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Old 29th October 2005, 01:25 AM   #31
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Default Power supplies

This is the best site I've seen if anyone is interested in power supplies..............www.zero-distortion.com
Really great detail in how to build a supply.
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Old 29th October 2005, 03:47 AM   #32
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Quote:
Originally posted by hongrn

why not go after them by advertising the fact that your kits are easy to assemble, and good results guaranteed the first time around?? Think of the guy who came up with the "For Dummies" series books. He's rolling in cash right now.
This is a very dangerous thing to advertise. No matter how good the instructions are someone is going to stuff it up! How many times have I seen problems posted where the problem is that caps were inserted the wrong way around, or diodes etc etc etc. These are things that ARE covered in the instructions of any kit instructions I have looked at very clearly!!! . Note I haven't purchased any kits for chipamps, but I have downloaded some instruction manuals to check them out.

I decided to do p2p in then end, but I've been playing with electronics since I was about 12, and my first ever amp was p2p. I probably nearly killed myself a couple of times with that first amp, and blew the output transistors at least 5 times but in the end I got it working.

IMO no one should attempt a Mains operated project as their first DIY project! Go to your local electronics shop buy a book and some simple kits (battery operated) make them and when you feel confident move on to bigger and better things.

I know it is frustrating having to wait but that's life!!

Like someone said a bit earlier I too am mechanically minded. I got a 1965 Morris 1100 from my Grandmother (was her car, she kept my grandfathers when he died) when I was 17. She also gave me the workshop manual for it, so that I could fix things myself. At first I was pretty scared to touch anything, but I started doing simple things like changing spark plugs, the oil, setting the points gap, timing etc. Eventually I decided to tackle something more difficult and changed the driveshaft oil seals. I've since completely stripped and rebuilt the engine, changed the gearbox, changed the cam etc. Could I have done that when I first started?? No of course not, I had to work up to it. Electronics is no different.

Be patient grasshopper

OK I'll have to go reread Brian¡¯s kit docco, but from memory there might have been something I thought could have been added (wasn¡¯t anything major), but I don't remember what it was......

One other problem is that these guys are selling all over the world, and it is simply not possible to cover all possibilities, mains voltages vary, as do the earthing schemes (some countries don't have a safety earth). You can't recommend get heatsink X because person Y might not be able to get that.... International Mail order just complicates the issue, if you were selling only to the local market that would simplify things.

One final word. I don't believe that these guys are selling kits to make money (I could be wrong). I believe that they are doing it more as a service to the DIY community. I bet most of them have full time jobs and have to do this in their spare time. Just my

Tony.
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Old 29th October 2005, 03:51 AM   #33
rabbitz is offline rabbitz  Australia
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Firstly, I can vouch for Hugh's AKSA instructions, and you will not find any better. I've built 2 of his kits and 1 upgrade and all went smoothly and fired up first time.

The thing is with the majority of DIYers is, that they equate DIY=zero cost or close to it (not a criticism but an observation) and want to really DIY.

I tried to market what I feel is quality instruction guide on loudspeakers for the new builder. Over 100 hours in development, 22,500+ words, 85+ images and..... no interest.... zero.... nothing. Rather than let it die on my hard disk it was added to the loudspeaker wiki.
http://www.diyaudio.com/wiki/index.p...truction+Guide
You tell me if that's not worth the price of a packet of cigarettes (maybe you need your nicotine hit more ).

I've given up on selling an entry level kit that used better quality parts than most but can't compete with the $2 eBay speakers. Actually bought one to see what you get....... hmmmmm is the kindest comment I can say.

To be viable commercially, I have to become a speaker driver and component supplier to the DIY community... not the original plan, but is the reality.
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Old 29th October 2005, 05:38 AM   #34
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OK I went back and re-read Brians LM3886 construction manual. In all I think it is very good! maybe because I'm experienced I'm not seeing what is missing???

One small thing I noticed. towards the begining it recommends soldering the feedback resistor directly to the LM3886 pins, and that it will be shown in the later instructions, but there are no instructions on doing this later(obviously this is something that an experienced person can work out for themself, and maybe the newbie shouldn't attempt anyway). The pics show Rf installed on the PCB and no further mention. Just a small thing that isn't going to effect whether or not someone makes a working amp or not.

