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DIY Mesa Rectoverb Series 1 Footswitch

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  • DIY Mesa Rectoverb Series 1 Footswitch

    I recently acquired a Series 1 Rectoverb for a very good price. Only thing is: it didnít come with a footswitch. The Series 2 have ľíí jacks on the back panel so one could just use a regular 3-button footswitch and be done with it. However, the Series 1 amps donít, Iím stuck using a 5-pin cable.

    This has been quite a project. Not that itís complex but mostly because there basically no info anywhere on the web (even though I spent quite some time searching). This is why Iím posting it up here in detail. Maybe someone somewhere will eventually need that info and be able to find it here hopefully, and not go through all the trouble I did.

    Replacements for the Series 1 FS are only available through Mesa (none of the usual replacement switch guys like switchampdoctor, blacklabel or voodooman make them) and Mesa doesnít ship to Canada. Ordering through a dealer was problematic to say the least and Iím more the ďWell fine, Iíll do it myselfĒ kinda guy anyways.

    Other detail: the Series 1 and 2 Footswitches arenít interchangeable (found a few testimonies of guys who bought Series 1 FS by mistake).

    So, I went hunting for a schematic to help me with which pins do what. In the end, it was the fine folks at Mesa that helped by very generously providing the switching schematic. I though for sure there were gonna be little errors to throw me off in there (what Mesa is known for) but in the end, there were none.

    Enclosure: I didnít want to use a 1590BB Hammond enclosure, theyíre too small to allow 3 switches without having to be very careful not to step on two switches at a time. Blacklabel have found a way around this by placing them in triangleÖ I think it looks goofy. I bought a Hammond 1456FE2, 6.5 inches wide was just enough to fit three switches without being too huge and the sloped design looked quite nice too.

    Switches: I used standard latching DPDT switches that I use for pedals.

    Cable: I needed a 4-conductor cable. Believe it or not, procuring this was probably the worst part. Up in my neck of the woods, nobody had this. Every distributor I found on the web charged ridiculous shipping charges or could only sell in rolls of 500 feet. I couldíve used some cat5 network cable but itís too rigid for my tastes. Finally found some antenna-motor cable for a reasonable price on ebay in roll of 50 feet. Gives me enough to make a nice 7í cable for home use and 15í for live gigs and have plenty left if need be.

    Got some male and female 5-pin connectors from China and off I went.

    [continued]

  • #2
    Re: DIY Mesa Rectoverb Series 1 Footswitch

    Letís look at this project switch by switch:

    SOLO: No surprise here. I put the LED in series with the switch and making the connection does what itís supposed to do: solo function activated and Led lights upÖ all good.

    REVERB: I measured the voltage on the corresponding pin and found out that there was indeed voltage there, which lead me to ask ďwhy didnít Mesa include a LED for that function?Ē So I wired one up in series with the switch. The thing is this: making the connection via the switch is what TURNS OFF the reverb. Therefore, using the ampís current for this LED means you will have your LED light up when the reverbís OFF. This is why Mesa didnít put a LED thereÖ

    CHANNEL: This was the trickiest part of the build. I thought that putting the LED in parallel with the switch was an ďon-purposeĒ mistake in the schematic. However, putting it in series with the switch didnít work. The current supplied by the amp is enough to have the LED light-up but the voltage drop created by the LED in the circuit is enough to prevent the channel switching: your LED works when the switch is activated but the channel stays on RHYTHM (clean). Putting it in parallel does work: your LED is on when on the RHYTHM channel and turns off when you switch to the LEAD channel (electricity follows the least resistive path) and, well, channel switching works.

    So, if youíre just looking for a FS that works exactly like the original, you can just follow Mesaís schematic and be done with it. But whereís the fun in that?

    While I was going to build my own switch, why not make it work exactly like I want?

    Points I wanted to change:

    1- Reverb LED
    2- I want the channel LED to light-up when I go to the LEAD channel (for some reason that makes more sense to me than having a LED on when Iím on the clean channel and none on lead).

    So, those two points cannot be done by using the ampís supplied current. I therefore had to use an external power source.

    [continued]

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: DIY Mesa Rectoverb Series 1 Footswitch

      I installed a pedal-style (center-negative) 9v socket in there as well as a battery clip (at 2.6mA current draw for 2 LEDs, a fresh battery should last approximately 192 hours of use (by use I mean 192hrs of having both LEDs on), just in case. Still, if Iím using a pedal-board with a pedal-power supply, the 2.6mA draw isnít gonna be a big deal and I try to avoid using batteries as much as possible.

      I had to wire those two LEDs using the second side of the DPDT switches since the current for the LEDs needed to be independent from the ampís current used for switching.

