Author Topic: Minimum distance between stompbox switches?  (Read 5850 times)

Perrow

Minimum distance between stompbox switches?
« on: June 03, 2010, 02:39:42 AM »
OK, so I'm thinking of building a "multiple effects in one box" thing, but stuck on this one question; what would be the minimum distance you could (should) have between switches?

I don't want to waste space but at the same time want to be able to hit just the one switch I'm aiming at, at least most of the time ;D
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Hides-His-Eyes

Re: Minimum distance between stompbox switches?
« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2010, 07:57:24 AM »
Well, what's your shoesize?  ;)

earthtonesaudio

Re: Minimum distance between stompbox switches?
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2010, 08:47:48 AM »
Maximum distance between striking surfaces of two adjacent switches should be somewhat less than your shoe width (or foot width, if you play barefoot).
Minimum distance maybe slightly more than 1/2 your shoe width, so you can still actuate one switch with the center of your shoe.

R.G.

Re: Minimum distance between stompbox switches?
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2010, 08:52:51 AM »
It depends. Do you wear pointy-toed cowboy boots to play?


 :icon_lol:
R.G.

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R.G.

Re: Minimum distance between stompbox switches?
« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2010, 08:55:06 AM »
But seriously folks,

I use 2.5" / 63mm as a minimum. Even big-sized guys in Doc Martens can hit one switch, and you can still hit two adjacent ones if you like.

R.G.

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Mark Hammer

Re: Minimum distance between stompbox switches?
« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2010, 09:01:16 AM »
There was a lengthy thread I started about this very topic waaaaayyyyyyyyyy back when, probably in an earlier incarnation of this website (with a different logo, software engine, and ISP).

That is not to be dismissive, or say "Go use the search engine and don't bug me!".  Rather it was, and remains, an essential element of usability, and the human factors side of stompboxes.  It is also probably why the 1590BB will never die; because it provides an opportunity to stick a pair of stompswitches a reasonable distance from each other.

The inter-switch distance has a few aspects to it.  One very obvious one, as you have pointed out, is "precision-on-the-run" - the degree to which the user can quickly, reliably, and with minimal attentional requirement, aim for one switch and hit it.  Depending on the box, though, sometimes you want to be able to hit two switches at once....with the proviso that you can still hit one at a time when you want to.  A little trickier in terms of planning.

Of course, if you plan for two switches on a 1590BB oriented with the widest edge facing you, that reduces the space between your foot and where the knobs/toggles are likely to be, so the temptation is to have the switches as close to the front skirt of the box as possible.  Not necessarily the wisest move.  First, there is a risk of the box flipping over when you go to hit it, unless it is VERY well secured.  Second - and this is a personal bias, NOT a proven fact - I think the lifespan of switches is shortened by stepping on them more often from something other than 90 degrees from the floor.  When switches are tooclose to the edge of the box, there is a tendency to rest the foot in a way that pushes the switch down at a less piston-like 88 or 84 degrees, stressing the switch chassis over time.  But like I say, that's my bias, not an industry-wide maxim.  Whether you buy into it or not, it is probably unwise to plan around the switches snuggled right up against the front or side skirt of the pedal.  That can end up wasting internal space, but if it increases usabilty it is a reasonable forfeiture in my books.

HHE's question about shoesize IS just as realistic as it is tonguein-cheek, though.  It is certainly worth your while to consider how wide your shoed/booted foot is, and be guided in spacing by that.  After allm, it is not just your foot, it is the "actuating bio-mechanism".

use of two stompswitches also imposes the challenge of figuring out where the battery will go, though most will situate a battery holder between the two switches along the front skirt, if they use a battery.

Perrow

Re: Minimum distance between stompbox switches?
« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2010, 12:31:51 PM »
Thanks for the thoughts.

Yeah, I've already measured my shoe (Euro size 44-45, that'd be 'bout 11-11 I guess). I was kind of hoping someone would have a "well industry standard specifies distance X between two adjescent footswitches" or at least "well on my board I've placed them at X distance cause if I place them closer I hit two".

As for my planned design there'll be like five or more buttons as it'll incorporate a whole effect chain in the one box  8)
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PRR

Re: Minimum distance between stompbox switches?
« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2010, 05:06:24 PM »
Not the same thing, but look at organ pedalboards. At church or under a B2.

I used to work near six pipe-organs but no more. One has a website but no dimensions.

They make add-ons for MIDI instruments. Probably the same general proportions.


This is 42" across and has 15 "white keys", something under 2.8" apart. Counting the black nubs that's 25 functions in 42", 1.6" average.


53 inches and 19 white-keys about 2.7", 32 total keys average 1.6".

Not so different from R.G.'s 2.5" guide, since with more than two you need more "between" space.