As for what I thought was missing?? I think I originally looked at the instructions trying to find out more about how to do a star ground. Without having examined the PCB's I'm not sure, but it is possible the star grounding is on the PCB's themselves. the only bit that is a little confusing is that he mentions using a star ground..... here I'm not sure whether he is talking about just a connection to the chassis or not, as from the instructions it looks like all earth wiring is catered for on the PCB's themsleves. Unless people deviate from wiring as described, I don't see that there should be a problem. So my initial feeling of not having enough info was somewhat selfish in that I was wanting to better understand how a star grounding system is implemented for an LM3886 gainclone (as I was considering going it alone without a kit), and if that is taken care of by the PCB's I can understand why it isn't covered

I'd really wonder what more could be added to Brians instructions. He has links to examples of chassis that people have built, he has generic info on transformers (they are all different)

Maybe like Hugh said earlier some instructions on how to work out the wiring of the secondaries should be included. this can be done easily using a multimeter, and from my experience should be done even if the colour coding is provided by the manufacturer!!! I have had a transformer where the secondaries were incorrectly colour coded, and when wired up as per the instructions resulted in the secondaries being shorted. This was my first BIG project! It was a 100W per channel kit amp. I thought it was strange (I checked with the multimeter and thought it couldn't be right, but the instructions said wire it that way so I better do it). when I turned on the insulation in the torroidal started crackling and the lights dimmed (the kit didn't have a fuse on the mains side). My gut feeling was correct, but I was new so thought I should blindly follow the instructions..... this is an example of where experience comes into it!!! It can be very difficult when writing instructions to think of possibilities like this occuring, especially if it has never happened to you!!

The other thing that would be usefull is putting in a check to make sure that the secondaries are wired in the correct phase. when you measure the AC voltage across the rectifier it should be double the secondary voltage. ie if you have 20V secondaries it should be 40V. If it measures 0V then you have the secondaries out of phase. You will still be getting the correct DC voltages but the bridge won't be working as it should, possibly resulting in more noise and less PS output capacity. To fix the phase problem just reverse the connection of one of the secondaries.

Tony.
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Old 29th October 2005, 06:57 AM   #35
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I've learned a lot reading what all of you have written here. I am barely a year old in the DIY hobby, although I have been running businesses in healthcare for almost 25 years. It's my mistake to think that, as a paying customer, I'm entitled to certain basic principles. If you came in my emergency room in dire needs of care, I certainly will not ask you whether you have any medical insurance or money first. I will treat you the same way I treat the guy who was chauffeured in in a Rolls Royce. I will not tailor my services according to your ability to pay. I will not give you less medications for your heart attack because you're poor and on government subsidies.

The fact that a product is inexpensive, in my view, does not mean that the customer shouldn't expect much in return. If you read today's posts for instance, there are a couple of guys complaining that their kits are missing parts, and after many emails to the manufacturer, one guy finally gave up and asked for help from this forum. Well, the kit may have cost him only 60 bucks, but it's still his 60 hard earned bucks. Should he have to settle for an incomplete kit and not complain because this is DIY, where the manufacturers don't make much, only do this for a hobby, lack the means for quality control, are afraid of litigation, etc.., etc..?

But when in Rome, do like the Romans. I will certainly learn to adapt to the intricacies of this business, but again, it's my mistake to think that, as long as I pay for a product that you sell, I'm entitled to satisfaction, just as you are entitled to a profit: an equal exchange of money for goods or services.

Best Regards,

Hong
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Old 29th October 2005, 07:41 AM   #36
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missing parts happens, and yes it is something that should be dealt with quickly. If you note in that thread another person said that they had some missing caps and Brian sent the new caps and a spare set of PCB's too. I'd call that very good customer service (in that he gave the customer something extra to try and make up for the inconvenience the original omission caused)...

I also note that Brian hasn't posted here since 12th October. Is it not possible that something beyond his control has stopped him from replying to emails?? We are all human, and just because we have a business doesn't mean we are imune to everything that life throws at us!!! Not saying it is the case, but maybe Brian has some problems that are preventing him from replying.

In the past I have found Brian extremely helpfull when people have posted questions about his kits (and in general have seen very few (if any before today) -ve remarks.... usually it is the opposite with forums, where I find that you tend to only see the negative remarks with regard to products, In general if I see positive remarks then I think this is a sign of very good product, as normally people don't bother to say anything unless something is better than the usual standard.

