Two-Channel Guitar Stomp Box Makes Momentary Switches Latching

When we first saw [Maarten Tromp]’s article about a “momentary latching switch” for guitar effects pedals, we have to admit to being a bit confused. When it comes to push-button switches, “momentary” and “latching” seem to be at odds with each other, with different mechanisms inside the switch to turn one into the other. What gives?

As it turns out, [Maarten]’s build makes perfect sense when you consider the demands of a musical performance. Guitar effects pedals, or “stomp boxes,” are often added to the output of electric guitars and other instruments to change the signals in some musically interesting way. The trouble is, sometimes you only need an effect for a few bars, and the push-on, push-off switches on many effects pedals make that awkward.

[Maarten]’s idea was to build a stomp box with momentary switches that act as inputs to an ATtiny2313 microcontroller rather than directly controlling the effect. That way, a bit of code can determine how long the switch is tapped, and activate a relay to do the actual switching accordingly. A short tap of the button tells the microcontroller to latch the relay closed until another tap comes along; a long press means that the relay is held open only as long as the button is held down.

Yes, he could have used a 555, a fact which [Maarten] readily acknowledges, but with some loss of flexibility; he currently has the threshold set at 250 milliseconds, which works for his performance style. Changing it would be a snap in code, as would toggling the latching logic. A microcontroller also makes expansion from the two-channel setup shown here easier.

Looking for more effects pedal action? We’ve got a bunch — a tube-amp tremolo, an Arduino Mega multipedal, a digital delay line. Take your pick!

Motorcycle Needs Custom Latching Switches For Turn Signals

While modern cars have been getting all kinds of fancy features like touch screens, Bluetooth, crumple zones, and steering wheel controls, plenty of motorcycles have remained firmly in the past. Some might have extra options like a fuel gauge or even ABS if you’re willing to spend extra, but a good percentage of them have the bare minimum equipment required by law. That equipment is outdated and ripe for some improvements too, like this ergonomic custom turn signal switch built with custom latching switches.

Since motorcycle turn signals don’t self-cancel like car signals the rider has to cancel it themselves, usually by pushing an inconveniently tiny button. This assembly consists of four separate switches, two of which control the left and right turn signals. Since both can’t be on at the same time, they include circuitry that can detect their position and a small motor that can physically de-latch them if the other one is pressed. The entire assembly is 3D printed, including the latching mechanism, and they are tied together with a small microcontroller for the controls.

The truly impressive part of this build is the miniaturization, since all four buttons have to be reached with the thumb without removing the hand from the handlebar. The tiny circuitry and mechanical cam for latching are impressive and worth watching the video for. And, if you need more ergonomic improvements for your motorcycle there are also some options for cruise control as well, another feature often lacking in motorcycles.

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