Boss FS-6 Clone: Build Your Own

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Introduction: Boss FS-6 Clone: Build Your Own

This is an explanation of how to create your own Boss FS-6 footswitch.

Most Roland guitar amplifiers and many Boss effect pedals require a footswitch in order to be used to their full potential. However, the only branded product is the Boss FS-6 (or FS-5). This is a fine product; high quality, sturdy and very useful. The FS pedals have 2 major drawbacks. The first is that they are expensive. The second, and to me the most important, is that they are HUGE!

This first became an issue for me when I got my Boss RC-3 Loop Station (shout-out to my beautiful wife Angela for the awesome Christmas present). In order to make the most of this looper you need a double footswitch. On a pedalboard, the FS-6 takes up 2 times the space of the Loop Station itself. Well, that dog just don't hunt.

So, I began doing some research, and some shopping, and decided to go my own way. Here is how I did it...

Step 1: Boss FS-6 Clone: Materials

Here is what you will need:

From MammothElectronics.com:
1. 2 DPDT Momentary switches #800-1001, $3.90 ea.
2. 2 SPDT Shorty Toggle switches #800-1008, $1.78 ea.
3. 2 Shorty Toggle switch covers #, $801-T2-0001, $0.30 ea.
4. 1 1/4 in. stereo jack #610-1001, $0.70
5. 1 Enclosure #500-1000, $9.07, with choice of color

From Ace Hardware (if you are bothering to read this article, you likely have these things in your garage):
1. Quality soldering iron
2. Red & Black wire
3. Wire clippers
4. I also highly recommend springing for a soldering station. If you are into this kind of thing you will get your money's worth over time.


Step 2: Boss FS-6 Clone: the Plan

This is the schematic for the footswitch we are going to build.

The basics:
You need the footswitches to be DPDT (Double-pole, Double-throw) and the toggle to be SPST (on-off-on). This allows the footswitch to be switched between 'normally open' or 'normally closed'. My RC-3 Loop Station needs 'normally closed', but since we are trying to make a solid clone, we want it to be able to switch like the FS-6.

The FS-6 itself uses sliding switches, which are elegant, but ultimately very challenging to execute neatly in a home workroom, so it's toggles for us. Be sure you buy the short toggles so they are not in the way when you step on the footswitch.

You also need the DPDT switch to be momentary, meaning that it doesn't latch when you press it. It opens, sends the signal, then closes again. Here we can not match the FS-6. The original Boss can be switched to be latching or non-latching.

Final note on the switches: I recommend the x-wing style soldering lugs for the switch. It gets pretty tight inside the enclosure, so you will need a low profile.

Next, we need a 1\4 in. stereo jack, also called TRS (Tip, Ring, Sleeve) in order to accommodate 2 switches. You can also use this footswitch for a device that only has one lead. In that case, only the switch wired to the tip will be active.

Finally, you need your enclosure. If you are unable to download the real schematic from this site, you should be able to copy over the dimensions and details to some graph paper, or use Visio like I did. I bought my enclosure from MammothElectronics.com, where you can order them already painted. Awesome.

Step 3: Boss FS-6 Clone: Soldering Switches and Toggles

Alright, let's get busy.

1. Cut wires
a. 2 x 2.5 in. red
b. 2 x 2.5 in. black
c. 2 x 5 in. red
d. 2 x 5 in. black

2. Solder
a. small red to top of switch and top of toggle
b. small black to bottom of switch and bottom of toggle
c. long black to middle of toggle
d. long red to middle of switch

Step 4: Boss FS-6 Clone: Soldering the Stereo (TRS) Jack

Now we will complete this circuit with the stereo jack.

1. Solder
a. wrap the end of the two black wires together
b. solder black wires to the Sleeve lug (ground)
c. solder red wire 1 to the Tip lug
d. solder red wire 2 to the Ring lug

Step 5: Boss FS-6 Clone: the Enclosure

This is the cool part that everyone will see, so be careful.

First, tape your template to the enclosure with some masking tape. Take your time to make sure it is on perfectly straight. Cover the whole paper with the tape to prevent scratching with your drill.

Drill the holes:
1. Switch holes - 1/2 in. bit
2. Toggle holes - 7/32 in. bit
3. Jack hole - 1/4 in. bit

Don't get crazy with the drill. Use a fast, but controllable speed. Make sure your bit is centered on the schematic. Start slow to make a small dent to guide you in for the big finish. Take it easy. If you botch it here, you will be unhappy, and if you think like me, will soon be ordering up a new enclosure to try again.

Once the holes are drilled, use an air canister and blow out any metal shards. Then remove the tape, and blow out any left over shards. Don't wipe, you don't want to scratch that finish now after having been so careful with the drill.

Step 6: Boss FS-6 Clone: Assemble

Now we put it all together.

Take a close look at the space you have. Plan it out by bending the wires around neatly before actually installing in the enclosure. When you are set, install and tighten down the nuts. Make sure you have the washers in the right place, or you might short out your circuit.

Once installed, have another look at your wires. Arrange them so they are out of the way of each other, and so they look pretty. When you are satisfied, attach the bottom panel and screw it home.

Step 7: Boss FS-6 Clone: Finish

Congratulations! You have just created a very stylish, compact and functional, dual momentary, normal open/normal closed, Boss FS-6 Clone, footswitch!

I hope you had fun with this project. I did. Now, plug in and go Rock & Roll.

14 People Made This Project!

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user

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Please be positive and constructive.

