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Taking a shot at building the ZKIT1 (Read 21690 times)
martin
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Taking a shot at building the ZKIT1
02/15/16 at 12:16:19
 
Hi - I'm a newbie here and pretty much to electronics.  I'm really glad I stumbled across Decware.  After looking for a DIY project, I decided to have a go at doing an SE84CDIY (same as the ZKIT1, right?) without the circuit board.  I'll have things I'll need to ask about as I go, I'm sure.  But right now the main thing is that I can't find (from the parts list)  Nichicon Aluminum Electrolytic Capacitors - Leaded 450volts 33uF 18x41 20% anywhere.  Can I get suggestions for finding them (I'd rather not have to order from overseas, but...?)?  And if they're just not to be found, how about substitutions?  Thanks!
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« Last Edit: 02/16/16 at 07:19:56 by martin »  
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Core32
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Re: Taking a shot at building the SE84CDIY
Reply #1 - 02/15/16 at 12:57:24
 
Good luck on your build.
Digikey and Mouser both list the part you are asking about but both show very long lead times to get them.
There's really nothing special about the Nichicon version so it really depends on your layout and whether you want axial or radial cans with leads or eye termials, etc. Lots of options as far as connections are concerned.
Personally I used one like this:
https://www.tubesandmore.com/products/C-EC32-32-500
It has two 32uF caps at 500V in the same package. So if you need two caps it becomes very space friendly.
This one is a dual 16uF can with axial leads that can be tied together to form a single 32uF if you only need one: https://www.tubesandmore.com/products/C-ET16-16-500FT

I use that tubesandmore web site for a lot of my DIY build parts.
This is another good web site for DIY tube items:
http://www.partsconnexion.com/capacitor_ele_all.html
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martin
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Re: Taking a shot at building the SE84CDIY
Reply #2 - 02/16/16 at 04:14:05
 
Thanks much for the great info, Core.  The links are great, as well as your answer to my question about substitute caps.  Does it matter for my purposes whether or not the specs for the substitute caps are the same as what the plans here call for?  For example 500v vs. 450v?

I'll give a try at uploading the first pics I've got.
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martin
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Re: Taking a shot at building the SE84CDIY
Reply #3 - 02/16/16 at 04:49:12
 
Here are my first shots from my first tube amp project:
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« Last Edit: 02/16/16 at 07:21:29 by martin »  
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martin
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Re: Taking a shot at building the SE84CDIY
Reply #4 - 02/16/16 at 05:15:29
 
What the shots are is an aluminum project box that I glued a 1/4" piece of wood to the underside where I plan to put the tubes so there'd be some reinforcement.  I plan to fine sand and polish the aluminum so it will look almost like a mirror - aluminum shines up really nice that way.  I also plan to put wood (not sure yet if I'll use cherry, red oak, or something like mahogany) front, sides and back around the project box, as well as extend the back of the wooden frame far enough back to hold the transformers, sort of like an open box at the rear of the amp.

Please let me know if you see me getting ready to run into a wall!   Wink
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Core32
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Re: Taking a shot at building the ZKIT1
Reply #5 - 02/16/16 at 12:40:19
 
Quote:
Does it matter for my purposes whether or not the specs for the substitute caps are the same as what the plans here call for?  For example 500v vs. 450v?

Substituting a higher voltage rated part for a lower one is fine.
The higher rated parts will usually cost a little more and be larger in general but most of the time you cannot get the exact spec that someone calls out.
Substituting a different capacitance VALUE can have a negative effect based on where in the circuit the cap is located.
The one you mentioned I believe is in the power supply filter so higher voltage and equal to or greater than the capacitance will be just fine.
That dual part I pointed out would work great in this application because you need two of them according to the ZKIT1 schematic. Would save you some space.

My builds are a lot of trial and error fitting parts because I'm not much of a mechanical guy. Can't cut a square corner, etc.  :)
My advice is like most, dry fit many times before committing the blade.
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martin
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Re: Taking a shot at building the ZKIT1
Reply #6 - 02/17/16 at 15:01:06
 
Thanks again Core32.  This is definitely a "learn as I go" kind of thing.  Ì just realized for example that I was wasting time trying to be sure I had the right glue to withstand whatever heat there'd be inside the case.  Why did I think I needed wood glued onto the underside?  Lol.
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Core32
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Re: Taking a shot at building the ZKIT1
Reply #7 - 02/17/16 at 16:49:01
 
Seems you can screw the correct type of tube socket right into the metal plate.
I do know that the tolerance on those is a bit tight between the socket opening and the screw hole position. I think it's close to "breaking through" if you make the socket hole too large.
So no I would not expect you to need the wood "liner".
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martin
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Re: Taking a shot at building the ZKIT1
Reply #8 - 02/18/16 at 00:49:25
 
Nope, not needed at all.  The wood liner is gone and, as you said, the socket fits very nicely into the holes I've already made.
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fidelity71
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Re: Taking a shot at building the ZKIT1
Reply #9 - 03/05/16 at 00:52:06
 
I'm new to Declare also, this will be my third tubed amp build. I've chosen to use the zkit1 se84c board. As I'm not quite comfortable with a point to point build at this time.

