Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Mystery Build: Fruitful or Failure?

Apart from the Univox Unicomp, every build this year had been functional, for better or worse. Worse being the case of the Bazz Fuss rebuild. I check pedal layout sites everyday, throughout the day looking for ideas on what to build next. Even though I've already built my 100th circuit I still want to keep building. I really should stop, but in my current situation I have to find something to keep my mind occupied as much as I possibly can. Months ago a layout popped up that caught my attention, and as I do I downloaded the layout to get the stripboard cut and gather the parts. A few days later the layout was removed from the website and I was left holding the bag, or rather bags of parts.

I don't know why it was removed, it's really none of my business, but at that point I was already too invested to not go ahead with the build. For months I agonized, not from this build but with life in general. Paralleling that was a slight agony from having this build bagged up and ready, but not knowing if it would become a waste of parts or not. I can't look at a layout and say "Yep, that's viable!", or "No, that simply won't do. Move this here and that there and voila!". I consider myself the da Vinci of paint by numbers, when it comes to building circuits. I can solder the parts in place, but if the layout is wrong I can't begin to tell you why, or where. Luckily for me there is a community out there that want to verify layouts quickly, but for this particular one, that was impossible.

I recently decided it was time to stop agonizing and start solderizing. Does that work? I'll go with it anyway. Everything seemed to fight me, and I know from past experiences that if things are fighting me during a build, it's not going to turn out the way it should. There was even a brief thunderstorm during the build to kind of drive home the point that this just wasn't going to work. I persisted and finished the build. During the testing phase my assumptions were proven right. The output was very low and things didn't quite work the way they should. I looked the board over and realized I was a dope and didn't install one of the capacitors right. (Remember the da Vinci comment I made earlier?) The problem being if it works with the capacitor in wrong, fixing it wasn't going to completely cure this build's ailments.

After the capacitor situation was fixed I tested the circuit again and there was no change. With both the volume and gain maxed the output was below unity, with very little overdrive. I did my standard x-acto knife through the gaps and cleared away any unseen solder bridges, but that didn't help either. I sat there for a moment fiddling with the controls and when I moved the bass potentiometer it came roaring to life, but only briefly. Something about the bass control was messing up the output? It was then I noticed a rather large solder bridge that I somehow missed before, so I broke out the soldering iron and cleared it away. Afterwards the output was much better, and the gain control added a little more dirt. The problem now is even after clearing that solder bridge and getting more output volume, the bass potentiometer controls the gain somehow. *shrug*

The circuit functions, the pots do approximately what they're meant to do, and it gets somewhat close to what it's supposed to clone. I wouldn't call it a complete failure, because the issues I initially had were of my own doing. The bass control also controlling the gain isn't something I quite understand yet, and may never will. I'm hoping it's an easy fix, but I've been over the board a few times to make completely sure I placed everything where it should be. If it were a complete loss, like the Univox Unicomp that doesn't work at all, I would be far more frustrated. If that were the case I would have completely dismantled this build and distributed the parts to other projects that need them. Maybe at some point in the future I'll be able to explain what it is, and maybe even get some support on the build, but I won't be holding my breath. Mostly because holding your breath is a bad thing.

Saturday, June 8, 2024

The 100th Circuit Build!

A handful of years ago I first heard the name César Díaz while watching a rig rundown for Warren Haynes. César Díaz was a guitarist turned tech; his name mostly being associated with Stevie Ray Vaughan as his amp tech. After doing some research on the Díaz amps I found he also did pedals, the first of these that caught my attention was the Texas Ranger. This was César's take on the tried-and-true Dallas Rangemaster treble booster. The circuits are approximately the same, but with a switchable input capacitor that allows the player to dial in the amount of bass they want. For quite some time now I've wanted to build a Texas Ranger, the main problem was I didn't want to mess with the rotary switch. Instead I added a toggle switch to a Naga Viper clone, which wasn't a very well thought out mod, and called it the Texas Rattler, my take on César Díaz's take on the Dallas Rangemaster. Essentially it's the same idea, but the Naga Viper uses a potentiometer to blend between tone caps, while the Texas Ranger uses a rotary switch, and mine just kind of, well does whatever it does.

