What's going on with the Spud Kit?
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I’m stocked up again with a run of 10 kits. I’ve done a few things to add a bit of cost, take out a bit of fuss when building, improve the performance, and pave the way for the future. First, I’ve completed the design, testing and implementation of the new power supply board. As I’ve mentioned previously, the power supply wiring on the terminal strips was sometimes a point of frustration for kit builders. After all, this is the heart of the Spud, and you want it to be right. To improve things, I’ve transitioned into a high quality PCB and very high precision / high quality parts. Can you say Nichicon, Dale, Vishay? Next, I’ve transitioned over to an Edcor power transformer. The Edcor is beefier with much higher reserve current, easier to wire due to fewer unnecessary voltage taps, prettier with the striking blue powder coated end bells and of course, made in the USA. As you may know, my output transformers are a custom designed Edcor product that I commissioned Edcor to design specifically for my amplifier. I’ve been using them for many years with excellent results, and it only made sense to bring their power transformer to the platform. To accommodate the updated power transformer, I am drilling a few extra holes in the chassis for mounting. The Edcor is bigger than the Hammond it replaces, so you won’t see anything unsightly once it’s mounted. The next run of chassis will consider the new Edcor footprint, so I won’t have to do this manually prior to shipping. Here’s the catch, I’ve managed to do all of this without increasing the price to kit builders. Cost of materials went up, additional labor went in (design, testing, rewriting instructions, etc.), and the price stayed the same…You may ask, “How’d he do that?” To be honest, I’m absorbing the cost. This kit is for music lovers who appreciate what can be done on a budget and with a little of their own labor. For now, the kit will continue to cater to that crowd. It’s a crowd who ends up alone in a room smiling to themselves while listening to well-recorded music for a few reasons. They have a beast of a flea-watt amp that is quieter and cleaner than anything they have ever heard, and they know what they paid for it!
The last of my current production run of kits shipped out today. I have one pre-built amplifier that I am currently assembling. It features the new power supply and the Edcor power transformer. I anticipate that I’ll be re-stocked and shipping kits again near the end of May. If you would like to pre-order, let me know, and you’ll have one of the first to ship out.
The power supply wiring in the Spud has always been a little tough for new builders. It’s cramped, and the voltages involved make things a bit tense. Within the next month or so (pending delivery), the Spud power supply will be built on a high quality PCB with precision parts including Nichicon caps and Vishay resistors. This update should make things a lot easier to build, more repeatable, less error prone and overall higher quality. I’m looking forward to updating the build instructions to include this exciting update.
January, 2020 brings a refreshed look to the Spud Kit site. With a wide screen format, easier navigation and the ability to expand into some related content, I hope visitors enjoy the new Spud experience!
I just redrilled a chassis to fit an Edcor power transformer, and I’m very happy with the results. Beefier power supply with more available current, less complex wiring, and less unused wires to clutter things up. If I begin the transition now, I’ll have to manually drill the chassis to fit the Edcor power transformers. Or…I could wait until the end of the run of the chassis I currently have on hand.
We’re all stocked up with Spud Kits, and I’m building a finished amp in black to add to the “ready to go” stable. Go ahead and order. The only delay I can see is a day or two for a power transformer since I buy those “on the fly”.
Near the end of 2018 there was a fairly robust run on Spud Kits leaving me with one kit available for immediate shipment and one pre-built kit in white. After that, there will be a short delay while I restock components. My custom built output transformers are the longest lead time, and I expect those to arrive in the 3rd week of June. Orders can still be placed, but expect closer to a few weeks shipping time (depending on when you order) versus the few days of turnaround I am typically able to meet.
Well, with one fully built amp shipping to Italy this week, and a kit on its way to California, I have only 3 kits 2 kits remaining for 2018. I do get busy with Thanksgiving and Christmas preparations, but I think I could probably fit in one more custom build before Christmas if somebody didn’t want to build a kit. Otherwise, I have 3 kits ready to ship. Chassis colors: Blue, Black, Silver, Hammertone Dark Grey and Raw Aluminum Also, I have one fully built amplifier with a White chassis ready for shipment as well.
My pending order of our custom wound output tranformers are expected to arrive in October. If you’re on the fence about purchasing, you may want to move soon. I’ll have 5 kits or customer builds available through the end of the year and will resume in 2019. Chassis colors available include silver, black, metallic dark grey hammertone and raw aluminum.
Yes, the Spud Kit is available, and yes, I am still building them and shipping as a finished amplifier for those who aren’t inclined to build their own. I have chassis colors available in powder coated black, blue and silver. I also have raw / unfinished aluminum available if you’d like to apply your own color. Recently, I went to Las Vegas for an Air Force reunion with some of my best buddies from my days in the military back in the ’80’s. It was a great trip, and I finally got to listen to a system one of my friends built around his Spud. He’s using Zu Audio speakers and a Pro-Ject turntable. He has a perfect room for a high performing minimalist system, and it sounded great!