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.


11 People Made This Project!

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53 Discussions

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DevanVorster

1 year ago

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

2 replies
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Daveek42DevanVorster

Reply 11 months ago

I’m about to (try to) make one with the Feather M0 LE. I’ll try to post results and let everyone know how it goes. I am lead to believe adafruit will re-release the EZ Key but they don’t do ETAs and it’s obviously been out for ages!

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peakecentralDevanVorster

Reply 12 months ago

Sorry for the late delay. I'm not going to redesign it sorry - be a maker and publish it on instructables!

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MarkW341

12 months ago

Im so keen to make this. I have my stomp box and a few bits. I have a beginner question. Why does the on/off switch need to be double throw?

1 reply
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peakecentralMarkW341

Reply 12 months ago

It doesn't, my mistake.

The one I used had a single pole switch plus the terminals for the internal LED.

I'd be surprised if you can find the EZ-key nowadays - I don't think Adafruit make them any more. Bad times!

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DevanVorster

1 year ago

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

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Rory Makes Stuff

2 years ago

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.

3 replies
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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

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hastymanRory Makes Stuff

Reply 2 years ago

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

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peakecentralRory Makes Stuff

Reply 2 years ago

Hi there,

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

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flyfishermanmike

2 years ago

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

1 reply
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hastymanflyfishermanmike

Reply 1 year ago

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.

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NickM135

2 years ago

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.

1 reply
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peakecentralNickM135

Reply 2 years ago

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.

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Rory Makes Stuff

2 years ago

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?

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peakecentralRory Makes Stuff

Reply 2 years ago

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.

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llancaster3

3 years ago

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.

1442680358728-44954838.jpg1442680418834267125934.jpg
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2006lorcan

3 years ago

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

1 reply
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dottorbiker

3 years ago on Introduction

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