Recently I went through a circuit build spree and decided I finally needed to build a Texas Ranger clone. In my previous post I acknowledged my lack of ability to create a layout from a schematic, so I used a layout for a Dallas Rangemaster and just swapped the parts values over. I had my layout looked over by the DIYPedals community on reddit and once it was approved I decided it was time to get to work. I was scared of things not working out very well, so I ordered a handful of varying transistors from Tayda Electronics, just in case. I know from experience that most of them work and sound essentially the same, but sometimes you need a BC108 or a 2N2222a for the cool factor, you know? Oh yeah, I also bought an Alpha rotary switch. I'm not half-assing this build.

The build was fairly easy, except nobody, myself included, found the error in my layout until it was literally staring me in the face, but we'll get to that in a little bit. The build went together nearly perfectly, but it seemed a bit out of bias. In the end I settled on a 2N2222a as the transistor of choice and then I went to work on getting the bias correct. I initially tacked on the 4.7k resistor and tested the voltage, getting 7.7v, which was a tad too hot. I went all the way down to 2k, which gave me 6.7v which was still a bit off. I read that the suggested resistor was a 2.2k in the forum post where I found the schematic, which brought me up to 6.98v. Close enough! After giving it a listen I decided that was the resistor I would settle on. Now all I needed to do was solder it in.

And that's when the mistake became glaringly obvious. I had placed that resistor over the solder hole for the input wiring. Yep! Nobody had noticed that mistake. It happens, so I'll have to figure out what to do when I go to put this circuit in an enclosure, but otherwise it works. Well, I mean it functions. You remember the rotary switch I was so worried about? Turns out I should have been, because it's backwards. When I soldered in the capacitors I tested it on my component tester and it worked exactly as the switch should, but once it's in the circuit it's backwards. It makes no sense. I had to painstakingly desolder the lowest and biggest caps and swap them around, which fully remedied it! With the 2N2222a and the correct bias this circuit now sounds great!

I'm super glad I finally decided to build this circuit. I'm even more proud that I created the layout for it, even if it did have a huge mistake, and it's just swapped component values on a Rangemaster layout. I'm completely stoked at how good it sounds, even if the lingering doubt that it sounds anything like a real César Díaz Texas Ranger haunts my thoughts while using it. Although I have to say, my main concern was the low setting (100nf input), but after listening to a demo of both the Texas Ranger and the Texas Twang clone mine sounds really close to the youtube demo I heard. Mostly I'm glad this is my 100th circuit build. If I found a real César Díaz at a thrift store I would certainly pick it up, but I can't afford one on the used gear market. For now, such as with all of the clone pedal circuits I've built, I'll enjoy it for what it is.

Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Overindulgence: Circuit Building Madness

(Sorry, it's a long one!)

Sometimes when we go without something for an extended period of time we tend to overindulge once we have another chance. Since my last circuit build was the Plimsoul clone on April 13th, I recently went a bit overboard with circuit builds, building a total of ten. I set a new personal record by building four small circuits in one day, and within 24 hours I had built a fifth small circuit. They were a Klon style buffer, a Lovepedal Champ clone, a(nother) Naga Viper clone, a Diaz Square Face clone, and a Cornish TB-83X clone, respectively. Things didn't stop there though as the urge to solder continued to strike, so I built a Dallas Rangemaster clone, a Menatone Blue Collar clone, a concoction of an MRX Distortion Plus, DOD 250 and YJM 308 all in one, a Cornish SS-2 clone, and a Lovepedal JTM clone.

The Klon style buffer is, well a buffer. The Champ clone sounds great, although I did sub BAT46s for the required 1N60P diodes. This Naga Viper clone is my second, but this time without the stupid modification I did to my previous version. The Diaz Square Face was built with sockets, like the real thing, but mostly to test different transistors. The TB-83X is another treble booster and I was really surprised at how much I like it. The king of all treble boosters, the Dallas Rangemaster, needed the right transistor, but turned out alright. The Menatone Blue Collar is REALLY good! The MXR/DOD mixture is cool too as I opted for an input capacitor switch (MXR/250 10nf and YJM 308 1nf cap) as well as a clipping switch (no diodes/boost, 1N4148 or BAT46 clipping). The Cornish SS-2 is pretty nice too, as is the Lovepedal JTM clone.

Even though I own a real DOD YJM 308 pedal and have both an MXR Distortion Plus and DOD 250 clone, I felt mixing them together into the same circuit - or something that felt similar - was a worthwhile adventure. I've never really been happy with my MXR Distortion Plus clone as the distortion doesn't start until the gain pot is fully dimed. Since I've never touched a real MXR Distortion Plus I can't be 100% sure, but I'm pretty sure this isn't the way it should work. The only thing I can think might be wrong with it is maybe there is a solder bridge somewhere, or it's the cheap 1N270 diodes I used. They sound perfectly fine in all of my Klon clone circuits, as well as anything else I've used them in. *shrug* I also sourced a W100k for the volume pot, which is accurate to the DOD portion of the built. 

Another pedal I've already built, the Naga Viper clone, is meant to fix a poorly thought out mod I did to my first one. I wanted a Diaz Texas Ranger, but I didn't want to fiddle with the rotary switch, so I added an on/on switch to choose input caps instead. Although the pedal works, and it gives a quasi-Texas Ranger experience, it still doesn't hit the mark. My options were simple; take out the switch and put in the potentiometer to make it a Naga Viper, or leave the past as it is and build a completely new one without the mod. I chose the latter, obviously. I have to say I'm glad I did. Although my modded version has a capacitor still on the board that is useless (again, my stupid mod!), it will stay as built. This new one will become the Naga Viper clone. 

This was all followed by a bit of self reflection. Up to this point I had built a few treble boosters, but again what I really want is a Diaz Texas Ranger. Since I'm still learning I searched high and low for a Texas Ranger stripboard layout, only finding a schematic and a tagboard layout, which were useless to my tiny brain. So I decided to slap my own layout together. Truth be told, I used the same NPN Dallas Rangemaster layout I used to build my Rangemaster clone and just swapped the values to the Texas Ranger values. Building the Rangemaster clone was quick and easy, but finding the right transistor was a bit of a journey. With all these tiny builds I eventually had to work on bigger ones, such as the Menatone Blue Collar and Cornish SS-2 clones. The Blue Collar is a really nice bluesy overdrive, and I'm glad I built it. The SS-2 is a pretty nice distortion, again I'm glad I built this one too. The Lovepedal JTM was built because it's tiny, it's simple and it sounds good. Glad I built it also!

Those of you who have been following my circuit building journey might be wondering how many builds I have done, and if I've decided what my 100th circuit build will be. Well, the Lovepedal JTM was actually build number 99, and I still have six circuits to build. So what's left to build? The Diaz Texas Ranger will be build 100, which I'm extremely excited for, but also scared it won't turn out right. A EQD Zoar clone, which is a big project. A Cornish CC-1 clone, which is also kind of big. I've decided to finally pull the trigger on building a Ruby Tuby guitar amp, just because I can. A Keeler Push clone, something I hadn't heard of before, but sounds good. I also want to build another Stupid Box clone, because I have spare parts to burn.

Now, here is where things get a bit complicated. I'm compiling parts for a 5 watt Champ style guitar amp. This is going to take time, as I'm exceedingly scared of high voltage, for obvious reasons. I feel if I can compile the parts and build the tagboard portion of the amp I will at least have part of the amp done. Then later on I can deal with the high voltage parts down the road, as I feel more comfortable. I'm not currently factoring the Champ style build into the number of circuits I have left to build as it may never be finish. It's a plan I would like to accomplish, but still firmly on the back burner. My main purpose for a 5 watt Champ style amp, even though I own Kali (my Kalamazoo Model 1) is just to see if I can, and to test pedals. Buddy, my Noisy Cricket amp, is great, but there is a huge difference in testing a pedal with Buddy vs Kali. Plus, more amps are better! The Ruby Tuby will also be mostly for practice, and not for testing pedals.

Finally there is a mystery build, but there is a potential set of problems with it. It's a circuit that sparked my interest as soon as I saw the layout, but the layout was later removed from the site for some reason. As I do, I downloaded the layout to get the parts together and cut the board, but I have no clue why the layout was removed, or if it even works as presented. The board is cut and the parts are all setup so I'm pretty dedicated to the build at this point. If it doesn't work I'm all on my own, but if it does work I can't explain what it truly is, to avoid getting in trouble by the layout creator. This is the type of situation I wish I were more capable of looking at a layout and knowing whether it will work or not before I get myself this deep into it. Wish me luck!

