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Solderless piezo leads

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  • Solderless piezo leads

    Hi all,
    Here's a way to attach leads to piezos that come without any, or to ones where they have broken off, with no soldering or hot glue - and I'm willing to bet that this method should produce far more long-lasting results than piezos with soldered leads and hot glue on them. When piezos fail, 99% of the time it's because the leads break off at the solder points or the ceramic part cracks and detaches because of the stress caused by the leads on the solder points. You can apply hot glue, but that can be messy and isn't fail-proof either. Besides, if your piezos don't have leads or they have broken off, some find it tricky to solder them back on. This method requires no skills at all and the resulting piezo should last a very long time unless you use sledgehammers instead of drumsticks.
    All you need are the piezos (duh), adhesive copper tape, some sheathed cable (for the leads) and duct tape or similar. What's important is that the adhesive side of the copper tape must be conductive, otherwise it won't work. I bought 30m sent from China for less than 2 euros on ebay, so I'm guessing that most copper tape will meet this requirement. So here is how I do it:

    First, stick a tiny bit of tape on the edge of the piezo to isolate the copper tape coming from the ceramic part of the piezo from the brass part:
    piezo.jpg
    Next, stick a couple of strips of copper to the ceramic and brass parts of the piezo. I left the paper backing on where it's not stuck on the piezo, and place it on a strip of duct tape, sticky side up:
    duct tape under.jpg
    Attach your leads by stripping the ends and sandwiching them on the copper with some more copper tape:
    leads attached.jpg
    Now, just cover this side with duct tape, trim to taste and you're done:
    finished.jpg

    My snare has had a piezo put together like this one for several weeks and I can't notice any difference at all to a piezo with regular leads and I doubt the duct tape has any influence on its mechanical properties - less than what solder and blobs of hot glue would I should think.
    Megadrum module, DIY A2E pads, DIY 2 & 3-zone cymbals, DIY hall-effect 3-zone hi-hat, El Cheapo buttkicker, DIY trigger beaters on DIY longboard/direct drive modded pedals. DIY IEMs. Some kit pics/history.

  • #2
    where to buy these white tape and copper tape? thanks.

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    • #3
      Copper tape: just search for "copper foil tape" on ebay. The are quite a few sellers selling the same stuff. The tape I used is 5mm x 30m and costs about $2-3 including shipping.
      The (white) duct tape is sold in any hardware store. It comes in various colours (I see it more often in grey) and it's a very tough tape with quite strong adhesive. Just google "duct tape" and you'll know what it is.
      Megadrum module, DIY A2E pads, DIY 2 & 3-zone cymbals, DIY hall-effect 3-zone hi-hat, El Cheapo buttkicker, DIY trigger beaters on DIY longboard/direct drive modded pedals. DIY IEMs. Some kit pics/history.

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      • #4
        I was afraid that covering the piezo would alter its ability to vibrate and its sensitivity, but you mention there was no effect on that.

        Thanks for sharing
        DTX700, eDRUMin 4+10, A2E Dixon kit, Yamaha cymbals, FSR HH
        Kit Pix http://vdrums.com/forum/album.php?albumid=613

        My new venture, HiEnd Speakers. : voglosounds.com

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        • #5
          Interesting approach, but I can't see how this doesn't impede vibration? And also, it would be interesting to see how durable this approach will be. Constant vibration might cause the strips to wiggle and break the contacts.
          . digitalDrummer
          Review index

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          • #6
            It doesn't impede vibration because, in reality, covering it with duct tape isn't any different than sticking double-sided tape on it - it would take a very rigid tape to stop the piezo from vibrating and this tape is very thin and flexible. I've covered piezos entirely in hot glue and they continued to respond to hits, not as sensitively, granted, but you get my point. It probably does reduce vibration, but by an amount so tiny so as to be irrelevant.
            As for the leads breaking off, I could be wrong and time will tell, but I very much doubt that vibration will cause the contacts to break. The copper tape itself is adhesive and then it is held in place and further secured with the duct tape. As I said, I'm willing to bet that this method is more durable than solder and hot glue, which I reckon is much more vulnerable to vibration due to the brittle nature of the connections.


