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Verne-Bunsen

Toe-switching with an external EXP pedal!

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Or, "How I Learned To Love the Auto-On".

 

[edit for clarification: This procedure is specific to Helix's "EXP" inputs, as the Helix Floor has no "Toe Switch" input. Helix Rack and Helix Stomp are configured differently and the switch configuration described here will not yield the desired results....]

 

A little background. While the on board expression pedal with toe switch is a great feature, the motion of the pedal was "off" for me as far as wah went. I wanted it to feel like a wah pedal and it just didn't move like one. So, I gutted a wah enclosure and turned it into an expression pedal following this thread:

 

http://line6.com/support/topic/21821-modding-a-cry-baby-to-make-an-expression-pedal/?do=findComment&comment=169079

 

Correct feel: check. Separate foot switch to toggle it on and off: Lamesville... I had thought that the position based auto-on feature for expression pedals would be the be-all-end-all for me, but I couldn't ever get anything set up that worked for me. I always ended up with it switching off-on-off-on whilst rocking the wah. So I set about to find a way to make an external expression pedal with a toe switch work. The good news: it can be done. The bad news: it requires both of your external expression pedal jacks.

 

Stuff you need: An expression pedal with a spot for a toe switch, a 3PDT switch (standard "true-bypass" style guitar pedal switch), a jack (not pictured, whoops! It's just a regular old mono guitar jack...) and a 10k resistor. In this case I used a 15k resistor because it's what I had in my parts bin, it's fine for this purpose.

 

SW1.jpeg?raw=1

 

The Helix sees an open circuit as "No Pedal Present", a dead short from tip to sleeve as 0% on the expression pedal position, and 10k ohms between tip and sleeve as 100%. So what I want is for one position of the switch to jump straight from tip to sleeve and for the other position to put the resistor in the between. In a 3PDT switch the middle row of lugs is common and connects to the left or right row depending on the switch position. That makes it a pretty easy configuration to wire up:

 

SW2.jpeg?raw=1

 

The black and white wires on the center row go to the jack tip and sleeve respectively, the black jumper on the left connects them directly in position 1 and the resistor on the right connects them with 15k ohms resistance in position 2. Again, 10k is spec for 100%, 15k still registers as 100%.

 

Testing it on the meter:

 

SW3.jpeg?raw=1SW4.jpeg?raw=1

 

Looking good! Now testing it with Helix. For this I hooked it up to EXP2 and loaded a wah, then assigned both the position and bypass to it so that I could see it functioning. I set the bypass threshold at 20% (could be anything bigger than 0%, really) and no delay. What I want to see is OFF at position 0% and ON at position 100%.

 

SW5.jpeg?raw=1

 

SW6.jpeg?raw=1

 

Frickin' sweet. Hook it up and stuff it in the enclosure. I marked the jacks externally so I'd remember which goes where....

 

SW7.jpeg?raw=1

 

I connected the switch to EXP2 and the Expression pot to EXP3, so by assigning bypass to EXP2 and position control to EXP3 I've got a toe-switchable external expression pedal!

 

SW8.jpeg?raw=1

 

It works just like it should, I really like it. You can still use the expression pedal to control other things as long as you remember that if any of them are ON when you go to use the wah you'll be manipulating both of them. The only downside to this arrangement for me is that I've been running two external expression pedals, one of which was assigned to vibe with auto-on. Auto-on works wonderfully for that application. I can still use the external expression pedal to control it but I'll have to toggle it with a Helix footswitch. Nothings free....

 

Anyway, I hope someone finds this useful, or at least of interest!

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Thanks HO! I didn't know it before, but turns out I'm one of those "stout click of engagement" types myself. I really like how this works, although I do miss the second external pedal a bit. I'm thinking I'll get over it. How often do you vibe/trem/phase/flange and wah simultaneously anyway, right? And there's always the onboard. If nothing else I may get a physical volume pedal to put in a loop and free the onboard up for other duties as assigned. It's good to have options.

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Hey @Verne-Bunsen , thank you so much man!

