The Spooky Fuzz: A Fuzz Pedal and Ghost Detector

For the Halloween season, I have designed the Spooky Fuzz pedal. The pedal is a Fuzz Face with a EMF Ghost Detector built-in. EMF is an acronym for electromagnetic field, if you are wondering.

How Does the Ghost Detector Work?

The Ghost Detector works by detecting changes in the electromagnetic field caused by ghosts in the surrounding area. The EMF antenna detects any EMF fluctuations caused by ghosts. The EMF detection circuit then measures the fluctuations and will turn on the light when the ghost is detected. If there any fluctuations in the surrounding electromagnetic field, the detector LED will go on. If the light goes on, then RUN!

The EMF Ghost Detector is based on the following schematic.

The Spooky Fuzz Pedal Stripboard Layout

The Spooky Fuzz has an antenna attached to the side.

The Spooky Fuzz in Action
The Spooky Fuzz decorated with stickers found at a local discount store.

Happy Halloween! Have fun making your own Spooky Fuzz!

Ken’s Take On the Wylde Drive – MXR ZW-44 Berzerker Overdrive Clone

Almost a year ago I had made a clone of the MXR ZW 44 Berzerker Overdrive using a layout from Tagboard Effects that didn’t work very well for me. So I had done some research into how the ZW 44 is designed. That had lead me to a forum post at Guitar-Gear.RU where a group of Russian pedal makers developed the schematic for the Wylde Drive. Discovering this post was great. It shed light on how to correctly make the ZW 44 clone.

The Russian Version of the Wylde Drive

This is the Wylde Drive Russian Version layout based on this schematic. I don’t understand why the 4.7 uF capacitor is used in the feedback gain loop in the Darlington transistor? I could not find anything like it in all of the Darlington transistor circuit examples I have researched. But the Russian dude placed it in there.

My Version of the Wylde Drive

My version of the Wylde Drive uses a standard Darlington transmitter follower with the input connecting at the 1.8M resistor. I have eliminated the 102 pF capacitor connecting pins 1 and 2 because it’s not needed. There is a DPDT switch that connects to a clipping board with asymmetrical silicon Zener 1N914 diodes and 3 mm red LED lights. The red LEDs give the drive a very fat sound. The drive works very well. This may be the best overdrive I have. The Wylde Drive saga is over is over for myself.

Wylde Drive

808 Compact Overdrive: The Inner-core of the Tube Screamer

If you get rid of the input buffer, output buffer and tone control of a Tube Screamer, you will still have a great sounding overdrive circuit. That’s what I did making the 808 Compact Overdrive. The overdrive only contains the inner-core of the Tube Screamer using only a single operational amplifier. I had added some passive filtering at the end with a 10N capacitor after the 1K resistor that leads to the output. The frequency cutoff is the same as the Distortion Plus.

My version with a flames graphic.

741 Distortion

Here is a layout I use for the Distortion Plus. I call it the 741 Distortion because it uses a UA741 or LM741 single OpAmp. The only difference it has than the Distortion Plus is the 82p capacitor in the non-inverting feedback gain stage, connecting pin 6 to pin 2. It works great! It can really can scream! This is my favorite distortion pedal by far.


This is the finished pedal in a 1590a enclosure with a pink leopard skin graphic. Ready to Rock!

Big Muff Pi V2 1973 #3 Vero Layout

Recently, I had been reading about the development and history behind the Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi to research building my own BMP. It is, most likely, the most historic guitar distortion effects pedal. I recommend reading Kit’s Secret Guitar Page’s Big Muff history and The Big Muff Pi Page’s Evolution of the Big Muff Pi Circuit if you are interested in guitar effects pedals.

The schematic I had based my Vero build on was found on the Evolution page is the “V2 “73” RAMS HEAD BIG MUFF PI – First Circle Face version.” This version uses 10K collector resistors and limiting resistors. The V2
1973 #3 also uses 0.1uF (100N) Mylar film capacitors instead of polarized electrolytic capacitors. The Mylar film capacitors and 10K resistors do not effect the pedals gain at all. Using film capacitors is actually an advantage over electrolytic capacitors.

Big Muff Pi V2 1973 #3 Schematic found on the Big Muff Page

The final result is a great sounding distortion pedal. I recommend giving the build a try.

The Easy Way to Make a Matte Black Pickguard

I needed a matte black pickguard with a single humbucker and fit for a Floyd Rose tremolo. The only option I had was to special order one. Instead I saved $20 by ordering a standard black pickguard and used a white super fine Scotch Brite pad to make the finish matte. In order to get the finish to look right, I only scoured lengthwise. Scouring in one direction gives the plastic the best finish. Do not swirl. 👍🎸

How to Delete Records and Reclaim Space from an Oracle Database

oracle-dbI had inherited an Oracle database at work which Operations uses for different tasks. The database grows by thousands of records everyday from collecting network data. One day the system stopped working. I had performed an investigation and discovered there was no more space available in the tablespace because several tables were full of network data. The only choice was to delete the old records. After deleting records, I realized the tables’ sizes were not shrinking. So I did a Google search online to find out why. I found there are three extra steps which are needed to be performed after deleting records. Here they are:

  1. ALTER TABLE MYTABLE ENABLE ROW MOVEMENT;
  2. ALTER TABLE MYTABLE SHRINK SPACE;
  3. ALTER TABLE MYTABLE SHRINK SPACE CASCADE;

That’s it. That is what you need to do to keep a healthy and tidy Oracle database.

 

 

 

 

Improved ERPTC’s Server by Tuning MySQL

logo-mysqlERPTC’s server performance had been terrible because I had never spent time to tune MySQL. Well, today I had taken care of tuning MySQL.  Now the site loads in just over a second. Here are the results from Pingdom Tools:

Tested Load Time Page Size Requests Page Speed
April 2 17:55:46 1.52 s 3.0 MB 157 84
April 2 14:26:11 1.18 s 3.0 MB 157 84
April 2 14:25:56 7.73 s 3.0 MB 157 79
April 2 14:04:00 1.38 s 3.0 MB 157 84
April 2 14:01:43 1.16 s 3.0 MB 157 84
April 2 14:01:26 1.29 s 3.0 MB 157 84
April 2 14:01:13 1.19 s 3.0 MB 157 84
April 2 14:00:59 7.35 s 3.0 MB 157 79
April 2 13:56:37 2.70 s 3.0 MB 163 83
April 2 13:56:19 2.63 s 3.0 MB 163 83
April 2 13:56:04 6.91 s 3.0 MB 163 79
April 2 13:32:56 2.60 s 3.0 MB 162 83
April 2 13:32:41 6.30 s 3.0 MB 163 83
April 2 13:32:23 2.66 s 3.0 MB 163 83
April 2 13:32:07 8.82 s 3.0 MB 162 79
April 2 13:20:10 2.91 s 3.0 MB 163 83
April 2 13:18:25 9.05 s 3.0 MB 162 79
April 2 13:07:21 12.97 s 3.0 MB 163 79
April 2 13:06:20 10.25 s 3.0 MB 163 79

ERPTC is Now Using Mail Chimp

mailchimp-logoI was having a huge problem with sending mailing list emails from ERPTC‘s WordPress server. Every time I would send out the club’s weekly newsletter, the majority of the emails would go unread because they were winding up in the recipient’s spam folder. This is the problem with sending emails using your own server like ERPTC does. It’s a problem that is very difficult to fix, if it ever could be fixed.

As a remedy, I have decided to try out MailChimp for managing the club’s email list. I understand nothing is foolproof, but using MailChimp will have to be better than the current situation.

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