So I didn’t even know this could happen – the tip of a patch cable broke and got lodged in the mono input jack of my TC Electronic HOF Reverb pedal. Took me a while to figure out that’s what had happened. I could just see the back of the metal ring in there and I never really examined the patch cable till later.
The pedal was now unusable. The tip was firmly lodged and even with long nosed pliars long enough to reach the tip it wasn’t possible to pull it out since the jack had contact points that need to be pushed out of the way – there is not enough space to do both at the same time.
So the first thing I did was remove the back plate and see if I could pry open the jack and get the tip out. Hard luck – TC has these wierd screws holding down the PCB. Anyway posted on some forums for advice and one guy said he’d got the tip out by getting it to catch on the tip of a drill bit and then pulling it out. I tried that but gave up after half an hour – the tip would catch but not enough to be pulled out. So I got the appropriate screwdriver a few days later and opened up the pedal again. I removed the four holding screws at the back of the PCB and all the bolts around the input/output jacks and control knobs but hit a dead end with the footswitch. Again it’s a footswitch unlike any other pedal and I couldn’t figure out how to free it. Frantic googling and I found this great blog by a guy who changed his Ditto Looper footswitch – no mean feet since TC themselves do not change their foot switches. They charge you $105 if you’re out of warranty and send you a new pedal. Turns out you can just screw off the outer base of the switch with your fingers. Like so:
After that getting the board out was a breeze. If you’re ever doing this I recommend you follow all the electrostatic precautions that you can since as little as 5-10 volts can fry sensitive circuit boards. And the more complicated the pedal the more sensitive the board. So hold the board only by the jacks and get it to a safe area. I work on such boards by placing them on an a table and the sitting down with my bare feet on the back of a metal voltage stabiliser that is plugged into a power outlet which is turned off – this is my ground connection and will earth any stray voltages I may be generating.
Here is what I found:
I had managed to push the tip through the closed plastic end of the Neutrik Jack and right into the stem of the LED. Luckily I missed everything on the PCB! And the mistake actually saved me from having to drill from this side which would have been much harder to do given how close the jacks are. Anyway got the tip out with pointed forceps and inspected the damage. The LED wire was exposed but not damaged, the PCB was unscratched, and the Jack looked okay barring the hole at its closed end. Plugged in a battery and the LED lit right up. Tested the board by plugging a guitar in and it worked. What relief. Here is the offending tip: