Introduction: Bluetooth Page-turner Pedal for Sheet Music Apps

This Instructable uses an Bluefruit EZ-Key module to make a Bluetooth page turner pedal. The pedal enables me to easily turn the page on any sheet music app I wish to use on my tablet, without taking my hands off my saxophone. I use it with the Mobile Sheets app on my Android tablet, but it works with other apps and with other devices such as the iPad.

WARNING: It looks like the Adafruit EZ-Key is pretty much out of stock everywhere - you may want to check stock before making plans. Goto to adafruit.com or coolcomponents.co,uk.

Commercial units are available, but buying one is (a) more expensive and (b) much less fun. I did consider using a low-cost Arduino Pro Mini with a cheap Bluetooth interface, but it's hard to implement the HID interface required, and so I settled on using the Adafruit board instead.

Let's get on with it.

Step 1: Gather Your Gear

For this project I used:

- 1 off Laney double foot pedal
- 1 off Adafruit Bluefruit EZ-Key (info here)
- 1 off 16mm OD SPDT switch, latching, with blue LED 
- 1 off 12mm OD SPST switch, momentary, with red LED
- 2 off momentary footswitches
- 1 off PP3 battery connector
- 1 off PP3 battery
- 2 off 1k0 resistors
- some PCB pins
- some 0.1" connector shells
- connector teminals to fit above
- stranded hookup wire
- double-sided automotive tape

Step 2: Hack Your Case

There are loads of cheapo pedals out there, but I wanted one to last. I bought a two-switch Laney pedal for UKP14. It's made from 1.7mm still plate, which means it's heavy enough not to slide around the stage. Sadly, I could only find one with locking switches, meaning I had to buy replacements.

The Laney box has heavy-duty foam stuck to the bottom, and this has to be removed where it overlaps the join in the case. The second picture shows the foam having been cut away. 

Once the case is open, the jack cable is removed and the PCB with existing switches is taken out. Now would be a good time to open up the mounting holes for the two switches. I put mine in the back of the case, but I did this a little later which meant taking the footswitches out again. 

The new switches are then fixed in place.



Step 3: Wire the Switches

The switches should be wired up before fitting.

Each switch will have a pair of LED terminals. An appropriate resistor will be required to drop the voltage and limit the current across the LEDs. I used 1K for both of mine.

As you can see, the limiting resistor for my ON/OFF switch goes straight from the switched side to the LED. I've taken the 9V supply from the battery directly to the switch.

All wires for the PAIR switch go to the Adafruit Bluetooth EZ-key.

There is heatshrink sleeving on every terminal for robustness.

Step 4: Mount the Hardware

The switches are mounted and secured in position.

I then cut a strip of double-sided automotive tape to secure the EZ-key in place. I did the same for the battery, making sure it wouldn't foul the case when reassembled.


Step 5: Connect Up

Connecting up is pretty straightforward.

In this image:

- the footswitches are connected to '0' and '1 on the EZ-key, as well as to ground (brown, blue, black wires);
- battery 9V through the switch to 'Vin' (red wire);
- battery 0V to 'G' (black wire);
- Power switch LED +ve to Vin via limiting resistor
- Power switch LED -ve to 'Grounds' (black wire);

- PAIR switch contacts to 'PB' and '3V' (white wires);
- PAIR switch LED +ve to 'L2', -ve to 'Grounds' (red, black wires).

The PAIR switch LED has a limiting resistor soldered onto the end of the connecting wire - see image.

The third, rather poor image shows the connections in place.

25 Nov 2014 - I have added a circuit diagram.



Step 6: Done Deal!

With the wiring connected, it was time to test. 

The blue LED came on with the power, and the red LED started flashing at about 1Hz, showing the device as discoverable. I paired with my tablet, pushed the PAIR button and that was it - it just works.

Adafruit's guide to LED meanings is below.

My pedal was simple and did the job.

There's an exhaustive guide to the EZ-key module and to reprogramming output here.


Comments

author
DevanVorster (author)2017-07-26

Hello Peakacentral
This is an awesome Instructable! Is it possible to use a Adafruit Feather 32u4 instead of the Bluefruit ez-key? I can't find any stock of the Bluefruits. Can you also just assist me with the wiring. It would be appreciated.

