LoFi-nator: Build Diary #20

It is Sunnnnnndaay and it’s LoFi-nator time. I’m taking a little break from the Deckard’s Dream Build, but I’ve only got 8 voice-cards to go on that front, so we’re getting there!

But today we’re making a cute little guitar pedal. It’s been a while since I did a pedal build, and my my I do not miss wiring these things up. But first, we must answer the question, what is a LoFi-nator, precious?

Well, it’s a simple little thing that was described succinctly over on the page  I purchased it from:

The LoFi-nator is a voltage controlled analog high and low pass filter, allowing to emulate transistor radio and megaphone type sounds.

It’s also got a little drive knob to add some BEEF to your signal. Very neat.

But, let’s get to the good stuff, hot hot PCB shots.

LoFi-nator PCB
Nice and little!

Time for the massive resistors!

So I’ll say that MusikDing got my package to me quick, and it had all the pieces and parts I needed to get the pedal together. But, the footprint of the resistors was a little off… as were some of the caps. Not a big deal by any stretch of the imagination, but being a bit PCB-OCD, it bruises my mind berries when things don’t fit in perfectly. 

So, I started with the big old resistors, and then slapped the diodes into place.

Big resistors in LoFi-Nator
I tried at first to keep them all perfectly lined up... But that was insane.

Again, not a huge deal, but you do need to be a little more careful about not making connections in places there shouldn’t be any connections. When everything is nice and snug, tucked safely into their warm plexiglass home (PCBs are plexiglass? right?) there’s less chance of components coming into contact in weird ways. With my little bent resistor job here, it’s a little trickier. 

A few caps and some IC sockets later, we have a uncomfortably stuffed PCB!

LoFi-nator populated PCB
It looks like me after literally any meal - overly full.

It took a little finessing to get everything in there, but they got in there and soldered down just fine. Functionally, is it completely fine? Of course. Do I wish it was a little more perfect looking? I’D GIVE ANYTHING. But hey, this is what happens when you purchase kits sometimes.

And for the last time (I promise) I’ll say: it’s not a huge deal, I just got that PCB-OCD.

Time to mount this puppy!

Now that the good stuff is all in there fine and dandy, it’s time to house this little sucker! It’s less agonizing then pedals I’ve made in the past. The pots hook onto the back of the PCB to keep it nice and secure to the housing. So I started there!

Everything was looking just perfect, until my spatial sensory system failed me and I put the pots all in backwards. OH MY.

Removing Pots from Housing
I'm getting really good with the wick, which I don't think is a good sign.

After that catastrophe was narrowly avoided, it was time for the most painstaking portion of the build. Wiring it all up!

Thankfully, MusikDing.de gave a bunch of pre-stripped pieces of hook up wire, so kudos on that one my German friends.

There was also this neat little 3PDT PCB that they included that made the wiring just that little bit easier, so double kudos on that my German friends.

Also, they call our country Kanada, which I think is fun.

Anyways, an hour or so later and everything was looking preeettty clean if I do say so myself.

Wired up PCB, wrong connections
LoFi-Nator, COMPLET...oh wait. Did I wire the jacks backwards?

And like the true dingus I am, I wired the jacks backward. I don’t know what I was thinking, but thankfully I tested around with my multimeter before plugging this bad boy in.

Let’s try that again!

LoFi-Nator complete
Ahhh. Much better.

And one more bone-headed move...

Looking good right? I was excited, and the stakes were even higher because this was a build for a friend. So I rushed over to my little Orange Half-Stack and plugged my trusty old Fender Stratocaster in the fresh-as-a-baby pedal I had just produced. 

Bypass mode… works great. No audio artifacts. The pedal was plugged in and there was no smoke – also a good sign.

I pressed down on the pedal to engage the LoFi-Nator, and where I expected to hear some Lo-Pass/High-Pass magic… there was nothing.

I was shocked because I triple checked this thing before plugging it in. Everything was perfect to my eyes.

Guess what move I pulled, dear reader. The olddddd plugged everything in backwards routine. Oopsies.

Swapped those cables around and VOILA, one gnarly sounding Lo/Hi pass filter with a little dash of sassy in the drive knob. Very cool.

LoFi-Nator with Knobs
All done!

The end!

Definitely a fun build, and absolutely a useful pedal. I am jealous I don’t get to hang on to this little sucker, but I’ll survive, maybe. I’ll record some sound clips before I ship it off, maybe. But for now you can imagine this pedal filling your ear-holes with megaphone-y sounding guitar licks!


As per usual, thank you a ton for reading this little spit of internet called stevetravale.com. I always love getting emails and hearing your comments, so let em fly at me! If you’re looking for some more DIY fun, check out some of my eurorack builds like the Teletype Part 1 and Part 2 I did up. Or even some organismic like my DIY Lyra-8 build. Boy is that thing creepy sounding!

Until next week, have a beauty one and keep it samesies!

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