1. Join Now

    AVForums.com uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

no more prevarication - DIY valve kit ordered

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by Paul Williams, Oct 29, 2005.

  1. Paul Williams

    Paul Williams
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2003
    Messages:
    789
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Location:
    Plymouth/Devon
    Ratings:
    +15
    So after much deliberation;
    2A3 monoblocks SET - no would need new speakers.
    Gain card chip amp - cheap & interesting but I don't need more power and I fancy some valve point-to-point.
    Inverse RIAA unit - cheap and good practice, just couldn't source the components in the UK.
    Pre-amp - no very, very happy with the one I've got.
    Phono-stage - my TAG PPA20 is versatile & very good, but doesnt integrate as well as I'd like, so the decision is made, valve phono section kit. :smashin:

    So last night, placed an order for a US Bottlehead 6DJ8/ECC88 based Seduction phono-amp. The only element of of concern, this being my first ever DIY attempt, it is more fussy than some of the other kits. (pic attached) Well, I'll get a little practice in on a few other bits and pieces as they batch order their parts against orders placed, so a four week wait, still nice and timely for a Christmas project.

    Paul
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2001
    Messages:
    17,133
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    133
    Location:
    Cumbria
    Ratings:
    +1,277
    keep us postd :)
     
  3. Paul Williams

    Paul Williams
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2003
    Messages:
    789
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Location:
    Plymouth/Devon
    Ratings:
    +15
    Will do - and if this goes OK, I'll progress onto the Horn loaded full range speaker project and those 2A3 mono-blocks.

    One of the thing I like about the Bottlehead stuff is the fact that it is unfinished, in the context of the top plate and wood surround, therefore lots of potential for personalisation (it also means that bottlehead can keep the price down as well) ;) the only downside is no 230v option so will have to use a step-down transformer.

    Paul
     
  4. alexs2

    alexs2
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2002
    Messages:
    13,896
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Ratings:
    +1,674
    Very nice indeed,Paul,and should sound excellent,given the design and the potential for upgrades...the other thing I admired about the Bottlehead amps is the very simple signal path,which should aid sound quality again.

    Just mind your fingers and remember that PSU caps will retain enough charge to give you a very nasty jolt for some hours!
     
  5. Paul Williams

    Paul Williams
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2003
    Messages:
    789
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Location:
    Plymouth/Devon
    Ratings:
    +15
    Well, down eer we always wears our wellies when workin' so won't be no problem :rotfl:

    Actually the point is well made and re-enforced many time in the support forum for these products.

    Still my major concern, at this stage, is will I be able to complete this, my first project at all. Having made up my mind, I then looked at some of the previous builders links - yep I can do that, and that, and that.......until suddenly..... whoa, that looks a bit complex, steady hand and good eyesight, plus the understanding that a mistake could take a long time to find :rolleyes: Oh well to late now the desicion is made.

    Paul
     

    Attached Files:

  6. alexs2

    alexs2
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2002
    Messages:
    13,896
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Ratings:
    +1,674
    I always thought wellies were for other things...perhaps thats where I've been going wrong :rotfl:

    Seriously though,before I built the WAD 300Bs,I had virtually no experience of soldering,and thanks to a good manual,and some help from the guys at WAD(and I know the Bottlehead forum is also very good),I now have a superb pair of amps.

    The other things that helped immensely were:
    A decent set of tools....long nosed pliers,cutters and screwdrivers,plus solder removers and scrapers for the ones that go wrong.

    A really good soldering iron...temperature controlled and running to a high temperature as some of the lesser ones won't do the job,and throw in a few tips of varying sizes(!)

    A good digital multimeter.....very helpful in finding where the 500V is hiding... :D

    Hope none of that is teaching you to suck eggs,but it really made all the difference here in making it possible.
     
  7. Paul Williams

    Paul Williams
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2003
    Messages:
    789
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Location:
    Plymouth/Devon
    Ratings:
    +15
    My multimeter, has been passed as adequate for the task by the guys on the bottlehead forum. As to my soldering iron, well decided to see if I could get some new tips for it, but alas the company went out of business in 1999 - I should mention I've been using the same iron & tip for the past 25 years, so realise it pays to spend on a good product. I went into the local soldering iron shop (yes we have one that specialises in them & is run by the man who used to own the company that made my current 25 year old one!). Anyway, he recommended a 25watt Antex, the guys on the forum say go for nearer 40. Guess I'll go with the forum view as they've built them, so thinking about

    http://www.machinemart.co.uk/product.asp?p=040215295&g=114&r=2107

    and will assemble a few other bits over the next few weeks.

