Saturday, January 12, 2013

Peavey Footswitch Conversion--Triumph to Ultra

Converting a Peavey Triumph footswitch to a functioning Peavey Ultra 60 footswitch

After trolling ebay for a Peavey Ultra footswitch, and realizing the cost would be somewhere between $50 and $85, it was time for the DIY route.

I had one advantage--I'm the semi-proud owner of two Peavey Triumph footswitches; someday I'll detail the "tale of two Triumphs." Both are the 6 pin DIN type (the Triumph PAG uses the same schema as the Ultra, but I'm not that lucky). Might as well use the one with the broken Switchcraft DIN plug...

Busted Switchcraft plug

Some go-getter added big stick-on labels to the switch...

The Triumph and Ultra FS layouts are identical: three switches, four LEDs and the functional setup is the same. But the Ultra uses a 7 pin DIN connector, while the Triumph is the 6 pin DIN type. 

I crack it open, and I'm happy to discover another bit of serendipity--while the Triumph connector is 6 pin, the cable itself has seven wires, and one is unused. Nice. So converting it to the Ultra 60/120 footswitch is very do-able.

Here's the original wiring. Note the current-limiting resistors for the LEDs. In the Ultra series, those resistors are in the amplifier itself, not the footswitch. Also, note the unused red wire zip-tied to the cable...

Original wiring
The wiring conversion in the footswitch itself was super easy. There are several documented Peavey footswitch diagrams on the web. Here's one that was very helpful. I've converted it to an image, but the original is a PDF, and you can find it if you look...

And here's the FS rewired. I've clipped out all the resistors, and wired the switches, LEDs and wire colors exactly as shown in the diagram. The switch tabs in the diagram correspond exactly with the footswitch itself. Even the colors of the LED wire leads (red and black) correspond:

Converted to seven pin, Ultra style

But that's only half the story. I ordered several 7 pin male DIN plugs, courtesy of an ebay supplier. Obviously, these go on the end of the cable.

In conjunction with the wiring diagram above, I've added a drawing with the color codes for DIN pin connections. The colors correspond with the wire colors internal to the footswitch--assuming the switching diagram is followed exactly. The wire to the ground pin (4), labeled "common" below, doesn't have a color; it's unclad stranded wire. This drawing made wiring the plug easier for me; maybe it'll help someone else:

Ultra DIN pin wire colors

Helpful tip: don't buy cheap ebay DIN plugs. These things are the devil to solder. I gave up the first time. While the solder side ends have small recesses for the wires, they aren't of a consistent depth...and the plastic pin holder melts easily.

Tiny, inconsistent soldering recesses

Cheapo DIN plugs
So save yourself the headache and buy good Switchcraft DIN plugs. It's worth it. I eventually succeeded, but it took plenty of flux, a lot of squinting...and swearing... Sorry, there's no photo of the finished plug. Once it worked I was reluctant to disassemble it for a photo. 

I'm psyched to have all three channels functioning, and the reverb switch working as well. The clean channel on the Ultra is beginning to grow on me. And I'm hearing the "Crunch" channel for the first time. It's cool! You can really dial it down to contrast with the "Ultra" channel. Great for bluesy stuff. Or punch it up for a more Marshall-y sound.

I have doubts as to the "robustness" of the connector, and I don't think it would last long while actually gigging. But if it comes to that, I'll buy the Switchcraft plug.

Oh yeah--Helpful Hint #2: Save yourself some grief; the "Channel" button must be pushed, or the footswitch won't function correctly. I read that in the Ultra manual (online at a last ditch effort to discover why the pedal didn't work...after about two hours of aggravation.

Also, I did find a nice DIN plug locally (at Philcap electronics) and it has the larger solder collars on the pins. It's not Switchcraft, but it's an older MIJ part. Mid priced--about $4.50 USD; maybe half the cost of Switchcraft (minus the shipping). I'm holding it in reserve, 'cause the current plug is bound to fail...


  1. Hi, red wire on led indicated the + wire?
    Hi wired a footswitch for this amp and all my function are reversed, it's like when I push the reverb on, the led is off and when I disabled the reverb, the led light... Have you an idea?


    1. Hi...I didn't test the LED lead polarity (I already knew the Triumph pedal worked), but the red LED lead should indeed be the anode (+) terminal. This fits with another drawing I've seen of the Triumph FS circuit, and the overall schematic itself--the black LED leads are connected, via the switches, to the GND (common).

      One more thing: when I used the Triumph switch with my Triumph amp, the Reverb LED also worked backwards--glowing RED meant reverb OFF, which is funky (to say the least). However, there was also a bad connection on the DIN plug so it could have been malfunctioning. If, for instance, the bad connection was the GND pin, some of LEDs might find an alternate current path between other pins...

  2. So I rewired a 3 button 7 pin peavey footswitch exactly to schematics for my ultra 112. The clean channel bypasses just fine and the reverb disengages just fine best I can tell even though I don't think the reverb tank is working properly as I took it out of the pouch and screwed it to bottom of amp when I chopped the combo cabinet down to a head unit but it does light led properly and it does flavor the sound just as it does when footswitch is not connected so I'm confident its working. The ultra and crunch channel is my dilemma, or lack of crunch more accurately. I have the channel button pushed in and the led's are switching from one led to the other and there is a momentary deadening of sound like its switching but its back to ultra channel even when the crunch led is lit. I've verified the footswitch wiring again and again. Would it be possible that a relay or switch in amp is bad even though the led changing. Any help you can give me is great.

    1. Hey Guy...several things you could try before replacing relays...
      Check continuity of all the wires, check the switches themselves (I have a Marshall two-button FS with bad switches--over 70 ohms of resistance when closed).

      Try to trigger the switching by inserting a LED in the DIN socket--anode to pin 3 or pin 7, cathode to pin 4. I think that worked for me early on.

      Unfortunately, some of these Peavey switches malfunction if only ONE of the connections is bad, so it's often difficult to find the culprit without replacing the DIN plug, etc.

      Since I had bad switching on my Triumph and it turned out to be the FootSw, I'd look at the relays last... Good luck!