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Home DIY Electronic Drums Concept Drawings SoftPot or FSR Hi-Hat Controller!

SoftPot or FSR Hi-Hat Controller!

Published on May 8, 2009 by in Concept Drawings


When it comes to DIY’ing variable hi-hat controllers, the main component used is typically a standard slide pot. Though they are cheap, they tend to only last so long before needing replaced (results may very). That’s because they are not designed for the heavy cycle demands of a hi-hat controller.

Above are pictures of a FSR (Force Sensing Resistor) and a SoftPot (flexible membrane potentiometer) sensor. I believe either one of these could be used cost effectively for a variable hi-Hat controller. Each one of the devices above are available form Trossen Robotics. The 0.5″ FSR with Interlink Kit is only $14.25. The 50mm SoftPot Touch Sensor is only $12.95. I believe that these two device would be the best choice for making a DIY variable hi-hat controller. There really isn’t that much more to add to these devices to make an effective controller other than a box to attach to the hi-hat stand , 1/4″ TRS jack, and some kind of flexible link for the FSR or a small spring loaded arm for contact with the Softpot.

(Here’s a pic of the complete Interlink Kit)


Here are a couple of concept pictures I put together to show how a DIY’er might go about using these devices. Keep in mind that a trimmer pot may need to be added to the soft pot concept in order to dial in the proper response. When using the FSR be sure to use the voltage divider, as this will help to dial in the proper response as well.

softpot fsr

I have had these idea’s for some time and haven’t gotten around to trying it. I figured that it is best to get the idea up here before it is forgotten.

HINT: On a side note, it might be possible to use Trossen’s FSR’s to make a drum trigger as well! (but we will save that for another time….)

Not convinced yet! Well check out these videos from Trossen Robotics:

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9 Comments  comments 

9 Responses

  1. vince153

    Is the voltage divider required for the FSR or could it be replaced by a trimpot??

  2. Not sure. I’ve never made one myself. I do know of a person or two that have made one and they didn’t use the voltage divider or a trimpot. They just used the FSR as is. I hope that helps.

  3. Membrane Potentiometer

    i prefer softpot controller (flexible membrane potentiometer) sensor as i tried it and effectively works.

  4. Wal

    Is there any reason you couldn’t place the FSR between the 2 hi hats and control the pressure like you do normally?, Also do v-drum brains work ok with diy kits?.Cheers Wal.

  5. I don’t see why not. When you say v-drum brains I assume you mean Roland edrum modules? That is because Vdrums is a Roland brand and yes they will work just fine for a DIY edrum kit. I hope that helps.

  6. ucdwino

    Think you could use a FSR as a trigger for a bass drum? Im trying to make a converted E-kit for my church using a roland HD-1 module that I have outgrown.

    Problem is that the roland uses FSR’s on both pedals so that they can switch it backwards for lefties (damn lefties)

    The brain doesnt trigger when connected to a piezo – but taking the HD-1 pedal apart there is a FSR in there. I’m wondering if you could just put a FSR under the strike area for the bass drum and get the right signal….


    As always, thanks for great info!

  7. I really don’t know, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. You could always give it a try. If it doesn’t work you are only out the money you bought the FSR for. Just a thought.

  8. Gerald Tremblay

    like to get the FSR kit i love to try it

  9. Zach

    How would you connect a TRS jack to the FSR??

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