Changed to 50s Wiring and Might've Smoked Something

Discussion in 'Tonefreaks' started by RayTorvalds, Aug 17, 2017.

  1. RayTorvalds

    RayTorvalds Senior Member

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    Dear MLP,

    I recently decided to upgrade my wiring and caps on my LP. Some braided wires and PIO caps.
    I connected everything according to the 50's wiring schematic as found on the SD website.
    After doing that, my bridge pickup is really soft. The neck pickup is louder but still way softer than it was (when I use my Friedman BE-OD pedal at pretty high gain, I still only get a crunch like sound out of the neck... as opposed to much more gain like it had before). Also, my tone knobs do nothing at all.

    I can't find what's wrong with it. All the wires go where they should, according to the schematic.
    Does anyone have an idea, based on my description, what the issue is ?
    Did I smoke the pots/caps ? Or something else ?

    The pickups are 4 conductor (plus shielding wire around them) Amber "Spirit of 59". I should solder that shielding wire to ground as well, right ? (I tried with them to ground.. and leaving them unconnected.. no difference).

    The pots are CTS TVT 500k (didn't change them) and the caps are 0.022 μF Montreux Retrovibe.
    I did test the caps before installing them with a capacitance meter and they read out 0.022 μF indeed.

    :dunno:

    Many thanks in advance for any tips and help. Have a great day everyone :thumb:
     

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    Last edited: Aug 17, 2017
  2. chasenblues

    chasenblues Senior Member

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    Post a good, clear picture of the wiring/control cavity.
     
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  3. RayTorvalds

    RayTorvalds Senior Member

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    It's next to impossible to see on a picture because the caps are huge. But I will post them anyway.

    [​IMG]
     
  4. RayTorvalds

    RayTorvalds Senior Member

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  5. RayTorvalds

    RayTorvalds Senior Member

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    Sorry, it's hard to see with those giants caps. The bridge pup wire from the switch is loose. I noticed that the positive lead was connecting to ground (my bad).
    I disconnected it (to solder it back again later on). It made no difference to the neck pup though. Still doing the same thing.
    Oh. those white and green wires you see have to be soldered together. Black is ground and red is hot (for humbucker mode). I know that is not the issue (it's like they were.. plus I got a wiring schematic from mr. Wolfgang Damm)
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2017
  6. PierM

    PierM Premium Member

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    What you are describing, especially about tone "not doing anything" sounds pretty much 50 wiring to me.

    With 50 wiring you are forcing the treble retaining, so the tonez are working very flat until you reach an abrupt knee around the end of the pot range. In that very small range you should get an "hot spot" where the tone swap from bright to dull and low. You shoud btw get sort of "volume" effect acting on tone knobs.

    As for the volume pots, you should (again), retain the trebles...even at low vol. levels, with another "hot spot" at average 8/9, where you should get more kick in if compared to modern wiring.

    Hope you tried a 50 wiring before doing that to your guitar. :)
     
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  7. RayTorvalds

    RayTorvalds Senior Member

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    Thank you PierM. I have not ever tried 50s wiring before.
    As for the volume pots. They only do something from about 8.5-10.. from 0-8.5 they don't make any sound.

    As for the tone pots. No knee, they do nothing at all (unless I'm tone deaf).
    Plus the output of the neck isn't even close to where it was before the change. Can't even get a good overdrive sound out of them (vol at 10). Even with my BE-OD pedal.
     
  8. PierM

    PierM Premium Member

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    That is with tone at max?
     
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  9. RayTorvalds

    RayTorvalds Senior Member

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    Yes all pots to max.
     
  10. PierM

    PierM Premium Member

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    Ok then something is wrong. If you have tones @ max, you should get volume working pretty similar to modern wiring, just retaining trebles at lower volumes.

    Now, looking at your pictures I can't see anything wrong on the first/main wiring picture. The second picture hard to tell.

    Did you try working with just 1 pup at time? Just to exclude some short and/or phase cancellation.
     
  11. RayTorvalds

    RayTorvalds Senior Member

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    Yes I did. That is why the bridge pup wire (from the switch) is still loose. Should I desolder the bridge connection from the pup to the pot too ?
     
