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May 2014
more... How-TosPedal ProjectsNovember 2011

4 Pedal Mods for the Masses

4 Pedal Mods for the Masses

Mod Type: Structural
Difficulty Level: Easy
What You Need:
• Soldering iron
• Solder
• 1/4" mono Switchcraft jack
• 1/4" stereo Switchcraft jack
• Wire strippers
• Side cutters
• Nut socket for jack
socket nut

Our guinea pig for mods 2, 3, and 4 is a charming little Vox V847 wah. This will do rather nicely, because its construction allows us to modify various bits without having to mess around much with circuit boards. For our second mod, we’re going to replace the stock 1/4" jacks with top-shelf Switchcraft sockets that will improve reliability. This isn’t to say that the original jacks aren’t any good, it’s just that the Switchcraft sockets are a little more rugged and durable.

Let’s have a look inside. See those two rectangular black boxes just above the main circuit board? Those are the jacks— the input is on the left, and the output is on the right.

Now let’s take a closer look at the wiring of the output socket (which, again, is on the right side when the pedal is turned over).

Notice that the white wire attaches to the “tip” tag of the jack, and the black wires connect to the “sleeve” tag.

To remove the old output jack:
1. Heat up your soldering iron.
2. Desolder all three wires.
3. Unscrew the nut that holds the socket in place.
4. Remove the old jack.

To install the new output jack:
1. Take one mono Switchcraft socket and insert into the empty hole. You may need to use an awl or drill to slightly widen the hole so that the new jack fits.
2. Screw the nut in place. Be sure to include the locking washer between the socket and the side of the wah (as shown below).

3. Mad wicked—well done. Now take the black wires that were attached to the ring tag of the old socket and strip a little more than half an inch of plastic off the ends.
4. Twist the exposed parts of both black wires together (as shown below).

5. Now “tin” the twisted wires (as shown below). For help on this, refer to the previously mentioned YouTube solder primers. (Note: You’ll need to tin every wire you solder in these projects.)

6. Bend the tinned wires into a hooked shape like the one shown below.

7. Thread the hooked black wires through the sleeve tag of the new jack (see below).

8. Solder the two black wires to the sleeve tag.
9. Thread the white wire through the new jack’s tip tag (the only socket tag remaining).
10. Ace. Your new jack should look a lot like this.

Now let’s move on to the input socket, which has an additional wire—the battery-switch wire. If you’ve ever wondered how your pedal’s battery is turned on when you plug in, this little wire is the key. When the 1/4" cable is inserted, it shorts a connection between the sleeve tag and the ring tag of the socket. The sleeve tag is connected to the circuit’s ground terminal. The green wire connects to the negative terminal of your battery. A circuit is made once the negative terminal of the battery is connected with the ground (or negative) terminal of the circuit. Voilà—it’s alive! Very clever, eh?

Have a look at the next photo—it’s the original input jack.

The black wire is the ground wire, which goes to the sleeve tag of the new Switchcraft socket. The green and brown wires carry the audio signal and are connected to the tip tag of the new jack. The purple wire is the battery switch that connects to the ring tag of the socket.

To remove the old input jack and install the new input jack:
1. Remove the wires in the same manner you did with the output jack.
2. Strip and tin each wire.
3. Unscrew and remove the old input socket.
4. Solder the brown and green wires to the tip tag.
5. Locate the sleeve tag—which attaches to the center portion of the socket— and solder the black wire to it.
6. Solder the purple wire to the remaining tag.
7. Brilliant! Your second mod is complete—take a bow! The wiring should look something like the photos below.

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