Reading a few post in other parts of this forum.. I am still to find any concerns with this amp, which for me is a good thing they don't exist at least not yet.

That leads me to a question... Aside from updating coupling caps and opt's  is there anything I should be looking for/aware of when building?

So looking forward to hearing the video tubed driven amp. I am currently enjoying a 6l6, kt88 el34  driven amp and tube rolling is enjoyable to my ears. Its paired with a tubed phono pre amp 12ax7  with a rebuilt turn table a dual cs616q
The sound of flac files( my digital library) and my small vinyl collection is amazing. I am hoping this Amp from Decware brings something new to my ears. After everything I've read I'm sure not to be disappointed.

Thanks to Steve for designing this amp and engineering the board.
I'll post pics of every thing a little later as well as this se84ç when complete.

Thanks to all.
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martin
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Re: Taking a shot at building the ZKIT1
Reply #10 - 03/27/16 at 04:02:51
 
A little more progress...

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Core32
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Re: Taking a shot at building the ZKIT1
Reply #11 - 03/27/16 at 14:55:58
 
A nice start!
You have a nibbler or something to do the rectangular holes with?
I did everything I could to avoid rectangles but wound up with one in the back of my walnut frame for the IEC inlet/fuse/switch.
Probably spent 2 hours each measuring, drilling, sawing and rasping to get that to work. The wood was more than a 1/2" thick and the hole only about an inch square with 1/2" above and below to work with.
I'm not that great working with wood tools but I got them in there.
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martin
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Re: Taking a shot at building the ZKIT1
Reply #12 - 03/28/16 at 04:17:43
 
Thanks, Core32.  As you can see, I decided to give up on trying to do this as a point to point project until I've got more experience.  And, no, no nibbler.  I did the rectangular hole pretty much the same way as you describe doing yours.  Fortunately  (and I knew this before I started cutting the hole) the switch that goes into the hole covers the slop.  It looks pretty much perfect but, as you said, rectangular holes are best avoided.
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martin
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Re: Taking a shot at building the ZKIT1
Reply #13 - 03/28/16 at 04:46:59
 
Ready to start working on the "case" and get it all put together.
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martin
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Re: Taking a shot at building the ZKIT1
Reply #14 - 03/28/16 at 10:10:01
 
I'm at the point where I'm beginning to put things together in the case.  I'd like to have a fuse; how does a person figure out what rating should be used?

Also, since the kit doesn't come with a fuse, I'm wondering if there's a downside to putting one in?
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Core32
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Re: Taking a shot at building the ZKIT1
Reply #15 - 03/28/16 at 11:58:02
 
I am using a 3A slow blow type in my amps.
Fast blow worked "ok" but apparently the surge current was close to the limit and I blew a couple of those over the first 6 months, always right at turn on.
I am not a proponent of an AC line fuse having any effect on sound quality but some swear by it.
For your DIY I would just start with a standard 3A slow blow fuse, especially in the beginning, since you are likely to take a couple out while ringing out the wiring and such.  :)
No reason to kill a $30+ fuse because of a wiring error!
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martin
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Re: Taking a shot at building the ZKIT1
Reply #16 - 03/28/16 at 13:09:30
 
Lol, thanks Core32.  Got it.
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martin
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Re: Taking a shot at building the ZKIT1
Reply #17 - 04/04/16 at 01:14:37
 
I'm  reaching the place where I've started putting things together and connecting components that aren't going to be directly soldered to the motherboard.  I'm a little confused, though, by a picture I came across.  The person whose build is shown seems to have done it a lot like I'm doing mine, EXCEPT the way the inputs and outputs are connected.  Here’s the photo:
With mine I've been planning to just run connecting wires from the input and output points on the motherboard to the corresponding points on the RCA and banana plugs.  This picture is different from that.  I can't tell what was done or why.  Any thoughts/explanation would help!

