k in mine connects to the input cap, 1M to power and earth. The electrolytic in mine is 2.5uF. EW's schematic was drawn off a unit with a different parts layout, but after many trials and tribulations, the board in mine finally made sense to me, and - against all the odds - I drew up my own schematic that (despite being very messy) matched EW's.
bluesbreaker62 wrote:
28 May 2020, 14:30
Here's some pics of my Red Si unit plus a quick schematic
Thanks for the pics, Robert! There really is a nest of those red silicon ones in Holland. I stuck up a gezochte advertentie just for fun, and sure enough, someone offered me one of my own :mrgreen:

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