      Added appropriate resistors to the LEDs (since the current supply is 9V, not 3) and wired it all on the opposite side of the switches.

      I used a piece of vero(strip) board to make the common connections in order to keep it all as clean as possible: 1 row for the -3v coming from the amp (via the 5-pin socket), 1 row for the negative lead from the 9v socket and a third for the positive lead from the 9v socket. That made for simple and clean connections throughout, all in the same spot. One could of course obtain the same result with some perfboard but veroís quicker and I have a lot of scraps that I donít want to throw away.

      I tried to make all the wiring as neat as possible and glued it in place with hot glue in order to avoid having anything move.

      The switch will work without external power but of course, the Reverb and Channel LED wonít light up.

      Went with some gold hammered paint for the top piece, the bottom was painted black with the edges filed so they appear silver. I may have gone overboard with the decals but hey, I like it. Something had to go wrong: I scratched some of the paint on the back as you can seeÖ itís touch-up time I guess.

      LEDs used are: Red for Channel, green for Reverb and blue for Solo.

      In the end, it all works flawlessly and looks really good IMHO.

      I include 3 layouts here, as well as the schematic I redrew from Mesa. Itís all done in Paint so itís not that cool but should be clear enough.

      1- Mesaís schematic
      2- Layout following Mesaís schematic
      3- Layout adding a LED to the reverb function
      4- My customized version with Reverb LED and Channel LED which turns on when the LEAD channel is engaged.

      If one doesnít care about one specific function such as reverb or doesnít need it to be footswitchable, using only two switches (channel and solo or channel and reverb) would mean that one could use a much smaller enclosure, such as a 1590B (though I donít think a battery would fit in there) or even, given the right builder, a 1590A (especially if no LEDs are required).

      Iím quite stoked with the results and hope this can help somebody elseÖ

      Cheers!







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      • #4
        Re: DIY Mesa Rectoverb Series 1 Footswitch

        Last but not least: pics of the finished product:











        Comment


        • #5
          Re: DIY Mesa Rectoverb Series 1 Footswitch

          sick nasty, man. pretty slick lookin ta' boot

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: DIY Mesa Rectoverb Series 1 Footswitch

            Grrrrracias!

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: DIY Mesa Rectoverb Series 1 Footswitch

              This information is gold, thank you sir Surgeon. May the chords be ever in your favor.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: DIY Mesa Rectoverb Series 1 Footswitch

                Originally posted by AxeDaddy View Post
                This information is gold, thank you sir Surgeon. May the chords be ever in your favor.
                My pleasure, glad I could help. I put it up here with the schematics and diagrams precisely so it could help others in my situation, since I couldn't find anything anywhere on the web.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: DIY Mesa Rectoverb Series 1 Footswitch

                  Originally posted by AxeDaddy View Post
                  This information is gold, thank you sir Surgeon. May the chords be ever in your favor.
                  My thoughts exactly!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: DIY Mesa Rectoverb Series 1 Footswitch

                    "Surgeon",indeed!

                    Nice work,man!
                    "Scalloped & Stickered"
                    A Colled One & A Rold One!!!

                    RIP My Beloved Sleepy Flower

                    https://forum.seymourduncan.com/show...t-67-Of-Myself

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: DIY Mesa Rectoverb Series 1 Footswitch

                      Originally posted by Rand-O-Monium View Post
                      "Surgeon",indeed!

                      Nice work,man!
                      Thank you very much...

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: DIY Mesa Rectoverb Series 1 Footswitch

                        Great documentation and nice build! I really like the enclosure.

                        Not that you'd want to dig back in, but if you swapped the Channel LED for a Bi or Tri color LED you could do Green in clean and Red (or some other color) in lead.
                        Oh no.....


                        Oh Yeah!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: DIY Mesa Rectoverb Series 1 Footswitch

                          Originally posted by PFDarkside View Post
                          Great documentation and nice build! I really like the enclosure.

                          Not that you'd want to dig back in, but if you swapped the Channel LED for a Bi or Tri color LED you could do Green in clean and Red (or some other color) in lead.
                          Absolutely, I didn't have those in stock back then but I do now. If I ever go back and mod it for one I'll post a new diagram in this thread...

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: DIY Mesa Rectoverb Series 1 Footswitch

                            Hi - do you still have this info or least the Mesa schematic? I am trying to do the same thing and unfortunately all the pictures here are gone.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: DIY Mesa Rectoverb Series 1 Footswitch

                              Surgeon hasn’t posted in years. Perhaps try PM’ing him?
                              Why don't you take your little Cobra Kais and get outta here?!
                              My collaborative PROGRESSIVE ROCK PROJECT, As Follows.

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