Thanks!
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martin
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Re: Taking a shot at building the ZKIT1
Reply #18 - 04/04/16 at 02:35:17
 
Here's a shot of my progress to date:

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martin
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Re: Taking a shot at building the ZKIT1
Reply #19 - 04/04/16 at 02:37:29
 
And another from a slightly different angle:

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Core32
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Re: Taking a shot at building the ZKIT1
Reply #20 - 04/04/16 at 11:45:31
 
I guess I don't understand your question.
Are they wiring the output transformers from a different spot on the board?
Are they wiring the RCA jacks to a different spot on the board?
I never purchased a board so I can't really tell where the wires are going on that build.
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martin
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Re: Taking a shot at building the ZKIT1
Reply #21 - 04/04/16 at 15:38:14
 
Ah.  Clarity.  From me?   Wink

On the righthand side of his boards are the spots where the banana plugs normally go (or, as I'm doing, attach via wires but are placed on the side of the case a bit away from the board).  These are the two sets of silver colored spots that look a little like washers.  Between the banana plug spots are where the RCA inputs go (again on the righthand edge of the boards).  In this case it looks like he's soldered them into place on the right board but not on the left board.

In his build the RCA input connectors and banana plug speaker outputs are placed on the back "wall" of his case but he's got them connected somehow in a manner that doesn't seem to use the connect points on the board.  I don't understand what he's done or why, and I'm wondering if what he's done is based on something I don't know about but should.   Huh
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Core32
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Re: Taking a shot at building the ZKIT1
Reply #22 - 04/04/16 at 16:17:02
 
The banana jack hole skipping I can explain I believe.
Normally I take it the design has you solder the jacks directly to the board.
So the lines (red/white) from the power tubes to the output transformers are soldered to the board, then you would bring the output pair of wires (blue/black) back to the board and those washer sized solder pads are where the signals wind up connecting to the jacks.
But since he, and you are not putting the jacks on the board but on the rear panel, why waste that extra set of connections but just take the transformer outputs (blue/black) directly to the rear panel.
The RCAs I will need to think about some more but it could be something due to the fact they are being setup to use as mono-blocks.
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martin
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Re: Taking a shot at building the ZKIT1
Reply #23 - 04/05/16 at 13:03:58
 
Thanks Core32 - I believe ì get what you're saying...  at least in a generalized sort of way.  Darn, I've been playing around with this stuff for about 4 months now.  When am I gonna understand everything, and understand it fully?   Undecided
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Core32
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Re: Taking a shot at building the ZKIT1
Reply #24 - 04/05/16 at 13:31:20
 
Don't worry. The answer is never.   Smiley
As much as I like to think I know, while building these I found I knew a lot less. lol

So I cannot see what is going on with the other end of the RCA shielded cables he uses.
Are there any photos showing where those are connected?
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Falconer
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Re: Taking a shot at building the ZKIT1
Reply #25 - 04/05/16 at 14:42:57
 
Martin,
I agree with Core32, it's a life long journey "learning" this stuff. The more you learn, the more you know how much you don't know.

I am starting this same project as well. Items are on order, just waiting for everything to show up. I hope to learn from your build

William
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HDT Alt Tuning, ZMC1, ZDSD, ZSB, REL Subwoofer, Audio Electronic AE-3 Preamp, Audio Electronic PH-1 Phono Preamp, Audio Electronic SE-811 Amp, (2)Otari MX-5050Bii-2, Otari MTR-10, (2)Otari MTR-12, Linn Sondek LP-12 with Krystal MC cartridge
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Falconer
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Re: Taking a shot at building the ZKIT1
Reply #26 - 04/05/16 at 14:47:13
 
Martin,
Did the edcor transformer wires match the colors listed on the circuit board?
Is your board shown with a 2015 date?

William
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HDT Alt Tuning, ZMC1, ZDSD, ZSB, REL Subwoofer, Audio Electronic AE-3 Preamp, Audio Electronic PH-1 Phono Preamp, Audio Electronic SE-811 Amp, (2)Otari MX-5050Bii-2, Otari MTR-10, (2)Otari MTR-12, Linn Sondek LP-12 with Krystal MC cartridge
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martin
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Re: Taking a shot at building the ZKIT1
Reply #27 - 04/06/16 at 07:13:08
 
I'm glad to have found something that's as much fun as this is.  But...  So I'm thinking...  Maybe I'll just turn off the learning part.  That way, I'll feel smarter!!!  :)

I don't have any other shots than the one I found - I paged through G images and posted the one because of the way it showed those connects.  One thing I'm reminded of - I remember seeing something somewhere about using shielded cables; is that where they're a good idea, for the input connections?

And, yes, the circuit board matches the wires from the transformer.  At least there I have probably the least uncertainty of anywhere.   Cool

Best to you on your upcoming project, William!  I think I'm getting to where I'll actually be able to hear how it sounds (IF it works).  I can't wait!
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« Last Edit: 04/06/16 at 07:25:44 by martin »  
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Core32
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Re: Taking a shot at building the ZKIT1
Reply #28 - 04/07/16 at 03:28:15
 
More than likely the RCA connections in the picture are just another area where they skipped the extra wiring since you are not using the on-board spots for the RCA jacks.
And yes, the input jacks would be the best place for shielded cable if the runs are long since that is the place where the signal is lowest and therefore the most influenced by noise.
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« Last Edit: 04/07/16 at 03:29:47 by Core32 »  
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martin
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Re: Taking a shot at building the ZKIT1
Reply #29 - 04/08/16 at 00:08:18
 
Great!  Thanks Core32.
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martin
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Re: Taking a shot at building the ZKIT1
Reply #30 - 01/17/17 at 04:37:04
 
Hey again!  I want to explain first that I was kidnapped by aliens but managed to escape yesterday.  Government agents subsequently detained me but I've slipped away from them also.

