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I've gone ahead and opened up a ticket for a failing footswitch on by brand new Helix. Anyone else experience anything similar? Any solutions? My heart is broken!

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I've gone ahead and opened up a ticket for a failing footswitch on by brand new Helix. Anyone else experience anything similar? Any solutions? My heart is broken!

Yes mine has failed too but I have full confidence that either the company that sold it to me or Line6 will take care of it. Both the retailer and Line6 seem to be acting responsibly and even proactively in this regard. We may well be just the unlucky ones in the inevitable 2% or 3% of units that will fail no matter how well built and no matter who has produced it. I recognize no production line or parts manufacturer is perfect. I just hope this is not indicative of more footswitches to fail. I got one of the first Helix's and it actually feels like a second footswitch is starting to fail as well. I know, what are the odds, not trying to slam Line6, this thing is amazing. Just need it to hold up over the years.

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I really REALLY hope this isn't going to be an issue with the Helix. I had a line 6 M9 and an M5 and i got rid of both because of terrible quality footswitches.

 

I have currently sold off my entire pedalboard to pre order the Helix (which is taking ages to come in stock) and I am really concerned that the quality of the footswitches will be in line with the price of the unit. This is the second thread on here i've seen about failing footswitches.

I've heard great things about line 6's customer service but the fact that the unit only comes with a 1 year warranty isn't that reassuring for something so expensive. Boss offer 5 years of warranty and truetone/visual sound offer a lifetime warranty. I feel that a 1 year warranty seems to imply that they only realistically expect it to work for a year without fault. Not very reassuring is it because unlike a pedalboard where you can replace individual pedals, with the Helix they are asking you to put all your eggs in their one basket. If it fails after 1 year you are completely screwed.

 

A footswitch is somehting that takes a lot of wear and tear (having built around 60 pedals i'm aware of the failure rate of the boutique standard 3pdt switches) so i hope line 6 have made the footswitches to be easily replaced perhaps even by the user themselves. 

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I've expressed concern about this very subject here.  I don't mean to come across as a negative Nellie but, I've had Line 6 products since the AxSys 2x12 amp and I believe the foot switches on the Helix are basically the same, circuit board mounted actuators that were in the AxSys floorboard years ago.  I had to replace those back then and my HD500 and 500X both have the same problems (and the same type actuators).

 

I'm really liking my Helix but, I worry that the foot switches will suffer the same fate as those just mentioned.  I've even posted on ideascale (here) a request to implement automatic bank scrolling on the Helix just to help prolong the life of the switches!

 

I will say that soldering new actuators in shouldn't be too big of a problem as long as they're easy to get to.  I did it in the AxSys floorboard so hopefully the Helix won't be a big deal either.

 

Very sorry to hear that you guys are having the issues already.

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I've expressed concern about this very subject here.  I don't mean to come across as a negative Nellie but, I've had Line 6 products since the AxSys 2x12 amp and I believe the foot switches on the Helix are basically the same, circuit board mounted actuators that were in the AxSys floorboard years ago.  I had to replace those back then and my HD500 and 500X both have the same problems (and the same type actuators).

 

I'm really liking my Helix but, I worry that the foot switches will suffer the same fate as those just mentioned.  I've even posted on ideascale (here) a request to implement automatic bank scrolling on the Helix just to help prolong the life of the switches!

 

I will say that soldering new actuators in shouldn't be too big of a problem as long as they're easy to get to.  I did it in the AxSys floorboard so hopefully the Helix won't be a big deal either.

 

Very sorry to hear that you guys are having the issues already.

 

The footswitches on the Helix are a total redesign. The only other Line 6 product that has similar ones is the Firehawk. This is what Dale Wagler, Line 6's Senior Industrial Designer, posted over on the TGP about them:

 

http://www.thegearpage.net/board/index.php?threads/line6-helix.1586637/page-70#post-20156828

 

Footswitches can be a conundrum. Once upon a time (DL4, the original FBV, etc.) we used off the shelf actuators which were very high quality, had a nice tactile "click", and were expensive ...and still broke from time to time (technically, the springs would wear out, and could be "fixed" by simply pulling the spring out, and stretching it back out). So we designed a plastic footswitch for the PODxt and Bass PODxt. ...these had almost zero failures, and I mean below 0.1%, but "the market" stated, quite loudly, that they hated plastic footswitches, and wanted metal ones.

 

So, for the POD X3 we custom designed new metal switches with an integrated light pipe. ...these cost more, and were tested extensively, and also helped with assembly and provided attachment points for the PCBs below the switches, etc., yet over time we began to experience some failures in the field; I'm not going to go into the details of those failures (not my department), regardless, the issue was resolved and further refined for the release of the HD500X. However, the perception became that they were unreliable. It's important to note, despite the impression one might get from reading forums, the failure rate of these switches was actually quite low (as a percentage of units shipped) ...but that doesn't matter to you, if you are one of the guys with a bad footswitch, does it?

 

So for Helix, we designed yet a newer footswitch, taking into account the failure modes we've seen over the past 15 years (since I've been at Line 6). These new switches were tested on "the Ripper" (a repetitive torture device designed by our good friend, and long time mechanical engineer Rip (yep, that's his name). The new switch was tested over countless cycles without a failure (okay, there actually is a count, but I don't know the number off hand, I believe it is well up into the hundreds of thousands of cycles).

 

Note: this doesn't guarantee there will never be a failure, anything is possible, but we have done everything we can to make it as robust as humanly possible!

 

The Helix switch ended up making it into the Firehawk FX floor unit, and into the field prior to Helix being ready for launch (that's how long Helix has been in development) and thus far we have had no failures on Firehawk FX that I'm aware of. This is good news for Helix customers, as no matter what testing you do, the end users will always, and I mean ALWAYS, find a way to break something! ...it's just the nature of the beast.

 

All that being said, I didn't design these switches, though I had some input, it was a team effort (as so many things are) and all of that work was done by our awesome mechanical engineering team, though it may have been DI who had the idea for the halo switch ...I'm not really sure anymore whose idea it was.

 

 

Any mass-produced mechanical part will have some failures. It doesn't matter what it is. It's just a fact. I believe Line 6 will stand behind the product regardless of the warranty. Even with the X3 Live that had a higher failure rate than normal, they warranted those footswitches for the lifetime of the unit. Line 6 has actually been very good about dealing with issues should the arise.

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I really REALLY hope this isn't going to be an issue with the Helix. I had a line 6 M9 and an M5 and i got rid of both because of terrible quality footswitches.

 

I have currently sold off my entire pedalboard to pre order the Helix (which is taking ages to come in stock) and I am really concerned that the quality of the footswitches will be in line price of the unit. This is the second thread on here i've seen about failing footswitches.

I've heard great things about line 6's customer service but the fact that the unit only comes with a 1 year warranty isn't that reassuring for something so expensive. Boss offer 5 years of warranty and truetone/visual sound offer a lifetime warranty. I feel that a 1 year warranty seems to imply that they only realistically expect it to work for a year without fault. Not very reassuring is it because unlike a pedalboard where you can replace individual pedals, with the Helix they are asking you to put all your eggs in their one basket. If it fails after 1 year you are completely screwed.

 

A footswitch is somehting that takes a lot of wear and tear (having built around 60 pedals i'm aware of the failure rate of the boutique standard 3pdt switches) so i hope line 6 have made the footswitches to be easily replaced perhaps even by the user themselves.

That is why I buy from Sweetwater. They give everything a two year warranty. They do not cover drops and spills but everything else. I know Musicians Friend offers a big warranty but I have found their service horrible. I had a replacement in a bad monitor speaker from Sweerwater 24 hours after they received the defective one (I live one day shipping via Fed ex away. Another reason I like them). I am a person with no luck. If something will fail it eventually will happen to me. I had all kinds of issues with switches on the X3. Even though it was out of warranty Line 6 covered the switch costs as they said it was a known issue I had. So yes, they will take care of you.. These feel much nicer than the X3 switches.

