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SoftPot stealth hi hat controller

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  • SoftPot stealth hi hat controller

    I didn't know whether to continue with my previous hi hat controller topic or start new. Mod's please merge or whatever you do, if you think this belongs with the other thread.

    I'm off to a slow start. Originally, Spectra Symbol sent me the wrong pot. I ordered a standard 25 mm travel pot and they sent me 15 mm (not even listed as an option). They sent me the 25 mm, but it turns out the 15 mm might work out just as well - or better.

    I have a design drawn out and in the works. Its a compromise solution because I cannot find the materials of my dreams for a reasonable price and I want this to remain very affordable. In preliminary tests the SoftPot looks to be an awesome solution. Here are some key features/problems:

    It is tiny - only about 0.018" thick.
    It is very precise. I was worried about resolution and repeatability. I don't think either of these will be an issue.
    All standard models (read affordable) are 10k ohms. I wasn't sure if I could get hats all the way open and closed with that value. In the picture below, I added a 20k ohm trim pot to dial in the optimum value. That value appears to be 5k ohms. It lets me get full open, full close, everything in between, including easy foot splashes, with about 1/2" of travel.
    The pot is rated at 1M+ cycles, or about 6 years the way I play (as opposed to about 3 months with a 15k cycle mechanical pot).

    Because of its size and precision, the build to hold the pot and the wiper/actuator must be very precise as well. You don't want this thing being stomped on with a pedal or use it in places where tight control of placement, and action can't be controlled. I think between or below the hats is the best solution since all movement is directly related to hat position.

    When I play the hats, I like to feel them open or closed with my sticking, so I play top and bottom hats. If you used a single hat design where accuracy of movement is not critical, this pot could probably be used down at the base of the stand.

    Here is a preliminary picture of my test setup. The small screw is the wiper/actuator. It has a spring-loaded 0.020" Delrin ball in the end to apply even, low friction pressure to the SoftPot. The life of the pot may be even higher with this wiper. Spectra Symbol also makes a HotPot rated at 10M cycles for a little more $$$. I tested with the 15 mm pot. The 25 mm is next to it.

    I'll update if/when I have success with a full controller build.

    Last edited by Poco Askew; 05-17-12, 08:12 AM.

  • #2
    Poco Askew, it looks like you are off to a good start with the softPot idea. I envy you. I wish I was able to put the time into it myself. Maybe if I get some time, I will work on the FSR controller idea. I look forward to your results.
    alesisDRUMMER.com

    Comment


    • #3
      Cool, Poco. I myself think your research with a softpost controller is best left as a new thread altogether.
      sigpic

      Comment


      • #4
        I made fair headway today. I ended up with a design similar to the one I used for the usual slide pot.

        These are the schedule 40 PVC pipe pieces I settled on: Starting at 9 o'clock and moving clockwise, I used two 1/2" slip spigot plugs, one 1-1/4" slip spigot plug, one 1-1/4" slip union, and one 1/2" slip union (I didn't use the other one). Total cost of these parts = about $2.


        Side note: A slick trick I learned to find the center of something round (if you don't have a center finder attachment) is to take and set your combo square to a depth just slightly less than the radius of the piece - it doesn't have to be perfectly in the center. Draw a line across the piece, spin it 180 degrees and mark again. Turn 90 degrees, mark, turn 180 degrees, and mark again. You are left with a tiny "hole" that will show you dead center. I hope I made that clear.

        Next I drilled the two 1/2" plugs with a bit that gave me a slip fit on my hi hat rod.


        Next I wanted a slot in the 1/2" union. I used this setup on my table saw. The kerf of my blade was a good width to allow a #8-32 screw to slide in this new slot (you'll see). If you try this PLEASE BE CAREFUL!


        I cut the 1/2" union to 3/4" in length and filed out the small shoulder that was in the inside center. I also cut down the plugs so they would fit in the shorter union. Finally I notched the two plugs so they wouldn't interfere with the slot.


        I did similar things to the 1-1/4" union and plug. Cut down the length on one end of the union, cut down and center drilled the plug to fit down on my hi hat's rod bushing. When the "shuttle" is assembled, the slot I cut in the 1/2" union serves two purposes. It limits the travel of the shuttle and it keeps it from turning so the wiper/actuator remains in correct alignment with the SoftPot. I knew I wanted to use the 15mm SoftPot. It provides 19/32" of travel. By cutting the 1/2" union down to 3/4" long, and using the #8 screw in the slot, I have just under 5/8" (19/32") of travel in the shuttle.