So...  After almost a year and after many changes I've made due to learning a couple of things, I'm finally, I think, just about to put power to my Zkit1 and test voltage readings.  Before I do, though, I'd like to get some feedback on my construction.  I realized once I got to this point that I've never had any idea how the transformers are connected.  For the output transformers I don't think I've got much uncertainty; I just used the color designations on the board.  Even so, feedback is welcomed!

After looking for information some of the things I've seen, for example, talk about cutting unused leads from the transformers.  I don't believe I have any of those.  My board is rev. 12 2015 and my transformers are Edcor XPWR107-120 (power) and GSXE10-6-8-K (output).

The power transformer and power switch, as well as some 110v LEDs to light the tubes up, are where I'm not confident.  I've spent at least a few hours going through articles, blogs and videos.  One thing that sets me back is that it seems much of what's out there applies to different transformers and circuit boards from what I've got.

So...  To avoid letting any of the smoke out, I'd sure love feedback.  I'll post pictures that, I believe, show where I'm at right now.  As you will see (I hope) I haven't hooked up any of the power transformer leads to the board yet.
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martin
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Re: Taking a shot at building the ZKIT1
Reply #31 - 01/17/17 at 05:31:46
 


This is a general shot of the Amp.
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martin
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Re: Taking a shot at building the ZKIT1
Reply #32 - 01/17/17 at 05:52:02
 


This shows how I hooked both black leads from the power transformer to the IEC plug (at almost the exact middle of the pic on my screen).  One of the two black leads goes directly to the "L" pin (load?) and then jumps to pin 1 on the LED rocker switch.  The ground pin on the IEC plug is attached to the case with a washer and screw.  The "N" pin (neutral?) has the white 110v LEDs attached.

On the switch pin 2 has the second black lead from the power transformer attached.  Pin 3 has the black leads from the LEDs (to light the tubes) attached.

The capacitor in the upper left of the pic is installed in what might be a unique way, but I needed it moved a bit to allow room for the IEC plug.
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« Last Edit: 01/17/17 at 05:58:01 by martin »  
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martin
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Re: Taking a shot at building the ZKIT1
Reply #33 - 01/17/17 at 05:55:09
 


This is a closer pic to try and be sure things are shown clearly.  If I need to post any more pics or information, please let me know!

Thanks much for any help I get!
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martin
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Re: Taking a shot at building the ZKIT1
Reply #34 - 01/17/17 at 08:54:57
 
Two more questions: What do I do with the chassis ground hook-up?

Is the CKC mod already built in to the board?

Thanks!
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« Last Edit: 01/17/17 at 08:56:01 by martin »  
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Core32
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Re: Taking a shot at building the ZKIT1
Reply #35 - 01/17/17 at 11:49:28
 
Martin,
I'll take a look at your wiring later today. Just heading off to work here.
I don't know about the board for CKC but if you look at the schematic section I posted for you (mine), C9 and C10 are the Hazen grid mods.
And at the moment I can't remember what the CKC mod consisted of.
If it's the input tube bias switch then no I do not think it's in the board.
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martin
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Re: Taking a shot at building the ZKIT1
Reply #36 - 01/17/17 at 14:14:57
 
Thanks Core32.  Nice to "see" you again.     Wink

The CKC mod has to do with connecting a resistor between pins 3 and (I think) 6 on the tube sockets which, if it's not on the board built-in, I don't think I'll do - at least not now.
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Core32
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Re: Taking a shot at building the ZKIT1
Reply #37 - 01/18/17 at 13:47:55
 
Martin,
I think that's the Hazen grid mod (maybe two names for the same mod?)
It adds a capacitor between pins 3 and 6 of the output tubes.
And it only works for certain types of output tubes as pin 6 on some are not connected internally so it has no effect.
C9 and C10 on the schematic I posted of my build are those.
This picture should be your power transformer wiring and I don't see any wires there you need to cut:
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« Last Edit: 01/18/17 at 14:00:48 by Core32 »  

wire1.JPG
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Core32
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Re: Taking a shot at building the ZKIT1
Reply #38 - 01/18/17 at 13:59:08
 
This should be your output transformer wiring. The input center tap wire, white/blue, you will not use. You can leave it instead of cutting it but I put a shrink tube sleeve on the end to ensure it would never short out to anything:
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wire2.JPG
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Core32
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Re: Taking a shot at building the ZKIT1
Reply #39 - 01/18/17 at 14:17:28
 
Can you take a photo of the board top side where the power transformer input wires are supposed to be soldered in?
Before I give you my opinion on what gets soldered where I would like to see how the holes are labeled vs. the schematic I find on the site here.
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martin
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Re: Taking a shot at building the ZKIT1
Reply #40 - 01/18/17 at 17:16:23
 
Hi Core32.  I'll certainly post a pic of the board and get up here.  I aim to get that done some time this afternoon.