Regards,

Devan

author
DevanVorster (author)2017-07-25

Hey Peakecentral
Can you please assist me in using a Adafruit Feather 32u4 instead of the Bluefruit. I can't find the Bluefruit in stock and want to make the pedal because this is a really nice instructable. I just need a rough wiring diagram of some sort.

Regards,

Devan

author
Rory Makes Stuff (author)2016-06-02

Has anyone been able to solve the issue whereby with this turned on, the onscreen keyboard doesn't appear? I need it to pick songs but having this device connected disables the onscreen keyboard across all apps.

author

You need to use a proper app for sheet music on you tablet that works with a page turner.

I use setlist helper on Android the songs come up in in an alphabetical list so I can easily scroll for the corect song. Plus you can make a playlist flr each gig. Easy

author

The Adafruit device is seen as a keyboard, which is why the soft keyboard does not appear.

author

Hi there,

I wasn't aware of this, but an email to Adafruit would probably get a response. Let us know!

author
flyfishermanmike (author)2016-10-30

I'm not finding the Adafruit Bluefruit EZ-Key in stock anywhere. Is there an alternative that's as easy?

author

I know this is a few months old, but I'm wondering if this particular bluefruit model is reaching end-of-life. I can't even find it on mouser. Bummer... makes me wish I would have bought 3-4 more of them. This was probably the most useful bluetooth board I've ever owned.

author
hastyman made it! (author)2016-08-14

So I've taken the original idea and gone a step further. I've added a few more momentary switches and have started using it as an Airturn BT-106 Quad with Jam Up Pro on my bass. It works beautifully with no problems. In addition to the four controller switches I also added volume up/down on the left side of the enclosure. I also added an additional LED with lights up every time a switch is depressed as a visual indicator. The enclosure is one I made out of 16 ga steel with a sheetmetal brake.

It probably needs an instructable of it's own, but I wanted to give credit where credit is due. Thanks for a great tutorial to start out the project.

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author
peakecentral (author)hastyman2016-08-16

hastyman, that sounds awesome! I think you owe the world needs to know about your version, so let us know if you do an instructable. Thanks for the credit, but I think you took it to the next level. Great work.

author
Bartv35 made it! (author)2016-06-02

Thanks so much for this awesome tutorial!

It so happens that I had the exact same Laney pedal lying around.. Used to use it with a guitar amp which I don't have anymore.

Here's what it looks now!
The push buttons aren't aligned perfectly, I didn't have the right drill. Other than that I'm super happy with my build.

I added a switching 9V DC jack. So it can function both on battery as via power adapter.

I play both tuba and guitar.. Whenever I play guitar I also bring my effects pedal board with me, which has a 9v power box on it. So I can connect it to the adapter and the battery wont't drain!

I also wrapped the pedal with matte black self-adhesive film. Because it had some scratches and dings after a couple years' use.
Now it looks as new and the Laney brand is no longer visible :-)

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author
peakecentral (author)Bartv352016-06-03

Great job! Tuba and guitar - an interesting combination. I quite liked the branding on mine, but I see your intention. I like the dual power idea.

author
NickM135 (author)2016-05-25

I
produced a Bluetooth pedal some time ago for my Dad following this and it
worked brilliantly, a fantastic tutorial. A friend has asked if I could make
them one, I was wondering if instead of using the Adafruit EZ-key as this costs
about 18 pound, could you use a Generic Arduino Uno R3 and Bluetooth module,
which you can get for about 4 to 5 pound for both? I would be interested in
your replies.

author
peakecentral (author)NickM1352016-05-31

TBH it'll cost you much more than £14 in effort to make it work. The EZ-key makes it easy, and the alternative is T-O-U-G-H. Up to you, but a no-brainer for me.

author
hastyman made it! (author)2016-03-12

Nice write up! Well thought out and made for an easy build. I actually made this a while back but never got around to posting images. Fits pretty snugly into a 1590B Hammond box and doesn't take up much space on the pedal board. However, I would recommend either a battery or a separate power supply, it can add some interference to high gain effect pedals.

image.jpeg
author
peakecentral (author)hastyman2016-04-04

Thanks for the warning about interference - I'm sue it will affect some people.

author
szepalmokat made it! (author)2016-04-03

Thank you for the idea, very good tutorial!