        I drilled and tapped holes for the #8-32 machine screw in the 1-1/4" union. I also drilled and tapped in the shuttle for the 6mm x 1 wiper/actuator, and a #10-24 screw opposite it. These last two screw holes are at 90 degrees to the slot. The screw of the wiper and the #10 screw allowed me to adjust them for proper contact of the SoftPot (about 2 ounces of force). The screws and wiper are shown, along with the same spring I used in my previous controller.


        Here they are assembled.


        ...and on the hi hat stand with the SoftPot installed temporarily. Drop the large union down on the stand, drop the spring down the rod, add the shuttle and hold it in place with the #8 screw. One nice feature I didn't expect; the small shoulder in the center of the 1-1/4" union is perfect for placing and aligning the SoftPot. I was worried about getting it stuck in the correct spot and keeping it parallel with the hi hat rod. It turns out the 15mm pot sits on the shoulder and comes out flush with the top of the union. WOOT!


        It worked great, but I need to tweak the length of the bottom half of the 1-1/4" union. I had to use an offset of +80. After cutting off about 3/16", I got it down to +40. That's when I decided it was beer:30.

        Tomorrow, I hope to finish fine tuning the length. Once I know I have it dialed in, I'll provide more dimensions. I have an idea on how to make it adjustable so it would work with any cymbals and clutches. I also think I have just enough room inside to add the 5K resistor, the SoftPot needs to show the TD-20 for correct resistance range, as well as a panel-mount mini-phone jack so the entire assembly can be instantly removed. I may have a problem with the wall thickness to use a typical jack. I think I'll even paint it to make it look mo' betta'.

        That's all for now, but I psyched! It seems to work really well. Now only time will tell if the long-term reliability is there. I'll shoot another picture of the finished product along with the final dimensions. Assuming I add a jack to the controller, the total cost of the project will come in under $20. Most of that is in the SoftPot.
        Last edited by Poco Askew; 05-17-12, 02:54 PM.

        Comment


        • #5
          This is awesome work Poco! Looks neat and tidy, really stealth! Does it fit nicely between your hats?
          Thanks for taking the time to go through everything step by step.
          "To play without passion is inexcuseable"

          DIY A-E conversion 6 piece
          Alesis Trigger IO
          DIY hi hat Controller
          Superior 2.0

          Comment


          • #6
            Nice work Poco, I agree with Audiopat.....Very clean!
            sigpic JerEd Systems, LED drum triggers

            Comment


            • #7
              Absolutely! For folks like me, the pics really clear up alot of questions! Nice job!
              8 piece DIY Acrylic, 2x2Box DrumIt5, Gen16 4xDCP, DIY Acrylic&Gen16 Conversions, Sleishman Twin-QuadSteele hybrid, Gibraltar&DrumFrame rack, DW9502LB, Midi Knights Pro Lighting
              http://www.airbrushartists.org/DreamscapeAirbrushRealm

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by audiopat View Post
                This is awesome work Poco! Looks neat and tidy, really stealth! Does it fit nicely between your hats?
                Thanks for taking the time to go through everything step by step.
                Thanks guys!
                Yes - the overall height and diameter of the controller is a little under 2". It fits fine between the bells of my hats. Once I get the thing de-bured, sanded, painted, and the wires cleaned up (hopefully with a jack added), I think it will look pretty nice. Once I'm sure I have it adjusted properly, and if it doesn't need further adjustment, I may remove the jam nuts on the adjusting screws and just hit them with a drop of thread-lock. Right now the shuttle (only moving part) comes in under an ounce, but I'd like to make it even lighter and find a lighter spring, too.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Poco Askew View Post
                  Thanks guys!
                  Yes - the overall height and diameter of the controller is a little under 2". It fits fine between the bells of my hats. Once I get the thing de-bured, sanded, painted, and the wires cleaned up (hopefully with a jack added), I think it will look pretty nice. Once I'm sure I have it adjusted properly, and if it doesn't need further adjustment, I may remove the jam nuts on the adjusting screws and just hit them with a drop of thread-lock. Right now the shuttle (only moving part) comes in under an ounce, but I'd like to make it even lighter and find a lighter spring, too.
                  Congrats Poco Askew! You took what was just an idea and made it a reality. You are the man. If you don't mind, I would like to link to your thread here from my website. I think it is time to do a follow-up to an article I did back on May 8th titled SoftPot or FSR Hi-Hat Controller!. It is no longer just an idea and you made it happen.
                  alesisDRUMMER.com

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Holy shnikes! Fantastic! Excellent work, Poco! And just as your other controller build, I feel as though I can go out and build this one too. Your ingenuity and descriptiveness are top-notch, very well done!
                    sigpic

