Designing the Midi Foot Switch

Midi SketchI actually came up with the sketch above back in October. It is essentially what I first had in mind for my food operated USB Midi Controller. Step buttons on the left would trigger effects in my computer, while the expression pedals on the right could modulate sounds and effects. It looks a lot like the Behringer FCB1010 which I found later. It costs $150, so I’d like to build mine for less.

Assuming I can get midi messages back from my program, I’d like to have LED lights that light up when switches are on, or track how far I have pressed a pedal. I may just have a simple LED showing, but I was thinking of having an LED under some kind of a lip that will send the light out of some slots toward the buttons. It may make the end product look nicer, but it’s not necessarily needed, nor is it part of my requirements. Maybe its an idea for version 2.0.

I’ve been putting a lot of thought into the expression pedals. Most Wah-style guitar pedals have a rack and pinion gear set that turn a rotational potentiometer. I’ve seen patents for expression pedals with light sensors for modulation. I want something that will be reliable and easy to set up with repeatable results. I have an idea for using a linear potentiometer (slider) for this modulation, which hopefully will work out the way I have planned.

Actually, the more I look, the less I find on DIY expression pedal enclosures. Everyone uses already made pedals and gut out the inside ($$$). I think I’ll have to design my own. I’ll share what I come up with here on the blog.

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