I've made it twice. For the second exemplar, I've taken a Marshall PEDL-90010 that (unlike most such pedals) has momentary footswitches and I could reuse them. No bluetooth problem with the metal casing.

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author
peakecentral (author)szepalmokat2016-04-04

That looks like a great build!

I think there's plenty of power in Bluetooth to make it a couple of metres to a tablet. I'm so pleased so many people like this Instructable!

author
Rory Makes Stuff (author)2015-12-09

Thanks for the great writeup! There's no reason we couldn't add more pedals to this, right? For example, to use with LoopyHD or something that benefits from four pedals.

Correct me if I'm wrong: the basic difference (and advantage) I see with this pedal and others on the market is that others (like the IK Blueboard) connect to a proprietary app which then routes the MIDI information to other apps, which causes crosstalk when two receiving apps are open (eg. sheet music + Loopy + JamUp). This pedal connects directly to whichever app is at the foreground, correct? So, that issue shouldn't happen?

author

Thanks for the questions.
You can use more of the many inputs for extra switches and program the EZKey to respond, so that's not a problem.
Your second question is more interesting (i.e. I don't know). I believe the Bluetooth link is set up by the program end. Admittedly, my phone can use a bluetooth link to my smartwatch whilst also connected to my car, but that's as far as i have pushed it. Looks like you need to go forth and hack, then come and let us know what happened. May the force be with you.

author
ennalta made it! (author)2015-11-10

I did mine a little differently. I ditched the common guitar switch box for a box made of wood and Lexan with arcade buttons instead of foot switches. Works great!

2015-11-08 15.01.41.jpg
author
peakecentral (author)ennalta2015-11-10

That looks great, All I would say is it won't hurt as much when you throw it at another musician!

author
PaulH78 made it! (author)2015-10-12

Made this using a 2 gang plug socket wall mount box and a blank lid. Box was £5 off eBay.

Works perfectly, and is so solid!

I didn't include the1k0 resistors as I used a 9v battery and 12v LED switches. I assumed I only needed to include resistors if the LED voltage was less than the supplied voltage. Someone comment/explain if there is another reason to include them, thanks.

The metal shell does not block the Bluetooth signal.

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author
peakecentral (author)PaulH782015-10-12

Hi there, that looks like it'll survive a good kicking!

The resistors are there to limit the current, and I know my switches didn't contain resistors. I'd put a meter across them to make sure there's a resistor in there, or your LEDs could burn brightly for a short life...

Nice build. It's great how everyone puts their own spin on this make.

author
llancaster3 (author)2015-09-19

I just put one of these together. Great instructable.... And it just works. I made my box using vinyl decking material and a couple small switches I had. Thanks so much for this instructable.

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author
2006lorcan (author)2015-08-27

Anybody know where I can get the 12mm red switch. No joy on eBay and not readily available in ireland.

author
peakecentral (author)2006lorcan2015-08-27

Something like this will do it: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/1PC-12mm-RED-LED-Lighted...

You can ask he vendor what voltage LED is included.

author
Stevehapner2 made it! (author)2015-07-13

Works with music stand and that's all I need it for. Less expensive, and far more rugged than anything I've seen that you can buy. Easy to follow instructions with a nice wiring diagram. This is my first time using instructables and I will be back for more soon.

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author

Hi Steve,

Glad you're happy and I love the teeth on the box!

author
dottorbiker (author)2015-07-20

Hi!
can I make the same but with arduino leonardo and bluetooth module?
It will be more inexpensive!

