Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Chiquita Amp


You may think the name of this amp came about because of its size, but in fact it was simply because of what was printed on the wood used to make the box. You see, it was made with the thin wood from a Chiquita banana crate. Incidentally, this amp has no connection whatsoever to the wonderful Erlewine (and later Hondo) Chiquita travel guitar, as featured on Back to the Future, or the little amplifier that was sometimes included with it. In fact I didn't even know about that model name until years after I made this. Apologies for any confusion.


After finishing the DIY Strat, I decided I needed a little amp. I had next to no money to actually buy one, so I thought I might as well just make one. After a bit of research online, I settled on a simple audio amp using a TDA2030A. Let me just state right now that this was back in 2000, so the amount of information available online at the time was much more limited. I’m sure there are plenty of really good circuits available for fantastic mini guitar amplifiers these days.

Anyway, at the time I wanted to build something that was VERY portable and could run off a power adapter for a stomp box. This fitted the bill.

The circuit was just copied straight from one of the specifications documents for the TDA2030A, which are available on many sites such as the following: http://www.datasheetarchive.com/pdf-datasheets/Datasheets-8/DSA-140842.pdf
There are several circuits suggested there, and I can't find the exact schematic on any of the sheets right now, so I've redrawn the one I did below (click on the image for a larger version):



As you can see from the finished veroboard circuit, it is a very simple design. The TDA2030A is at a distance from the board as I wanted to bolt it onto a small heat sink to help dissipate some of the heat. As I said, it can run off 9 volts, but the good thing about the TDA2030A is that you can easily bump the input voltage up to something like 18v and get much more power out of it.





The box was glued together, except for the back, which was bolted on. This way I could open it to fix any problems at any stage.



It’s a great little amp, considering its size.