Line 6 DL-4 Footswitch Replacement

If you’ve found this page you surely know exactly what you’re looking for by now. Below are a few thoughts from my experience of changing out the mechanical, failure-prone “spring” switches of the DL-4 and replacing them with something more reliable, quieter, and smoother to press.

Here is what the original, mechanical switches look like:

Stock spring footswitch for DL-4
Stock spring footswitch for DL-4

I have VERY limited soldering experience but I think I could have done this on my own. Despite that, I enlisted a generous and more experienced friend to help me replace these DL-4 switches.

From what I read, people tend to want to change these switches because the springs either break or simply stop switching reliably. I was starting to experience the very first signs of unreliable switches (“hey, I thought I pressed that button…”) and so I chose to preemptively swap them out. We used the following resources:

1. Instructional video on youtube

2. Written instructions on Gear Page forum
3. Replacement Switches source (order 4 of them) *Updated broken link* (If necessary in the future, search smallbearelec.com for SKU 0206A, Momentary SPST “Soft-Touch” switch.)

The only real comments I would add to the video and forum post above are as follows:

– The six rotary knobs are very difficult to remove in the disassembly process. I ended up wrapping a layer of electrical tape around each switch and then using a large set of pliers to pull them straight up and off. I found it easier to put my pliers on the “long” way across the knob instead of the “short” way. That is, there are two orientations in which you can grab the knob. Use the way that opens the mouth of your pliers more widely. Pull straight up and be careful to not bend the knob too far side to side. Some folks say to use a screwdriver to pry the knobs off. I had no luck with this and don’t recommend it.

– You do indeed need to file or cut out the little metal nub on the DL-4 enclosure. The replacement switches I got have a groove but if you line up the groove with the nub, the new switch will not fit in the enclosure. In theory the switches could spin a bit without the nub, but just tighten the nuts down well when you re-assemble.

– The video and the forum I’ve mentioned show opposite configurations for where and how to solder the wire. Either one will work.

– The total height of the switches is just a little too high. We had them sticking out the hole on the front of the enclosure as much as possible (which I recommend), but we still had a hard time getting the back of the case to close flush. I think I ended up taking out the large middle stand-off screw completely.

– Be careful to not bend the long posts that the LEDs are mounted on when you’re re-assembling the unit.

If possible I’d test out the unit before putting it completely back together to make sure your wiring is good. That’s it! Once I had the pedal disassembled, the process took us about an hour. Here’s the finished product:

New footswitches for DL-4
New footswitches for DL-4

Life Playlist – Jan 2012

Inspired by my wife’s monthly posting of pictures in 2011 with her new camera, I thought it would be fun to document what I’ve been up to this month – January 2012.

Giving Blood – I gave blood for the first time on January 19, compelled by my dad-in-law’s loss of 9 units during open heart surgery a few months ago, and subsequent survival due in part to generous folks who donated their own blood not knowing if it would ever even be used. I was so grateful at the thought of strangers doing that I decided to contribute my own. I was prepared for some pain but it really wasn’t bad at all. If you’re so compelled, the Red Cross website does a great job of letting you know what to expect and you can see where the next blood drive is taking place near you.

I LOVE this article about a “cash mob” at a local hardware store in Ohio. One resident got the idea to email 40 friends asking them to spend $20 at the store on a certain day. Word spread and the article describes the outcome.

Line 6 DL-4 Switch Replacement – I started writing about this here, but it turned into it’s own blog post. I’ll probably post that within the next month. [Update: link here]

Standing at my Desk – I’ve joined that group of crazy people who sometimes stands at their desk as they work. I’m fortunate to have a desk at work that can be instantly raised or lowered, so I end up standing about two hours a day. I’ve been thinking about doing this for awhile, but I recently ran across an infographic titled, “Sitting is Killing You” that kind of pushed me over the edge. It’s been a good experience and I think I’ll keep doing it. I’d never stand ALL day, but now I don’t have to sit all day either.

Italy: Antique and Modern Genius – I got this great coffee table book for Beth for Christmas. It has pictures of all the places we saw on our last vacation including our favorite little area, Cinque Terre.

Gungor – Ghosts Upon the Earth. I did something a little different when listening to this album. On Gungor’s blog, Michael recommended sitting down, reading all the intros to the songs on his blog and listening to the album as a whole with no distractions. The album attempts to create a musical picture of The Creation, the Fall and redemption. It’s interesting to see how various songs grow on you and also to find out others’ favorite songs from this album.

Forever Reign – Hillsong – I like this sound of this song though I don’t normally enjoy watching worship videos. We plan to introduce this one at our church in the near future.