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Forum Home > Tips, Tricks and Tutorials! - Builder's Guides for GuitarPCB Boards! > Sticky: Buying Parts - A Quick Guide.

Site Owner
Posts: 8793

OK Sometimes buying parts is not that easy!

Here is a Beginner's Guide by Billy and Edited by Wilkie.

1. I carry a few quality items on the second page of the PCB Shop - Link in the Menu Bar above!

For example "Barry's Best" - Pedal Hookup Wire is an excellent product everyone should try.

I also carry Pot Condoms, Switches, Diodes, Power Jacks and more and the shipping cannot be beat!!!

2. New to the DIY shops is Mammoth Electronics which now also carry some of my pedal projects as complete kits.

They also carry a complete line of Pedal parts and enclosures. Kits at Mammoth Electronics.

If they don't have it then there is always Mouser, Small Bear and Pedal Parts Plus among others and here are some great tips for easily tracking down stuff using filters!


Use the filters when buying if they are available.


 Rule #1. Buy Caps in lower voltages but not too low. I like 50v and 63v typically pedals run at 9v so anything above that will work but that is just me. Some pedals require more than 9v and so I usually just stock up on voltages around 50v or 63v since there is no difference in size and I do not have to woryy about burning them out.



Rule #2. Buy Caps that have a 5mm lead spacing! Look at the datasheets and make sure thay have 5mm.



Rule #3. In Resistors buy at least Metal Resistors (typically Blue) in 1/4 watt size! Not 1/2 watt. Also no more than 1% tolerance is great. Xicon is a good brand at a good price on Mouser if you buy the right quanity.

Here is an article in regards to old Carbon Comp for those interested:



Get a grab bag if you are a Noob off of eBay to gat a good start. 50 values of 100 each for $15 or something like that. They are not the best but they certainly will do well to get you started. Then go to Mouser and stock up on more common values of quality Resistors such as (Dale). 1M, 1k, 100k, 10k etc...



Now go back to ebay and buy a grab bag of assorted values of Ceramic Caps in all your pF values. Once again not the best quality but it won't matter much. Probably will be shipped from China but it won't take that long from a reputable seller.

If you do not have a particular resistor value you may certainly solder two together in series and add their values to get the value that you need and TeePee them on your circuit board!


I hope that helps!


I will add to this later.

March 26, 2010 at 9:12 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Site Owner
Posts: 8793

Now for buying Resistors at Mouser! If you read it is EASY!!!

Start with Passive components then go to resistors etc...

Right Click and Save As (PC) the image below for a much larger view on your home computer!

After you get to the page with the available resistors you wish to buy that are in stock you need to be SAVY!

If you notice the Xicon Brand which are good resistors for pedal building you may notice that if you buy a quantity of less than 10 they are .13 each. Quantity 10 or more .09 each! However a Quantity of 200 is only .02 each! Yes that is only $4 for 200 resistors and should last you a little while! This is a good idea for the more common values in pedal building!!!

You do not have to buy Xicon, there are other choices with different starting prices, it just depends on how much you are going to be building pedals. I go through 10k's, 100k's etc... like crazy and is totally worth getting 200 for $4.

When you are done purchasing your resistor of that value then just use your Browsers Back Button a few times till you get back to the first screen I have shown above and make your next value choice and repeat the process till you are done.

This same idea can be used easily for Caps as well.

Once you are at the above link be sure to use 5mm spacing as part of your search criteria for film caps.

I hope that was helpful and I will continue this when I have time.



March 28, 2010 at 12:44 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Site Owner
Posts: 8793

Very General and simplified rule......


If the cap is a "pf" value or just (p) (1pf - 820pf, usually), order Ceramic (even Silver Mica which are expensive).


If the cap is a "uf" value of .001uf to .82 uf, order Poly Film (sometimes refered to as "Greenies" or "chiclets") or Box Caps. These values are sometimes listed as "n", for example 1n = .001uf or 47n = .047uf and  220n = .22uf.


If the cap is a "uf " value of 1uf or above (usually for our purposes up to maybe 470uf) order Electrolytic or even Tantulam.


These are very general and simplified rules. Sometimes you will see stuff in build docs like ".01uf Ceramic", ".47 Tantulam" or "1uf NP (non-polarized)"., these of course, can change the rules above. 

 Additional advice per Tonmann:


There is nothing worse than ordering the wrong component or forgetting to order a component and having to wait before you can complete your build (plus the extra shipping charge !!!)

Make a list of components and their values so that you can cross each component off the list as you order it.  When ordering components on-line make a note of the web page address should you want to re-order components in the future.

Here's a quick summary of parts.

Resistors.  0.25W (1/4W) metal film 1% tolerance.  These are pretty much industry standard today,  0.5W (1/2W) resistors, usually with a 5% tolerance, will be slightly larger but are an acceptable substitute.  Avoid any resistor with the word "Carbon" in the description - these are Mojo resistors and the only thing they will add to the circuit (at least from a theory point of view) is noise.

Capacitors.  The type of capacitor is generally governed by it's value.

