• Garage 1217 Project Sunrise III DIY Build Guide

    February 18, 2019 Luckbad 0

    I am a huge fan of the Garage1217 Project Sunrise III headphone amplifier. You can see how much I enjoy it in an earlier review of it. Today, we’re not here for a review. Instead, we’re here for a build guide!

    I put one of these together last weekend and recorded the process. This is my first DIY build guide, so it’s a bit rough around the edges. That said, hopefully it’s enjoyable for you to watch and perhaps gain some confidence in building one for yourself (note that you can buy them assembled as well!).

    There were a few fiddly bits like a small SMD RGB LED and some close connections, but apart from that one piece, it’s all through-hole and could be done by just about anyone.

    All of the parts laid out. They come in individual baggies for every component type and rating. The labels on the PCB are also included on the little stickers on each bag, so it’s super easy to figure out where everything goes since they correlate.
    Some things we’ll surely need. The flux isn’t strictly necessary, but I used it when mounting the one SMD part (a little RGB LED that goes beneath the tube). Isopropyl alcohol for board cleanup before doing anything. I stay grounded at all times with a hacked up power cable and keep it on my ankle. I soldered once without safety glasses and nearly got molten solder in my eyeball, so never again.
    Here I’m drinking coffee and sorting the resistors and diodes by size. Start with the smallest components and build up to the largest. Do NOT keep a drink near your stuff after you start soldering. I use the ubiquitous Hakko FX-888D and its stock 1.8mm chisel tip (even with the small, tight components). I had a decent one from Circuit Specialists for a while but replaced it after realizing how often I soldered.
    Most of the small components have been populated in this shot. I can’t unsee the crooked parts… I might have to fix those later. The most finicky small part is the SMD RGB dead center. I recorded a little video of how to do that and will upload it later on. The main thing to pay attention to during this step is the polarized diodes. The LEDs are slightly less clear. The short lead with the flat side goes toward the flat side of the PCB (negative/cathode). I’ll try to make that clear in the video(s).
    And now we have the medium size parts populated. Some of the parts didn’t really have much in the way of legs. For those, I basically just flipped the board up, stuck/tacked one pin with solder, then soldered all of the other legs before going back to the first. I have a video of one of these attempts and kept using the technique. And don’t forget to ground the volume pot! There’s a via hole next to the pot (and instructions in the PDF manual).
    All done! Except for U1. That relay was missing from my kit so I contacted Jeremy and he had one on the way the next morning. I screwed up in this last stage. I had 6 components left and 5 minutes before we had to leave. In my rush, I put the FG capacitors in the wrong spot, then had to fiddle with them for a while after we got home to get them out. Don’t rush! After finishing this part, I cleaned the board with isopropyl alcohol and distilled water and let it sit until I got the next part…
    The final part arrived! You can see the board looking a little dull. It comes as a piano gloss black. I was dumb and cleaned up some joints with RA flux, which turns into a white residue when cleaned with isopropyl alcohol/distilled water like I normally do. So…
    You can see in the picture from my computer (the big one up top) that it’s shiny. I had an idea to clean up the residue with ArctiClean 1, which I use to clean off thermal paste from computer components. It worked! You can see the reflection of the photo on my board there. The high gloss was restored and all is well.
    Final assembly took no time at all. This shot is less shiny than reality because I took it before cleaning with ArctiClean.

    A few more beauty shots.

    I really like the current production Electro-Harmonix 12BH7. However, I learned that you can use many 5670/396A/2C51 tubes if you bypass the input capacitors (jumpers are provided to do so) and use an adapter. I have some 5670 -> 6DJ8/6922 adapters, and I have been enjoying a GE 5670 Triple Mica in here. I also have the G1217 6SN7 adapter so I couldn’t resist trying that out.

    I’m likely going to eventually use an @atomicbob Noise Nuke and the stock SMPS simply out of a desire for cleanliness, but for now it’s hooked up to a linear power supply. Here are shots of my build for the Noise Nuke:

    Categories: Amp, DIY, Gear

    Drop the Bass

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