Tips

Questions

Hello from Brazil! I went pricing switches today in anticipation of building one of these. A couple questions: wouldn't the toggles be on-off rather than on-off-on? These are two position toggles, correct? Another thing: there's no reason you couldn't use rocker switches (no pun intended) instead of toggles is there? Seems they'd be less prone to damage... Hoping to use this with a Boss GT-1 I just purchased, and it may work with my Brazilian combo amp as well!

50 Comments

Hello,

The toggles change the switches from momentary to latching and back again. The RC-3 uses momentary, pretty sure. Boss has probably hundreds of other pedals out there, but I'm not sure which of them would use latching. For example, I could use this pedal on my old Roland amp to switch back and forth from clean to distorted in the latching mode. On my much newer Cube amp, the channel switcher uses momentary.

I hope that helps. I honestly never actually use the toggles. I only use the switch for my RC-3. I use my Boss Power Stack for distortion on my Cube amp. However, the project is a clone of the FS-6, which has the toggles, so I included them in the project (https://www.boss.info/us/products/fs-6/).

I hope that helps. I'm always so happy to see people still using this project.

Hi, jrk373. Thanks for the instructable. The build directions are very clear. I got here from another guy who referenced your project. He moved the toggles to the side of the box, out of the way. His box doesn't look as good as yours.

"The toggles change the (momentary) switches from momentary to latching and back again."

I was struggling to understand this, and I've come to the conclusion that's not precisely correct. UpiW's description is more accurate.

What you see is that the toggle switch ACTS that way, but only as long as you don't touch the momentary switch. In the "NC" (RC-3) mode, the switch is on. In the "NO" mode, the switch is off. That works fine until you touch the momentary switch. What would work with more certainty is a DPDT toggle, one side wired to be an uninterruptible ON-OFF. You know, in case you're jamming, and you stomp on the wrong switch by accident. You wouldn't want to blow out an amp or something with the power spike.

Anyway, I'm inspired by and grateful for your work, and I'm going to try to build a box that has 3 momentary switches. Left to go down the loop list, right to go up and far right to run the tempo and whatever else that runs. This will require a timing relay to that one stomp of the left switch with shut off power for two seconds, so that it acts like a hold.

I'll let you know how that goes. Thanks a lot!

Yes, I think so. I think someone had commented that they had. It won’t be an exact clone anymore, so I don’t know how that will affect other pedals.

Can I use it on BOSS GT 100 Guitar? Is it possible?

Hello, I own an old OD-2r pedal. The manual said it needs a FS-5L (wich seems to be more simple) .

is it possible to use this FS-6 with it ?

Thanks a lot

4 replies

The short answer is, I don't know. However, it's a pretty basic circuit? I suspect that it would. To know for sure, I would take your pedal to you local guitar shop and try it out. Maybe mine usually has the FS-6 in stock, and most will let you try stuff out like the...

You are a champ for this whole thing thanks !!

Thanks!

Ok, I'll try. Thanks again for your answer

Great write up! only issue i ran into... my drill bits were too small on 1/4" and 7/32" so had to use the next size up but all works great. tip: saved a few dollars by buying the unpainted enclosure and no worries scratching it. Fun project took me about 3 hrs. Thanks again.

4 replies

Ps. Use it on a Roland ac-33 amp to switch looper.

I only hesitated to start this project because I might have an amp problem. I have a Roland AC-33 and have a Berhinger FS112 pedal. It works with Boss VE-5 switching the loop on and off. But it doesn't work with the AC-33. I can't understand. I heard maybe it was "polarity" problem and it didn't have a polarity switch so I used a TRS female to RCA female and reversed RCA male to TRS male to switch polarity. And even made a TRS cable which reversed the tip and ring. But in the end, none of them worked. A mono TS cable and sustain pedal can switch on the record/overdub/play function, but I can't get any pedal to switch the stop/clear functions. Only pressing the button on the amp itself with my finger. So I wonder if there is a problem with my amp or should I buy Boss FS-6? I prefer a lighter pedal for street performance. How do I find out what's wrong before I start this project?

rca F trs M.jpgtrs F rca M.jpgYamaha-fc7-polarity-switch cable syst.jpgbehringer fs112acx.pngHosa_Technology_HPE_325_Stereo_1_4_Female_Phone_160696.jpg

Technically it is very easy. I have the same problem with the two devices. But I have a working solution with two fs-5u and a Y-cable. So it was easy to find the reason. The behringer is a NO-switch (Normally Open). But the AC-33 needs a NC-switch (Normally Closed). Fs-5u has the toggle switch (polarity) to change this feature. I hope it is possible to modify the behringer in this way.

did you ever figure this out? I have a similar M-Audio thing that won't work with a Roland GR-30 that also uses these, the 6 or two 5's with a try splitter to connect them. Thanks

Just a question : What is the difference between the FS-5L and this FS-6 ? Is it possible to use it with an old OD-2r ? thanks a lot

1 reply

The 5L means it has a latching switch. On click off. These are u or unlatching meaning momentary on or off.

Am I missing the power supply here? FS6 required its own battery no?

1 reply

Not necessary without LEDs???

user

Many posters have asked what the two small toggle switches do?

It looks like the toggle when in one position will be using the open-when-pressed mode of the momentary foot switch; when in the other it uses the close-when-pressed mode of the foot switch

I take it that the RC-3 will require (and can only respond to) the closed-when-pressed mode.

The open-when pressed mode is perhaps usable by other devices?