Regarding the white/blue wires for the output transformers, I found a place on the board where it looks like they belong and connected them.  You can see that pretty well in the pic I posted with the capacitor I jury rigged mounted.  The capacitor is in the upper left area of the picture with the white/blue wires just further left connected to where I believed they should go.  That area should be easier to see in the pictures I'll post.  Once I've posted those, I hope it will be possible to tell if I did the right thing with them rather than needing to cut them.

Thanks!
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Core32
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Re: Taking a shot at building the ZKIT1
Reply #41 - 01/18/17 at 21:52:55
 
If your board looks like this picture then I do not see a place for the blue/white wires.
There should be two blue, two black (these head to the speaker jacks), two red and two white (these are inputs to the transformers from the output tubes).
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board_out.JPG
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martin
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Re: Taking a shot at building the ZKIT1
Reply #42 - 01/19/17 at 11:05:12
 
Hi Core32, no, that printout isn't the same as my board, which is Rev 12 2015.  From upper to lower, mine go: L WT/BLU, R WT/BLU, R RED, L RED, L BLUE, R BLUE, L VIOLET, R WHITE, L WHITE, R VIOLET.  Here are some more pictures, Actually, the 2nd of my recent pictures shows the best shot of the output transformer wiring details.

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martin
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Re: Taking a shot at building the ZKIT1
Reply #43 - 01/19/17 at 11:21:28
 
This is a little different shot of the switch and power plug.  The solid black wire going offscreen at the lower left is attached directly to the case.

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« Last Edit: 01/19/17 at 11:28:46 by martin »  
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martin
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Re: Taking a shot at building the ZKIT1
Reply #44 - 01/19/17 at 11:27:14
 
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martin
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Re: Taking a shot at building the ZKIT1
Reply #45 - 01/19/17 at 11:30:39
 
I hope with these shots it's possible to get an idea of how I've wired this.  Please let me know what else I can do to help clarify my attempts here.

And thanks much again.
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Core32
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Re: Taking a shot at building the ZKIT1
Reply #46 - 01/19/17 at 11:31:49
 
That doesn't match the schematic I have access to so I suppose what you have done is correct.  :)
If you have access to a schematic that shows those extra connections and can share it I will gladly check it.

As far as the input power goes, tell me what you are looking for in terms of what the switch controls?
Do you want the switch to remove ALL AC power from inside the chassis? Or do you plan on having the "tube LEDs" lit all the time even with the switch off, etc.? Can you give me a manufacturers part number or link to the switch data sheet?
It appears to be one with a built in lamp so, do you want that lamp to light all the time or just when you have the switch turned on?
Sorry for all the questions!
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martin
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Re: Taking a shot at building the ZKIT1
Reply #47 - 01/20/17 at 00:38:39
 
Hi Core32.  Please (!) don't apologize for asking questions!  You're asking so you can give me valuable and much appreciated help and I'm grateful for that.  😌

What I had in mind for the switch was to turn everything, all lights and power, on and off.  I hadn't even thought about leaving the "tube LEDs" on with everything else powered off.  I think I'd like to do it that way.

It looks to me as though the blue/white leads aren't extra but have been relabeled to fit the Edcor transformers.  Your schematic looks like there are 8 connections for the leads from the output trannys and mine has the same number.  Although I just realized that your diagram (correct terminology?) for the board has a "4" that looks like might be ZKIT4.  If so, that would cause some issues.  🙂

I'll look for more info for the switch and for a schematic for the amp.  I think I've got at the amp schematic already.  But what I'd like is for the switch to power everything on in the on position and everything but the "tube LEDs" off when off, including its own LED.

I hope that makes sense.  Thanks!
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Re: Taking a shot at building the ZKIT1
Reply #48 - 01/20/17 at 00:52:18
 
Martin,
 Like Core32 said it depend on what that switch is doing. With that said I am having a hard time figuring out how the negative side of the input transformer get to the negative side of the plug.
It looks like it loops around to itself. Or it could be my tired eyes Wink
JPV
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Re: Taking a shot at building the ZKIT1
Reply #49 - 01/20/17 at 01:06:49
 
Also look in the ZKIT 1 Forum for the "First time Build" page 3. That will show you how the output transformers are wired. The Wht/blue wire are used
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Re: Taking a shot at building the ZKIT1
Reply #50 - 01/20/17 at 01:38:48
 
This is, so far, the most recent schematic I've been able to find.  The web is awash with ZKit1 schematics, though, and most (as I believe this one is) are not current.