    Paul
     
  8. alexs2

    alexs2
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2002
    Messages:
    13,896
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Ratings:
    +1,674
    Definitely go for the higher powered iron as it makes any fiddly jobs,esp those using a fine point,much easier,and avoids overheating everything around it,while you wait for the solder to melt....a thermostatic one is also v useful...mine is a very reasonably priced one from Maplins.
     
  9. Paul Williams

    Paul Williams
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2003
    Messages:
    789
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Location:
    Plymouth/Devon
    Ratings:
    +15
    Was it this Chinese one? Good spec, but I didn't know if it would perform!

    Paul
     

    Attached Files:

  10. alexs2

    alexs2
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2002
    Messages:
    13,896
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Ratings:
    +1,674
    It was a similar one,code number BP53H,at £49.99,and made in Taiwan.
    Pretty well made,quick to heat up,and works fine.
     
  11. Paul Williams

    Paul Williams
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2003
    Messages:
    789
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Location:
    Plymouth/Devon
    Ratings:
    +15
    Didn't have that one in my local Maplins (pic below) it's still priced at £49.99, however, the previous one I attached a pic of is reduced to £12.99, :eek: which I did consider on the grounds that it could almost be treated as a disposable item (3 tips for £5 need to be added). Perhaps I'll pop in today and have another look.

    Anyone got opinions on whether to go with Lead free solder or stick with standard tin/lead mix whilst its still available?

    Paul
     

    Attached Files:

  12. alexs2

    alexs2
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2002
    Messages:
    13,896
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Ratings:
    +1,674
    Use silver solder if possible...much better in most respects and a good durable join.
     
  13. Paul Williams

    Paul Williams
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2003
    Messages:
    789
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Location:
    Plymouth/Devon
    Ratings:
    +15
    Well just been in and purchased the £12.99 Chinese one - I'm going to consider it part of this project cost & look into a more 'pro' unit if this is a success and I go onto to try the other kits, so that's out of the way. Now going on to consider; the finish for the wood plinth and top plate and how to put on any legends I might want, as the finishing of the top plate has to be done prior to the build.

    Paul
     
  14. Knightshade

    Knightshade
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2004
    Messages:
    1,971
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    51
    Ratings:
    +43
    Good sorce for silver solder:http://www.hificollective.co.uk/components/audionote_connectors.html
    Nice to work with.
    The Weller Iron is a good bit of kit for the money. My father in law has one. It's not really suitable for constant use, the temperature drops off too much.
    Working with silver solder you really need constant temperature. Some of the industrial units from Weller are worth the investment if you are doing a lot of work. WTCPTD model is what I went for in the end.
     
  15. Paul Williams

    Paul Williams
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2003
    Messages:
    789
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Location:
    Plymouth/Devon
    Ratings:
    +15
    Hi Knightshade

    I've already been warned the the 'recovery' time for the Weller is high but this is a bit ac academic as for this project I've gone for the cheep option. I'm still doing a bit of research on other brands, so if I'm going to be a long-term DIYer I can make a more informed choice, top of the list are soldering stations from Antex, Hakko & Gook (the last two very respected Japanese brands). Again the guys on the Bottlehead forum have advised that for solder, the standard 60/40 tin/lead mix is fine and the easiest to work, lead free is OK & should I go for silver content solder (as a novice) use no more than 4% silver content.

    Paul
     
  16. Knightshade

    Knightshade
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2004
    Messages:
    1,971
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    51
    Ratings:
    +43
    Hi Paul,
    All good advice, getting spares for the Antex was a problem for me at the time but yes from what I've heard they're very good.
    To be honest all silver solder is a bit difficult to work with if you haven't done it before regardless of it's content.:)
    Let us know how it works out.
    Best of luck.
     
  17. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2001
    Messages:
    17,133
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    133
    Location:
    Cumbria
    Ratings:
    +1,277
    For general info I always liked the 25w Antex but I use a pair of temperature controlled work stationirons from Weller. Silver solder generally melts at higher temp (esp the WBT stuff) and needs the extra ompf of a temerature controlled iron to get the best out of it. I like the Audio Synthesis stuff best, a 4% solde I believe but it seems to work at a bit lower temp than most. Most of the major differences resoldering are for solid state and not valves stuff where you can be a bit more 'brutal'.
     
  18. Paul Williams

    Paul Williams
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2003
    Messages:
    789
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Location:
    Plymouth/Devon
    Ratings:
    +15
    Well I guess that about does it for this post, until the kit arrives, when I'll resurrect it & post some pics and details of how I get on.

    Paul
     
  19. Paul Williams

    Paul Williams
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2003
    Messages:
    789
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Location:
    Plymouth/Devon
    Ratings:
    +15
    Got home to find a little note from Parcel Force to say they tried to deliver and they'll try again. Also that there was an outstanding charge of £46.43 to pay, so the base cost of the kit is now £241.66, delivered.

    Paul
     

Share This Page

Loading...