sparkle drive switch problems

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by Guitarplayerdan, Mar 11, 2008.

  1. Guitarplayerdan

    Guitarplayerdan Member

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    I have a sparkle drive that hasn't been turning on and off properly... When ever I push on the pedal the sound cuts out ALL the way and then comes back on when I have removed my foot. So put simply when ever the footswitched is being pushed down there is NO sound. I run it in a looper anyways sooo... what should I do.. Will they fix it for free. HA. Im not the original owner and couldn't tell you how old it is.
     
  2. Csapo

    Csapo Gold Supporting Member

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    Send VL an email telling them about the issue and only the issue. They will send you back a RMA # and you then send in your pedal. VL will fix it for free (you pay shipping to them) and it should take about a week. No other questions asked.

    I have a Keeley modded VL SD and they fixed it for free, no questions asked. Only problem is that it is broken AGAIN!!!! :eek:

    Many folks here have had this issue so you are not alone. BTW, the Keeley mod is worth the money, IMHO.
     
  3. getbent

    getbent Member

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    I'd call them. Email with them is not very successful, but they rule on the phone.
     
  4. mojoslide

    mojoslide Member

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    Simplest fix is to install a smaller switch (go to Small Bear to get one) and connect it to the circuit board by soldering in wires. I did this on the few VL pedals I've had in the past. Never had another issue with a switch after that. The problem stems from the switch being attached directly to the board. As soon as you use it a few times, it starts to break the solder connections. Find a tech to do this if you can't do it yourself. Honestly it'll save you a lot of headaches in the long run.
     
  5. tlpruitt

    tlpruitt Member

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    Voodoo Lab may have changed their policy since I called them. When I called years ago about the broken switch in my Sparkle Drive they would only fix it for free if I was the original owner. I was the second owner so they said I would have to pay for the fix. As I said, they may have changed their policy since many people are having switch problems and they don't want a bad customer support reputation.

    After some research I found the switch Voodoo Lab uses is a DPDT stomp switch with PCB terminals distributed by Cliff Electronics. Mojo used to sell this switch but I didn't see it on their site the last time I checked. Small Bear sells this switch now. It is the 'Taiwan DPDT PC Mount' switch. However, replacing the switch with the exact same switch may only be a temporary fix since the new switch may eventually fail too (mine did).

    As mojoslide stated above, replacing the switch with a slightly smaller DPDT and running wires to the PCB may be a better long term fix. This worked for me too. Small Bear has 2 switches that should work; the Carlin 316-B-PP (the switch I used) and the Alpha 107-SF12020-L DPDT (I have not used this switch to fix a VL pedal but I have used it in another pedal and it seems to work fine).

    -Tim
     
  6. mojoslide

    mojoslide Member

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    I think I used the Alpha switch in mine and it worked great.
     
  7. Guitarplayerdan

    Guitarplayerdan Member

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    i can solder, so how do I do this? Actually the only thing I soldered was a neutrik jack. So... But I want to do this. That pedal is SWEET. Its a keeper.
     
  8. mojoslide

    mojoslide Member

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    What I did was buy the[FONT=arial,helvetica,sans-serif] Alpha 107-SF12020-L DPDT switch from Small Bear. Then I desoldered the old switch using desoldering braid. Then I soldered short pieces of wire to the terminals of the new switch. Line the switch up with the spots where the old switch was removed from the circuit board and solder your connections to the board. Test everything and then attach switch to case and close, and you're ready to go. The hardest part is desoldering the old switch. Be careful, don't rush and use desoldering braid and you should be fine. Make sure you line up the LED when closing the case. Also keep the wire lengths short but long enough to have just a bit of play to close case properly. I did this with a Sparkle Drive (nice pedal definitely) and it worked great for a long time after.
    [/FONT]
     
  9. neil99

    neil99 Member

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    I sent them multiple unanswered emails, when I called and got someone on the phone they sent me an RMA no questions asked. Had it back to me with a new switch in 2 weeks. This was about a year ago

     
  10. monkmiles

    monkmiles Supporting Member

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    I had this same issue and fixed it myself pretty easily not too long ago.

    I found an old thread with some good info: http://www.thegearpage.net/board/showthread.php?t=262467. Post #22 from tlpruitt seems to be a solution for me without replacing the switch at all. In summary, it says when you press down on the switch, the circuit board might be hitting the bottom of the casing. Sure enough I found after I took the bottom off, and pressed the switch, you could see the board lowering just so slightly. I found if I raised the board up just a tad from tightening those two switch nuts, pressing the switch didn't visibly lower the board any longer.
     
  11. meterman

    meterman Member

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    I've got a VL Tremolo and I'm on my third switch and it basically broke very soon after getting it back from VL. Very frustrating, but I really like the pedal and have been thinking it was just junk now. I'm going to try the different size switch, thanks for the tip.

    One thing, if your pedal has the circuit boards connected with ribbon cable be *extremely* careful about moving or flexing them. Mine broke after one flex, the wires are hairthin and VL had to replace them since I broke them trying to fix my second faulty footswitch.

