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.

22 People Made This Project!

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71 Discussions

0
Wandering Potato
Wandering Potato

Tip 2 days ago

Quick tip: place the toggle switches on the side or off-at-an-angle from the momentary switches. Placing the toggle switches directly next to the momentary switches can lead to stomping on the toggle switches accidentally. Generally, I think the decision to move from latched to unlatched is made on the fly, so better safe than sorry and accidentally kicking the toggle with your foot.

0
GeorgeW23
GeorgeW23

2 years ago

can anybody explain what does the toggle switches do here? i think in this circuit they're absolutely useless. it's just an extra loop

0
Wandering Potato
Wandering Potato

Reply 2 days ago

The toggle switches allow each momentary switch to either be latching or unlatching.
On my Boss RC3, usually only stay on unlatched. When I switch to latched, clicking the momentary switch once performs the same action as holding down the momentary switch.

0
StephenC231
StephenC231

Tip 2 months ago on Introduction

Hi, everyone. I've built a couple different switches, and have a tip or two. If you want to build this for use with an amplifier, stop right now, because the FS-6 is probably way more than you need. Most traditional amplifiers (as in, not digital modeling) just need an extension on/on latching switch, most commonly to switch between clean/distortion channels. A second switch might turn on and off a gain boost or a simple effect like tremolo. If this is what you need, search instructions to build a VFS-2. Better yet, search your favorite online marketplace for "dual latching footswitch," because you can buy a generic one that's just as small as this build for *less* than you'll pay for these parts.
Second, let's be real: the FS-6 is way more than 95% of everyone who buys it needs. Boss will sell you on it's flexibility, thanks to all those selector switches, but what they don't tell you is that the convenience is mostly for their own manufacturing processes, not for the customer. How many consumers need a foot switch that can behave like four different types of switch to use with several different Boss/Roland products? Most everyone is going to buy one to use with one specific device, they'll set the pedal's mode switches as the device's manual suggests, and promptly forget the mode switches exist. I'd guess 85% of FS-6 owners couldn't even explain what all those mode switches do, even though they paid 2-3 times the price of a simpler device that just has the two foot switches they need for their specific amp or effects unit. But Boss/Roland doesn't offer those, and certainly don't go out of their way to educate their customers on how to choose a generic product that is a better fit. End of rant.

0
jrk373
jrk373

Reply 2 months ago

Thanks for this reply. It sometimes blows my mind that this post keeps getting activity all these years later! Your comments are right on, and I totally set the switches to work for my Loop Station, and have never touched them again. :)

0
dust2524
dust2524

2 years ago

Can anyone tell me how this works with the Boss Katana? Just finished building it for fun and plugged it in the footswitch input using a TRS cable and am kind of confused as to what each footswitch/toggle does. Thanks in advance for any answers.

0
jrk373
jrk373

Reply 2 years ago

Hi there,

I'm sorry, I'm not familiar with the Katana. :(

0
StephenC231
StephenC231

Reply 2 months ago

Search for VOX VFS-2 to build a pedal that works with a guitar amp, or just buy a generic "dual latching footswitch" for $25 US on eBay. This build is not a true FS-6 clone, and will not work with a guitar amp, which needs latching switches, or circuitry to emulate them with momentary ones. Guitar amps also don't need the polarity switches in this build. Or to be more accurate, latching switches don't need them, so long as they are installed correctly.

0
jrk373
jrk373

Reply 2 months ago

Thanks for the feedback. I built this for my RC-3 Loop station. Works great for that. Never tried it with an amp.

0
jrk373
jrk373

Reply 2 years ago

A second thought...if the Katana manual has any info on what a foot switch would do, this probably does the same thing.

1
kukimonster
kukimonster

Reply 1 year ago

I have a Katana and this build does not work.
The Boss FS-6 has both Latching and Momentary, which is switchable.
This project needs latching footswitches, so DPDT on on rather than DPDT on (on).

0
dust2524
dust2524

Reply 2 years ago

I was able to find DPDT latching footswitches. Hopefully I can get this functioning properly.

989DA871-8B4C-4CA7-9D74-0686493D1326.jpeg
0
Edwin0
Edwin0

Reply 2 years ago

Same here. Got it all together, DPDT Momentary switches and

2 SPDT Toggle switches etc.but it works weird, it doesnt stay on the chosen channel and can't go back to 'panel-only'.

0
mox601
mox601

Question 3 months ago on Step 6

Hello! This is my first build ever and I have no experience in electronic parts, so I am trying to get the right things.
From the parts I read "SPDT Shorty Toggle switches", but then in the basics section I read "the toggle to be SPST (on-off-on)".
Since I see in the schematics that the toggle has 3 connections, I assume they should be SPDT (on-off-on), right?

0
StephenC231
StephenC231

Answer 2 months ago

These should be SPDT on-on. These toggles are used to make the the stomp switches behave as either normally open (sends signal when pressed), or normally closed (stops sending signal when pressed). Since both states require a signal be sent, "off" doesn't make sense. An on-off-on toggle will completely disable the stomp switch in the "off" position. SPDT switches can be either on-on or on-off-on, and both will have three connections, one for each "on" state, and one common connection. The difference is the middle "off" switch position doesn't connect either pole to the common one.

1
JohnH327
JohnH327

Tip 1 year ago

Here's what the wiring should look like if you're making a Boss Katana 50 footswitch. Make sure you use latching SPDT footswitches.

Boss Katana Footswitch.png
0
jhewitt3
jhewitt3

1 year ago on Step 1

This DOES NOT have both latching and momentary options, if using for the BOSS KATANA series you need dpdt LATCHING, not momentary.

0
mjonnn
mjonnn

1 year ago

Using with Katana 50. Channel and bank switching.

IMG_20190507_192712.jpgIMG_20190507_192754.jpgIMG_20190508_223451.jpg
0
IvAnH94
IvAnH94

Reply 1 year ago

Is it the same scheme as the clone fs-6?
Does it work without LEDs?

0
RinyS
RinyS

Question 1 year ago on Introduction

Can i also use latching switches and use the same wire schematic