Introduction: Foot Switch for Ipad

When playing an instrument, you usually have your hands full, so turning the page of your sheet music can be a problem.

I have all of my sheet music on an iPad and this is great, except when I need to turn the page.
Some music apps have solutions to this problem. This like automatic scrolling or shaking your head to turn the page, but there are some downsides to those options. For automatic scrolling you need to know exactly how fast you are going to be reading the sheet music, and you also need to set the timer again for every song. The head shaking option, just turns pages when you don't want to, just because you move your head a little.

To simplify this action I decided to make a foot switch for my iPad.

Part 1: Digitizing sheet music

Step 1: What You Need to Make a Foot Switch

I have a "lightning to usb" cable for my iPad. This is used to connect a camera to an iPad. I also use it to connect a usb-stick and a keyboard. This have me the idea to make a footswitch from an old keyboard.

So what do you need to make this switch:

  1. An iPad
  2. A lightning to usb or 30-pin to usb cable (this depends or the type of iPad you have)
  3. A keyboard (this can be a wired or wireless one, I had an old wired usb keyboard lying around, so I used that one, but if you prefer not to have cables, a simple wireless keyboard should also work)
  4. 2 push buttons (1 to turn the page forward, 1 to go back one page)
  5. Some wires
  6. Some sort of enclose (i used a plastic box)
  7. Extra: a battery box (if you are using a wireless keyboard)

Step 2: Tools You Need to Make the Foot Switch

  1. Soldering iron
  2. Solder
  3. Pliers (or scissors) to cut the wire
  4. Stripping pliers (or a knife) to strip the ends of the wire
  5. Screwdrive
  6. A drill (to cut holes in your box)

Step 3: Test Your Keyboard

This might seem simple, but you really need to test the keyboard on your iPad before you start. Not all keyboards might work on your iPad, so make sure yours does before you start taking things apart.

Attach your keyboard to the cable and attach that to your iPad.

Open the app notes and start typing, you should see the letters appear.

Now your good to go!

Step 4: Open the Keyboard

Use your screwdriver and open your keyboard. Sometimes there are screws under the labels, so check for those.

Your keyboard should open easily.

Step 5: Take the Keyboard Apart

When you open your keyboard, you will see some plastic sheet and also a circuit board.

You only need the circuit board, so unscrew it from the plastic.

When you are using a wired keyboard, your will now have the circuit board, with the long usb cable.

If you are using a wireless keyboard, you will have the circuit board, with a black and a red wire attached to the battery part of your keyboard.

Step 6: Test the Keys

Attach the circuit board to the iPad, the same way you did befor.

Go to the app your are going to be using the switch for. I'm using "piascore" for my sheet music.

Strip some wire to test the keys.

Press the wire to one of the contacts on the circuit board of your keyboard. The other end of the wire goes to another contact. If you do this in the app note, your should see some letter or other character appear.

We want to find out witch combination is used to turn the page.
In "Piascore" the Arrow keys are used to turn the pages. I moved my wire from contact to contact, while have piascore open. After a few tries I found out witch combinations turned the pages forward or back one page.

Write down your combinations. You'll need this later on.

Step 7: Solder Wires to the Contacts

Now that you now witch contacts turn the pages, you can solder wires to those contacts.

You might need a knife to scrape on the contacts to be able to solder onto them.

You should have four wires attached to your keyboard circuit. A combination of 2 wires lets you turn a page.
Solder the other ends of your wires on the buttons or use clips to attach them.

If you are using a wireless keyboard, you will need to solder the red and black wires to a battery box, so you can easily change the batteries of your keyboard

Step 8: Prepare Your Enclosure/box

I used a plastic box to put the keyboard circuit in and attach the buttons to. You can use whatever you want for this, but it needs to be strong enough.

I drilled 2 big holes in the bottom of my box (i'm using the box upside down) and 1 small hole in the side.
With a knife i made an cut in the side of the box to the hole. (this is to make a space for the usb cable)

Step 9: Finish Your Foot Switch

Put everything in the box and close it.

Your foot switch is now finished.

Attach it to your iPad using the lightning to usb cable.

Test everything out.

Conclusion: It really helps when playing long songs. One thing I would do different, if I was to make a new foot switch is the enclosure. The plastic box, isn't that great as a foot switch. Making a good box for projects isn't easy when just using hand tools. I think someone with a 3D printer could make a beautiful case for this ;-)

I hope you enjoyed my instructable. If you want to find out how to digitize your sheet music, have a look at my other instructable.

If you like this idea, please vote for me. I've entered this instructable in some competions.

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