RC 2013 WW – Switches Switches Switches, and Embarassment

Project: The Sound of Violence.

As I’m intending to build a proper robust box with pedals, which switches should I use? Dumpster-diving for spring-loaded heavy-duty momentary-contact SPST  passive mini-switches is not feasible in the middle of the Irish Sea, so it’s not as easy as you might have thought… microswitches are out of the question too – as this is going to be foot-operated, anything teensy and fragile won’t do (at least, I keep telling myself that).

Scavenge One:

After scouring the house for any old electonic or electric gadgets to sacrifice (there weren’t any with non-latching switches), and after being teased to use “Corkflake packet and tin-foil”, I did what any RetroComputor would do: check out eBay!

1packeBay Switches:

How about this? At least it’s located just next door in the UK, but it looks far too flimsy for my clodhoppers, even under a hinged pedal.

Well, perhaps this would do?monacor2

No, it’s in the USA (never get here in time) and, well, it’s just too darned “pre-made” (even though I would have to rewire it)… perhaps my inner masochist is making a reappearance – “you’ve got to suffer and build the pedal mechanism yourself, dammit”. Needless to say, after quite a while looking, I decided to not resort to eBay for parts. Conscience?

Scavenge Two:

After coming to the conclusion that eBay would be taking the easy way out, I wondered about adapting some spring-loaded lever home-office equipment:



Ack, no, there’s way too much metal there, I would use up all my epoxy resin insulating it and gluing the wires to the chassis, etc etc. Shame!

Shopping, first try:

Given the paucity of electronic component shops on the Island, I decided to go for a pair of doorbell puchbutton switches from the ironmongers:bellpushbuttons_wired3

Wired and working! Well, only sort-of working. The mechanics of these switches are utterly crap – you have to press and then wiggle around until you get a contact. The internal contact-blades are solid copper, I tried bending them with pliers but darn darn darn broke them, oops.

Shopping,  second try:

After all that, what option was left? Major embarrasment, that’s what: B&Q, ouch!finalbutton

You know what, these are ideal – non-latching, strong spring, tactile feedback (clicky switches), a reasonable amount of “travel”, reliable mechanical action, easy to wire, and cheap (£2.20 each). What luck!

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