Organists take off their street shoes and put on a special pair. These are just plain dress shoes, not pointy-toes, but not chunky ones. (The size is secondary; it is a SIN to stomp street-grit into a fine old organ.)

> lifespan of switches is shortened by stepping on them more often from something other than 90 degrees

Yes. They could build side-slide guidance into the switch, but that costs more. Since most users hit pretty square, it isn't worth the trouble/cost.

OTOH, the organ pedals get hit many-many times per tune, often at extreme angles (as Fox says, it's a real jig-dance down there), and an organ is expected to last for decades (or centuries). There is a LOT of side-guidance in a good organ pedalboard. Couple square inches of hardwood slide-surface.

« Last Edit: June 03, 2010, 05:08:00 PM by PRR »

Processaurus

Re: Minimum distance between stompbox switches?
« Reply #8 on: June 03, 2010, 08:54:52 PM »
On my boss midi organ pedals, a PK5a, it is pretty hard to not hit adjacent notes.  It was also hard to find size 11 shoes in Japan.  Coincidence?

I like the 1790BB on its side for two footswitch pedals, because with the 1590bb on its side, I'd still hit the wrong switch or both on accident, if my attention was elsewhere.

R.G.

Re: Minimum distance between stompbox switches?
« Reply #9 on: June 03, 2010, 09:01:34 PM »
Not the same thing, but look at organ pedalboards. At church or under a B2.

I used to work near six pipe-organs but no more. One has a website but no dimensions.

They make add-ons for MIDI instruments. Probably the same general proportions.
One of my long-term projects is to program a PIC or Atmel chip to do the octave or two below guitar. Even picked up a (free) pedalboard for it. Poor man's Taurus.
R.G.

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01370022

Re: Minimum distance between stompbox switches?
« Reply #10 on: June 04, 2010, 01:19:02 AM »
A little off topic but still....

Having done the multi-FX in one box thing before I can say that A LOT of planning will save you untold hassle later. I had to get a box custom made for mine (if you can find something the right size, let me know) and to save space, I ended up having 2 rows of effects (like a W setup in a square box), which can make switching a bit hard. I don't mind, but one of my friends HATES it.

Also I had a 10mm lip on mine that went round the bottom so I could screw the back plate on, and this made it difficult to do up some of the nuts holding my PCBs on. Speaking of which, have a think on how you're going to mount your PCBs. I drilled holes in the faceplate and attached the PCBs to that, so when you flip it over to service it, there's no floating wires to break. It means that it's reliable, but it does kind look ugly. Also consider merging all your circuits onto 1 big PCB and using jumpers to connect the pots.

Think about if you're going to want to add in other FX later into the chain, and put in a loop for them if you want. I originally had Phasor->Chorus->Flanger->Trem->Delay, but then I got a tap delay and a volume pedal, so I had to put in a couple of jacks for a loop. Again, works fine and looks ok, but every time I look at it, I'm reminded (thru a couple of small annoyances) that I didn't plan it out the best

To answer the original question, I put my switches 75mm apart. This is wide enough that my Size 10 steelcap doesn't miss-click anything, but I can hit 2 adjacent switches if needed (and I got wide feet too). And I think it allowed the pots of each individual effect to have enough room (just) and not have each effects 'space' merge into the one next door.

Let me know if you want the measurements of my unit, I can email them thru
Looks like we're gonna need a bigger amp.

Just to "get to pitch" you need a trimmer. That's why guitars have knobs, and why xylophone makers have power grinders. - PRR

Brymus

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Re: Minimum distance between stompbox switches?
« Reply #11 on: June 04, 2010, 01:50:37 AM »
I am using a 7" long chassis for my Dr Boogie build, I had wanted 3 footswitches for two gains ,two volumes ,and bypass.
but after messing with it I went with two footswitches (2 volumes and bypass) to make sure it was easy to hit the right switch without hitting pots or the other switch.
You would have a hard time hitting both at once and I doubt it would ever tip over hitting either one.
Mine are spaced 4" apart and  1 and 1/2 " in from the outside edges.And for me its perfect.
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.Mike

Re: Minimum distance between stompbox switches?
« Reply #12 on: June 04, 2010, 02:04:21 AM »
When I spaced out the switches for the multi-effects unit I'm working on, I went the trial-and-error route.

Grab your switches, a piece of sturdy cardboard, and a pillow. Mark off various intervals-- 2.5", 3", 3.5", etc. Put holes in the cardboard, and mount the switches. Put the whole assembly on top of the pillow on the floor. Grab your air guitar, and try out your cardboard pedal board. If the switches aren't far enough apart or are too close together, adjust accordingly until you're happy.

I ended up with two staggered rows of switches-- 5 on the top and 6 on the bottom. The switches in each row are 3" apart horizontally, and the rows are 2.5" apart vertically. The enclosure is a Hammond 1456RL1BKBU, and is 17" wide with a 10 degree angle.

Mike
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