Steve, can you point to a current schematic or am I wrong about this one?

Here's what I've got but it seems to show the Edcore power tranny but Decware output trannys:

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Re: Taking a shot at building the ZKIT1
Reply #51 - 01/20/17 at 01:52:23
 
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Re: Taking a shot at building the ZKIT1
Reply #52 - 01/20/17 at 02:58:27
 
I hate switch datasheets!  :)
In all the documents I can find, including the link you sent, the tabs are not labeled or described....So typical of switches.
Can you tell me if there are any markings on the switch body for each tab? I'm going to keep looking for a better picture of the switch.

The schematic you post at least shows the white/blue "not used". Maybe the board you have just put holes there to keep them safely tied down.
Can you tell if the solder holes those wires solder to, go to any other component connections?
And I think the 4 is part of "SE84DIY".
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« Last Edit: 01/20/17 at 02:59:47 by Core32 »  
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Re: Taking a shot at building the ZKIT1
Reply #53 - 01/20/17 at 04:56:25
 
I think SE84DIY was an early designation of ZKit1, and with the transformer change, I suspect other changes may have been made as well.  Although looking again, the leads from the power transformer match the colors of the Edcor leads so maybe this is the correct, current, schematic.  I can't recall where I thought I saw something labeling the Power tranny as a Decware.  EDIT:  It's not the power, but the output transformers that are Decware and it looks to me like it says so right on the schematic.

Regarding the switch, yes the tabs are numbered.  1 is the copper colored tab on it's own to the side of a plastic (looks like) barrier.  2, copper colored right next to the opposite side of the barrier and 3 silver colored on the far end of the switch from #1.  SO 1 is on its own on one side, 2 and 3 are together on the other side.  Sort of like:

1 | 2 3  where | is the barrier.

I can't see through the board any more but it sounds reasonable that the white/blue don't go anywhere.  I'll have another board to check soon though, and can confirm if they dead-end.
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« Last Edit: 01/20/17 at 16:13:16 by martin »  
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Re: Taking a shot at building the ZKIT1
Reply #54 - 01/20/17 at 05:19:28
 
Hey, thanks JPV!  Somehow I missed your posts.  I think the switch makes that connection (from the negative power and the negative transformer connections) between tabs 1 and 2 when it's in the on position.  ???

So...  I believe power comes in from the power connecter, branching to the positive tranny lead and tab 1 on the switch.  It has nowhere to go until the switch makes connection between tabs 1 & 2, with 2 allowing the power to continue back to the negative tranny lead.  The negative lead on the power plug is connected only to the negative LED (lighting the tubes) wires.  That's one thing I am not sure about - having I-don't-know-how-much power returning to the wall plug going only through those thin LED wires.
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Re: Taking a shot at building the ZKIT1
Reply #55 - 01/20/17 at 09:49:58
 
Thanks for pointing me to the shot of your wiring JPV.  VERY clear.


For now, I guess my main question is whether or not it would be unwise to power mine up.  If I can do that many of the questions I have could be worked out, I believe.
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« Last Edit: 01/20/17 at 16:10:12 by martin »  
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Re: Taking a shot at building the ZKIT1
Reply #56 - 01/20/17 at 11:48:44
 
This is a circuit diagram of a "similar" switch. Should be easy enough to verify it's guts are the same as yours with an ohmmeter (DMM).
When the switch is open (OFF), pin 2 should be open circuit to both pins 1 and 3. When closed (ON) pin 2 should measure a short (near 0 ohms) to pin 1 and some value of resistance (not 0) to pin 3, accounting for the resistor and lamp shown.

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« Last Edit: 01/20/17 at 13:18:53 by Core32 »  

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Re: Taking a shot at building the ZKIT1
Reply #57 - 01/20/17 at 13:19:12
 
And maybe your switch has this little diagram on the side as well.
Can you also send the exact switch part # as well? The link you sent shows a 250 in the part # and that would mean the internal lamp is rated for 250V, not 110V I believe. Might not even light up at 120V.
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« Last Edit: 01/20/17 at 15:15:57 by Core32 »  

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Re: Taking a shot at building the ZKIT1
Reply #58 - 01/20/17 at 15:46:20
 
If the switch turns out to be designed as I suspect, this diagram should help you get started.
Not sure how your IEC connector is pinned out number wise but we can determine that if it's not labeled.
If you wanted the "LEDs" to be lit all the time, you would connect their hot side to the L pin of the IEC connector (or pin 2 of the switch) and the low side to the N pin of the IEC connector (or pin 3 of the switch).
If you want the "LEDs" to switch on and off with the switch then connect their hot side to pin 1 of the switch instead.
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« Last Edit: 01/20/17 at 16:00:33 by Core32 »  

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Re: Taking a shot at building the ZKIT1
Reply #59 - 01/20/17 at 16:32:52
 
Thanks Core32!  I see from your image of the switch wiring that I need to make changes.  I plan to do that as soon as I step into my work area!  

