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Fasten Helix to pedal board: a solution.


Graemey
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I just thought I'd share a few pics of how I have decided to fasten Helix to a wooden pedal board I am currently building.

 

With regular pedals I always use these shaped metal things that screw to the pedal via the screws that hold the base plate in place.

I can screw them under the two bottom rubber feet on the Helix, but the two upper feet are positioned in such a way that I needed to make some (longer) metal brackets of my own. I made the from thin brass which I drilled and hand cut with a hacksaw. Then I removed the rough edges with a file and some wire wool.

 

They are not prefectly shaped, but they don't need to be.

 

Next I attached via the Helix rubber feet and screwed tight (but not over-tight).

Now the Helix can be screwed rock solid to the wooden base.

 

I'll post pics one the whole board is finished.

 

(Sorry about the bad quality pics)

 

Cut_zpsdvao4fys.jpg

 

DSC_0055_zpszay3zn3g.jpg

 

DSC_0059_zpsjgkpb3l9.jpg

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WARNING!  For those of you thinking of doing this on a metal board, like Pedaltrain, forget about it.  Wood boards should be fine.  When mounting multiple fx pedals to a metal board using any kind of metal bracket system (including those little chain links you can buy), this grounds said pedals to the board and creates a ground loop - and NOISE - same as inadvertently creating a ground loop inside your guitar!  I have overcome this problem by making my own brackets from a stiff, but non-conductive material but the screws going into the board cannot touch the metal of the pedal being mounted.  I don't know if the fact that I have a power supply directly screwed to my Pedaltrain is a factor or not.  All I know is that I've experienced this phenom with every power supply and metal board I've ever assembled.

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Nice idea, my pedal case comes in next week and I'll try this on mine.  How thick is the brass?  

 

Thanks,

 

Todd

 

Hi Todd

 

the brass is 1.2mm thick.

Quite hard to cut, but very solid for this application.

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WARNING!  For those of you thinking of doing this on a metal board, like Pedaltrain, forget about it.  Wood boards should be fine.  When mounting multiple fx pedals to a metal board using any kind of metal bracket system (including those little chain links you can buy), this grounds said pedals to the board and creates a ground loop - and NOISE - same as inadvertently creating a ground loop inside your guitar!  I have overcome this problem by making my own brackets from a stiff, but non-conductive material but the screws going into the board cannot touch the metal of the pedal being mounted.  I don't know if the fact that I have a power supply directly screwed to my Pedaltrain is a factor or not.  All I know is that I've experienced this phenom with every power supply and metal board I've ever assembled.

Hmm!  

That sounds really weird! 

Can anyone come up with an explanation as to why this would happen ?  

 

I really dont see why this would create noise. 

My Helix is mounted in the same why as in this tread and to a Case, that is covered in alu, so it is conductive, but I dont hear any noise. 

 

 

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WARNING!  For those of you thinking of doing this on a metal board, like Pedaltrain, forget about it.  Wood boards should be fine.  When mounting multiple fx pedals to a metal board using any kind of metal bracket system (including those little chain links you can buy), this grounds said pedals to the board and creates a ground loop - and NOISE - same as inadvertently creating a ground loop inside your guitar!  I have overcome this problem by making my own brackets from a stiff, but non-conductive material but the screws going into the board cannot touch the metal of the pedal being mounted.  I don't know if the fact that I have a power supply directly screwed to my Pedaltrain is a factor or not.  All I know is that I've experienced this phenom with every power supply and metal board I've ever assembled.

 

I may be missing something here, but surely all the pedals are grounded together through the earth side of the cables that connect them? The problem must have something to do with power supply being screwed to the pedal board, as you mentioned??

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WARNING!  For those of you thinking of doing this on a metal board, like Pedaltrain, forget about it.  Wood boards should be fine.  When mounting multiple fx pedals to a metal board using any kind of metal bracket system (including those little chain links you can buy), this grounds said pedals to the board and creates a ground loop - and NOISE - same as inadvertently creating a ground loop inside your guitar!  I have overcome this problem by making my own brackets from a stiff, but non-conductive material but the screws going into the board cannot touch the metal of the pedal being mounted.  I don't know if the fact that I have a power supply directly screwed to my Pedaltrain is a factor or not.  All I know is that I've experienced this phenom with every power supply and metal board I've ever assembled.

 

Good point.  The purpose of a isolated power supply, ie Voodoo etc, is to prevent the noise from some digital pedal power regulators/circuits bleeding to the other pedal, either through the +, the -, or both.  The digital pedals usually isolate/filter the signal ground from the power supply ground, but if you ground all the cases together, all guarantees are off.  There likely won't be any noise, but some pedals are noisy buggers.  Try to put a Digitech Drop pedal on an uninsolated supply, sounds like a Hover vacuum.

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I may be missing something here, but surely all the pedals are grounded together through the earth side of the cables that connect them? The problem must have something to do with power supply being screwed to the pedal board, as you mentioned??

In a perfect world, maybe so.  But ...  As for the power supply, Voodoo Lab Power Plus 2, along with some others, are specifically made to be screwed/mounted to the PedalTrain boards.  If memory serves me correctly, their instructions even specify the need for the unit to be grounded to the board.  HOWEVER!  Now that I think about it, I've even tried mounting my fx pedals to the metal board using conductive fasteners with the power supply temporarily detached from the board.  Same result.  And I've got LOTS of fx pedals of different makes and quality.  It's just simply an imperfect world where grounding of fx pedals are concerned.  Wah's are the worse.  I'm completely intolerant of noise and hum from my guitar.  I have my pedals fastened with non-conductive material, noiseless pups, and a quality power supply.  I can crank 4 ODs in series without a spec of noise.  Believe me.  If you ground all your pedals to a metal board.  You're gonna create a loop.   

