Tube Screamer Dungeon- Part Five: Capacitors as Elevators

Tube Screamer Dungeon

Part Five: Capacitors as Elevators

Thanks for returning for part five of my exploration into converting the electrical schematic of Ibanez’s TS-808 Tube Screamer guitar effects pedal into a dungeon map. For those who have just joined, in Part One: Proof of Concept, I proved an electrical schematic can be redrawn into a dungeon map. Parts two, three, and four, I further refined and developed the layout; finishing with an illustrated three-dimensional view. Now in Part Five: Capacitors as Elevators, I begin the process of defining each room based on their electronic component starting with the capacitors. Each room will carry the characteristics of the original component and basic function or its function abstracted. There are a lot of components so let us get started.

TS808-Dungeon-v4On the left is the final layout for the Tube Screamer Dungeon. If you follow the electrical schematic for the TS-808 Tube Screamer presented in Part One, you can easily trace your way through to the end. It’s a dungeon map as well as an electrical schematic. I went through great pains to keep the map true to the source. When it comes to defining the components within I’m doing the same.

In Part Three, all the capacitors (C1-9) were turned into elevators. Capacitors hold and release energy to keep the voltage consistent in a circuit. At its base, elevators provide the same function. They hold and release whatever enters. Turning the capacitor into elevators fit well with my plans to elevate the layout. Had I chosen not to add levels, the capacitors might have remained as rooms. As long as I kept the capacitors’ basic function, hold and release, any type of room would work. Luckily for me, using them as elevators added depth and flavor to the layout.

Capacitors come in various shapes, sizes, colors, and materials. The TS-808 uses multilayer polyester film, ceramic disc, and aluminum electrolytic capacitors. Each has it’s own look, as should each elevator.

All but two of the multilayer polyester film capacitors used in this circuit are rectangular in shape. These capacitors are comprised of many thin layers of synthetic resin, making them hard and rigid. The surfaces for these types of elevators have a shiny fibrous texture much like polyester fabric. The walls and doors don’t damage easily and any damage shows the various layers of the fibrous material.

The descriptions of each component derive from an image of the circuitry I found online since I don’t own an original TS-808 (original TS-808 pedals are very expensive). The polyester film capacitors are dark green (C1-3, C7), reddish-orange (C8), and orange (C5-6). The doors and interior of the elevators will reflect these colors in some fashion as well as their shape. Note that C5 and C6 are smaller than the others in this group and feature a more circular shape rather than a rectangular shape.

That leaves us with capacitor elevators C4 and C9 to define. C4’s capacitor material is ceramic and in the shape of a circular disc that is tan in color. C4’s elevator will feature glossy tan ceramic walls that are easily damaged when struck. I’m not a fan of using tan, but I’m going to use it to my advantage by making it the center of an encounter.

C9 is an aluminum electrolytic in the shape of a royal blue cylinder. It features a pure aluminum foil etched surface on the anode electrode (+) and a rough oxide layer on the cathode electrode (-). The C9’s elevator’s interior will feature a high sheen royal blue anodized aluminum walls. In aluminum electrolytic capacitors, the polarity (+ & -) must be placed correctly based on the circuit. The pure aluminum foil etched surface, anode electrode (+), is the elevators door on the fifth floor, while the cathode electrode (-) is on the sixth. The exterior of aluminum electrolytic usually features writing or a color strip designating the polarity of the connection leads. The fifth-floor door will have a positive etching, while the sixth will have a negative etching. The etching’s subject matter will provide me with a canvas to add more flavor, like musical notes or song lyrics from artists who have incorporated the TS-808 into their music.

We’ve covered shapes, materials, and colors. Now it’s time to look at the sizes. Capacitors sizes or capacitance, the amount of energy held until released, is measured in farads. The capacitors in the Tube Screamer Dungeon range from 10ųF (microfarad) to 51pF (picofarad). C9 has the largest capacity with 10ųF which would fit an entire party of adventurers and some, while C4 has the smallest at 51pF and would only fit one or two characters at a time. As long as I keep the sizes relative to each other I’ll be able to remain true to each capacitor size.

This completes the capacitors. The next part, Part Six: Diodes and Transistors will prove more challenging for me. I hope you return to see my progress as I continue building the Tube Screamer Dungeon.

~Stephen Pennisi

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Follow my journey with the links below:
Part One: Proof of Concept
Part Two: Design and Refine
Part Three: Moving On Up
Part Four: An Isometric Point of View
Part Six: Diodes and Resistors
Part Seven: Transistors & Opamp

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