Introducing the EBFA-565; the Even Better F–cking Amplifier (New version Adcom GFA-565 Circuit Boards)

Big news! I have completely re-designed circuit boards for the Adcom GFA-565. Based on customer feedback, I’ve made many improvements. These new boards are easier to install, harder to screw up, and they even perform a little better!

Buy them here. Hoppe’s Brain EBFA-565.

Continue reading Introducing the EBFA-565; the Even Better F–cking Amplifier (New version Adcom GFA-565 Circuit Boards)

Heatsink FAIL delays release of my new power supply for the GFA-565. :^/

So I’ve been sitting on this new design for a GFA-565 power supply for two years, because I haven’t found the time to test and validate the design before I start offering them for sale. I needed to install it in an actual amplifier and test its performance. Recently I found the time to build myself a GFA-565!

One of the key features of this new power supply, is the relocation of the bridge rectifier to the tops of the capacitors, which eliminates about 20 inches of 14ga hookup wire that normally runs from the bridge rectifier mounted on the floor on the left side of the amp, to the capacitors on the right side. In my design, the bridge rectifier is made up of four discrete diodes in TO-220 packages, mounted to a circuit board on top of the capacitors.

My design goal is that the heat dissipation for the bridge rectifier needs at least as good as—or better than—the OEM arrangement, with the bridge rectifier mounted to a heatsink on the floor of the chassis.

As I’m about to find out, this heatsink arrangement isn’t enough.

Continue reading Heatsink FAIL delays release of my new power supply for the GFA-565. :^/

Another tour of a Hoppe’s Brain Adcom GFA-555 restoration (5 years later with better technology.)

It been nearly 5 years(!) since I posted my original ‘Tour of a Hoppe’s Brain GFA-555 Restoration”

A lot has changed since then. That restoration didn’t benefit from a new Hoppe’s Brain BFA-555 input board, or a binding post kit, and it uses an earlier version of my soft-start for the GFA-555. (Which is still a good power supply, but my new Smart Soft-Start BFA-555 power supply is better.)

So I’ve started taking on new refurb customers, at a much slower pace, and for a lot more money. 😸 I realized, like many small business owners, I have been under-charging for my work. The following is what you get when you drop some coin with me.

Continue reading Another tour of a Hoppe’s Brain Adcom GFA-555 restoration (5 years later with better technology.)

Cool new product! ‘Add-A-Buffer’ adapter boards (Your op-amp + TI BUF634A in a DIP-8 socket)

This board fits any single SO08 op-amp and a TI BUF634A buffer IC into a single DIP-8 socket!

Useful wherever increased current drive and immunity to capacitive load is desired. (Headphone amplifiers, line drivers, active filters, equalizers, etc.)

Buy them here.

The TI BUF634A adds a fast and powerful output stage to any op-amp. It is inserted into the feedback loop, essentially becoming a part of the op-amp itself.

Here’s one installed in a phono preamp I built for a friend. This particular design benefited greatly from the BUF634A, as the output drives a 464 ohm load on its feedback loop, which is a heavy load for most op-amps, but a breeze for the BUF634A.

New policy at Hoppe’s Brain: I’m going to start actually billing for my time. :)

Real talk y’all. Hoppe’s Brain has been in business since 2016, yet I am constantly BROKE. I barely have enough money to keep parts in stock, and my partner has been paying more than their fair share of household expenses. I feel guilty when I spend money on fun things. I haven’t had a real vacation in 8 years. 🙁 It cannot go on like this. I am stressed out, working my ass off, and yet constantly struggling financially.

So what’s the problem? Profit margins on my products are good, and I’m working about 50-60 hours per week! It’s not because I’m not working hard!

I’ve realized it’s because I’m not getting paid for my time, doing tech support for customers, and teaching people electronics in the course of doing so.

I spend hours every day, answering tech support emails and taking phone calls, helping people troubleshoot their amplifiers for free. I really love helping people fix their stuff. It’s why I’m in business. But I can’t do it for free anymore.

Electronics is hard, amplifiers are complex, and there is so much that can go wrong with them. It takes years of training and practice to get proficient at fixing amplifiers. Most of my customers are hobbyists with real jobs, so they cannot be expected to be expert electronics technicians, and that’s great! It’s a fun hobby! But when people get stuck on their repairs, or the magic smoke escapes from their amplifier, and they’ve already spent lots of money with me already, I feel obligated to help them get it up and running. I really want them to succeed! Sometimes I worry that the customer’s problem might actually be something that’s my fault, or that maybe the board is bad, or maybe I got a bad part from a supplier… etc etc etc…

But you know what? It doesn’t even matter if it’s my fault, I still need to bill for my time. My products are superb, and I work super hard to make sure they are as flawless as humanly possible. But I am human, and I do make mistakes, and that risk is part of the price of doing business with me.

New policy: My products come with 30 minutes free tech support, and that includes writing emails, phone calls, and researching your issue. Time beyond 30 minutes is billed at $75/hr. If you anticipate needing help getting your amp running, I am happy to do that, but please consider my time as part of the price.

Thanks for reading, and for all the support I get, it’s much appreciated.