Simple USB foot switch

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8bit
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Simple USB foot switch

Post by 8bit » Tue Feb 18, 2014 3:01 pm

Hi, all. I have a simple USB pedal that works perfectly with Live or anything else with MIDI-learn capability. I'd like to add another controller or two, though.

Just got my hands on a couple of mini sewing-machine pedals?SPST momentary switches in nice housings, with leads to 3.5mm connectors.

Can I easily convert them to USB foot pedals with an old USB cable? Seems like a simple thing, but I haven't been able to find a DIY solution online that doesn't involve taking apart a USB keyboard or gaming controller.

I'm afraid I'll fry my motherboard if I just strip one end of a USB cable, plug it in, and start experimenting with the exposed leads. Please help.

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Scodiddly
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Post by Scodiddly » Tue Feb 18, 2014 4:15 pm

USB doesn't work that way. You need some kind of controller that can have an intelligent conversation with the computer, politely letting it know when a button has been pressed.

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Post by Scodiddly » Tue Feb 18, 2014 4:17 pm

Hey, maybe you could hack up a USB mouse.

GlowSounds
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Post by GlowSounds » Tue Feb 18, 2014 4:29 pm

Ya, an SPST switch is speaking electricity; a USB pedal is speaking Data (i.e. 1s & 0s). 2 different languages. (at least if I'm understanding your question correctly?)

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Post by The Scum » Tue Feb 18, 2014 4:51 pm

USB is a pretty DIY-unfriendly technology. It assumes that you've got a computer on both ends of the wire (albeit the one side is a lot smaller computer than the other).

What is the MIDI pedal that you've got? And what's inside it?

Youve got a functional beginning with it - Is there any way to add on a couple more switches?

Here's someone who had a similar idea with a dictaphone footswitch and a Teensy
http://conorbarry.me/post/57346053290/d ... controller
And the software sauce needed to make it go
http://www.pjrc.com/teensy/td_midi.html

Similarly, hacking a $20 game pad isn't such a bad idea. I did it a while back with no hangups...but be careful downloading the interface apps - Rejoice is looking kinda virus-baited.
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8bit
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Post by 8bit » Tue Feb 18, 2014 7:09 pm

The working USB footswitch I've already got is a dictation transcription pedal with three "buttons." It's awesome, if bulky and heavy. I haven't looked inside it (it's packed for moving day).

I guess I'll gut an old mouse, then?maybe one of those crappy round Apple mice from Starvation Army. I'm not going to drop $20 (or even $1) on this project, since I can get a new USB pedal for $8 on eBay.

I just like these mini sewing-machine pedals because they're tiny (and free), so I was hoping for the simplest solution.

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Post by The Scum » Wed Feb 19, 2014 5:47 pm

So can you wire the sewing machine buttons in parallel with the switches in the dictaphone switch?

Or gut the dictaphone switch, and substitute the sewing machine switches?
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8bit
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Post by 8bit » Wed Feb 19, 2014 6:54 pm

The dictaphone switch, which is boxed up right now, is its own deal, which I have no interest in modifying. I just thought maybe I could take these other tiny pedals, pop them open, and easily turn them into MIDI controllers by soldering in the leads from a USB cable.

Looks like the thing to do is to use the guts from an old mouse. Still a cheap (or possibly free) project. Maybe I'll wind up turning one of them into a wireless pedal.

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Post by Andy Peters » Thu Feb 20, 2014 11:18 am

8bit wrote:The dictaphone switch, which is boxed up right now, is its own deal, which I have no interest in modifying. I just thought maybe I could take these other tiny pedals, pop them open, and easily turn them into MIDI controllers by soldering in the leads from a USB cable.

Looks like the thing to do is to use the guts from an old mouse. Still a cheap (or possibly free) project. Maybe I'll wind up turning one of them into a wireless pedal.
I bet you could use one of the GPIOs available on this guy to handle the button interface.

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Post by dave watkins » Fri Feb 21, 2014 9:11 am

or you could get somthing like this:
http://www.lividinstruments.com/hardwar ... hp#brainjr

or this:
http://store.highlyliquid.com/collectio ... s/midi-cpu

more expensive than the other options but it's software/hardware designed for the task at hand. you could make a brain module where all your sewing machine pedals plug in and then it's just one usb cable to the computer. you could add even more switches in the future too if necessary.

the hacked mouse idea does sound pretty awesome though. looking forward to see what ends up working for you.
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