Part 1 - Kit contents


Your Amp Maker amplifier kit contains all of the electronics and hardware parts needed to make a great-sounding valve amplifier. Before jumping in, clear a space on your workbench and unpack all of the components.


Your kit's contents

Start by checking the kit package you received against the Kit contents print-out supplied with your kit. If this is your first electronics build, familiarise yourself with the component values as you check each item off. In some cases, you just read a value from the body of component (most capacitors, for example). However, most resistors are too small to have printed values, and instead colour-coded bands on the resistor indicate the resistance value. You can decipher the code using this colour-code table.




Component polarity

Note: Some of the components have a polarity, meaning that the component needs to be a inserted in one particular direction for the circuit to work. For example, if you look closely at the larger capacitors, you'll see a small '-' (minus) mark close to (or pointing at) one of the capacitor's two leads. This marks the lead attached to the capacitor's negative terminal. In almost all valve-based amplifiers - including the PP-18 - it's the negative terminal that 'points' towards ground.
      The diodes also have a polarity, indicated by a silver band around one end of the diode's black body. Where the diodes are used to rectify AC voltage into a positive DC voltage - as in the PP-18 - the silver band 'points' away from ground. Don't worry if you're not clear - the turret board wiring photos on the next few pages show exactly which way round these components go in the amp.
      Go through the components in the list and tick them off. Get in touch with Amp Maker if there's any discrepancy or confusion.




Capacitor voltage ratings
All components have a voltage rating - a maximum voltage that the component can withstand before it breaks down. The resistors supplied in your kit are rated well over the maximum voltage present inside the PP-18. It's a different story for the capacitors, however. Here, they are rated according to their place in the circuit and the voltages present at that position.

      For example, the largest capacitors will be faced with the highest voltages in the amp - about 350V. So they must be rated at a higher voltage - 400V is fine. The parts supplied with your PP-18 are rated at 450V - plenty. Some other capacitors may also be rated beyond the PP-18's 350V - for example, the capacitors that pass the amplified guitar signal from one stage of the amp to the next are usually rated at 400V, 500V or even 630V.

      Look closely at some of the smaller capacitors and you'll see that they are rated at much lower voltages - perhaps 50V or 63V. This is perfectly normal - these capacitors are positioned on the cathode of the valves, and they never see the amp's full voltage. Typically, they see a few volts - rarely more than 20V - and well within their ratings.

  PP-18 construction guide
  1 - Kit contents
  2 - Block diagram
  3 - Reading your schematic
  4 - Turret board layout
  5 - Turret board wiring
  6 - Chassis preparation
  7 - Chassis wiring guide I
  8 - Chassis wiring guide II
  9 - Chassis wiring guide III
  10 - Initial testing
  11 - Final test

  PP-18 kit purchase page

  PP-18 construction guide
  1 - Kit contents
  2 - Block diagram
  3 - Reading your schematic
  4 - Turret board layout
  5 - Turret board wiring
  6 - Chassis preparation
  7 - Chassis wiring guide I
  8 - Chassis wiring guide II
  9 - Chassis wiring guide III
  10 - Initial testing
  11 - Final test

  PP-18 kit purchase page