February 10, 2018

Smoky aka L'il Toaster

This idea has been kicking around ever since the day I retired. December 31, 2012 was my final day and I was boxing up my personal stuff at the radar site. Along with the usual stuff was an old toaster oven that had belonged to my wife when I met her. In fact, it was her only household appliance. We used it daily in our house from the mid '70s until the mid '90s. Then the thermostat and door solenoid quit working. It would still make toast but you had to keep an eye on it because it would not shut off or open the door. So Carol upgraded and rather than trash this one, I took it to work. We used it regularly until I retired.

Over the years we would occasionally get side tracked or just forget that the toaster was cooking. One guy was particularly forgetful. We made a lot of charcoal. And several times we set off the fire alarm so we would have to get busy clearing the smoke enough to silence the siren. Meanwhile, the alarm was also monitored by Houston ARTCC. Thinking there may not be anyone in the building, they would notify the local fire department who would respond. Then we had to do some fast talking to get out of trouble! So, the little toaster became known as "Smoky".

Just thought I'd share that little story. Anyhow, back to the project. As I was putting Smoky in my truck on my last day at work, it just felt like a little SE amp. I knew it would never be used to set off fire alarms again so I started thinking about how to stuff an amp into the toaster. Not long after, I forgot about it... Until this past summer when I ran across it while clearing junk. I put it on the bench and started gutting it. It's amazing how complicated these little things are! And there is definitely a correct way to assemble/disassemble the unit! It took a few days to get it gutted enough to put a tiny amp chassis in it and still leave the door latch operational. But I finally did it. Then I set it aside waiting for cooler weather.

In January I picked up a cheap R2R electronics chassis (possibly Roberts?) And started experimenting to see if the iron would actually fit in the toaster. It did! So, with a lot of help from Hoffman's forum I finally decided on which simple amp circuit to build. Jojokeo's Tiny Giant was a good match for this project, so I adapted his circuit for a 6AQ5 output tube and started rolling...

This was the $12.50 donor from eBay. All I really used from this was the PT, OT, fuse holder, and hum pot.




Now for some fun...

By far, the biggest challenge has been removing the complicated guts of the toaster oven while leaving the door latch mechanism fully functional. Everything has been stripped out of the toaster. Now to figure out how to put the amp in it!


Once I had zeroed in on which circuit to use the chassis work was easy. I knew I wanted the tubes in front and iron in back so the layout was pretty much decided on that criteria. Then it just became a process of point to point "connect the dots".


The wiring actually turned out a lot neater than I expected. I'm glad I decided to use a two tube circuit. I even got Jojokeo's gain control worked in but you have to pop the hood for access. A circuit this simple really doesn't need a board or a layout diagram. I actually drew the layout after the chassis was wired! Haha.


 The control panel looks simple enough from this angle. Getting everything sandwiched around the door latch mechanism was a lot of fun!. Not as much room under that control panel as you might think!


Smoky is alive again! The amp is plenty loud through my 2x12 Sunn cab for my shop, but no way could it compete in a band. There is a lot of crunch and overdrive on tap, especially with the gain control and the tone lift switch. The cleans are nothing to brag about. Overall, I'm pleased with the circuit. But the real story is about the toaster oven.


Gotta pop the hood to get to the gain control. Watch out for that hot 6AQ5!


This really is my final amp. It's been a fun project. Live long Smoky!

I'm done!

Thanks for all the ideas I got from Hoffman's forum for this progect. Here's the schematic and point to point layout... smoky.pdf (177KB)

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