    I wish these pedals were a little more beefy b/c they sound good, are reasonably priced and the VL customer service when I got them on the phone (no email) was great. I'd try the Microvibe, etc. Maybe I still will and just replace the switch straight away...
     
  12. Josh Fiden

    Josh Fiden Member

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    Let me clarify all of this!

    1. Sending email is just fine. In most cases you will get an answer before the end of the next business day. There have been various people over the years handling the email, some better than others. For the past couple of years it's been great. I'm sure some of you have corresponded with Harmony before and will attest that she is great. Sometimes our reply to you is not received due to your spam filter or providing a bad email address.

    2. Our written policy is that the warranty is valid to the original purchaser. However, we have ALWAYS repaired EVERYTHING at no charge, with a few exceptions (I can list them if you care). This has been my policy since 1986 when the company was in my spare bedroom.

    3. We purchased a small number of Cliff switches one time in 1999. I would rather not discuss the merits of various switch manufacturers.

    4. We changed our switch design roughly 2 years ago. The new switch has been very good and failures are rare.

    5. Do not attempt to replace the switch yourself unless this is the only option. The failure rate of user installed switches is high. I'm sorry to say that many repair shops are not very good either. In particular, switches exposed to excessive heat will have a short lifespan.

    6. If you are in North America, you must send it here to be repaired. It will be done right, we will not charge you, everyone will be happy. I don't like crap getting passed around on eBay with my name on it because someone butchered it. If you are outside North America and cannot return it to us, we will send you a current replacement switch for free.

    7. If you suspect a switch problem, make sure the problem is not a cable. Try the pedal with only guitar, amp, and known good cables (not solderless). Cable problems a commonly misdiagnosed. The vast number of switches we have used since the beginning work just fine. We will not replace a perfectly good switch for free just because you want a new one.

    Guitarplayerdan: send an email to info@ or PM me and I'll pass along your info. No worries, we'll make your Sparkledrive good as new.

    Any questions, please let me know.

    Regards,

    Josh Fiden
    Founder / CEO
    www.voodoolab.com
     
  13. vintage66

    vintage66 Member

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    Glad to see a company stand behind their products. I too have a VL Tremolo that had the switch replaced under warranty-no problems since, knock on wood. Great sounding trem too. I do hope the problems have been solved for good-the chorus sounds awsome on the demo cd. My older model Proctavia hasn't had a hiccup. Too bad there's not enough space on my board for it.
     
  14. Jwoo

    Jwoo Member

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    Agreed. It's really good to see VL support their customers. I just sent my Keeley modded VL to Keeley for a switch repair. I hope it's not a temporary fix...
     
  15. Guitarplayerdan

    Guitarplayerdan Member

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    and thats why I like voodoo lab! I have yet to find a pedal that I cant get rid of except my SPARKLE DRIVE. So thats why I want to fix my switch.

    Thanks for that response! For the record I never had a problem with customer service at Voodoo Lab.
     
  16. tlpruitt

    tlpruitt Member

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    Just my luck that I called about the broken switch in my Sparkle Drive when they were going by the 'written' policy. The day I called VL (in May of 2004) I was quoted a $35 bench fee plus shipping to fix the switch in my second hand Sparkle Drive. I didn't talk to Harmony. It was a male that I talked to at VL the day I called.

    Also unlucky for me that I have owned 3 VL pedals and they all had switch problems and Cliff switches in them.

    But lucky for me that I figured out how to fix the switch myself.
     
  17. uncle psychosis

    uncle psychosis Member

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    Yep!

    Again, a big fat "yep" from me. I have a Sparkle Drive that I bought second hand and the switch broke---replaced free of charge :RoCkIn
     
  18. Josh Fiden

    Josh Fiden Member

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    I'm fairly certain I know who you talked to. That has never been our policy. If it's any consolation, he's not around anymore.... Sorry about that.

    Regards,

    Josh Fiden
    Founder / CEO
    www.voodoolab.com
     
  19. tlpruitt

    tlpruitt Member

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    Thanks for the info, Josh.

    I could call and ask this but I thought others here may have the same question:
    If someone sends in their Voodoo Lab pedal for a switch repair today and it has a Cliff switch in it what switch do you replace it with? Do you replace it with a more reliable switch with the same PCB tab spacing as the Cliff switch?
     
  20. Josh Fiden

    Josh Fiden Member

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    Good question. I should mention that it has been almost 10 years since we used Cliff switches. I have no direct experience, but there is no reason to believe their current parts aren't just fine. They may no longer even produce the design which we used back then. As I said previously, it is unlikely that many people would have a pedal with Cliff parts, since they were only used for a very short time.

    Any switch we replace will be with our current production part which has been very reliable. This manufacturer also produces switches for other well known boutique pedal companies. There are a couple of design enhancements done at our request which we believe make for an even better switch.

    The form factor is identical to the Carling 641 series, same as all Voodoo Lab pedals which have an LED.

    Regards,

    Josh Fiden
    Founder / CEO
    www.voodoolab.com
     

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