            Megadrum module, DIY A2E pads, DIY 2 & 3-zone cymbals, DIY hall-effect 3-zone hi-hat, El Cheapo buttkicker, DIY trigger beaters on DIY longboard/direct drive modded pedals. DIY IEMs. Some kit pics/history.

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            • #7
              This appears to be a fantastic approach IMHO.

              I do see your point that the mass of the tape is possibly less than or about the same as the mass of the solder or glue, so this should not impede vibration any greater than solder.

              Plus, when you think about it, the head piezo of a mesh head is sandwiched between the top foam and what it is mounted to underneath - the foam tape plus the solid plate beneath it. It's the squeezing of the piezo in that sandwich that creates the mechanical motion of the piezo, not simple free vibration. The whole system is completely "dampened" by design. So, the effect of adding a tiny layer of tape to the design is totally insignificant.

              The other thing to think about is, with solder the extra thickness creates a pressure point right at the solder connection. The tape system spreads out the connection, so it's possibly superior in that sense and more reliable. Possibly vibration at the solder pressure point is what causes the solder connections to fail in the first place. They're not supposed to be mechanical connections to start with, but they are. The tape system may be better more long-lasting mechanical connection.

              Nice job!
              ATV aDrums & aD5, Pearl Mimic Pro & DIY, eDRUMin 10, Agean R-series Silent Cymbals, Roland Handsonic HPD-20.

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              • #8
                Wow neat idea...... I have used the copper tape to repair a lead wire going to the edge switch on a diy 2 zone crash and have had no problems with it at all.... and I did that after a solder joint on the switch broke.
                TD-6 Vexed... TD-12 vexed .... hard at work on an A to E conversion and pretty sure that will never end till i do.....lol

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                • #9
                  Thanks guys. Another thing I've used the tape for is to link 3 piezos I stuck under a cymbal (for 360 triggering). Instead of soldering wires to link them I just ran a strip of tape from one to another and then attached a bit of cable where they connect to the jack. I then covered it all to keep it secure with car body vinyl instead of duct tape, for better aesthetics, and it works great and is barely visible as the profile of the piezos + tape is minimal. Not to mention easy to do.
                  Megadrum module, DIY A2E pads, DIY 2 & 3-zone cymbals, DIY hall-effect 3-zone hi-hat, El Cheapo buttkicker, DIY trigger beaters on DIY longboard/direct drive modded pedals. DIY IEMs. Some kit pics/history.

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                  • #10
                    Very cool, I'll definitely be looking into this. Thanks for sharing!
                    TD50 Digital Pack, TD30 and TD9 Modules, custom made pads, Gen16 crashes, and hats plus a few other things that I'm not sure what to do with or why they're still in my kit. Bands: Espada http://www.musicaespada.com/ and JamCo https://www.facebook.com/JamcoEntertainment, https://www.jamcoband.com/

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                    • #11
                      great idea

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                      • #12
                        Replying so this gets a deserved bump.
                        Cool idea. Must try it.
                        TD-9_stealth Yamaha, HPD-15, HPD-10, Octapad etc.

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                        • #13
                          great idea.. thx.. ..saves soldering those tiny wires.. ..didn't know there was copper tape..
                          Audio | Video | Roland/Yamaha e-kit | Sonor/Gretsch a-kit | Zildjian/Sabian/Ufip cymbals

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                          • #14
                            Time to get some I think as I see lots of uses. Cheers
                            Roland TD30 module on TD20 kit SD3 with various kits. Pearl Masters Kit, Yamaha 9000RC original natural wood finish. Cymbals from Zildgian Pasite and Sabian. Loads of percussion bits. Cubase and Wavelab always current versions.

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                            • #15
                              I still use this system and none have failed yet. Just a tip: fold the end of the tape over itself and tape another small piece over it to secure it in place. I found that the conductivity of the sticky side can be hit and miss. It's conductive most of the time but once in a while it isn't, so that little trick makes sure it'll work every time.
                              Megadrum module, DIY A2E pads, DIY 2 & 3-zone cymbals, DIY hall-effect 3-zone hi-hat, El Cheapo buttkicker, DIY trigger beaters on DIY longboard/direct drive modded pedals. DIY IEMs. Some kit pics/history.

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