Digitech XP100 to XP300 Mod

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn the 1990s, Digitech created a series of effects called the XP series.

It was made up of the:

  • XP-100 Whammy/Wah
  • XP-200 Modulator
  • XP-300 Space Station
  • XP-400 Reverberator

I picked up an XP-100 back in the day when I was right into Rage Against the Machine (still am…) for the Whammy octave up effect. Very cool. The XP-300 is also apparently pretty awesome too, and is one of the more sort-after effects. Anyway, it turns out that there is not much difference at all between the pedals in the range. They all use the same enclosure (just painted different colours) and they all have the same circuit board (plus or minus a few components here and there).

This means that it is possible to turn any XP pedal into any other XP pedal – or turn one XP pedal into ALL of them! So, I though I’d have a go at modding my XP-100 to also be an XP-300 (with heaps of help from the people at diystompboxes.com)

Here is my XP-100 completely stock, before doing anything:

IMG_4241

 

The ‘software’ for the XP-100 lives on a chip on the board, so to have other XPs living there too, I needed to install a socket for an EPROM chip (circled in blue below). I bought an 27C256 EPROM and one of the nice guys from diystompboxes.com copied the software on it for me. Next, because the XP-300 is so awesome, it requires more RAM to operate, so I had to install some sockets for extra RAM (circled in red below). The RAM chips are D41464C which I found on eBay. Next I had to install a little 74HC574 (circled in green), which was a bit tricky because it was a tiny SMD IC. Lastly, I removed R38, a tiny SMD resistor (circled in orange).

IMG_4241 - Copy

 

Here it is, half way there… You can see in this pic I’ve also done the “Output Volume Mod” – it’s a nice easy mod that lets your turn down the output to match your other pedals. It’s just a dual-gang pot connected to the output jacks.

IMG_4302

 

Now it’s just a matter of installing the switch. The switch tells the XP which mode to boot up in. If it is one way, it boots up from the onboard XP-100 chip, if it is the other way, it boots up as whatever is on the EPROM – in my case, it’s an XP-300. The switch has an 100 ohm resistor in the centre pole connected to the hole directly above the “33” marking, and right next to the lower pad of where R38 used to be – this is my blue wire. One side of the switch connects to the hole just to the left of the “U8” marking (my green wire), and the other wire goes to ground (my red wire). Like so:

xp100

 

Job done!

To change modes, just disconnect the power, flick the switch, and power it up again.

So now I have the Whammy/Wah and the crazy Space Station all in one box!

 

For more info, and a way better understanding and explanation than I can give, check out this thread at diystompboxes.com and also this awesome documentation: converting-the-digitech-xp.pdf. It talks about creating an “XP-ALL” which is all the XP effects in one… that might be my next challenge…

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Fender Mustang Mods

I little while ago I got myself a Fender Mustang, and it didn’t cost me a cent!

Well… sort of… I swapped it for my Maton Mastersound MS503, which some people thought was crazy. Even though the Mastersound was a beautiful guitar, I just wasn’t using it, and the two humbuckers wasn’t the sound for me, I’m more of a single-coil kinda guy 😉

So, I made the swap. Here she is:

Time to get to work…

Continue reading “Fender Mustang Mods”

Ibanez Soundtank Super Chorus CS5

ibanez-soundtank_ad1992_001

A 1992 ad for Ibanez Soundtank

In the 1990s Ibanez released a range of pedals called “Soundtanks” – also know as the 5 Series. There were about 20 pedals in the series, including a few good ones like the TS5 Tube Screamer or the CS5 Super Chorus, and a few more interesting ones like the SP5 Slam Punk, the CM5 Classic Metal and the CD5 Cyberdrive – it was the 90s after all…

They were designed to be ‘more affordable’ than the 9 Series. They had similar circuits, but were in plastic enclosures and had all the components on-board, making construction easier and cheaper. The TS5 Tube Screamer, for example, is pretty much a plastic TS9 with cheaper parts and can easily be modded like this guy did. Another cool thing about the Soundtank pedals is that you can pick them up pretty cheap second hand.

When I was a kid, I got a CS5 Super Chorus for my birthday, and I still have it today. It’s a very cool pedal, apparently one of the better ones in the series. The design seems to be similar to the CS9 Stereo Chorus, except it’s mono and has an extra knob for ‘delay time’.

In the spirit or experimenting, I decided to have a go at modding it.

Here’s the schematic:

ibanezcs5

 

Here is the board:

photo 4

The first thing I did was quite simple – I took out an internal trim pot (SR1) and wired in a full sized pot. You can see this with the orange, yellow and green braided wires in the photo above. That trim-pot is used to fine tune the ‘Delay Time’. Normally you’re supposed to set-and-forget it, but having it easily accessible means I can now set some pretty full-on crazy sounds by cranking it to maximum.

The other mod was to add a switch to remove the original sound from the chorus sound. This is done with the yellow and red wires. A chorus works by adding a slight delay and by slightly moving the pitch of the signal and then blending it back in with the original signal. If you remove the original signal from this equation, you end up with a wobbly, delayed, vibrato sound that can be quite crazy – especially with extreme settings. I achieved this by breaking the connection at R56 – the long straight line at the top of the schematic is the original signal, so breaking that line kills it.

I didn’t want to drill holes or damage the pedal, because I wanted to be able to return it to its original condition easily if I needed to, so I just put the extra controls in the battery compartment. Here’s how it turned out:

photo 1 photo 2

 

It’s a very nice sounding chorus, it would be great to gig with, but I don’t think it’s sturdy enough. Maybe if I can find a cheap one on eBay I can make it true-bypass and put it in a nice solid enclosure.

I looks like a company called “Daphon” is making pedals in similar enclosures these days – or maybe Daphon made the Soundtank pedals for Ibanez  all along?

Anyway, if you see any of these Soundtank pedals going cheap, it might be worth grabbing one – if not only for a bit of fun. If you see a TS5, let me know because I’d love one! 😉