Line 6 Spider Amp Hack




Introduction: Line 6 Spider Amp Hack

About: I'm a middle aged married man! I like to work with electronics, computers, cable, test equipment. Making things work. Playing with electronics is my life I guess, but mostly discovering how it works. Beep! ...
If you have Line 6 Spider amplifier, and you don't have the foot pedal as an accessory, I bet you wish you did?  This hack might be for you.

If you notice on the amplifier there is a 8 pin jack similar to what people in the network world call a RJ45 jack.  

Well I looked all over on the Internet,  and could not find an answer to my question.  What is the schematic for the foot switch?  So I started to investigate what each pin did.  I assumed since Line 6 is mostly digital based, I'm dealing with high and lows. i.e.  One's and zero's.   

I got my digital multimeter and figured out the voltage on the various pins to ground. 

Pin 1 Ground
Pin 2 + 5 VDC
Pin 3 + Ground
Pin 4 + 5 VDC
Pin 5 +.1  ? Not quite ground
Pin 6 + 5 VDC
Pin 7 + 5 VDC
Pin 8 + 5 VDC

Pin 5 seemed kind of odd to me, so I shorted it to pin 6.  To my surprise the amplifier shuts all effects down.  Including the LEDs, but low and behold I still get amplification, but no effects.  Just plain amplification is all I would get.  If I short to pin  6 to pin 5 again, it toggles back to the effect.  Voila, I get some control with my own rigged up foot switch. 

Pin 5 must be a trigger that's my only deductions.  I tried other combinations like 7 and 1 it seems to reset the amp. 
You may want to play with shorting to other pins, but pins 5 and 6 seem to be the most useful  I noticed when the effect is really distorted with overdrive there is a slight pop sometimes when it kicks in, so you might find that shorting pin 7 and 1 might be more useful in this case, but you would have to install two switches.

Material needed:
RJ45 Jack  I'm using a Levington Jack from Home Depot.  The package comes with a punch down tool too.
Some 22 guage wire to punch down to a jack.  Scrap from CAT5e cable will do.  
A suface mount box to house jack.  This is the Leviton box made for the jack that I purchased.
Patch network cord 8 pin plug on both sides.  It has to be a straight through cable.
A normally open switch to provide the momentary short to toggle effect.
Solder to secure the wire to the switch.

Wire snips
Punch down tool like the one in the picture
Soldering Iron
3/8 bit to drill into the plastic box.

When punching down the wire on the jack I followed the T568B which is the standard that most people follow.
I picked solid green and White blue which are pins 5 and 6 of the jack.

You can probably buy all the parts for less than $10.00.  You can splurge on LED's and a 330 ohm resisters to show connectivity since we are dealing with 5 volts at the end of the wire, but not necessary.  

A simple hack!

Well there you have it! Let me know if you find something else, or improvement to this hack. 

I know I'm probably doing something that LIne 6 probably would say not to do, but it's worked for me, and now I'm enjoying my amp more. 
I could not get the video to work using the uploader, so I posted the video on you tube.  The link is imbeded in the body of this instructible.

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    10 Discussions

    I found something
    it maybe helpfull

    Line 6 FBV interface

    Using an existing open source project called MIOS32 ( with the addition of a driver for the FBV interface an example platform is made. For the FBV interface an additional software module is made.

    Hardware wise the interface is full-duplex RS-485 based with MIDI speeds (31.25 kbaud).

    Pinout of the RJ-45 connector:
    1: GND
    2: +9V
    3: FBV TX +
    4: GND
    5: +9V
    6: FBV TX -
    7: FBV RX +
    8: FBV RX -

    Protocol wise there is a slight difference. Still it looks a lot like sysex messages but with a slight difference.
    For each button, led and footcontroller the state is communicated in a single message per item. When a state of a button / controller changes, a message is send from the FBV with the new state.

    The message structure is:
    start of message: 0xF0
    length (CMD + params): single byte.
    Command: single byte.
    Params: 0 to n bytes


    Reply 3 years ago

    I guess that the final lines mean that a rs485-to-usb (ebay) will not do the job if you want to turn a shortboard into a midi controller pedal ?!


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Please help me making two switch for my POD 2.0.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Information on your POD floorboard pinout can be found on Google, but you really need to know exactly what you are looking for! Don't use pins 5 and 6 like that though, it doesn't do what you think it does, and it won't be reliable.

    Summary: This is for Line 6 POD, which seems to match your pinout.

    1 0v
    2 Wah (input)
    3 0v
    4 Volume (input)
    5 LED Drive (output)
    6 Switch (input)
    7 +5v
    8 +5v

    Pin 2 and Pin 4 are a variable voltage, derived from the 0v/5v and used to indicate the position of the Wah and Volume Pedals on the floorboard. They are opto-isolated in the real unit, but you might get away hanging a pot across 0v, 5v and using the wiper to drive pin 2 (or pin 4).

    Pin 5 is an output from the Line 6, it is a logic level pulse train designed to drive LEDs (status leds, 7 segment displays). There is a series of pulses, up to 32, which drive ALL of the LEDS off one pin, through simple logic circuitry.

    Pin 6 is an input, for ALL of the various switches (Tap Tempo, Channel/FX on off/Wah enable/A-B-C-D/Up/Down/Bank switch). There is a chain of different value resistors connected between Pin 6 and ground. As you press each individual switch, an internal resistor in the Line 6 product (to +5v) makes one half of a potential divider with the resistor in the floorboard (to 0v), and the product then works out what you are doing by reading the voltage.

    Get a closer look at a real Pod Floorboard and see how much stuff is on there to be controlled by so few pins.

    Full scoop at which was an eyeopener for me!


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you!

    I knew I would spark some responses to my hack. When I was trying to find info before, I just couldn't find anything regarding the line 6 pin out on the spider amp. Also I did not have access to to the floorboard.

    I've gone to the web site that you suggested. There is more detail that I can work with. I will invest some more time and perhaps line 6 hack two will be my next instructable. Again thank you for your response.



    Can anyone tell me how can i set two switches for just up down the tones.I got a POD 2.0 v.2 (FVB Pedal) but i can't arrange the money to buy a Pedal board for it.I am facing problems using it with hands.
    If there's anyone who can help me with this.Just tell me what should i do to set only two switches for up and down.Can anyone write it for me in easy English?
    I will be grateful to him\her if anyone can help me.Please someone help me.I don't want to sell my pod.It's too good.But i don't have the money sadly.

    Thanks in advance people!


    7 years ago on Introduction

    can you tell me if this is for the mk1 line 6 POD V2 (round writing) or the Mk2 (square writing)? I have a line 6 spider 1 (with the original line 6 floorboard) and I am trying to ascertain whether the pinout for the pedal is the same for the legacy (floorboard) and newer (FBV) pedalboards. Ta


    8 years ago on Introduction

    P.S Shorting Pin 7 and 1 will just short out the power, not a good move. I think there may be current limiting resistors, but don't provoke it, after all, one of the +5v must supply enough current to light a load of LEDS and run some logic.