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SurfGuitar101 Forums » Gear »

Permalink The Surfy Bear Fet Reverb

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Well I finally built my Surfybear. Only one pic for now but I'll post some gut shots soon:

image

Many thanks to everybody here for making this possible: Surfy Industries and all you guys who posted your builds. Special thanks to members bjoish, kinski and j_flanders for painstakingly answering my amateur questions - I couldn't have done it without you.

To say I love the sound in an understatement. The reverb tail in my Accutronics 4AB3C1B pan is too long though. I think I'd prefer a short decay pan. Very hard to find a 4AB1C1B made by Belton/Accutronics. All I've found is MOD pans, which from the demos I've seen sound very dark and I'm not a fan.

Last edited: Apr 17, 2021 15:20:46

Just a couple more pictures.

image
image

Hello, what is the output impedance of a surfybear?

hmazzoli wrote:

Hello, what is the output impedance of a surfybear?

Hi hmazzoli

The output impedance of both SurfyBear (kit+Classic) and 6g15 is in the order of 100-200kOhms. This is quite high and makes the output sensitive to the capacitance of guitar cable. So, with a long cable to the amp you tend to get a darker sound.

Thanks a lot!

Greetings!

I have a Surfy Bear reverb kit that has been functioning quite well for three or four years. However, this weekend I discovered that it is not adding reverb to my signal. I get dry guitar signal through the unit just fine, and when I shake my enclosure, I get a very satisfying splash from the spring pan. But no reverb on the guitar.

I looked at the troubleshooting page on the Surfy website. Based on the illustration there, I surmise that the problem must be on the circuit board. How to pinpoint the problem there — much less fix it — I do not know.

Can any one provide some guidance, or other things to check first before I’m forced to reluctantly scrap it?

Thanks for any help!

The Reverbivores - we're local favorites!

Just to make sure: have you checked the tiny wires of the pan that go to the coils? They sometimes just break. Easy to fix with a soldering iron.

Frank

Gilette wrote:

Just to make sure: have you checked the tiny wires of the pan that go to the coils? They sometimes just break. Easy to fix with a soldering iron.

I haven't, but since I'm getting a good solid splash when I shake the enclosure, I assume the pan is fine. I'll check those anyway. Thanks for the suggestion!

The Reverbivores - we're local favorites!

Well, you can say the recovery coil works, but the input coil can be disconnected. Once you rule that one out we can look at the circuit board.

Frank

Hi SpaceTimC
Here are a few tips that might solve the problem:
- check the MOSFET transistors. They must be isolated from the chassis (ground)
- make sure the driver output on the circuit board have continuity all the way to the input of the pan. You can use an Ohm meter. Dont forget to check the ground connection.

I checked connections in the pan - all wires are connected and in place. I noticed that the board was adhered to the enclosure with the insulation tape, but the mounting screw that runs through the center of the board is no longer in place. When I gently peeled the board away from the enclosure, I noticed that the tape above is browned, as though a heat source had affected it. The parts - I'm guessing the MOSFETs - are also browned on the edges. I haven't yet had a chance to dig out my ohm meter.

image

The Reverbivores - we're local favorites!

OK - so, I checked out continuity with my trusty multimeter. I have continuity across the guitar in/out jacks. I have continuity across the spring pan in/out jacks. From the hot wire in, only a few places show continuity; the photo shows where I get continuity on the MOSFETS. (The middle one has zero.) I don't get any continuity from power in to any other connections on the board.

image

The Reverbivores - we're local favorites!

Last edited: Jun 17, 2021 18:10:40

Hi SpaceTimC
Maybe the MOSFETs are broken.
Do they both get hot when supply voltage is applied?

Please check the dc voltage at TP3.
Use a voltmeter and measure between ground and TP3.
Voltage should be close to 6V.

bjoish wrote:

Hi SpaceTimC
Maybe the MOSFETs are broken.
Do they both get hot when supply voltage is applied?

They don't feel hot. But the browned tape on top leads me to think that they did get excessively warm at some point.

Please check the dc voltage at TP3.
Use a voltmeter and measure between ground and TP3.
Voltage should be close to 6V.

I'm getting weird fluctuating readings. I've tried two different multimeters and both swing through nonsensical numbers (11.5? 20.6?) I tested both on a fresh 9v battery and they read true.

The Reverbivores - we're local favorites!

Last edited: Jun 18, 2021 14:39:00

Yes, the MOSFETs in the middle should get hot after about 15sec.
Something is wrong there.
But still you can hear the springs splash, so the supply voltage is there and the return circuit is obviously ok.

If you send me your address, I can mail you two new MOSFETs + thermo tape.
Hopefully that will solve the problem. Smile
/Björn

Björn, when will the new vintage Accutronics pans be available? Or are they sold out already?

Frank

Last edited: Jun 23, 2021 13:58:33

Gilette wrote:

Björn, when will the new vintage Accutronics pans be available? Or are they sold out already?

Hi Frank
Sorry for my late reply.
We expect the new SurfyPan to be available in mid/end of July.
There has been a lot of delays with the deliveries from Korea.
/Björn

I'm trying to convince myself to get a Surfybear unit (despite still having the original DIY kit in a cupboard somewhere), so after all the time people have had to try out the various iterations of it, are there any real tonal differences between the Compact, Metal and Standard units? Uh-Oh

I had a Compact and Metal and returned both. I just couldn't get along with them. To me the reverb character is darker than a Fender Reverb Unit (vintage or reissue, I've had both). The Metal's reverb was more echo'y/cavernous sounding (most likely due to the MOD pan which I never cared for either) and the Compact while versatile within a band context wasn't leaps and bounds better then say an Oceans 11/Topanga/FRV1/True Spring. Sure sound wise the Compact is more 3D sounding and bouncy but at $100-$200 more then a pedal, I'm not sure on that value.

This was for me and my playing style/tone, I just like the Fender tonal characteristics much better and that's the benchmark for me. I know lot's of people get along with the Surfybear, but it just didn't have the presence/air/drip tonality like the original/vintage or reissue Fenders. Also for better or worse don't underestimate the 6G15's tube preamp while reducing input gain it's what makes everything work the way it does.

Last edited: Jul 06, 2021 09:52:24

Interesting, thanks for the honest and balanced insight.

I actually had a Fender reissue tank for a short while and was surprised by how well the Topanga compared to it. Obviously there was no drip, but using it at 12v and without playing aggressively I honestly couldn't tell the difference. I also loved the Spring on the Oceans 11 but just could quite gel with it for reasons I forget.

I've also tried the Carl Martin Headroom, which was nice, but only a touch sweeter than the onboard reverb of my Fender Blues Jr III, so couldn't really justify it, and if I was going to back to an actual spring unit I'd rather go for something that can get bigger, surfy tones.

Even though you say the Surfy Compact wasn't "leaps and bounds" better, I'm tempted since you say it really is more "3D sounding" than those (very good) digital pedals, as I'd not be using it in a typical band setup.

What do you think of the difference between the Compact and Metal? I'm assuming the Compact will sound more like the Carl Martin Headroom, or does it get that bigger, surfy sound just as well as the Metal/original Surfybear?

Still so conflicted after all these years! Argh

Last edited: Jul 06, 2021 10:40:18

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