I tried the same thing here for my helix and for some odd reason, I need to click the 3dpt switch twice to engage and then twice to disengage. I wired exactly as you did... so I'm wondering if maybe I got a different switch?

 

Do you know what I am missing? hahaha

 

Thanks!

IMG_1446.jpg

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Just wanted to say this was so great of you to share this. I'm pretty sure I'll never use it (never say never,right (wink-wink)) but I KNOW there are a fair amount of people that feel the way that you do, that wouldn't and didn't do what you did to find a solution (heck, I wouldn't), let alone take the time to post what you did. Just a Kudos my friend. That was very generous of you.

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19 hours ago, rsan said:

Hey @Verne-Bunsen , thank you so much man!

I tried the same thing here for my helix and for some odd reason, I need to click the 3dpt switch twice to engage and then twice to disengage. I wired exactly as you did... so I'm wondering if maybe I got a different switch?

 

Do you know what I am missing? hahaha

 

Thanks!

That is interesting. Are you using a multimeter or evaluating its function by watching the state of a block in Helix? Any 3PDT footswitch like this that I've encountered has had just two states, ON/ON where the center (common) lugs connect to one side, then the other. Like this:

JOZwZmGAYYicC3_o7myvgpa2P4zJMbYJas6MdVNg

Nothing in between; clicking twice puts you back right where you started. Did you source the switch online, and do you have a link to where it came from? I'd be interested to see specs if they're listed. If you have a multimeter then hook it up to measure resistance across your red and blue leads. You should get 0 resistance in one position (the jumper wire) and then the value of your resistor in the other (15k or 16k to look at the color codes?), and continuing to actuate the switch should alternate between them.  If the results are different from that, what are they?

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44 minutes ago, brue58ski said:

Just wanted to say this was so great of you to share this. I'm pretty sure I'll never use it (never say never,right (wink-wink)) but I KNOW there are a fair amount of people that feel the way that you do, that wouldn't and didn't do what you did to find a solution (heck, I wouldn't), let alone take the time to post what you did. Just a Kudos my friend. That was very generous of you.

Thank you! It was a fun experiment, and half the fun of a fun experiment is sharing the results!

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Great topic! How about wiring a switchable resistor in series with the 10k pot of the pedal? This way you could pass the auto-on threshold by pressing the toe switch and adding the switchable resistor value to the value of the 10k pot. You would not need an additional input with this method. I don't exactly know how the settings in the Helix work since I am not in my studio right now, so maybe it's just not possible to implement software-wise.

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Hey 

6 hours ago, Verne-Bunsen said:

That is interesting. Are you using a multimeter or evaluating its function by watching the state of a block in Helix? Any 3PDT footswitch like this that I've encountered has had just two states, ON/ON where the center (common) lugs connect to one side, then the other. Like this:

JOZwZmGAYYicC3_o7myvgpa2P4zJMbYJas6MdVNg

Nothing in between; clicking twice puts you back right where you started. Did you source the switch online, and do you have a link to where it came from? I'd be interested to see specs if they're listed. If you have a multimeter then hook it up to measure resistance across your red and blue leads. You should get 0 resistance in one position (the jumper wire) and then the value of your resistor in the other (15k or 16k to look at the color codes?), and continuing to actuate the switch should alternate between them.  If the results are different from that, what are they?

 

Hey mate, I found the issue.

For some odd reason, my helix control understands just a momentary switch (so that why when I was coming back to the initial state, it turned the wah block ON-OFF). 

 

So is not about having the 10k resistance between wires, but actually closing the circuit.

 

The thing is: can I use this 3PDT switch that I bought ($12 here in Australia) hahah or do I need a specific momentary one??

 

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15 hours ago, rsan said:

Hey 

 

Hey mate, I found the issue.

For some odd reason, my helix control understands just a momentary switch (so that why when I was coming back to the initial state, it turned the wah block ON-OFF). 

 

So is not about having the 10k resistance between wires, but actually closing the circuit.

 

The thing is: can I use this 3PDT switch that I bought ($12 here in Australia) hahah or do I need a specific momentary one??