Monday, June 3, 2024

What Did I Just Watch?: Cockneys vs Zombies

I am a rabid fan of Shaun of the Dead. It's one of my all-time favorite movies. When it comes to non-Romero zombie movies it's one of the best, in my opinion. Followed closely by the one episode of Spaced, in which I'm sure gave life to the concept of Shaun of the Dead. You know the one. Recently free streaming platforms such as Tubi and Pluto brought a movie to my attention called Cockneys vs Zombies. Since the DVD of the movie likened itself to Shaun of the Dead, in a way, I had to give it a watch. I will be doing my best to #NoSpoilers this, so if you want more details just go watch the movie yourself.

The plot of the movie, to me, seemed interesting, although not completely original. We have a pair of brothers in a single-sided relationship, where one is always bailing the other one out of trouble, paralleling the friendship of Shaun and Ed. Things progressed a bit too quickly for me. It's a bit like the writers had a lot to say, but only had an hour and thirty minutes to say it, so there wasn't really time to let things sink in. The zombie outbreak sprung up super quick, and took control even quicker. The action takes place over a larger span of the movie than it does in Shaun of the Dead.

I know, I know. It's NOT Shaun of the Dead! I did like Cockneys vs Zombies as its own thing, I just felt that it went more action based than it wanted to allow the story to grow organically. Things just felt hastened to push the fun, violent action scenes, but that's just my opinion. You know what I would love to see? A series of movies, with the blessing of Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg, showcasing other people's adventures, or misadventures, during the exact same outbreak in which Shaun of the Dead took place. In most of them it would even be a nice little Easter Egg to see Shaun's group in the background in various stages of their journey to the Winchester.

Cockneys vs Zombies had its moments that made me laugh at the comedy, recoil at the horror, and even some "DAAAAAAAAAAAAMN!" moments thrown in at both the comedy and the horror aspects. The sentiment of the plot is actually kind of nice. The ending throws a few, albeit brief, surprises in for added affect. One little spoiler: Even as an American, the football supporter zombies gag was fucking hysterical. I just wish it had lasted a bit longer, pretty much like everything else in this movie. Is Cockneys vs Zombies anywhere near Shaun of the Dead? No. No, no, no, no no. Is it a decent zombie film? Yep! Will it become part of my Halloween movie lineup? Maybe. Maybe this is just a movie I need to watch a few (hundred) times to appreciate. I don't think it's bad. I'll certainly be giving it another try!

Monday, April 29, 2024

Taking a Break

There comes a time in everyone's life when they must prioritize things. As I've been to the ER twice this month, that time comes now. I've stopped building circuits and focused on my health, maybe a bit too much so. Since I'm not doing anything noteworthy, I figured I would take a break. Hopefully things will resume here shortly, but that depends on how things go. I would like to thank the readers who have stuck with me, or even those of you who have just recently come along. Thank you.

Now, on a very much more personal note:

Paola, if you're reading this, please reconsider. My arms have always been open, and I need you now more than ever. Just think about it.

Monday, April 15, 2024

The Plimsoul Clone

The builds of 2024 continue and the Plimsoul is the latest to be completed. Essentially, in the off season, I was searching for any circuit that could even loosely be associated to the word "blues". I've become more of a blues player as I've gotten older, and lets face it, since my body and fingers don't work the way they used to. I do find blues connects with me though, and I greatly enjoy playing blues guitar, so I figured I wanted as many guitar pedals as possible to give me multiple options for blues tones. One circuit that had been on my radar for a while was indeed the Plimsoul, but I felt it was a bit more distortion than bluesy, but tagboard effects description has the word bluesy in it twice, so that's all it took to convince me it was worth a try.

As far as the build, well, it was going fine until I remembered that it was suggested in the comments of the layout to substitute one of the three A100k pots for an A10k. I decided to go with a C10k as it was the only 10k I had on hand, which works just fine. Luckily it was an easy situation to rectify, once I found out which pot it was. It's the sustain pot by the way. I was a bit anxious about wiring the dual pot for stage two control, because I'm always anxious about wiring dual pots, but that turned out just fine. Once it was all soldered up it was time to test it.

At first the circuit didn't work properly. All I got was a stuttering sound when I played the notes on my guitar. My first tactic is always knifing the gaps, so I took my xacto knife and slit between the rows and tested it again. That did the trick, and the circuit came to life. After testing it a little bit more this circuit did surprised me as it's one that offers quite a bit of flexibility. Is it bluesy? It can be. It can also be a boost, or an overdrive all the way to a distortion. I enjoyed this circuit more than I thought I would, even though I've not really played around with it too much. I pretty much tested how much drive it offers, then engaged stage 2 and left it full tilt as a distortion. Now that the Plimsoul is done what the next build will be is up in the air, but whatever it is will be the 90th build.

