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Home DIY Electronic Drums DIY Pedal Trigger (Similar to FatKat)

DIY Pedal Trigger (Similar to FatKat)

This post shows how to turn a standard switch based hi-hat control pedal into a FatKat like trigger type pedal. This trigger should be compatible with all the major module brands (Roland, Yamaha, Alesis, Simmons, and Pearl) The pedal I used for this project is a fairly common pedal show above and can be bought new for about $60.00. Sometime you can buy them used for about $20-30.00.

This is a project I’ve been thinking about and never got around to doing. Well, after answering a post over at Vdrums.com forum called “one arm drummer looking for top-of-the-line pedals” I decided to finally get my butt in gear. Here are the parts you will need for this project:
(1) switch based hi-hat control pedal
(1) 27mm piezo element with leads
Heavy duty double sided foam tape (Black Automotive Mounting Tape)
Phillips screw drive
Wire cutters/strippers
Soldering iron and solder
Electrical tape

The first thing we need to do is flip over the pedal and remove the (5) screws shown here:

At this point carefully remove the black plastic cover. While you are removing the cover, carefully pull the 1/4″ input jack PCB out of the cover. The insides should now be exposed.

Next, remove the PCB with the switch on it. Once removed cut the black and red leads as shown:

You will no longer need this switch PCB. Next remove the switch push lever, but be sure to put the screws back in. This helps cut down on the impact noise made by the pedal

We now have everything removed that we will no longer need. Time to install the piezo element. Cut a piece of heavy duty double sided foam tape to fit in between the four upright post and press it down. Remove the backing and install the piezo element. I like to also add an extra piece of tape on top of the piezo element were the wires attach. This helps keep the wires from breaking loose from excessive vibration.

Now, lets wire this trigger up. Using the input jack PCB that we removed earlier and strip the leads. Now, solder the red wire (ceramic) from the piezo to the red wire on the input jack PCB and of course the black wire (brass) from the piezo to the black wire on the PCB. Now tape up your connections for each wire.

This next part is totally optional as it is not needed for proper functionality. Where the old switch PCB was mounted, I decide to cover the piezo with a old project box lid I had laying around from another DIY project I did some time ago. I just drilled four holes in it and mounted to the four posts.

At this point you are pretty much finished, but before you put it all back together, be sure to cut off the one capacitor that is on the input jack PCB. If you don’t, the trigger will not function correctly.

Now just put the black plastic cover back on and you are ready to rock.

Just one more thing to note. Use a “TS” (or mono) 1/4″ cable when connecting this trigger up to your module. The use of a TRS (or stereo) 1/4″ cable will cause this trigger not to function properly. All that is left to do is plug the trigger in to your module adjust your threshold and sensitivity setting and you are ready to play.

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17 Comments  comments 

17 Responses

  1. urban

    Hey can you tell me if i could recreate the original internal switch with out the PCD boards? Just wire up a female 3.5 jack to a switch with a cap? Also do you know the rating on the cap?

  2. I don’t see why you can’t. It is just a simple switch. I didn’t not look at the rating on the cap before I trashed it. The only value I can make out from my raw pics is a 50 volt rating. I can’t see the microfarad value. I would bet that you really don’t need it however. I hope that helps.

  3. DcDrums

    I am interested in knowing if this mod will allow for the open/closed functionality with the alesis i/o?

  4. No, it is meant as a foot activated trigger pad. The hard you press down that louder the sound is triggered. I good use for it would be a cow bell or other misc. percussion. I hope that helps.

  5. Wingard

    Thank you for this article!

  6. Mcstratele

    Hi There
    I have the Alesis USB pro kit using the trigger io , I’ve done the drum upgrades with fantastic results , however I’m not happy with the operation of the hihat pedal and general operation of the hihat settings within BFD2 , I’m now wanting to change to something more superior , can you recommend a Hihat set up that is close as possible to real Hihat operation , should I go down the of changeing to yamaha , Roland , hart, I would be very gratefull if you could give me some advice on this .
    Thanks ……………..Michael.

  7. The only other option that I know of that works with the Alesis Trigger I/O is the Pintech 1300HHC IMC VisuLite Hi Hat Cymbal Pair with Integrated Controller. I’ve never used them myself, but I remember reading about a few Alesis users that like them. Here’s a link: http://www.pintechworld.com/shop2011/scripts/prodView.asp?idproduct=150

    I hope that helps.

  8. JM


    I am just trying something with a Roland FD-8 hi-hat controller :
    I have placed the rubber piece placed inside the pedal in a inverted position (that means the curved side facing the foot plate). So now, with a down foot action,he rubber is hitting the sensor (trigger?). And it provides the right signal to the module for a splash hi-hat (if you don’t change the setting of the selected drum kit) or a cow bell or anything else.
    I have to say that I don’t know how long the sensor can “resist” to this action but after one hour it is still working

  9. garf

    so, if i understand this correctly, you are now just using the vibrations from the pedal hitting the base near the piezo to trigger it?

  10. Correct. Threshold setting is going to be very important with this type of trigger. If it is set too low the pedal will trigger from floor vibration.

  11. Zac

    I bought a used Simmons hihat pedal but the internals are much different than yours. There are no red and black leads coming from the jack PCB, instead it uses a single flat cable, and while the jack PCB looks somewhat similar to yours in size and shape it is wired different with different components. Can you recommend some sort of workaround this problem? Thanks…

  12. Rambo

    You can do this very easily. Just use a cardboard / sheet metal to make the pedal ( costs around $1.5 ) and then use metallic spring to provide suspension to the spring and THINK and do the internal circuitry.

  13. I guess you could if your goal is to just get something that works, but if you want something that will last and can feel comfortable playing out with on stage you might want to reconsider your cardboard/sheet metal pedal. Just a thought

    Thanks for your comment.

  14. funlul

    Hi Phil, thank you for the detailed instructions. I’ve been searching everywhere for detailed instructions on piezo installation. I have idle piano sustain pedals similar to this with mono TS connector: https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/NP2–nektar-np-2-universal-sustain-pedal
    Would you think it’s worth a try? Thank you very much!

  15. Medo

    It’s only Open/ Close function or?
    I need this for Behringer xd80 pedal, four position. Thanks.

  16. ray

    what is the actual part number of this blue-white micro switch for the kick pedal trigger? i think my son’s 2 month old alesis turbo mesh kick controller got busted and probably shot the blue-white switch. i find it frustrating calling the seller for warranty claim and wanted to fix it myself.
    just want to know the actual part number or name of the switch. i could not find it anywhere or i maybe wrong in using the keywords in searching e-bayu, aliexpress, others…

  17. Honestly, I couldn’t tell you. My purpose of this project was to turn this into a trigger for your foot and that micro switch wasn’t necessary. I never paid any attention to the part number of that switch. Sorry I couldn’t help.

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