 

Hmm, maybe I'm not understanding what is happening for you. From your original post I was gathering that you had to actuate the switch twice to change its state, i.e.: pressing the switch once did nothing, twice changed the state, a third press did nothing, fourth changed the state again, etc. From this post it sounds like maybe it is changing state when you depress the switch and returning when you release it? 

 

Either way, Helix doesn't particularly care if your switch is latching or momentary, it only cares what the resistance is across that circuit and what that tells it to do. "Open" tells it there is no expression pedal present,  0 ohms (a short via the jumper wire on the switch) is heel-down/0%, and 10k ohms (via your resistor) is toe-down/100%. Whether the switch latches or returns or does anything else, Helix is just going to react to what the resistance is doing. A latching switch will change state once for each actuation while a momentary switch will change twice: once when the switch is depressed and then once more (back to its original state) when released. For this application, you'll want a latching switch.

 

If you can be more specific about exactly what is happening when you actuate your switch then it will be easier to try and troubleshoot it.

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Hey @Verne-Bunsen, hope you’re doing well mate.

 

So basically what happened is that the tow switch on my helix (I’m using Helix rack + control) doesn’t work with the 10k resistance - it works closing the circuit. So once the tip touches the ring, it changes the wah to ON/OFF.

 

So I changed the 3pdt switch to a momentary one and everything’s working beautifully. 

 

Ps. I purchased a aluminium enclosure from China, after some paint and other small details, it looks better than the Mission Engineering... and spent like $60 in everything! Hahahah 

8C683F7C-D237-4E73-B149-CA61ADB308F6.jpeg

BDCC85A9-C054-4D2F-97E8-8F5D8998711A.jpeg

0E4A5463-FA24-4B34-9DA9-5867FCD03BCC.jpeg

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Ah, gotcha! Are you using the “Toe Switch” input on your Helix Rack? Helix Floor doesn’t have that so we have to “trick” an “EXP” input... Now we know they behave differently, great addition to the thread! Glad you got it figured out!

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Yeap!! I didn’t know that floor unit doesn’t had a tow switch input as well... that’s why I was scratching my head! Hahaha

 

thanks a lot bud! Everything’s working fine now!

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First of all thank you for the idea.

I used a donor cheap vox 845 and hooked up as Verne suggests, it works fine as expression pedal, but the switch seems to have a strange behaviour.

If i push the switch by hand (so the exp pedal is not on 100% position) it switch between on and off, but if i press the pedal using the feet (so that when i'm on the max position the exp pedal is on 100%) it doesn't always switch between on and off.

It's very strange, i was beginning to think the 3pdt was broken ...but it is new, just purchased online and i ask me : why it does work by hand and not by feet?

Maybe i'm doing something wrong with the helix settings?
 

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Going by what you’ve described, it sounds a lot like the switch just isn’t being fully actuated when you press on it with the treadle. You should be able to adjust the switch mounting hardware so it sits higher which will make it easier to depress with your foot. 

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You are right Verne, i just tried to swap the 3pdt switch with an older one and problem is gone.

It's strange but the newer one seems to be lighter at touch so that i had to fix it a little lower because i was accidentally activating/deactivating it while using the expression pedal although in this way i was having the problem to fully actuate the switch as i described. So it seems that it's impossible to find a compromise with the newer 3pdt switch.

Fortunately i had an older one which is harder to actuate and i mounted a little higher, now it works like a charm!


Another thing just for anyone who's interested: when i changed the switch i had to use a 20k resistor because i had no 10k left and it work well with that too!

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good afternoon, what I want is to add a toe switch to the m-audio EX-P expression pedal, so that it works just like a (mission engineering toe pedal). 
and with this activate and deactivate the functions of the pedal, is it possible? as it should be done.buenas tardes, lo que quiero es agregar un interruptor de pie al pedal de expresión m-audio EX-P, para que funcione como un (pedal de punta de ingeniería de misión). 

y con esto activar y desactivar las funciones del pedal, ¿es posible? como debe hacerse.

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