Carvin DC400A Wiring Advice

Carvin DC400A Wiring Advice

Postby Cmnaround » Thu Jul 11, 2013 9:36 am

Hey guys, so I am finally going to rip out the guts of my Carvin DC400A and rewire to get away from the circuit board and other weird Carvin electronics that are jammed in there. I wanted to see if there was any collective wisdom and recommendations for where to get the best parts (pots and switches) and any other advice on adding a unity gain buffer or OBEL.

There are 2 double coils, no middle pick up. I am not considering routing and adding a middle pick up at this time - although I know its critical for Jerry sound I'm down with sticking with 2 coils split double humbuckers. I already replaced the bridge stock Carvin with a Dimarzio Super Distortion and that seems to be fine, but I really need to get rid of all the other guts because the whole active electronics that are in there just do not function.

I will get a second Dimarzio Super Distortion for the neck position - unless anyone has other good suggestions.

Where is the best place to get good pots and switches - and should I go with a 250K or 500K volume pot? Also not sure about linear or faded taper. Any brand recommendations?

I do have a 9 volt battery compartment in the back, so I could add a Unity gain buffer and OBEL although I'm hesitant to add an OBEL because of the need to drill additional jacks - but what about a blaster? I think I read wolf had one, and I have seen where you could easily put one into a strat in the back of the input jack - but what about a blaster in a Carvin?

Currently I have a master volume, master tone, and two additional tone pots for the active electronics. With 4 pots available, would anyone recommend individual volume and tone for each pick up, or a single master vloume and tone and just leave the other two pots not wired? I also have small toggles for single/double coil and phase switching which I would like to keep. Any info would be much appreciated.

Thanks!
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Re: Carvin DC400A Wiring Advice

Postby TI4-1009 » Thu Jul 11, 2013 10:34 am

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Re: Carvin DC400A Wiring Advice

Postby Cmnaround » Thu Jul 11, 2013 11:19 am

Nice - Thanks!
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Re: Carvin DC400A Wiring Advice

Postby Cmnaround » Sat Aug 10, 2013 6:45 pm

Finding out that Carvins are just a little bit different.

I ordered all new high quality CTS 500K audio taper pots, new switches, orange drop 0.22 capacitors and another super distortion pick up. Was totally set to go - then to my surprise when I went to drop in the new CTS pots they didn't fit. Turns out that all of the pots I can find online all have 3/8" bushing posts while the Carvin pots are 6mm or closer to 1/4". The normal size pots that are about the size of a quarter in diameter also seem to be just to big to fit in the compartment with the wiring, so mini pots may be the way to go - but I may still have to drill.

Question: Are CTS pots, or Bourne mini-pots any better than the Carvin mini pots available at their site - and would it be worth it to drill and go with the replacement pots or better to just get new 6mm 500K pots from Carvin that I know will fit?
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Re: Carvin DC400A Wiring Advice

Postby Mr.Burns » Mon Aug 12, 2013 6:00 am

I have a Carvin Bolt, and my experience with the same issue taught me that going with mini pots or Carvin's junk could make your tone suffer. It's worth the trouble of making mil-spec components fit, for the assurance that they will (probably) never fail. Just carefully ream the holes out by hand to prevent doing any damage to the guitar.

Should we assume you're using 4 pots? Seems strange they won't fit. Is the problem that the holes are too close to the edge of the cavity? If that's the case, I'd use a rotary tool with a sanding drum to remove a little wood adjacent to the pot until the CTS stuff fits. I had to do a bit of this even on the Bolt, the narrow end of the cavity was just a little too narrow. If possible, relocate the lower holes(the two closest to the edge of the body) nearer to the upper holes when you re-size them, thereby moving the center of the hole away from the edge of the guitar body, where the thinner wood might otherwise prevent making extra room. Just a suggestion.
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Re: Carvin DC400A Wiring Advice

Postby mgbills » Mon Aug 12, 2013 10:18 am

2 things...
Forstner bits work great for removing material. If it's just the pot diameter, you may find a router or pneumatic die grinder can remove just enough material to make the pot fit.

Secondly...be aware that mil-spec pots are harder to rotate than conventional pots. My guess is they will loosen a bit over their lifespan, but initially they take a pretty firm twist.

I rebuilt Pete B.'s Strat with mil-spec and it didn't suit him. In Pete's defense, he is a guy who can change all his pots, flip all his switches, set a volume pedal + 3 additional stop boxes without missing a note.

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