I think this is the place to post this.
I've got a steel player friend who wants to be able to run a control box out from his amp to his steel and have controls for 2 or 3 pots on his amp so he can adjust them on the fly. I thought about just mounting a switching jack on the back of his amp for each control he wants on the box, running a snake of cables to the box, and operating them from there (like a multi version of a plug-in expression pedal, but instead of a pedal just using regular pots). This would technically work, but clearly there are HUGE disadvantages to this setup, namely:
1) bulk of cables
2) finding room for/drilling holes for all the jacks
4) buffering the controls so that the long cable runs to the control box don't cause tone loss
5) even heavily shielded cables would likely pick up unwanted noise with amp controls
6) myriad other issues
So, my next thought was to do one of 3 things:
1) do some sort of midi setup that drives step motors, with his control box sending the midi signals to control the step motors which would be mechanically coupled to the pots
2) make some kind of arduino control that can drive either step motors or plain old dc motors that are coupled to the pots
If I did either of these mechanical solutions, I would either have to have some sort of feedback as to the position of the knob so that I could stop at the knob's max tortion, or i would need the motors to be belt driven so that they can just be allowed to "slip" if the pots go too far.
right now, i'm imagining one other solution, which would simply involve 9v DC motors, a couple of buttons (Up and down), and sending battery voltage to the motor (Switching power polarity for up and down) that i could couple to the pots. it would have the same drawbacks of the arduino/midi solutions, except no programming. I'd need the belt drive setup mentioned above though, because there would be no feedback of knob position.
I think the safer would be midi or arduino instead of the plain old power buttons, but I have NO idea how to program any of this. Never used Arduino or programmed an IC in my life, and MIDI is almost foreign to me. So I'm coming to you guys for guidance. What do you think?