Instructables

Passive Overdrive Pedal - That's right, NO batteries!

Featured
This is my first instructable, so please be kind. I found an instructable a while ago that spoke of a passive overdrive - black ice. This can be bought for extortionate prices, but somebody found out that it was only really worth about £1.20 (that's about $2!) The company were making a 1400% profit!

It has got better, however, with a slightly more complex circuit and various ways to wire it. I don't know how they do it (I don't know a great deal about electronics), but I have found a way to make it into a pedal with true bypass. Yes, TRUE BYPASS! (the ones on the black ice website don't have true bypass)

I wired the original black ice, but you can use JoeBeau's rectifier with a different way of wiring it. I have got a theory on how to wire it like this, but I haven't tried it, so please correct me in the comments if I'm wrong.

I got help from:

this guy
this website
 
Let's get started!
 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Tools and Materials

Picture of Tools and Materials
Tools

- soldering iron and solder
- drill
- wire cutters, pliers etc - whatever you can use to help (e.g, I used a screwdriver to bend the leads and from the diodes around lugs)
- marker pen (for decoration!)

Materials

- project box
- DPDT switch
- 250k pot (I'm not sure whether I used linear or audio taper and I can't be bothered to check - it doesn't really matter)
- 2 x 1/4 inch output jacks
- 2 or 4 x 1N5818 Schottky diodes (I forgot to thank this guy for which diode to use - I wasn't going to keep buying diodes until I found a good one!)
- some wire

Tagduino2 months ago
I tried this using two 1n4742a 12v Zener diodes, and as far as I can tell, it doesn't change the sound much. So I tried disconnecting the diodes. And the signal still passed through without a change in the sound. Just wondering if anyone might know what's going on:P
rmacdonald510 months ago
Could I potentially run a 9v in this mix?
tomithy123510 months ago
So has anyone figured out if the full wave rectifier (as said above) works?

I think I'll try it and see if it does, but I can't decide. Is it just more distortion?
can you add another schematic image, some people dont understand electronics very well... like me.. jojo.. please :( ??
JoeBeau1 year ago
Hey, very nice job. It's pretty funny that you did this, because I ended up doing the same thing for one of my friends.

You'll find very quickly that some things are just cheaper to build than buy; I just finished a Fuzz-Face pedal (original circuit as used by Jimi Hendrix) using pre-world war 2 transistors for 50 bucks, which is third of the mass-produced model
burnok1001 year ago
so Punk Rock !!!! thanks for the scheme-matics...!
badams21 year ago
Needs video for demonstration of sound!
cool idea! I don't really understand what an overdrive pedal is supposed to do. can you explain?
JJ Grunge (author)  amandaghassaei1 year ago
An overdrive is a type of distortion - it changes the signal by clipping the waves and produces a more gritty sound. Overdrive is the mildest type of distortion. This sound is integral to the various genres of rock.
is the rectifier used to do the clipping? won't this double the frequency of the wave?
JJ Grunge (author)  amandaghassaei1 year ago
I don't know for sure, and I got that method from JoeBeau's Instructable anyway.

I don't think so because a speaker has an electromagnet which has a changing polarity according to the AC signal. If there is no negative, the speaker won't move in that direction and so you would get a doubled frequency that is half the volume if anything.

I think that the circuit bleeds out certain parts of the signal to the ground lead, therefore clipping it - similar to a tone pot on a guitar.

I'm not certain about this - it's just my theory.
Cool overdrive and a nice instructable, your theory is right on the spot, schottky barrier diodes have the property to limit voltage, or to pass through voltages higher than the limit, depending on either it is forward or backward biased. I'm goingto build one of these probably tomorrow and I'm looking into it.
randofo1 year ago
This is a nice simple trick. How does it sound?
JJ Grunge (author)  randofo1 year ago
It's a warmer sort of overdrive. It isn't very aggressive, but it's noticeable.
I LOVE your crappy graphics! I have a GT-8 effects processor, but I might have to build this just for the heck of it :D