On to hardware! It’s a pretty simple process but there are some tips that can help out. I usually do pots first because they are normally the lowest profile part when it comes to hardware. I have been asked what to do about the little tab that is on some potentiometers, which is really just to stop them from spinning. If you have holes drilled for that, great! Align the pin to the hole and you are good to go. If you don’t have a hole drilled for it, break it off! It is not necessary, and is often more of a hassle than it’s worth. After the pots, I usually go onto the led bezel. For some reason the LED bezel on many drill layouts fights for room with the DC jack. Do yourself a favor and put the bezel in first. Then install the DC jack, input and output jacks, and the stomp switch. On the stomp switch, use the two nuts that come on the stomp switch to adjust the height up or down inside the enclosure. You might also go ahead and install a 9V battery snap into your pedal as well (sometimes it can be really helpful to not have to rely on a power source being available)
Quick tip on trouble shooting that has to do with hardware. When you install an input or output jack, it might seem like it has enough clearance from the bottom of the enclosure. if the hole has been drilled to low, then when you put a plug in, the prong may bend enough to touch the enclosure and short out your audio signal. You either need to change the orientation of the pot, adjust the hole position upwards, or put some sort of protective piece (thin plastic, business card, electrical tape) under the prong to insulate it from the case.
Another time this can happen is if the jack gets turned when you are tightening it and the prong hits up against the metal part of the stomp switch, that will ground out your signal out as well.
And speaking of grounding out, another hardware problem that accounts for quite a few dead pedals sitting in closets is the pot turning and touching the side of the case. If you were messing with a pedal one day, turning knobs and what not, and suddenly your pedal goes dead, open it up. More than likely you will see a pot that has spun internally and is now touching the side of the case or another pot. Just straighten it out and it should work just fine.
On the next installment of ‘Behind the Iron’, we’ll talk about wiring. I hate wiring passionately, but it must be done!