Having said all of that, I have never bought anything from, or had any dealings with Brian, but my impressions are based on my readings of these forums over time.

Tony.
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Old 29th October 2005, 09:55 AM   #37
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I thought I would pop my thoughts regarding kits down here too as a newbie kit amp owner.

I built a 4 ch dual mono chipamp 3875 kit a few months ago. Still delighted with it BTW.

I have never done any electronics apart from building passive crossovers but have built a bike loom so I can solder and understand wiring diagrams.

The instructions on the chipamp site are pretty good – it even explains how to solder which is a good addition for people who have never tried. The decibel dungeon site is also very good and provided general information about gainclones (gainclone FAQ) so I understood more of what I was doing rather than just following instructions which is great for me as I like to try to understand how things work. This forum is an excellent source of information too – but you already know that.

When I got the kit, the resistors weren’t labelled as such but now I know how to read the lines on them so I have learnt something new. I didn’t know what the little blue rectangular things were so I mailed madaboutsound.com (where I bought the kits) and got an answer back in 5 mins out of office hours – 11/10 for customer support there!!!

The things that are missing from the instructions are basic general electronics principles but there is now way I would expect to get a course on basic electronics with a kit. All the info is out there on the internet mind you. For example, I had never done anything with negative voltages but now I understand them (I think ) I could write instructions on how to build a computer on a single page of A4 but if I covered every related aspect it would run to hundreds of pages - it's just not realistic to expect everything anyone may want to know to be covered IMHO.

My experience had been entirely positive. I have a beautiful sounding amp, I didn’t die making it, set the house on fire or kill my expensive speakers. Making the kit has given me enough confidence to build a caps and snubber section for the PSU from a diagram.

I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend building a kit to anyone with a little patience and common sense who wants a lovely sounding amp without spending stupid money. It’s personal too, not just another anonymous box, very satisfying all in all.
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Old 29th October 2005, 10:14 AM   #38
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I would just like to point out that Hong's chipamp kit was not a BrianGT kit from my understanding, so we should keep discussions more general than focus on one particular producer. Hong's kit is unfamiliar to me and maybe to others and that is why we couldn't help as completely as usual.

Hong, I don't think comparing your healthcare experiences with chipamp kits is valid. Hopefully healthcare has a much bigger support structure in place to handle life and death situations. I don't know about the US but the Australian health system is ultimately supported by the government (i.e. our taxes).

It would be nice to see a price breakdown of a typical chipamp kit and see what the providers have costed for items like packaging, documentation, administration, support calls and emails, replacement of blown parts, divorce lawers etc.

BTW: Thanks Hong for starting this thread. It's been very interesting and a little different to the normal posts. I have a feeling that it may do some good as well. Well done.

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Old 29th October 2005, 05:30 PM   #39
flaevor is offline flaevor  United States
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When I saw this thread I was relieved. I also just bought a gainclone kit (LM3875). And some of my parts don't resemble those in the users guide to which I was reffered by the seller. The PCB is different the The board is a different layout the resistors look completely different and I can't figure out why I have so many. There are ten resistors and according to the guide there should be 8. I don't have the first clue how to sort out the color band coding on them. I don't think it would have been hard to put them in separate bags labeled R1, R2 and R3, but maybe I'm wrong.

On top of that there are two other pieces i can't identify at all.

As I was trying to gain an overall picture of what else I needed to complete the amp, I asked the seller questions to avoid useless threads on here and felt the answers were often less then friendly. But oh well. You live, you learn and if you don't like the service you don't shop there any more.
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Old 30th October 2005, 12:48 AM   #40
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OK that's another tihing that could be added to the instructions.... how to read resistor codes. This is what I mean by being hard to think of everything, when you have been doing this stuff for close to 30 years you take some things for granted here is a url that explains the colour coding http://clivetec.superihost.com/Resistors.html I'm colour blind so I can't rely on the bands, and instead use a multimeter set to ohms to check all my resistors before placing them in the circuit.

I've never seen a kit from anywhere that actually separated out and labeled the resistors, just adds to the overhead and ultimately to the cost, but now I think of it, the first kits I bought did have instructions on reading the resistor codes!

Can you post a picture of the two peices you can't identify, maybe start another thread so as not to clog up this one

Tony.
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