Instructables

Install LEDs in your amp's footswitch

Featured
Picture of Install LEDs in your amp's footswitch
(Versión en Español aquí)

If you have a guitar or bass amplifier, the footswitch is a must-have addition that gives you the freedom to change channels and/or activate the effects loop without lifting your hands from the strings to push a button in your amplifier's control panel. However, most footswitches are just that. With this Instructable you will learn how to add a LED that lights up when you press the switch, giving a clear indication of when you have activated the circuit.
 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Tools & materials

Tools needed:
A hammer.
A center punch tool.
Electric drill.
A drill bit the same size of the LED you have selected.
Soldering iron.
Soldering wire.
Small gauge electrical wire.
Small round file.
Small straight file.
Safety goggles.

Materials needed:
One LED for every switch you want to upgrade.
One 100k resistor for every LED.
One 9V battery.
One 9V battery clip.
One rubber band or two-sided adhesive tape.
One on/off switch.
Electrical tape.
Masking tape.
A drop of oil.
A little woody stick.
Some old newspaper.

Step 2: Buying the LEDs


There are lots of LEDs, in lots of sizes and colors. I recommend smaller round ones because it's more simple and they do the work. In this Instructable I used 3/16" round LEDs because the on/off switch I had is that size, so all holes are the same size.

When you buy your LEDs, buy two of every color you want, because if you damage one you'll have a replacement handy. I always do that. Plus, LEDs are not expensive. On the other hand, you have to buy a good quality drill bit, because most footswitch cases are made out of very tough steel.

When choosing your drill bit, have you LED on hand to buy the right one. If you make a bigger hole, you'll have to find a way to hold it in place, and if it's too small, you'll have to go out and find the right drill bit. So, be a good ecologist and buy the right stuff the first time. Less trips to the store = less pollution.
bjones72 years ago
How do I invert the switch? When I turn my Vibrato on, it turns the light off.
curbowman (author)  bjones71 year ago
Sorry to be this slow to answer. To invert the switch, just put the LED ON wire (the red one in the schematics) on the opposite side of the switch.
osgeld3 years ago
I cant help but wonder why you opted to use a battery wrapped up in tape over a 9v clip, or for extra hack points a paper binder clip that has been bent out of shape
curbowman (author)  osgeld3 years ago
I'm not sure what is your question about (maybe it's because English is not my native language), but I'll try to asnwer it as good as I can. I wrapped the battery in tape to avoid short circuits. Since the footswitch should withstand rude handling, it's possible for the battery to be shifted from its place and touch part of the wiring. If this happens, the metal skin of the battery could create a short circuit, and therefore a malfunction. You could use tape (as I did) or just any non-conductive wrapping such as foam or even a fabric piece. The other half of the process is to secure the battery to the case to prevent rattling and shifting. I used a rubber band, but two-sided adhesive tape can work just as well. The best option could be a plastic battery holder such as the ones used in some electronic products and guitars; these provide a solid placement and isolation, but I just used what I had lying around. Hope this helps.