And with regard to the LEDs, I just hook them in as though they were being added subsequent to everything else?  In other words, they don't carry any necessary part of the power except for lighting themselves, correct? Smiley
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Re: Taking a shot at building the ZKIT1
Reply #60 - 01/20/17 at 16:39:25
 
The LEDs are a bit of a mystery to me if you can share any data on those. But no, they should have no effect on any other circuitry if they are just used for "mood lighting".   Wink
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Re: Taking a shot at building the ZKIT1
Reply #61 - 01/20/17 at 16:57:51
 
Lol, yes the LEDs and some candles.   Cheesy

I'm pretty sure the switch in your image is the one I'm using.  It looked to me like it's rated for 16 amps at 110v or 10 amps at 240?  I'll verify if it's the same switch though.

I'll also get the specs from the LED package.
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« Last Edit: 01/20/17 at 16:59:08 by martin »  
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Re: Taking a shot at building the ZKIT1
Reply #62 - 01/21/17 at 00:55:34
 
Hi again.  Here's a shot of the switch I'm using which, to me, looks pretty much identical to what you found Core32.

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Re: Taking a shot at building the ZKIT1
Reply #63 - 01/21/17 at 01:24:04
 
Very similar switch for sure. I think it's a 250VAC lamp however. The LRA911 on the datasheet falls under the 250V lamp section and the LRA211 falls under the 125V lamp section.
It won't hurt anything to use it at 125V but it will likely be dimmer than you expect.
All other functions are the same and the connection diagram is what I suspected so my wiring schematic section I sent you should be correct.
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Re: Taking a shot at building the ZKIT1
Reply #64 - 01/21/17 at 02:53:42
 
I'm curious to see what happens with the light in the switch.  I ordered it, of course, knowing nothing about making sure the bulb voltage would be right.  But that's one more thing learned.

I'm taking a break from doing the wiring. I'm following the schematic you posted here.  I'm also re-doing the wiring for the volume knob; it had gotten a little funky.  Once that's done, I hope to hook it up to power (volume all the way down) and start the voltage checks...  I hope.   Roll Eyes

Oh, the LEDs.  There wasn't much on the package other than saying they are 120V and are for Blue Sea Systems Electrical Distribution Panel.  Another place it says "Use with Blue Sea Systems electrical panels.  
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« Last Edit: 01/21/17 at 02:57:29 by martin »  
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Re: Taking a shot at building the ZKIT1
Reply #65 - 01/21/17 at 10:44:43
 
Well it seems I've got some troubleshooting to do.   Huh

I got to the point where I have everything wired up.  I plugged power in and the little green LEDs glowed.  Not very bright though; next time I'll use some of the super bright ones.  With the volume all the way down I turned on the switch.  It glowed an encouraging red.  I then hooked the whole thing up and tried it out.  Nothing.  No sound at all.

I will probably take some time off from this again and then come back to it fresh.  Thanks much for your help Core32 and jpw.  I really appreciate that.   Smiley
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Re: Taking a shot at building the ZKIT1
Reply #66 - 01/21/17 at 15:06:11
 
I got discouraged more than once with my point-to-point build. Always turned out to be something obvious.  :)
If you have some time to make some voltage measurements (safely!) it may become clear what's wrong.
Did the tube heaters even glow?
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« Last Edit: 01/21/17 at 15:08:09 by Core32 »  
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Re: Taking a shot at building the ZKIT1
Reply #67 - 01/21/17 at 20:12:48
 
Hi Core32, thanks, and yes the darn think LOOKS  just about perfect.  The tubes glow very nicely.  😒 I will do the voltage measurements.  The tubes shouldn't be in for that, correct?
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Re: Taking a shot at building the ZKIT1
Reply #68 - 01/22/17 at 00:30:14
 
They should be in. If out, the voltages will look somewhat higher (no load).
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Re: Taking a shot at building the ZKIT1
Reply #69 - 01/22/17 at 06:59:19
 
Thanks Core32.
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Re: Taking a shot at building the ZKIT1
Reply #70 - 01/22/17 at 07:59:00
 
Looks like I'll be following in your footsteps eventually.

I bought this off another forum member and never got around to doing anything with it. I never even really looked in the box, just saw the board and transformers were there and hoped the rest was as well.










