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Bottlehead Amplifier Discussion / Comparison Thread: Crack, SEX & Mainline - Page 48

post #706 of 1613

Aside from the soldering station (I sprung for a hakko), this is the most valuable tool in a bottlehead kit building arsenal imo: http://www.amazon.com/Ideal-Industries-Stripmaster-Wire-Stripper/dp/B000RFSWF8/ref=pd_sim_indust_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=10GEE2ZPHSWJKANTABZQ

 

Also, cardas quad eutectic solder is really really easy to work with and makes beautiful joints.

post #707 of 1613

http://www.amazon.com/X-TRONIC-MODEL-4010-XTS-Centigrade-ANTI-MAGNETIC/dp/B0053491YO/ is recommended in the Bottlehead forums, then just grab some solder (I have a nice roll of 100g Cardas Eutectic on the way :tongue_smile:), maybe a solder sucker and you're good to go!

post #708 of 1613
Thread Starter 

I'd agree with the others, but would also add:

 

  • Long / needle nose pliers (to hold some of the fiddly nuts)
  • Philips head screw driver
  • Wire cutters (large and small ideally, but small is ideal for trimming excess wire in some of the more congested areas)
  • Masking tape (to hold screws in place while working with the transformers upside down)
  • Basic test meter with voltage and impedance readings - preferably get some alligator clips to go with this to make testing safer and easier, but you can do it without so long as you're careful

 

Many of these things are mentioned in the manual so just sharing here to save you time waiting for the manual to arrive. As others have said, it's a pretty simple (but awesome) kit so no super-specialised tools are needed

post #709 of 1613

How hard is it to build a S.E.X? 

post #710 of 1613
Thread Starter 

It requires patience and care, but not high skill levels.

 

You need to be able to follow instructions and make a clean solder joint between a bare wire and a solder terminal (i.e. flat piece of metal with a hole in it). If you want to add the C4S upgrade kit then you need to be able to do some simple circuit board soldering, but nothing really finicky or tricky like soldering tiny surface mount components or anything.

post #711 of 1613
Quote:
Originally Posted by Loquah View Post
 

I'd agree with the others, but would also add:

 

  • Long / needle nose pliers (to hold some of the fiddly nuts)
  • Philips head screw driver
  • Wire cutters (large and small ideally, but small is ideal for trimming excess wire in some of the more congested areas)
  • Masking tape (to hold screws in place while working with the transformers upside down)
  • Basic test meter with voltage and impedance readings - preferably get some alligator clips to go with this to make testing safer and easier, but you can do it without so long as you're careful

 

Many of these things are mentioned in the manual so just sharing here to save you time waiting for the manual to arrive. As others have said, it's a pretty simple (but awesome) kit so no super-specialised tools are needed


I was an electronics technician before I retired so I have most of that stuff already except for the soldering station ( I just have a Weller Pen) and the fancy stripper. I have a Klein but it is all manual, I like the one in the link a lot better. I saw someone say that the Hakko FX-888D is a good unit? It doesn't include all that other nice stuff though like the magnifying lens.

 Thanks, I think I need to order a soldering station and some of the special solder (Eutectic) and I'll be good to go.

post #712 of 1613
Thread Starter 

Perfect! Enjoy!

post #713 of 1613

I don't know if this is an obvious thing (clearly it wasn't for me) but if you wanted to treat/coat/paint your transformers, mounting plate and plate chokes, make sure you do so before you mount and wire them up. You can leave them untreated/coated but they will rust a bit. They may also be covered in some residual glue/gunk so having some sandpaper is handy.

 

I know it sounds stupid but it is really easy to get overly-excited and just get started on the build as soon as possible, and unfortunately there is no warning in the manual about painting prep (probably because for most people it's common sense - something I lack).

 

Finally if you're gluing the base together you'll need some wood glue. Blumenstein Audio has some screw-together bases that match the Orcas if you wanted to go that route, and the option of adding a plastic bottom window, but they're pretty dear.

post #714 of 1613

One final, well I hope final, question. I got everything ready to order, but the question I have is that these new digital soldering stations are an analog type of device. I have to dial in a temperature. What temperature should I be using for the eutectic solder and the type connections I am likely to be making in the kit. I am sure a bit of experimenting might be required but if you could get me close at least. If it matters I ordered the one linked at the begining of this conversation (X-Tronic 4410XTS).

post #715 of 1613
Quote:
Originally Posted by HPiper View Post
 

One final, well I hope final, question. I got everything ready to order, but the question I have is that these new digital soldering stations are an analog type of device. I have to dial in a temperature. What temperature should I be using for the eutectic solder and the type connections I am likely to be making in the kit. I am sure a bit of experimenting might be required but if you could get me close at least. If it matters I ordered the one linked at the begining of this conversation (X-Tronic 4410XTS).


I find 750°F works well for me with the Cardas.  But as always try it and see with a few practice joints the nice thing with the stations is that its easy to adjust the temp as you go.

 

Edit I would add a pair of lockable medical forceps straight and curved to the list they are really handy for holding wires in place or out of the way, I find myself using them all the time.  Also if your worried about soldering and overheating a component you can clip them in and use them as heat sinks while soldering. Only a few dollars on ebay.


Edited by JamieMcC - 5/26/14 at 1:45am
post #716 of 1613

I use two stations; a JBC and a Metcal. I The Metcal is great for doing heat sensitive SMD work. The JBC is cheaper and a great value. You can get cheaper stations, but after going through a handful of less expensive ones - I'm convinced that if you plan to do this often you can't beat the performance you get from a better station. 

post #717 of 1613

Its worth planning ahead for the cosmetic side of things, how are you going to finish the transformer bell, chokes, and wood base.   For me that was the more challenging part as i had zero wood working experience, to the extent the amp was running out of a cardboard box for the first week.

post #718 of 1613
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcandmar View Post
 

Its worth planning ahead for the cosmetic side of things, how are you going to finish the transformer bell, chokes, and wood base.   For me that was the more challenging part as i had zero wood working experience, to the extent the amp was running out of a cardboard box for the first week.


I have zero woodworking experience also, but my wife is big into crafts so she is going to do that part of it.

post #719 of 1613
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcandmar View Post
 

Its worth planning ahead for the cosmetic side of things, how are you going to finish the transformer bell, chokes, and wood base.   For me that was the more challenging part as i had zero wood working experience, to the extent the amp was running out of a cardboard box for the first week.

 

This was mine for the first week while waiting for glue to arrive:

 

post #720 of 1613
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by askjeebs View Post
 

 

This was mine for the first week while waiting for glue to arrive:

 

 

That reminds me of my Quickie setup using the carton it was shipped in:

 

 

For a more attractive finish (than a cardboard box), I've just discovered the wonder of wood polishes and waxes. I've applied 3-4 coats of polish (wax based) and 1-2 coats of harder finishing wax. I plan to continue applying wax until I get a really deep sheen. I love the fact that you can keep adding to the wax without having to sand in between and there's also no problems with dust or other things affecting the surface finish like what can happen with varnish and lacquer. So far so good:

 

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