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Thursday, October 3, 2013

Electro-Harmonix Freeze Switch Mod


I really like the EHX Freeze and I can get some really nice tones out of it. However, I have  some issues with the 'clicky' momentary footswitch that engages the effect. First of all, the 'click-click-click!' noise is just plain annoying. Secondly, the regular switch is just not sensitive enough to be accurate and it's also too small to be used comfortably without shoes. I have the same problem with my EHX Chillswitch pedal: the effect is perfect, but the switch is just too noisy and clumsy to use. I have no idea why EHX didn't use soft touch switches to start with..

Well, I modded my Freeze pedal and replaced the original switch with an arcade button!


Why did I choose an arcade button?

One simple reason is that they just look sweeeeet! Arcade buttons are really sensitive (you can just tap 'em lightly!) and that makes the effect a lot more usable. They are also durable. I belive that quality arcade buttons (I recomend Sanwa or other known brand) can take some serious hadouken without falling appart.

The switch used in EHX Freeze is a normally open -type. This means that the switch connects the signal when the button is held down and disconnects when released. Sadly the switch used in Chillswitch is normally closed -type and I haven't found any suitable arcade buttons for it. But I noticed that there are suitable normally closed -style soft-touch switches available in Smallbear Electronics. I'm modding my Chillswitch asap!

Anyway, just a few tips if you're planning to try this mod with an arcade button. Use a good drill bit and think twice before you drill. The arcade button is way bigger than the regular switch, so the mounting hole must be drilled larger. Only problem is that you have to allign the new mounting hole way below the original. Otherwise the pcb gets in the way and the arcade button doesn't fit. Here's a picture for clarification (the new mounting hole is marked with red color):








...and here's some more pictures:






Above you can clearly see why it's crucial to allign the new mounting hole below the original hole. The pcb is pretty close and there's not much room for error. Think twice, drill once!

Here's the arcade button modded Freeze pedal! It works very nicely and the new switch made the effect a lot more usable. Hadouken!


16 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Yes it does! The arcade button functions just like the normal footswitch, so this mod doesn't affect the effect circuit at all.

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    2. How does it work with this normally close switch?

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    3. I was probably a bit vague on my article. Use a normally open type switch with the EHX Freeze and a normally closed type with the EHX Chillswitch. Arcade buttons are generally normally open type, so they are perfect for modding the Freeze pedal.

      Normally closed type switch works in reverse: the signal is disconnected when you press the button. With a normally closed type switch the Freeze effect would be active all the time, unless you hold the button down.. not so handy I think! :)

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  2. What are the specs on the arcade button other than Normally open. Voltages and whatnot?

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    1. The model is Sanwa OBSF-24. It's a snap-in button and easy to install. I don't know about the voltages, but I'm sure that these buttons will work just fine in low voltage circuits. Some specs I found with google: 2.8W x 2.8D x 2.5H cm. Mounting hole diameter: 24mm, Overall diameter: 28mm, Can be mounted in material with a thickness from 2 to 5 mm.

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  3. Did you ever find a suitable normally closed type footswitch for the EHX Chillswitch? Just got one and though I find the pedal very useful, the standard EHX switch is annoyingly noisy.

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    1. Hi! I haven't changed the footswitch yet.. I know that SmallBear Electronics (SKU:0206AA) and Banzai Music (SKU:41889) both have normally closed type "soft touch" footswitches in stock. Thanks for reminding me about this. I gotta make an order this weekend and get rid of that annoying EHX footswitch!

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  4. Great mod.. I'm having mine fixed as soon as the new switch arrives.

    I like that it says 'Made in NYC, U.S.A' on the outside of the chassis, and 'Made in China', on the inside :D

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  5. what is the brand & model number of the black replacement knob you used? Looks way better than stock and is more functional to see where you are set.

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    1. Sorry that it took me this long to answer.. Well, sadly I don't remember the part number or the brand. It was just some random knob I had laying around. But I think almost any chicken head knob would fit.

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  6. Can this be done with the 30mm version sanwa button?
    24mm ones arent available in my country

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    1. Yeah, I think it would work! Just align the button a bit lower. But remember, measure twice and drill once! :)

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  7. I found a small video on youtube where you can see all the steps clearly!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6pNLT8vRaqA&list=PLwHlrLWSontPvjjyim5x2IGyXl4Lubl8T&index=1

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    Replies
    1. Nice one! Thanks for sharing this!

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