I see some interesting videos like:

thanks a lot

Michele

author
peakecentral (author)dottorbiker2015-07-24

The Leonardo should be fine, but this design uses the Adafruit Bluefruit EZ-Key. Using another Bluetooth device will require programming.

author
Nicholas MacNaughtan (author)2015-07-08

Hi I am making this for my dad, he has a Samsung Android tablet. Could you recommend a good app for digtal sheet music currently stored as PDF's. Thank you so much for these instructions there fantastic, halfway through making pedal.

author

Mobilesheets, without doubt. It's brilliant. I use it all the time.

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.zubersoft.mobilesheetspro&hl=en-GB

author

thanks very much for your quick response. Will let him know

author

also I am little stuck on the switches this is my first attempt at building something electronic, my switch has 5 connectors a positive negative and 3 at the bottom NC1 NO1 C1 I have connected the positive and negative to check if works and LED comes on, it is a 12v 16mm, do I need to drop the voltage for the EZ key could you explain the steps in a little more detail, I'm a bit thick lol, sorry for the inconvenience. Best wishes, Nick.

author

Well, you will need a resistor to limit the current through the LED. About 680 ohms will do. Many calculators online. The switch is easy - use the NO1 (normally open) and C1 (Common) contacts. Ignore the normally closed (NC) terminal.You can connect the LED as I illustrate, but it will be a bit dim.

author

so just to reiterate, I take the wire directly from the battery in to NO1 using a resistor, I cross to the positive + (the wire that comes out goes to VIM) and go across the LED and black out of Negative - to ground on EZ KEY is that right thank you so much for your help. Sorry to be a pain, I am a complete beginner, but my dad has wanted a pedal for ages he play's the saxophone ?. Thanks again, best wishes,

Nick

author

Hi Peakecentral is my previous message the correct configuration, and should I use 680 ohms resistor for both? please help thank. you so much.

author

Nicholas, I've been away. I'm sure 680R will be fine, but you do need to work this stuff out for yourself. That's what making is all about!

author
peakecentral (author)2015-04-15

Hi Aaron,

Enjoy your first make! Looking back on mine, I probably should have taken more time to get the cable lengths perfect. So if you're a perfectionist, make sure you get some heat shrink to tidy it all up. And of course, ensure the heat shrink pieces are exactly the same length...

Welcome to Instructables.

author
TheLaMan (author)2015-04-15

Hi All!

I'm new here. So I've got all my parts and I'm going to start the build soon here. Hopefully it'll go smoothly and come out looking good, with my perfectionist expectations. I'll update with some images when it's finish or I am. :)

I'm a very technical person in many area and for many years, I do work in: custom builds/support for networks , computer, audio (custom live sound setups and recording studio builds and maintenance) so I'm handy with the soldering iron and computer and other electronics, but haven't really got into this type of building electronics, so I'm hoping I found a new passion. There are many other projects ive had my eyes on and this seems like a good easy start. Wish me luck!

All The Best,

Aaron Laman

author
miloTheGreat made it! (author)2015-03-23

Works like a charm in my music notation software...

I'm powering with a PP9, any idea how long it will last?

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author

Looks good!

My PP9's been in for ages, and it was cheap one. I guess it will last until it goes flat.

Sorry, couldn't resist it. Just have a spare standing by. Hmm, you could have a switchover button to easily swap to the backup battery...

author

You couldn't resist it? Awesome.

author

I'm putting together a really small one that clips onto any instrument. So I need a battery for at least 3 hours on one charge.

author

I'd use the smallest LiPo I could get away with for a solution like yours. The AirTurn Digit II is pretty small, if expensive, and you'd never get the EZ-key down that small.

author

Looks good!

My PP9's been in for ages, and it was cheap one. I guess it will last until it goes flat.

Sorry, couldn't resist it. Just have a spare standing by. Hmm, you could have a switchover button to easily swap to the backup battery...

author
mark.a.declue made it! (author)2015-03-21

I gutted my channel selector pedal and wired in the ez key. Works great for planning center online music stand. I'm hoping to figure out other programs to use it with, it works great. Thanks for the walk-through, it was very detailed and very accurate. I just need to find a pairing switch, I just have a jumper right now. Only thing I did different was used a 3x AAA power supply.. But it works great.

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author

Thanks for the link, and well done on the app!

author

Love it! That's a great looking pedal, looks like it'll last forever.

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