Hi all,

  I came across a YouTube vid by a guy who made his own pick up by scavenging a coil out of a 12 volt wall-wart transformer, so I thought I'd try it out, and it works great! I thought I share a quick how to here (sorry, no photos right now since it's all finished and mounted in my axe!).

Basically, you crack the plastic housing of the wall wart and pull the transformer out. Then you have pry out all the metal slats that encompass the primary and secondary winding coils (the "iron" of the transformer). Once you get the coils free, you have to separate them. They are usually wound on two halves of a joined plastic spool. I *carefully* cut these apart using a swiss army knife. Don't ruin the spool! You want to keep the wires wound on it! You will want to use the secondary windings (it will have thinner wire and more wounds). Once you have them apart, trim up and excess plastic tabs and such and trim the cut ends of the spool flat (you want it to fit snugly in the smallest hole you cut out of your cbg's neck). Now, you have to remove the tape that covers the windings and find the two ends of the wire. It's thin stuff and breaks easily, so be careful! Solder on a lead to either end, and secure it all back by wrapping the whole coil in electrical tape. Check that there is an electrical connection through the coil with your multimeter! Now is the time to find if you have a short, not later! Then, I sealed off one end of the hole in the middle of the spool by taping a thin but wide washer to one side of the spool. The use of a steel washer lets you stick the magnets to it. As for the magnets, I used 4 really strong little .5cm diameter by 1cm length cylinder-shaped Neodymium magnets. Make sure that the polarity of all four match! Then I wrapped the whole shebang up in a couple layers of duct tape. I wired it up so that it is in parallel with a piezo pickup I already had, and each gets mixed to the output jack through it's own independent pot. I can dial the piezo to 0, and only hear the coil, or vice versa, or I can turn them both all the way up. Adding the piezo in adds brightness, and the coil is much darker.

Anyway, it has plenty strong output. It drives my Valve Jr. really well, as well as my Vintager. Sounds great through my solid state amps as well. I've also used with my Rp155 effects processor with great results! It was fairly easy, and turned out very well. You can do it!

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I remember seeing these power supplies at a resale store (Goodwill Store in the USA) priced about $ 0.50.
Can you provide links to the youtube video?
I'd like to see that too. I had a link on the Instructables website showing how to adapt a variety of pre-wound electronic bits to make pickups.
I'll see if I can find it.
I seen that too, but I dont recall them having any good results from what there were able to make They had the "Good, Better, Best" options though

Mark Werner said:
I'd like to see that too. I had a link on the Instructables website showing how to adapt a variety of pre-wound electronic bits to make pickups.
I'll see if I can find it.
I knew that you guys wouldn't let me get away with just text!!!! :)

So I made a YouTube video of it this morning, and I'll embed it here:


The video I first saw was by a guy calling himself "jerryrig240". I'll embed his video below.

Totally cool! Thanks for the info and vid.
Good info. Just curious though If you had the option to fill the interior of the coil with a ferrous metal that could be magnetized would that works as well as a ready made magnet? Reason I ask is cause Im a metal worker and have the ability to cut any ferrous metal to perfectly fill the inside and magnetize it with the Mag Partical Test equipment at work
Tracy Kennedy said:
Good info. Just curious though If you had the option to fill the interior of the coil with a ferrous metal that could be magnetized would that works as well as a ready made magnet? Reason I ask is cause Im a metal worker and have the ability to cut any ferrous metal to perfectly fill the inside and magnetize it with the Mag Partical Test equipment at work

I imagine that that would work quite well! There just has to be some magnetized material in the center of the coil for it to work. I tried a few types of magnets, and I found that the neodymium ones (which were the strongest ones I tried) worked the best.
Well I would imagine some ferrous metal magnetize better than others, I reckon Ill have to experiment to see.
Is there any reason you couldnt use the primary windings with the thicker wire as a pup? I assume since it has thicker wire, hence fewer turns that the finished pup wouldnt be near as loud or hot as the secondary coil winding would be. But could the primary winding work? What Im thinking is you could use the secondary for the hotter of the two and the primary together and switch between the two or mix em together.

The video I first saw was by a guy calling himself "jerryrig240".


Hes a member http://www.cigarboxnation.com/profile/Sam
Tracy Kennedy said:
Is there any reason you couldnt use the primary windings with the thicker wire as a pup? I assume since it has thicker wire, hence fewer turns that the finished pup wouldnt be near as loud or hot as the secondary coil winding would be. But could the primary winding work? What Im thinking is you could use the secondary for the hotter of the two and the primary together and switch between the two or mix em together.

I didn't even try to use the primary windings, so I don't know that they will be weak from direct experience. But I do know how many winds are in each side of a 12v transformer, and also how many windings are in a noremal magnetic coil pickup. The primary side does not have enough. I suppose you could connect them, but then the coil would be really big and bulky! If you experiment with this, I's like to hear about your results!

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