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Now the Timmy Post!

My Timmy clone was born the same day as the revitalization in my life, but that's the other post. This is all about the Timmy! I was excited to build this circuit because I had heard so many good things about it. So I put everything together and on a nice Tuesday I built it. It was a super simple build. The issue however is I can't find any 4559s, so I used a 4580 instead. I'm still debating whether it sounds anything at all like a Timmy. It's not a bad circuit, and it had plenty of options for tonality, but whether it sounds like a Timmy is still up for debate.

I'm really digging transparent overdrives and that's one of a million reasons why I wanted to build a Timmy clone. I chose the V1, which suits me as well as any other, so I'm not too concerned with what makes them all a little bit different. This is the one I built; this is the one I own, and will use. I'm still uncertain what the internal dip switches do, but it's something I'll learn about over time. There's really not much more to say.

Other than the Timmy being the 88th total build, and the fact I still have 7 more confirmed builds and a few sitting on the outer cusp of consideration I might get to the goal of 100 builds before I know it. The Plimsoul, Menatone Blue Collar, a Klon Buffer, another Naga Viper clone, two Cornish clones and an EQD Zoar are all on their way, bringing the total up to 96 once these are done. I do plan a Diaz Texas Ranger clone, as well as another Texas inspired clone both of which bring the total up to 98. The two final circuits will really need to be something important, and believe me, I bet they will be. I just don't know what they will be yet.

I Didn’t Have Ambulance Ride to the ER on My 2024 Bingo Card, Until I Did!

As some of you may know I suffer from anxiety. It's a disorder that sometimes can not be properly looked after. This year started out with some really bad symptoms to the point I filed to get medical insurance and once I did the real mental fuckery started. Symptoms started to appear that were very concerning, and knowing now I could take care of them made it impossible for me to ignore. However, covid locked me in this mental box that anxiety took control of and made it seem if I left the property I would immediately die in the worst possible way. How does one combat this? Internally, mentally, and eventually they feel like they're drowning with no way of reaching help.

So I decided to try and shake off the horrible way I woke up this morning and build the Timmy clone circuit, which went really well. Once it all was soldered up I brought it inside to test and immediately my skin began to crawl, my body was trembling and my internal alarms were on full alert. But I can't leave the property! I'll die! If I don't take care of whatever is setting off this anxiety, I'll die! Damned if I do, damned if I don't. The option was literally taken out of my control when, suddenly and without warning I simply stopped breathing. I've had anxiety and panic attacks, but this was a completely different beast. This sucked the oxygen right out of me and left me feeling the cold fingers of the Reaper upon my arms, directing me away.

911 was called, and after a brief sit outside the team came over and started taking my vitals. Obviously in a panic things weren't perfect, but things weren't alarming, or so they didn't let on anything was alarming. I was then transferred to the ambulance and awaited the horrible death anxiety had promised should I try to leave the property. As you may be guessing, because I'm writing this entry, it was all bupkis! I was loaded into the ambulance, the vitals guy kept an eye on everything and we talked the whole ride about my life, my anxiety, my hobbies, and even my lost love from Mexico. What stays with me though is how he kept looking at the EKG and saying I have a beautiful EKG, and it slowly got better as we rolled along the way to the ER.

I felt far more calm than I thought I would throughout the whole process, which was surprising, but a welcome change from what anxiety said I should feel. Transitioning from Ambulance to ER was immediate and everyone was there to greet me. My vitals were constantly checked, blood was drawn and everything was underway. I was even given some kind of drug, whose name I already forget, that quieted all the intrusive thoughts in my head. Although my numbers aren't 100% perfect, at least now I know what I need to work on with my PCP.

Listen, if you're having chest pains and shortness of breath, don't simply chalk it up to anxiety, unless you've been to the Dr or ER and you've been cleared time and time again. This isn't anything to mess with, and although mine turned out to strictly be inside my head, for someone else it might not. Do yourself a service and burst through that mental block like I did and give yourself much more life to live. Believe me it's worth living!

