Replacing the footswitch in an EHX Freeze pedal

Electro-Harmonix Freeze pedal

Earlier this year Electro-Harmonix made the pedal I’ve always wanted… the Freeze; instant-and-everlasting-sustain-in-a-box.

I don’t know how they did it (some kind of sample / loop / reverb trickery I guess) but I love it!

But there was a minor niggle from the word go; the footswitch is not a normal latching switch (press-to-start then press-again-to-stop) it’s a momentary action (press-and-hold-to-start and lift-foot-to-stop) …so why does it click every time you press it?

The constant click-click was a bit off-putting, especially if I was playing in an otherwise quiet setting but I decided to live with it… until this weekend when I started to have other problems with the footswitch.

I noticed that when I was pressing the switch down (and sustaining a note) if I inadvertently reduced the pressure on the switch a little, although the LED that shows the effect is operating stayed on, the sustained note stopped – as if I’d taken my foot off the switch altogether.

Bearing in mind the nature of this effect, that footswitch gets a lot of use, so it’s inevitable it would wear out eventually – but I confess I didn’t expect it to do so quite this soon!

I have done a little bit of soldering in the past, so I decided to take the base off the pedal to see if the footswitch looked like it would be easy to replace.

Inside of the Electro-Harmonix Freeze
figure 1

This is what I found inside the Freeze (see figure 1). It looked fairly complicated; the footswitch (which judging from the three connection points, appears to be an SPDT switch) is soldered onto a separate circuit board, which is, in turn, connected to the main board via a twin core white cable.
On closer inspection I found that only two of the three footswitch connections are actually part of a circuit, the other one IS soldered to the board but doesn’t seem to do anything else.
There’s also a strange contraption involving a spring on the left that doesn’t seem to be connected to anything – so I’m not quite sure what purpose it’s serving either…

At this point I had enough pictures and was confident enough that I could put things back how I found them if I needed to – and I decided to go head and try to replace the switch.

SPDT Softouch footswitch
replacement footswitch

If you’re thinking of doing the same thing please note the disclaimer below before continuing.

Freeze pedal with the footswitch assembly removed from the case (but still attached)
figure 2

I purchased a SPST* ‘Push-to-make’ switch from a local store and set about replacing my faulty footswitch.

Once I undid the nut that holds the switch in place it was fairly easy to lift the footswitch and board assembly free from the pedal (see figure 2).

Footswitch assembly completely detached
figure 3

I was then able to desolder the white cable from the footswitch assembly (see figure 3).

Detail of connections on the footswitch assembly
figure 4

Detail (in figure 4) shows, in yellow, the point at which I de-soldered the white cable from the board. I’ve also circled, in red, the two points at which the footswitch is making electrical connections to the board).

Freeze pedal with the replacement footswitch installed
figure 5

It was then a simple matter of soldering the white cable onto the new footswitch and fitting that to the pedal (see figure 5).I’ve not taken this kind of ‘risk’ with pedals I’ve bought before, but having tested it out last night I was delighted that the new switch worked perfectly and, as a bonus, since it was a ‘softouch’ design, there’s no more click when I press it. Result!

Disclaimer: This post reports my experience. If you’re having problems with a Freeze pedal then you should contact the place you bought it from – I’m pretty sure that replacing the footswitch yourself voids your warranty! If, on the other hand, your warranty has already expired but you’re not confident making this mod yourself, I did find this US company who appear to offer a switch replacement service. If they’d been in the UK I’d almost certainly have gone to them.

* SPST – Single Pole Single Throw