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Thanks for the feedback guys, interesting points raised.

 

I've contacted the store i bought my Helix from (I'm in France) and they've asked me to send it back, and I will. I just fear the fact that they don't have any in stock. This could lead to me sitting Helix less for months, which is not something I can afford to to. I'll see how it goes.

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It's good to know from someone at Line 6 that they will stand by the footswitches even after the warranty if they are known to be a problem. It seems only reasonable for such an expensive unit.

 

Customer service is something that is really only important if there IS a problem with a unit. I believe that people are reasonable to accept that failures can and do happen if the customer service is good and they are taken care of. I will always stand by a company that stands by me. 

 

Now.....if only I could actually get a Helix in my hands i'd know if any of that is necessary!

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I had a foot switch go bad on my Helix, it was the mode switch.  I first noticed it when it took a couple clicks to get it to switch, then it just got worse and worse.  if I twisted the top of it a little it work for a few more clicks then just go bad again.  I started a support ticket with L6 and the next day they had UPS at my door with a next day air pickup.  I sent it back on a Thursday and got it back Friday of the next week all fixed!  they didn't even mess with my presets, totally awesome service!

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I had a single stomp-area switch on Helix Control go south on my early on, much as reported above (unresponsive to switching for several hits at times, then would sometimes work - I guess I should've just said 'intermittently' just thing...); reported to my retailer via email to my contact sales rep at the store, and a day or two later they had a replacement unit in-hand ready for me to come in and exchange.

*knock on wood* replacement seems just fine.

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I really REALLY hope this isn't going to be an issue with the Helix. I had a line 6 M9 and an M5 and i got rid of both because of terrible quality footswitches.

 

I have currently sold off my entire pedalboard to pre order the Helix (which is taking ages to come in stock) and I am really concerned that the quality of the footswitches will be in line with the price of the unit. This is the second thread on here i've seen about failing footswitches.

I've heard great things about line 6's customer service but the fact that the unit only comes with a 1 year warranty isn't that reassuring for something so expensive. Boss offer 5 years of warranty and truetone/visual sound offer a lifetime warranty. I feel that a 1 year warranty seems to imply that they only realistically expect it to work for a year without fault. Not very reassuring is it because unlike a pedalboard where you can replace individual pedals, with the Helix they are asking you to put all your eggs in their one basket. If it fails after 1 year you are completely screwed.

 

A footswitch is somehting that takes a lot of wear and tear (having built around 60 pedals i'm aware of the failure rate of the boutique standard 3pdt switches) so i hope line 6 have made the footswitches to be easily replaced perhaps even by the user themselves. 

 

I made the mistake of dumping my pedals several times for the latest greatest multi modeler unit, after about the 3rd time I stopped doing that. Now I have some pedals I can farm out to.

Been noticing some issue on one of my foot switches (2nd bottom row right, not sure what number that is). Seemed to not respond when I was trying to design a preset. Hope it is not dying on me. What do we have like  year on the unit??? Not liking where this is going. 

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I had a problem with one of my footswitches. I would tap it and sometimes it would switch and other times it would not. It seemed like what we would call in programming to be a "bounce" - it would trigger, then very quickly trigger again, causing it to seem like it did nothing. I wasn't ready to send it in for repair since I had some upcoming gigs and didn't need that particular switch all that much, so instead I just rapidly clicked it a bunch of times, opened it up to look inside (they really are quite unique switches, but essentially they are still just operating a small button at the bottom) in case there was any dust. Not sure if there was dirt or dust, but the problem just kinda went away and I haven't had that happen since. So either they updated something in the code to better account for bounces or it really was just dirt that needed to get worked out.