I wanted to do point to point as well, but I'm lost without a layout to follow. And I have a bit of cleanup to do on this board if I keep it and use it.  Dig that volume pot/knob I got with the kit though!
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Re: Taking a shot at building the ZKIT1
Reply #71 - 01/22/17 at 14:50:57
 
Surface mount dual stepped attenuator it would appear.
Pretty expensive new if I recall and that one looks to have 24 steps or more.
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Re: Taking a shot at building the ZKIT1
Reply #72 - 01/22/17 at 17:21:52
 
Yes, and you've got what look to me like some upgraded capacitors also - the big yellow ones (how's that for some electronics terminology???).   Looks nice!
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Re: Taking a shot at building the ZKIT1
Reply #73 - 03/12/17 at 20:19:48
 
Fuse is a good idea since if something goes wrong you don't want a meltdown.....

3 amp is, I believe what is specified and what I have in mine.

Good luck.
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Re: Taking a shot at building the ZKIT1
Reply #74 - 03/13/17 at 03:09:36
 
I've wondered for a while now about doing upgrades in order to get better sound.  It looks like bigger caps are one of the things people do.  As a still relatively new guy to the hobby I'd love to know how to determine which components to upgrade and what to upgrade them to.  Starting with the ZKit seems like a good place to start.  Or would that be like putting high octane gas in a VW?
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Re: Taking a shot at building the ZKIT1
Reply #75 - 03/13/17 at 12:47:58
 
I don't think the Zkit pcb would limit the improvement you get from upgrading some of the signal path components.
"The big yellow ones..." (caps) are definitely a more expensive component than called out in the original Mouser parts list from Steve.
You'll just need to be careful that the new part can be "morphed" to fit in the pcb area designated for it or you'll have to add so much hook up wire to make connections that your improvement will be diminished.
I believe those "audience" caps in the picture come with the red/black wires already attached so I would not consider that install diminished.
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Re: Taking a shot at building the ZKIT1
Reply #76 - 03/15/17 at 17:07:37
 

Quote:
I've wondered for a while now about doing upgrades in order to get better sound.  It looks like bigger caps are one of the things people do.  As a still relatively new guy to the hobby I'd love to know how to determine which components to upgrade and what to upgrade them to.  Starting with the ZKit seems like a good place to start.  Or would that be like putting high octane gas in a VW?


That's maybe not the best analogy since some VW (anything Turbo) requires high octane gas. It would be more like changing out your rims and expecting a horsepower increase. LOL

I've spoken with several amp designers - both audio and guitar. All of them have said at one time or another that most of the amps sound is in the design and layout. The parts chosen is usually final voicing.

That said, I'd look at the very few components that are actually in the audio path. Which really is a couple caps, few resistors, volume, tube and socket I think. That simplicity is part of what makes the Zen amp special.

If it were me, I'd built it to spec, give it a good listen so you understand it's nature, *then* try swapping caps. Give yourself time to understand how that changed the amp, and either keep trying caps, or move on to resistors. But you need to start with a baseline, so build it to spec to get an idea of what you have to work with.

Being completely serious, you might go ahead and and buy some expensive high end caps, and completely hate the sound.  I took a Fender 5E3 Deluxe layout, and bought nice transformers, and installed audiophile parts instead of the usual recommended parts...and it was so harsh and sterile it just killed what made a Fender Deluxe what it is. I spent double what the amp costs on audiophile caps and resistors and the like, and it wound up being nothing but an expensive lesson.

Just something to think about.
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Re: Taking a shot at building the ZKIT1
Reply #77 - 04/03/17 at 18:36:52
 
Would anyone be kind enough to measure the DC voltages on both sides of either one of the 47K resistors going to the input tube on their ZKIT-1 and provide me with those readings? Thanks in advance for your efforts.

LFS
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Re: Taking a shot at building the ZKIT1
Reply #78 - 09/22/17 at 20:42:59
 
s
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Re: Taking a shot at building the ZKIT1
Reply #79 - 09/28/17 at 22:44:01
 
LFS: According to my LTSpice model and assuming a 2V sine input @ 440Hz, voltage between 47k and 10k resistors should be 281.4 VDC.
Between 47k resistor and 6N1P anode you will have the amplified signal 33Vp-p centered at 150 VAC.
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Re: Taking a shot at building the ZKIT1
Reply #80 - 10/24/17 at 03:32:40
 
So I'm back again trying to build a ZKIT1 and this time I'm trying it as close to stock as possible while putting it in a painted aluminum project box.  I'm waiting to get the tubes it's designed for and using el84 power tubes and an ECC83S.  When I powered it up, the power tubes glowed strongly (maybe too strongly) but the ECC83S was dead.

I'll do the voltage checks.  Meantime any thoughts about where to look?
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