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.

Chris

New Product! Binding Post Adapters for 3/4″ binding posts.

The Problem:

You want to replace the binding posts in your amplifier, but the holes in the chassis are too large for most binding posts on the market, which are designed to fit chassis cut-outs of 10mm or 11.5mm in diameter.

The Solution:

Hoppe’s Brain Binding Post Adapter Plates.

Two fiberglass plates sandwich the sheet metal, and the binding posts fit into the plates, which are firmly attached with four M3 screws and locknuts. Simple, secure, and easy to install and service.

Get them here:

New product! Cable assemblies for GFA-585.

The board header connectors and cables inside GFA-585’s are often corroded, from leaked capacitor spittle and time. These types of “JST connectors” are meant to be machine-crimped, but they can be soldered manually, but that’s a real pain.

So I am offering a complete set of new cables and board headers for $40. They’ll be up in the store soon!

Cables for GFA-565 and GFA-555 MKII continue to be available.

Finally! I’ve written better documentation for the GFA-535 MK1 Power supply boards.

After much procrastination, here is is! Thorough, complete installation documentation with lots of pictures.

I’ll get to the GFA-535 MK2 and GFA-545 documentation soon, but it’s pretty much the same, so if you’re installing one of those model boards, this is for you too.

New and improved power supply kits for the GFA-555!

Hi everyone, I’m really proud of this new power supply for the GFA-555! It’s been months in the works.

Hoppe’s Brain BFA-555 Smart Soft-Start

This is a whole new take on the soft-start power supply for the GFA-555 MKI and MKII. This version features:

  • An intelligent soft-start circuit that monitors a number of electrical conditions before starting the amp.
  • Easier to install than the old version
  • Remote trigger power
  • Better heatsinking of the bridge rectifiers
  • Additional bypass capacitor options
  • For the GFA-555 MKII, an option to replace back-panel fuse holders with on-board fuse holders, eliminating many inches of 16ga wire.
Hoppe’s Brain BFA-555 Smart Soft-Start

Continue reading New and improved power supply kits for the GFA-555!

New Product: “Capacitor Hats” for large screw-terminal electrolytic capacitors.

Another new product for amp builders!

These “Capacitor Hats” provide a neat way to make connections to the tops of large, screw-terminal electrolytic capacitors, while also providing a stable platform to mount components like bypass capacitors and drain resistors.

Component pads cover most of the surface, allowing a wide variety of components to be mounted. Wire pads along the edges connect multiple wires up to 12ga. Double-sided PCB with double-thick 2oz copper. Reversible.

Shown in the example above is a 50mm diameter capacitor, with a Capacitor Hat equipped with a 47µF electrolytic capacitor, a 0.1µF polypropylene bypass capacitor, a 4.7KΩ drain resistor, an LED resistor, and LED power wire.

*Components shown are not included. Bare circuit boards only. Sold as sets of four for $25.

Get them here. Capacitor Hats for Large Aluminum Electrolytic Capacitors.