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i had a problem too but it is the touch capacitor function on one of the stomp selector buttons wasn't working when my helix arrived. it still works as a switch but just wont select the fx pedal that is assigned to it when i touch it. i elected to not return it.. i think it is something i can live with but dont think i'd like to live without the rest of the helix for the time it might take to get fixed/replaced here in australia. i think if that whole switch hadn't been functioning i would have returned it.

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My switch problem turned out to be something weird in the preset and it seems to be OK right now. I have had other similar switches go bad, like in my tc X4 delay had to return it for warranty exchange. What I do know is the word "stomp" should be eliminated from use, never pop a switch roughly or let it bounce by letting it go after smacking it. These things are not heavy duty and are indeed the weak link in the chain, press lightly and even on them without undo drunken led foot. 

With the capacitance thing on the switches in the Helix I do not fancy ever changing one myself so maybe extended warranty might have been a good idea? 

OR maybe L6 how about a little added protection on the switch thing as these babies are eventually going to die, some sort of "just a switch" repair send/return deal??? 

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I have the Helix since 8 nweeks, same problem, one switch is ok, not ok, ok, not ok, it is not reliable. I'll carry the unit back to the dealer for repair. After a 6 months repair of my old pod x3 live I will keep my Boss GT-100 as a backup unit.

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footswitch 10 suddenly dead. Worked fine yesterday, I only use the the pedal board rarely so I am a bit surprised.  I hope the good service that many people writing here have received works as well for me. 

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I am on my second Helix. The first one had a footswitch that failed ab about one month old. Thankfully my retailer swapped it out with no problem.

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Hi there. I have already replaced 2 footswitches on my Helix, and now the third one is also going bad. The repairman showed me that small footswitch part (underneath the chrome one that you step on), which is connected to the motherboard are very bad quallity. They are not covered with small rubber protector... This rubber protector actually prevents the oxidation (which happens on temperature changes) and causes the bad operating... I think I would have to change all 12 of them with better rubber ones to get rid of this problem. Very bad Line 6. I hope now, that when Yamaha takes over, they will start to use better quallity footswithes... 

 

I am dissapointed.

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Hi there. I have already replaced 2 footswitches on my Helix, and now the third one is also going bad. The repairman showed me that small footswitch part (underneath the chrome one that you step on), which is connected to the motherboard are very bad quallity. They are not covered with small rubber protector... This rubber protector actually prevents the oxidation (which happens on temperature changes) and causes the bad operating... I think I would have to change all 12 of them with better rubber ones to get rid of this problem. Very bad Line 6. I hope now, that when Yamaha takes over, they will start to use better quallity footswithes...

 

I am dissapointed.

 

 

The acquisition occurred almost three years ago.  

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Note: this doesn't guarantee there will never be a failure, anything is possible, but we have done everything we can to make it as robust as humanly possible!

 

I blame it on those humans. Keep the humans away from things and they last forever. 

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Hi there. I have already replaced 2 footswitches on my Helix, and now the third one is also going bad. The repairman showed me that small footswitch part (underneath the chrome one that you step on), which is connected to the motherboard are very bad quallity. They are not covered with small rubber protector... This rubber protector actually prevents the oxidation (which happens on temperature changes) and causes the bad operating... I think I would have to change all 12 of them with better rubber ones to get rid of this problem. Very bad Line 6. I hope now, that when Yamaha takes over, they will start to use better quallity footswithes... 

 

I am dissapointed.

 

neli, if you happen to get any of these actuators with a rubber protector, or if you find some of better quality please post the information for us!  This has been my concern all along with the Helix.  Mine has been good so far, but from past experience with several different POD's I've owned, the foot switch actuators just don't last.

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I don't know if a rubber protector would really prevents the oxidation. I think you need an airtight vacuum switch for this.

I opened my Helix today. There are standard 4Pin 6mm push button switches on the motherboard underneath the chrome parts.

something like this> http://shortcircuit.com.my/4-pin-tactile-touch-push-button-switch.html

So (after the warranty), it is possible to repair it with a soldering iron.