  12. PierM

    PierM Premium Member

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    Well if the switch is not yet connected the bridge should be isolated from the output, but still I don't know if you have a short there in the switch, or a wrong connection. Again, the first picture with the base wiring seems all good, but what's happening on the switch and/or with those 4 wires it's hard to tell.

    If I were you I would isolate everything but a pup. Let's say the neck pup, wiring straight from the neck volume hot (the one you are now sending to the switch) to the jack out hot. No switch, no bridge. Just neck to pot to output. Reducing variables usually helps isolating the offender.
     
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  13. RayTorvalds

    RayTorvalds Senior Member

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    Thank you very much for your time, brother. This is one of the many reasons I love MLP (and call it my home).
    I did measure resistance after I soldered the switch wires to make sure no hot leads were connecting to ground (as I'm new to soldering braided wire).
    No issues then. So... like you said, reducing variables helps isolating offenders (that is why I measured the switch's function after soldering it).
    Same for the output jack (can't go wrong there, really). Measured that too and no shorts.
    I will do what you said tomorrow after work. Just connect one of the pups to the output jack and see what happens.
    But... say said pup works fine then.. It would mean the issue is somewhere in the control cavity.
    Could it be I smoked my pots, because of too much heat ? I did use flux (for the backs of the pots) and didn't have the soldering iron on them for more than a few seconds.
    A little longer on the back of the pots as opposed to the lugs of course. But yeah, mere seconds. (60w iron)
     
  14. PierM

    PierM Premium Member

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    Flux doesn't really matter if your solder tip is clean and properly installed, it's more wattage and time of contact with the pot, which does the good or the bad to your pots. Sure multiple re-soldering are not great because every new soldering will be harder than the previous one, because you need an higher temp and/or longer time to melt the old crap, and also because you are kinda overstressing materials..

    60Watt iron can be quite A LOT, but yeah, hard to tell. For now let's no panic.. :)

    For these test I would go with cold connections (no soldering please). Just be sure you have connections working to make your tests. You don't want to overstress more those pots.

    For the future I would invest in a small digital station, or whatever station gives you control over target temperatures.

    BTW, if bypassing the switch does work, I would do exactly the same dummy connection with the bridge pup, this time excluding the neck pup (as well as the switch).
    If again it works, you know you are doing something wrong with the switch.
     
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  15. RayTorvalds

    RayTorvalds Senior Member

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    I hear ya. 60 Watts is too much for soldering the lugs (actually a bit high for the back of the pots too). I am aware of soldering time and I did keep that as short as I could. That is why I used flux on the back of them.
    Good tip on making the cold connections if something is wrong and you want to see why. Definitely don't want to put too much heat into the pots or caps.
    I also put one of those crocodile mouth clamps (I think that is the right english word) on the ground wire when I soldered it to the back of the pots. Same when I soldered the lug on the pot where the cap is connected. Just a bare one to get some heat transfer to it.

    It is sort of funny though. I was a car mechanic for a long time. I used to install pretty complex alarm systems and navigation and alike and now I have an issue with something way easier than that.
    Wait.. I take that back.. I hate the $hit out of it because I can only play my fiddle acoustically now :(

    I will let you know tomorrow, Pier. Thanks bud for all the help and your time. :cheers2:
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2017
  16. Frogfur

    Frogfur Senior Member

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    Best learning experience there is.
     
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  17. RayTorvalds

    RayTorvalds Senior Member

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    Note to self. Because native language isn't english. Don't post after a drink.. Helps for not having to edit it like 10572 times.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2017
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  18. PierM

    PierM Premium Member

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    Cheers!

    Tomorrow would help to have a more "orthogonal" picture, showing what's happening behind those huge retrovibe. :)
     
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  19. RayTorvalds

    RayTorvalds Senior Member

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    Haha yeah they are frickin' huge. Was a major pita to solder in there.

    I did make a template for the pots' positions so I could do as much soldering outside of the guitar as I could.
    Had to look up orthogonal (I'm Dutch).. Another word added to my english vocabulary. Thank you.
     
  20. RayTorvalds

    RayTorvalds Senior Member

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    Trial and error huh ?
     

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