Saturday, April 6, 2024

The Crap Fuzz [Re]Build

Back on New Year's Day I tried to get an old Bazz Fuss circuit going again, and failed. I figured this was a fairly decent Saturday so I took the time to try again, and still failed. The board was coated with solder, and there was really no way for me to clean off enough solder to prevent bridging, so I decided the next best thing was to scrap the old board and use a new one. It took literal seconds to cut the board, cut the traces and solder everything up. Once all was said and done, it now works! Horribly! I mean, it's horrible.

I strictly stuck with using the parts I had in the original, so instead of a 2N3904 I used a BC546, with pinout adjusted, so it's not biased correctly. It's fuzzy, it's gnarly, but it's really not anything useful unless it's full blast. The circuit works and that's really all I was after. I just wanted to resurrect a very old circuit that I built many years ago, but never gave any real notation to. Now this little circuit, as horrible as it truly is, has a birthday (or more a rebirthday I guess), and it's written in my build log. This brings my total circuits built to 87 officially noted circuits. Remember, that's both pedals and a few amps, but 87 total nonetheless.

The problem now is I still have 8 builds planned for the year, bringing me to a total of 95, once those are completed. As I stated in my last entry, about building, I need that nicely rounded, even 100 total. I don't want to build a bunch of Bazz Fuss circuits, or buffers, or other simple builds just to pad it out. I want circuits that truly mean something to my building history. I'm not sure what I'll do, but I'll do my best to come up with something.

Fallout 3: Heading Back Into the Wastelands

Of all the Fallout games I've played, Fallout 3 is my favorite. That's not to say Fallout 4 or 76 aren't good games, it's just I've not been able to play them, yet. Last year a dear friend actually purchased Fallout 76 for me, but thanks to Bethesda's "What Bug?" policy, it locked me out of playing the game indefinitely. I've not been able to catch Fallout 4 on sale, so I think that's the only Fallout game I don't actually own. Throughout the past few years all off the others, with the exception of 4 and 76, have been given away by Epic Games, which is nice of them. This has given me a chance to reconnect with Fallout 3, which I originally played on the PS3.

Last year I tried a failed attempt at finally getting into Elder Scrolls Oblivion. I generally like Bethesda's open world games, but Oblivion just didn't play that well, and Morrowind's "Whoops, you didn't hit them this time, try again!", even though I smashed them in the face with my weapon, policy completely turned me off. These are all simply me problems, but Fallout 3 feels like a pretty decent game with its own bugs, but it's rare that I encounter them. The slow grind of getting started, getting established and finally getting things done was a bit of a hassle, but once I was there I started to have a pretty good time, again.

Now, here is the real meat and potatoes of this entry. When I was a child my class went to on a field trip to the Indianapolis Children's Museum. There were a lot of fun things to see and explore and learn, but one thing haunts me to this day. The fucking Woolly Mammoth! They have a life size Woolly Mammoth inside the museum, and when I went it was in a dimly lit corner. Imagine young me walking into a new room, filled with wonderment and happiness, only to be stopped in my tracks instantly when faced with a gigantic Woolly Mammoth recreation. It ruined the rest of my field trip, and like I said still haunts me to this day.

Those of you who have played Fallout 3 have already put the puzzle together and are probably laughing to themselves, while others are still wondering what I'm talking about. In Fallout 3 there is the Museum of History, and everything is fine as you enter through the lobby. Things change as soon as you move past the lobby and into the first display room where the skeletal remains of a T-Rex have come crashing to the floor, but on the other side of the room is a full size, upright Woolly Mammoth! Even in video game form it freaks me the hell out! Instantly I recall the feeling of my younger self and try to face my fear, but it still freaks me the hell out and I just leave the room.

Aside from past trauma, I can finally visit the Lincoln Memorial. This one doesn't freak me out because it's not like a 30 foot tall Abe Lincoln is going to try and make me his lunch! Well, a stuffed Woolly Mammoth wouldn't either, but I'm pretty sure my DNA is still at least 50% Neanderthal, so it makes sense to me. For some reason in my first playthrough I didn't get to this part of D.C. and I don't remember why. I explored a great deal of the wasteland, but for some reason never reached this part. Now that I'm established, roaming the wastelands freely and enjoying my time there, I think I'll go off and do some DLC stuff to mix it up. Fallout 3 is a great game, and I appreciate that Epic Games has given it away, at least a few different times, so that I could get back out there and relive the experience I enjoyed so much the first time around.