The more expensive the pedal the brighter the led. Please stop it!

Glitch Magnet

As someone who prototypes using SMDs on strip board, I find SMT far easier than through-hole.;)

Early LEDs were dim, and required 20mA, often their maximum rated current, to generate useful light, even as indicators on pedals. Nowadays, high brightness LEDs are easier to obtain and often cheaper than low intensity LEDs. Modern medium and high brightness LEDs require only a few mA to produce more than enough light for a pedal. Unfortunately, there are folks out there in pedal land who still believe that all LEDs must be fed 20mA.

Reducing current by putting a resistor in series with a LED will reduce brightness, but there is a potential problem. When LED current is reduced too far, the LED can become a wideband noise generator - something you really don't need in a pedal.

Using a carbon-track trimpot to adjust brightness seems like a good idea, but carbon trimpots deteriorate when used with DC current and they end up with dead spots.

We have solved the brightness problem by using a light pipe through the front of the enclosure. The LED on the PCB inside the enclosure points at the inside end of the light pipe which diffuses the light while passing it through to the front of the pedal. Light pipes are not new technology - they have been used for many years in many/most consumer items that have LED indicators.

Boss still use low brightness LEDs because they can buy multiple thousands at a time, and that size buy will make them very cheap.

That right there is some useful info! Thanks Peter.
The brightest LED I have is on an Akai overdrive I got for 30 bucks. I only got it because of the great Musician’s Friend 150% price matching promotion of 2012.


Yes, with cheaper pedals they have to save on many things among which the quality (the brightness) of the led.:D


I was in a show where the opening was totally dark for a good reason. We played minimal one week series in each venue, so after the first night there wasn't a real need to have extensive sound and staging checks anymore. Then i brought a new pedal at sunday. The light guy almost got a heart attack when the curtains opened and instead of all black there was a very bright blue beam (lots of smoke) exactly in the middel of the stage. :D


The blue led of dunlop pedals is really insanely bright.

That being said turning all the lights off and basking in its glow while playing can put the mind in a pleasant place to remove the thinking mind out of the equation.


Silver Supporting Member

This is kinda funny to me because I've run into a ton of blatant knock off parts (the above are bluetooth sniffers, basically... analysis/security work), where the cheap knock offs have the brighter LEDs ;)

The real one is the one on the right.

Trending Topics