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Hmm!  

That sounds really weird! 

Can anyone come up with an explanation as to why this would happen ?  

 

I really dont see why this would create noise. 

My Helix is mounted in the same why as in this tread and to a Case, that is covered in alu, so it is conductive, but I dont hear any noise. 

 

 

Mounting just the Helix may very well not be a problem at all since it is only one pedal with it's own power supply.  That's not a "loop".  The problem will arise when you start mounting other powered pedals along with it using a conductive bracket material.  A passive expression/volume pedal shouldn't be a problem either.

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In a perfect world, maybe so.  But ...  As for the power supply, Voodoo Lab Power Plus 2, along with some others, are specifically made to be screwed/mounted to the PedalTrain boards.  If memory serves me correctly, their instructions even specify the need for the unit to be grounded to the board.  HOWEVER!  Now that I think about it, I've even tried mounting my fx pedals to the metal board using conductive fasteners with the power supply temporarily detached from the board.  Same result.  And I've got LOTS of fx pedals of different makes and quality.  It's just simply an imperfect world where grounding of fx pedals are concerned.  Wah's are the worse.  I'm completely intolerant of noise and hum from my guitar.  I have my pedals fastened with non-conductive material, noiseless pups, and a quality power supply.  I can crank 4 ODs in series without a spec of noise.  Believe me.  If you ground all your pedals to a metal board.  You're gonna create a loop.   

 

How about using an rubber isolation washer between the pedal or Helix and the metal fastener/board?  Wouldn't that solve any grounding issues as the units wouldn't be in contact with the board directly?  Rubber washers are cheap and readily available in many sizes too....just a thought.

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It's also worth noteing that the position and proximity of certain pedals (especially wahs) to the power suppy can cause unwanted hum, buzz etc.

 

I always run the signal into a loud, high-gain amp channel and physically pick up and move the pedals closer to the suppy and listen for any effect on the noise floor.

 

I've just been trying this with pedals through the Helix loops and a high gain sound. Proximity DEFINITELY has an effect on noise.

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Think of the difference between sequential grounding and star grounding. Sequential grounding, say in a guitar's control cavity, going from pot to pot to ground will set up a loop. Star grounding, where each pot goes to one central point and then to ground avoids the loop.

 

If the slats on an aluminum pedal board were isolated from each other, then I would think the possibility of setting up a ground loop would exist. However, all those pieces are interconnected, essentially a ventilated ground plane. While a ground plane does not create a loop, it could create an opportunity for capacitance and RF reception - which is environmentally dependent, not power dependent.

 

The Helix and the isolated power supply each have their own discreet grounding paths that do not intersect. You'd have to know if the chassis on the Helix is isolated from the ground or not. This can be determined by using a volt meter by putting one lead on the chassis and another lead on one of the bolts that runs through the rubber feet.

 

Bottom line, it seems unlikely that you'd get ground noise, maybe more RF. It would make for an interesting experiment. Worst case, you'd need to use some sort of insulation which may or may not impact the height of the unit from the pedal board.

 

And then there is the cable issue...

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Here’s another method for mounting the Helix—bungees. I use my Helix at gigs in an fan-cooled enclosure (I control it entirely via MIDI), and equally in the studio, so I needed an easy-on, easy-off mount method. I used “ProGrip Stretch†bungees with a thread-through locking action, with no hooks to scratch anything. My hardware store only had them in yellow, but you can find them in black if you don’t like bumblebees. They look like this: 


 


I cut each bungee in two, 8†from the gripper end, knotted each tied end, melted any fraying with a match, and then firmly screwed each half to my wooden enclosure with wood screws (drill a small pilot hole through the cord first). Sorry … no photos (no time).


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  • 1 year later...

How about using an rubber isolation washer between the pedal or Helix and the metal fastener/board?  Wouldn't that solve any grounding issues as the units wouldn't be in contact with the board directly?  Rubber washers are cheap and readily available in many sizes too....just a thought.

 

Wouldn't the bolt still provide continuity?

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I would also be concerned with leverage forces of the OP's brass tabs method potentially deforming the Helix case (when not affixed to the larger pedal board base.

 

I would be far more inclined to use several 2" wide strips Industrial Strength Velcro. YMMV

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It seems to me that a pedal board with a Helix attached to it, would be way too large and cumbersome for me to want to mess with it. For the few pedals that I'm thinking of using with my Helix. I will probably put together a small board just for those pedals and set it beside the Helix, and maybe put together a small cable snake to connect everything. Lava makes some nice snakes.

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I have mine mounted to a Pedaltrain Pro with a handful of pedals and a power supply and I just used the Velcro that came with board. I did also buy some industrial Velcro in case the stock stuff didn't take but I've had no issues at all and I pretty much mounted it after I bought it in October 2015.

 

It is a bit heavy but the convenience of having all my pedals pre-wired into the Helix and just running a couple cables to my amp and guitar definitely outweighs that. The only thing is I wish I got the Pedaltrain with the hard case instead of the softcase. I'm actually thinking of upgrading to this for a little more convenience.

 

http://www.diago.co.uk/pedalboards/diago-pedalboards.html

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I use 3M Dual Lock for any pedal fastening purpose.

They have 2 or 3 different densities for firm to incredibly firm attachment.

 

Incredibly firm is an understatement.  It takes my entire strength to pull off something like the Helix or AX8 when fastened by just two strips of Dual Lock.  Basically, it's never coming off if you don't want it to.

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