PicoFarad (pF) or just (p) - ceramic "disk" capacitors with a voltage rating of at least 16V.  Industry standards are either 50V or 63V - use these ones.  Lead spacing of 2.5mm (0.1")

NanoFarad (nF) or just (n)  - polyester (poly) film capacitors are generally used.  Voltage rating of no less than 16V, again, industry standards are 50V and 63V.  Using larger voltage ratings than these tend to increase the size of the capacitor and its lead spacing from 5mm (0.2") making it difficult (and unsightly) when trying to fit the capacitor to the board.

MicroFarad (µF) or just (u) - Some builds call for a 1µF non-polarized capacitor, these are box shaped film capacitors which are the same as the "nanoFarad" capacitors.  The remainder are polarized electrolytic capacitors.  Use electrlytic capacitors with a voltage rating of 16V, this will ensure that they fit on the circuit board.  The lead spacing is 2.5mm (0,1").

Components such as diodes, transistors and IC chips are standardised and there are no size problems here.

LED.  Size (3mm / 5mm) and colour are a matter of choice.  For GuitarPCB boards that use a dual colour LED, a common anode LED must be used.  The one exception is the 3PDT wiring board which uses a common cathode LED - this is supplied when ordering the board from Barry.

Pots. 16mm pots are standard for pedal builds.  Smaller diameter pots are usually more expensive. Pots are either PCB mounted or have solder lugs; PCB mounted pots are generally cheaper but are much more difficult when it comes to soldering wires.

Pot taper will be designated as A / Log, B / Lin or C / Reverse Log.  Electrically this doesn't matter (the circuit will function using any type of taper) but the "feel" of the pot will differ.

Trim Pots.  6mm diameter horizontal (flat) mounted with a lead spacing of 5mm or 5mm / 7.5mm for the centre lug.  Piher VT 6V or the ones that Barry sells are ideal.

Jacks.  1/4 inch mono jack or if you intend to use battery power, at least one stereo jack.

Toggle Switch.  The build instructions will tell you which one you need; SPST (Single Pole Single Throw), DPST (Doulbe Pole Single Throw), SPDT (Single Pole Double Throw), DPDT (Double Pole Double Throw), 3PDT (3 Pole Double Throw).

Any switch with a Double Throw will either be a 2 position switch (On-On) or a 3 position switch (On-Off-On) which means that the switch is connected in the upper and lower positions and disconnected in the middle position.

While it is preferable to have the correct switch for the circuit, there are some substitutions that can be made.

On-Off-On switch for an On-On switch (remember not to use the middle position).

DPDT On-On switch for a SPST (centre and one outer lug of one side), DPST (centre and one outer lug of both sides) or SPDT (all three lugs of one side).

Footswitch.  For bypass switching the Taiwan Blue 3PDT is standard, usually with solder lugs which can be replaced by the PCB mount version if you are using on of Barry's 3PDT Wiring Boards or one of the circuit boards that provides for the footswitch.

Momentary footswitches are 3PDT, DPDT, SPDT or SPST.  The SPST comes in two versions NO (Normally Open) and NC (Normally Closed), make sure you have the correct version.  Alternatively the SPST can be replaced by any of the other momentary footswitches by using the centre and one of the outter lugs on one side of the switch.

DC Power Jack.  2.1mm jack unless you are using a Boss 2mm or 2,5mm power supply.  Make sure you use a plastic jack and not a metal jack which will short-circuit the +ve power supply to the enclosure.  The plastic jacks come in two versions - eternal nut and internal nut.  Buy the external nut version if possible.

Sockets.  Very highly recommended to use sockets for all transistors and IC chips.  The most important reason is damaging the component with too much heat when soldering - don't get caught out by comparing industrial boards to hand-made boards as these use a different soldering method which ensures that the components are not over-heated.  The other two reasons for using sockets is when experimenting with different types of transistors or IC chips and replacing a defective part is easier when using a socket.

The three types of sockets are DIL (Dual In Line) for IC chips, SIL (Single In Line) for most transistors and TO-5 sockets for the "can" transistors such as the BC109.

Wire. Most popular wire diameter seems to be 24 gauge (0.5mm 0.02").  Whether you use stranded, solid, bonded (as in Barry's hook-up wire) or flat ribbon wire is a matter of personal choice.  I would suggest using different colour wire (black, red and three other colours) as this makes identifying the connections easier plus it looks more professional.

Knobs.  Something that a lot of people forget to order !! Design and colour is, of course, a matter of choice.

LED Bezel.  Not essential but makes the build more professional looking.  Either non metalic to ensure that the LED leads don't short-circuit against the enclosure or the two-part chrome type that has a plastic isolating ring.

Heat Shrink Tubing / Pot Condoms.  Both are not essential but tubing is good at isolating LED leads, pot lugs and DC jack lugs.  Pot condoms are a good idea if you are placing the circuit board over the pots in a tight build.

Nuts / Lockwasher.  Most pots only come with one nut, a second nut and lockwasher will keep the pot tight and flush to the enclosure, likewise a second nut for DC power jacks (external nut jacks) will keep the jack flush to the enclosure.

The above should cover everything you need for most builds, if I have forgotten a component, I'm sure another member will post.

If you are still unsure about the right component, post a web-site link to the component you intend to buy, forum members will be happy to help you.

January 20, 2011 at 11:37 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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