Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Amp Project Goes On...

Some of you may recall that I started a project last summer to build a stereo amplifier, basically from scratch. True, I had a bare-bones kit to start with. The so-called K-12 Tube Amp. I mean it when I say "bare bones"--the fanciest component is probably the un-finished pine board you are supposed to use to mount the components. Needless to say, I've heavily modified the kit based on the work done by several hardcore DIY Audiophiles. I changed/upgraded all the capacitors and transformers and the pentometer and other key components, but then I also substantially modified the circuit itself. (Now that I think about it, pretty much the only components I didn't replace were the resistors and the actual vacuum tubes!) In some cases that meant cutting circuit traces on the circuit board and installing new components.

I made a lot of progress last summer while I was staying at Holy Cross, but it was far from finished. Since then it has been sitting on table in the corner of the living room while the baby fussed or cooed in the back ground. Lately I've been motivated to start again, and I've made good progress. I've started fitting components to the enclosure I fabricated. In the process I discovered that I really need a caliper to measure the diameter of a particular part that I need to fit into a particular hole. Once I get that I also need a drill bit to make the hole!

I really wish I had a buddy with a well-outfitted workshop. I'd build all kinds of stuff if I had access to a nice shop.

The smell of melting solder is gratifying, I must admit. Now that this project is really starting to take shape I'm getting excited again. Betsy is getting a kick out of it too, now that she can see what this project is about. I may just manage to make a descent sounding little amplifier!


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