So I recently started to build up my own clones out of the commercially produced pedals. I was strongly inspired by Miro from FYA Electronics, who prepared me several custom clones with some modifications (i.e true-bypass Dyna Comp w/ switchable buffer). My intention is not to make any profit with this at this stage, but just produce some pedals for my own use. And have a good time with my new hobby.
As it’s a way more challenging as it seems to be from the first sight, Miro encouraged me to start from some easy layout, and that’s why Red Llama was chosen. Red Llama is somewhat coveted simple overdrive pedal with two knobs. I’ve tried almost every overdrive pedals in this planet so far, so I am always excited to try something new. Overdrive pedals are my weak point, I might say.
The layout is quite simple. Taken from tagboardeffects.blogspot.com, made by IVIark:
After completing the layout, it was time to drill the enclosure. And that’s where the fun starts. The first 10mm holes for 1/4″ jacks were ok. Also the holes for the pots, no problem. As a 12mm hole is needed for the switch and DC-connector, I needed to dig up the good ol’ Perforator from Hell®. That hellish apparatus is capable of penetrating anything from thick steel plate to terrorists’ hideout. Had no bench vice, so I needed to thrust the raw power in my hands. A bad mistake. Perforator (R) divested the enclosure from my hands in no time, and threw it to the moon. This is something to learn. _Always_ mount the enclosure so that you don’t need to stick it with your bare hands. Or. Also, always remember to start with a small hole, and after that drill the final one. After a trip to the moon and back I had some scratches in my nice red enclosure, but nothing serious. After attacking the enclosure again with Perforator® I had all the needed holes. Including a too big hole for the indicator led.
After making all the outboard connections, it was time to put the tagboard into place, and solder the remaining joints:
Nothing beats a total failure after your best shot. Sound is going through when the pedal is switched off, but when switched on the hell gets loose. Nothing but a clean signal spiced with some distant digital buzz. Far away from a good overdriven sound. So what the heck?
Transistor? A short circuit? After checking every connection and component several times I had to admit that the reason for the failure remains secret. So, I created a new one and it worked right away. Later I need to check all the components with multimeter, but now I’ll just complete this job. After adding knobs and some stickers it looks pretty good, and sounds even better.
Let me introduce you: Blackout Dalai Llama: