Tag Archives | dual

Pickup Wiring “Tap Link”

Another wiring mod I’ve stumbled across is called a “Tap Link” and works for guitars with dual humbuckers.  Basically, you can link the mid-point of the two humbuckers together, so that when you activate just the neck (or bridge), there is 1 coil from the unselected pickup wired in parallel.

I find it easier to understand if we say that 2 humbuckers = 4 coils.  Using the “tap link” activates 3 of the 4 coils.

I’ve taken the previously shared “4way 3 knob Tele” wiring for 2 humbuckers and changed 1 connection to achieve a slightly different set of options that includes a tap link setting.  Can you find the change?

4way Tele Tap Link

If you guess the L2 (Bridge) to Pin 5 connection of the switch, you are correct!  The lower end of L2 now connects to the upper end of L1, which means, that the bridge is always active, always in series humbucking mode.  In position 2, the switch actual shorts L2, instead of leaving it dangling.

I also dropped the bass control, just for simplicity.  I left the “Sweet Switch” in, which is the additional treble roll off using C4 in the Bridge Setting only.

So the single change from the previous diagram affects the function of positions 3 and 4.  3 was previously 1 single coil from each humbucker (neck and bridge), in parallel, a traditional tele setting.  It is now both humbuckers in parallel.

Position 4 was 1 single coil from the bridge in SERIES with 1 from the neck, the usual 4way Tele mod.  A very nice, punchy humbucking tone.  After the change, the 4th position is now the full bridge humbucker, with 1 coil from the neck in parallel with the upper bridge pickup.  Kind of a series/parallel combo.  It should be somewhat hum canceling, but not entirely.  It would sound like the bridge humbucker, with a little bit of single coil neck mixed in.

It would be simple enough to use a push-pull volume pot to combine this new mod with the original 4way dual humbucker scheme to get the best of both.  I wonder how this would sound using some kind of split-coil humbucker where each coil only covers 3 strings?

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Anatomy of a Coldcraft Product

As I was building up the first batch of Cascade MkII Overdrives, I took some quick pictures along the way to demonstrate what goes into the construction of each of our products.  Every Coldcraft product sold after January 2013 features the new soft-touch relay bypass.  The Bypass system was designed by Peter of VFE Pedals, and Jack of Jack Deville Electronics aka Mr Black Pedals.  Hows that for some heavy hitters?

DSC_0020Now here’s the skinny.  All our our 2013 products are built using 2 independent circuit boards.  The main effect board is unique to each product and features board-mounted Pots (knobs), trimmers and switches.   This board (dark purple) holds all the circuitry needed for the effect, save for some power filtering and bias voltages.

The 2nd board is the Bypass/IO/Power board (light purple).  This holds the board mount jacks, relay, micro-controller and power filtering and is common to all of our products.  Certain aspects of the board can be customized to provide for different power requirements of some effects.

DSC_0021Here’s a batch of Cascade MkII enclosures about to be assembled.  Starting from the pre-populated PCBs above, the main effect board is first mounted into the enclosure.  The LED is added (and mounted into the Lens), and ribbon cables are soldered to the main effect board.

Lens?  What’s a lens for?

If you look closely at our products, you can see that we aren’t using those big, chrome bezels for our LEDs.  I’ve used them in the past and I just find them to be bulky, expensive and a bit primative.  What I’ve opted for instead is called a LED lens.  This nearly flat plastic piece is inserted in the LED hole, secured with a little hot glue and the LED is firmly locked into it before being soldered to its board.  This lens actually spreads out the light from the LED whereas the bezels tend to reflect and focus it upwards.  I like them.  It also lets us use white LEDs and color lenses if we wanted to.

No back to that ribbon cable.  What’s that about?

DSC_0022As you can see in this next picture the main effect PCB has been installed.  The board is held in by the three 16mm board mount pots, and the alignment is fixed with the LED, and additional 3 trimmers/switches.  There’s also those little ribbon cables sticking up.  Those ribbon connections carry the input/output, LED, 9v, Bias and ground connections between the two boards.  By mounting them first to the main effect board, subsequent assembly is made so much easier.

DSC_0023From here, the Bypass board is attached, upside down, to the ribbon cables.  This allows the 2nd board to simply be “folded over” into place, and secured using the audio jack nut things.  Yes, I said nut things.  Not really sure what to call them.

You may notice the 2 orange wires already soldered to the Bypass board.  These are the only two wires that must be stripped and soldered in this entire pedal.  Stripping and soldering wires is a huge time killer when assembly compact guitar pedals.  It is also the number one area where mistakes are made during production.

DSC_0024Previously, Coldcraft products were made using 3PDT mechanical switches and wiring boards.  The boards minimized wiring mistakes, but they are just as time consuming as wiring without them.  With the dual board system, final assembly is a breeze.  Tonight, I took 8 pedals from empty to fully assembled in less than 90 mins, including break time.  The finished products are ready for testing, numbering (inside back cover) and knobs!

So there you have it.  This batch of Cascade MkII Dual Stage Overdrives will be exclusively available at Chicago Music Exchange in, you guess it, Chicago, IL.  Check them out!

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