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Replacing pedal reed switches - need an idiot's guide

Building organ consoles for use with Hauptwerk, adding MIDI to existing consoles, obtaining parts, ...
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MeOulSegosha

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Replacing pedal reed switches - need an idiot's guide

PostWed Jul 19, 2023 4:27 am

Hi all,

Last summer I bought a Hauptwerk instrument that had been put together by the previous owner (parts fom various sources). For most of the time it has worked well enough, but recently various pedal notes have become "temperamental'. Further investigation shows that the reed switches at the front of the pedalboard are in need of reseating, reattaching or in some cases, replacement.

I bought some reed switches, I bought a soldering iron, and while I'm generally "ok" with little jobs, I've never done anything with electronics so my experience with a soldering iron is nil. That said, I'd like to learn.

Is there anything in particular I should think about or figure out before diving in here? I'm happy to tinker, but I don't want to mess stuff up completely. Any advice gratefully received!
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larason2

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Re: Replacing pedal reed switches - need an idiot's guide

PostWed Jul 19, 2023 1:25 pm

Reed switches are easy to desolder or solder. The main concern is that if you bend the leads or mess with them too much, they can break/stop working properly. It's also absolutely essential that you bought the right ones! If you have normally closed and you got normally open ones, they absolutely won't work.

There's soldering tips online, but here's an overview. When you're desoldering, hold the iron on the solder bead until you see it go liquid, then carefully pull the part out with pliers, one end at a time. If there's any solder left, clean it up with desoldering braid the same way. Braid lasts a bit longer if you open up its fibres a bit. Then, put the new reed switch in the same spot, wrap the wire around the lead if you can, then hold the soldering iron on the metal for a few seconds, then tough the solder to the tip of the iron. If it doesn't flow cleanly around the wire, remove any solder that's left with braid, and try again, this time holdinh the iron on the metal for a little longer.
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RichardW

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Re: Replacing pedal reed switches - need an idiot's guide

PostWed Jul 19, 2023 1:57 pm

The trick with reed switch wires is not to hold the glass then bend the wire because the bend will happen right where the glass joins the wire and that is a good way to break things. If you do need to bend the wire then hold it as shown in the picture below then bend it on the side of the wire without the glass.

I hope this makes sense! It is easier to do than say.

Image
Richard
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brooke.benfield

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Re: Replacing pedal reed switches - need an idiot's guide

PostWed Jul 19, 2023 2:34 pm

A pencil style iron of maybe 50w and relatively small soldering tips would be a good way to go ( I saw that you already have made a purchase). You want enough power to quickly melt the solder but not damage what you are trying to work on.

If the soldering tip is slightly wet with fresh solder just before touching the tip to the work piece, heat transfers much more efficiently/quickly.

Looking forward to your report on this project.
Brooke Benfield
Organist, Gethsemane Lutheran Church
Portland OR
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MeOulSegosha

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Re: Replacing pedal reed switches - need an idiot's guide

PostThu Jul 20, 2023 2:14 am

Thanks everyone. I'm on vacation at the moment so I can't even check what kind of iron or switches I bought (very cheap either way). I appreciate the advice, and I will report back. I intend to practise a little with the soldering iron first before I dive in.

I think the cables have been pulling and bending near the switches and that's causing the problem. This organ didn't much like being moved --there are drswstops and pistons which worked before but now have a mind of their own, for example. I wish I had the skill to completely overhaul the wiring and coding. Some day, perhaps.
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larason2

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Re: Replacing pedal reed switches - need an idiot's guide

PostThu Jul 20, 2023 4:35 pm

Your reed switches might still be good. You should test them with a multimeter and a magnet before you go to the trouble of replacing them! If you can change out reed switches, you can fix wiring problems. The same principles apply. Cut at the point the wire is broken, strip the ends of the wires, solder in a new stretch of wire, and wrap everything with tight electrical tape. It usually helps to bend the wire into a loop, and bend the end of the replacement into a loop and link them to hold everything together while you attempt to solder.
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Organorak

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Re: Replacing pedal reed switches - need an idiot's guide

PostFri Sep 08, 2023 12:11 pm

Top tip, buy a few spare reed switches to replace the ones you mangle attempting to fit them.

And ensure you can adjust position of reed and/or magnet. Nothing worse than getting note to sound too early so it goes off by the time the pedal is fully depressed. Except perhaps, side to side movement means the note sounds with one foot but not with the other due to minor lateral movement.

Reeds are great when they work and infuriating when they don't!
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MeOulSegosha

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Re: Replacing pedal reed switches - need an idiot's guide

PostFri Sep 08, 2023 12:35 pm

I attempted to replace the bad ones a few weeks ago, and it was immediately clear that the ones I bought are pretty poor. They were cheap on Amazon UK, and a closer look at the reviews actually suggests they're not great. So the replacement process went fine really, although I destroyed one and was glad to have spares. They lasted a day or two before staying stuck on in most positions. Adjustment attempts then led to further destruction!

Until I can buy better ones I'm stuck without a bottom E flat, but at least I'll know what I'm doing next time.

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