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Hellfire View Post
                      Congrats Poco Askew! You took what was just an idea and made it a reality. You are the man. If you don't mind, I would like to link to your thread here from my website. I think it is time to do a follow-up to an article I did back on May 8th titled SoftPot or FSR Hi-Hat Controller!. It is no longer just an idea and you made it happen.
                      Thanks Hellfire! (You can call me Poco ). I'd be honored.
                      I need to come up with a simple adjustment so this can work on any kit. I know the differences in cymbal shapes and felt thicknesses would currently make this a custom fit for each hi hat. A difference of an 1/8" is huge when working with the offset adjustment on the module. I'm thinking of some sort of threaded part at the top to allow for some coarse adjustment.

                      [EDIT]
                      Arggh! double post. I'm having a lot of trouble this morning with the forum timing out on me when I try to post. Can a Mod' delete this, please?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Hellfire View Post
                        Congrats Poco Askew! You took what was just an idea and made it a reality. You are the man. If you don't mind, I would like to link to your thread here from my website. I think it is time to do a follow-up to an article I did back on May 8th titled SoftPot or FSR Hi-Hat Controller!. It is no longer just an idea and you made it happen.
                        Thanks Hellfire! (You can call me Poco ). I'd be honored.
                        I want to come up with a simple adjustment so this can work on any kit. I know the differences in cymbal shapes and felt thicknesses would currently make this a custom fit for each hi hat. A difference of an 1/8" is huge when working with the offset adjustment on the module. I'm thinking of some sort of threaded part at the top to allow for some coarse adjustment.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Hey Poco, can you give a quick rundown of a parts list and cost with links when you post your final pics and comments? I think even I could build this! Thanks.
                          8 piece DIY Acrylic, 2x2Box DrumIt5, Gen16 4xDCP, DIY Acrylic&Gen16 Conversions, Sleishman Twin-QuadSteele hybrid, Gibraltar&DrumFrame rack, DW9502LB, Midi Knights Pro Lighting
                          http://www.airbrushartists.org/DreamscapeAirbrushRealm

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by fulrmr(Daniel) View Post
                            Hey Poco, can you give a quick rundown of a parts list and cost with links when you post your final pics and comments? I think even I could build this! Thanks.
                            Here is the link to Spectra Symbol. I used their 15mm SoftPot, p/n SP-L-0015-103-ST and their wiper actuator, p/n SS WIPERS 1N-3N (???).
                            Those are probably the only useful part numbers. The PVC parts are just scrounged from Home Depot and the descriptions I used are what you'll find at the stores. I had a link to the spring, but the link is no longer valid. It came from Ace Hardware. I think it is a little too heavy anyway. My Ace has a good selection of springs so hopefull you can find a good match. The one I'm currently using is 1-1/2" long x 5/8" diameter and is made from 0.041" wire. I buy most of my electrical stuff from Mouser. If I was positive of my final resistor value, I'd add it. I will add it once I'm satisfied I have it set. Currently, 5k ohms looks correct. I'll probably get a jack at the Shack or other local store just to get it quick. Once all is finished and I'm happy with the final results, I will post a concice list of parts with prices and links where appropriate.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Poco Askew View Post
                              Here is the link to Spectra Symbol. I used their 15mm SoftPot, p/n SP-L-0015-103-ST and their wiper actuator, p/n SS WIPERS 1N-3N (???).
                              Those are probably the only useful part numbers. The PVC parts are just scrounged from Home Depot and the descriptions I used are what you'll find at the stores. I had a link to the spring, but the link is no longer valid. It came from Ace Hardware. I think it is a little too heavy anyway. My Ace has a good selection of springs so hopefull you can find a good match. The one I'm currently using is 1-1/2" long x 5/8" diameter and is made from 0.041" wire. I buy most of my electrical stuff from Mouser. If I was positive of my final resistor value, I'd add it. I will add it once I'm satisfied I have it set. Currently, 5k ohms looks correct. I'll probably get a jack at the Shack or other local store just to get it quick. Once all is finished and I'm happy with the final results, I will post a concice list of parts with prices and links where appropriate.
                              Thanks Poco!
                              8 piece DIY Acrylic, 2x2Box DrumIt5, Gen16 4xDCP, DIY Acrylic&Gen16 Conversions, Sleishman Twin-QuadSteele hybrid, Gibraltar&DrumFrame rack, DW9502LB, Midi Knights Pro Lighting
                              http://www.airbrushartists.org/DreamscapeAirbrushRealm

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