 

These 4Pin switches are installed in many multi-media devices, but there should be a better solution for a 1500$ high end device.

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I think I solved the problem, but it is a little tricky because you have to open the Helix and to remove the switchboard.

That’s not very difficult, but you have to remove a lot of screws and two data cables to get it out.

I cleaned the contact surfaces of the little push button switch and the one of the chrome part.

Then I dribbled some contact spray on the button switch and pressed the switch a few times to get the spray inside.

 

Now the switches work as they should!

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now that i am happy with the sound one of my footswitches fall off. The Helix control is only 2 Weeks old and never left my bedroom. I stepped on with socks.... 350 Bucks for a thing i can`t use on a stage ?  realy realy bad!!!
 

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now that i am happy with the sound one of my footswitches fall off. The Helix control is only 2 Weeks old and never left my bedroom. I stepped on with socks.... 350 Bucks for a thing i can`t use on a stage ? realy realy bad!!!

 

If it's only been 2 weeks, you should be able to return it and get a replacement...don't screw around with trying to get it fixed if you don't have to.

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If it's only been 2 weeks, you should be able to return it and get a replacement...don't screw around with trying to get it fixed if you don't have to.

Thanks a lot :-) I don`t even think about to srew it up. I have to drive 50 KM to the store :-(

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Thanks a lot :-) I don`t even think about to srew it up. I have to drive 50 KM to the store :-(

Isn’t it worth the drive?

If I’d bought mine from Guitar Center, I’d have to take a ferry, drive 128km south to Seattle and endure the horrific traffic and then I’d have to go back perhaps without a replacement if they’re not in stock.

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Isn’t it worth the drive?

If I’d bought mine from Guitar Center, I’d have to take a ferry, drive 128km south to Seattle and endure the horrific traffic and then I’d have to go back perhaps without a replacement if they’re not in stock.

What i learned is that it is better to pick up the phone tommorow morning. If there is nothing in stock i can save the fuel :-)

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Contact support, they'll do right by you. You'll have to send it back, but it should get fixed under warranty, assuming you bought it new.

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I think I solved the problem, but it is a little tricky because you have to open the Helix and to remove the switchboard.

That’s not very difficult, but you have to remove a lot of screws and two data cables to get it out.

I cleaned the contact surfaces of the little push button switch and the one of the chrome part.

Then I dribbled some contact spray on the button switch and pressed the switch a few times to get the spray inside.

 

Now the switches work as they should!

 

That worked for me before, but strangely also made the LED ring stop working correctly. Eventually sent it to L6 for repair and they replaced the switch and fixed the LEDs, so now we are all good. I haven't had any issues with any other switches, so I suspect it will be fine. Always keep in mind that actually using the switches is the simplest way to prevent oxidation :)

 

In regards to the quality of the switches, I'm not sure how else they could have made them. I used to build pedals, so I am familiar with the higher-quality types of switches that go into standalone boxes, but what L6 does is essentially the same as what Boss has been doing for years and everyone agrees that those things are pretty indestructible. On top of that, remember that each of these footswitches are two types of switch AND can be touch activated. That is, any switch can be a toggle or a momentary switch (which, I think, means that each switch is actually a momentary switch that reacts differently depending on programming) and there is also a conductor triggered by touching the switch. If you look at how it is designed, that basically necessitates that the actual part of the switch you can touch has to be electrically separated from the actual switch itself. That is, the metal that sticks out of the top has to be electrically isolated from the actual switch to prevent false triggering of the switch or other issues. This means that it has to be a two-part switch, just as L6 designed. Now, they could potentially have used a different part for the actual switch, maybe a slightly nicer/more expensive part, but no matter how much you spend, you'll always wind up with at least a few bad ones. So I don't know that it's fair to say that they are just using a poor-quality switch or design when the failure rate does not actually seem to be that bad.

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