The DIY/Projects Thread

Joined
May 15, 2019
Messages
69
Location
Sydney
I pretty much only post about music here, so none of you would know I was an electronics technician. While I've never been much of an audiophile hobbyist I did get through a pretty substantial project, as apprentices a colleague and I made a pretty serious amplifier:

Overview.jpg

Its a bit of a beast: 200+ hours of work, it weighs about 65 Kilograms (~145 pounds), and while we've never fully stretched its legs we were shooting for 1000W audio output (I think we got close).

Front Panel.jpg

The chassis is from some old piece of test equipment, I machined this front panel myself (including milling the fan vent) which is solid Aluminium, with Aluminium knobs and nice industrial looking exposed fasteners. The knobs control main volume, sub channel crossover frequency, cooling fan speed, and something else (sub channel volume maybe?)

Transformers.jpg

These ridiculously over the top transformers provide the vast majority of the weight, and all that power.

PCBs.jpg

The actual amplification bits are Silicon Chip kits, so we never got way deep into the grittiness of designing amplification circuits and PCBs. The potential 1000W output is split across 2 channels, which are split between D-Class sub amps and AB Class for the rest of the frequencies. So in the photo, you can see each channel is on one side, with 12V power supply boards upside down on top, then the ABs below, then the Ds at the bottom. Those two pale boards in the middle handle speaker protection, and the crossover to make sure the low frequencies go into the sub amps and the rest into the normal amps. Those are sitting on a large central heatsink tube with a fan at each end, which is where all the heat from the amps goes and is blasted out the front through that grille I spent way too much time machining. That thing at the bottom of the photo is a scroll fan that was sitting around and looks cool, so we put it in there for some 'ambient' airflow.

Power Supply.jpg

Just some detail, that little board on the left is another 12V power supply, for the fans. You can also see one of the solid brass blocks that holds the front panel on, which is another ridiculous over the top solution, but that was what made this fun. You can also see that single little regulator on the power supply attached to one of those giant heatsinks that run along the sides of the chassis, that is literally all they get used for which is a shame because they are impressive heatsinks, essentially being huge chunks of solid copper, but we couldn't figure out a good layout for all the amps that got to use them so they're pretty much just aesthetic (and heavy!).

It really needs a pre-amp, which we never got around to installing, so without that and only testing one channel at a time from memory we got 350 Watts out of it, so when it was all lit up at the many parties it served us, we were probably bumping 700-800 Watts out into the neighborhood (in a couple of the photos you can see its sitting on a custom sub box we made, which had 4 12 inch subs and proper porting and stuff, they go well together). The bonus hidden feature is that when the cops show up and claim they're going to confiscate it, you can just tell them go right ahead because they wont be able to carry it out, aside from being way too heavy, the handles are very uncomfortable, and the weight is extremely off center, so it is a massive pain to move it anywhere.

Anyone into the electronics side of things? I don't think I've ever seen anyone talk about DIY audio here before, it would be cool to see any projects you have.
 

Splunders

Member
Joined
May 15, 2019
Messages
117
Location
Twin Cities
I made this Amp Camp Amp this past winter. It's a kit with everything you need, minus the appropriate tools (soldering iron, digital multi meter, various wire cutters, small screwdriver) all for $375 shipped. It's an 8 watts per channel pure class A amp designed by amplifier legend Nelson Pass (Pass Labs, First Watt). It's sounds fantastic and is great with high efficiency speakers. I currently use it to drive 90 db @ 6ohm Wharfedale floorstanding speakers. I have a pair of Zu Audio Dirty Weekend speakers 97db @ 12 ohm arriving next week which should both be a better fit and perhaps a better test of how good the amp really sounds. In any event, $375 is a nice price to dabble in DIY audio. I had never soldered anything before and it fired up on the first try, so I encourage anyone else considering a DIY project to go for it. Great, clear directions available as well. Some day it will be an overqualified 2nd or 3rd system amp as I upgrade components over time.20190212_205516.jpg20190213_135953.jpg20190213_145839.jpg20190215_131210.jpg20190215_131221.jpg20190215_145153.jpg
 
Joined
May 15, 2019
Messages
69
Location
Sydney
I made this Amp Camp Amp this past winter. It's a kit with everything you need, minus the appropriate tools (soldering iron, digital multi meter, various wire cutters, small screwdriver) all for $375 shipped. It's an 8 watts per channel pure class A amp designed by amplifier legend Nelson Pass (Pass Labs, First Watt). It's sounds fantastic and is great with high efficiency speakers. I currently use it to drive 90 db @ 6ohm Wharfedale floorstanding speakers. I have a pair of Zu Audio Dirty Weekend speakers 97db @ 12 ohm arriving next week which should both be a better fit and perhaps a better test of how good the amp really sounds. In any event, $375 is a nice price to dabble in DIY audio. I had never soldered anything before and it fired up on the first try, so I encourage anyone else considering a DIY project to go for it. Great, clear directions available as well. Some day it will be an overqualified 2nd or 3rd system amp as I upgrade components over time.View attachment 6107View attachment 6108View attachment 6109View attachment 6111View attachment 6113View attachment 6114
Neat! Looks great, a lot nicer than two apprentices cobbling together multiple kits and whatever they could find for free in a workshop. Highly likely much higher audio quality out of something like this too, we were never bothered to test the fidelity of ours.
Hard to tell from the pictures, but the soldering looks pretty nice too.
 
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