Sunday, 18 February 2018

Electro-Harmonix Pitchfork

I don't know if the PitchFork exists alongside the POG series for market segmentation reasons or as a direct competitor to the Whammy pedal. Whatever the reason, EHX have another polyphonic pitch-shifter/harmonizer with a slightly different feature set, and strangely, a lower price. This one will add a harmonized voice at a selectable interval, at a higher or lower pitch or both. You also get a clean blend. There is an expression pedal control and the footswitch can be set to work in a momentary mode, which suggests Whammy style punch-ins, but it does POG style octaves as well.

The insides are very similar to the newer POG pedals, with an Analog Device Blackfin DSP (ADSP-BF592) and a AKM AK4552 24-bit/92 kHz ADC/DAC. There is also a 25L1005 serial flash with the program code - I did end up desoldering and dumping this in case I come across another and need it.

Picture taken after repair - clean.

Taken before repair - PCB appears cloudy

This one would not show any signs of life, and turned out to be shorting out my power supply. The reverse polarity diode (D2) on the back of the DC jack measured as a short circuit, so I removed it and the pedal worked! For about 10 or 15 minutes. Something else between 9V and ground was shorting.

11-detent "Mode" pot showing some stains
After a little while spent probing around and occasionally getting a short burst of life followed by nothing, I noticed that one pot had some corrosion on the back sides. I desoldered it and wire-brushed it until it was clean but couldn't figure out how this would be the cause of the problem. The corrosion was probably from some liquid spilled into the pedal.

I could see some kind of dirt at the power jack, so I removed it and things were then pretty obvious, some liquid had been trapped between the jack and PCB and had corroded the board, causing intermittent shorts.

Original DC jack

..and underneath the jack
Some scrubbing with PCB cleaner and a new DC jack later and it is rock-solid. The rest of the board was cleaned as well, what looked like cloudy flux residue was probably stains from dried liquid.

This is a pretty clear case, something was spilled and the pedal was never taken apart and cleaned afterwards. If it had been looked after at the time then no parts would have needed replacement. Underneath DC jacks and instrument jacks are probably the worse places for this, as they can trap liquid easily.