Relay bypass with anti pop system: noiseless and clickless true bypass

Did you like my post about relay bypass? At least I did, and now I use it in almost all my pedals! Thus, they are longer lasting, and we avoid the mechanical noises of a 3PDT. However, I noticed something annoying: the relay bypass makes more "pop" noises than the 3PDT, especially with high gain circuits...

Indeed, relays tend to switch from one state to another much quicker than big mechanical 3PDT switches, which causes the "pop" noises to appear. The gainier the pedal, the more it will amplify the pop and make it louder.

So I adapted a system that I have found on Stompville that suppresses all these noises. Here is the result, with a (very) simple "before and after" video:


Works well!

 Beware: before reading this post, I strongly suggest that you read my post about relay bypass to understand well what relay bypass and microprocessors are about.



How does it work?

It is quite simple: when the pedal is switched on, the sound is mute to get rid of the pop!

The signal will be send to ground while the relay is switching. Then, when the pop has disappeared, the pedal is "unmuted" and the pedal is on. There will be a small period of 40 ms of silence, but do not worry, in practice, you really cant tell!

In order to mute the pedal during the switching, we are going to use a photoFET.

Ok, but what is a photoFET?

It is a small component that looks like a mini 4-pins IC, which include a LED and a switch made by 2 MOSFET that will let the current flow when the LED is on. It is kind of a switch activated by a current, with on / off positions.
TLP222A photoFET
The LED will be lit by the microcontroller, and the MOSFET part will be placed between the part where the signal exits the effect and ground. When the LED is on, the signal goes to ground: we can say bye bye to that awful popping noise!
TLP222A photoFET
When the microcontroller activates the LED, the current can flow between the pins 3 and 4 of the photoFET and the signal is sent to ground.

When the microcontroller does not activates the LED: the current cannot flow between the pins 3 and 4 of the photoFET and the signal can go out.

Basically, we got a mute switch here!

So... Why don't we use a photoFET to switch the signal instead of using a noisy relay?

PhotoFET are smaller, they use less current and are virtually indestructible (non mechanical)! However, there is one downside with photoFETs: they use MOSFETs that modify your tone! Indeed, active photoFETs have a low resistance (2 Ohms), but a quite high capacitance (130 pF). If you have read my post about cables, you know that 130 pF represents almost 3 meters of a good cable! This is not very good for a "true bypass" system!

Here, it is not a problem as we only use it to mute the signal, but for a bypass signal, that would be quite awful for instance.

Here is the schematic of this "relay bypass version 2":

Silent noiseless relay true bypass schematic

Thus, it is almost exactly the same circuit as the relay bypass circuit, except that the photoFET is connected to the pin 5 of the microcontroller, and the pin 4 of the microcontroller is connected to the end of the effect circuit.

I choose to use a TLP222A photoFET, which is easy to find, and not that expensive.



How to code it?

We will use the pin number 5 of the PIC to activate the LED of the photoFET.

 Beware: pin numer 4 (GPIO3) is an "input only" pin, so we cannot use it to activate the LED. You must use the pin number 5!

Do not worry, we will find a use for the pin number 4 later...

Lets open MPLab to create the header, that will be exactly the same as the one we made before in the relay bypass blog post. Create a new project for the PIC12F675, and add a header file with the following configuration:

// CONFIG
#pragma config FOSC = INTRCIO   // Internal clock of the PIC is on
#pragma config WDTE = OFF       // Watchdog Timer disabled
#pragma config PWRTE = OFF      // Power-Up Timer disabled
#pragma config MCLRE = OFF      // GP3/MCLR pin is a GPIO
#pragma config BOREN = OFF      // Brown-out Detect disabled
#pragma config CP = OFF         // No code protection
#pragma config CPD = OFF        // No internal memory protection

// Defines the internal oscillator / clock frequency (4MHz)
#define _XTAL_FREQ 4000000

If you do not remember exactly what is the role of all these parts, read my relay bypass article.

Lets switch for the code now! We have to add a sequence when the effect is going to change its state (on or off), with 4 steps:
  1. Turn on the photoFET: signal goes to ground 
  2. Activate the relay : the "pop" noise goes to ground through the photoFET 
  3. Wait a bit until the "pop" is completely gone 
  4. Turn off the photoFET 
These 4 steps will be in the code. Basically, we are going to tell the microcontroller "when the switch is pressed, turn the effect on or off with these 4 steps"

To do that, we will use a variable "changestate" that will tell the microcontroller when to change state, that we will define at the beginning of the code by writing:

uint8_t changestate; // changement d'état (pour couper le son avec le photoFET)
changestate=0;

Initially, the value is 0. When the value of changestate is 1, the microcontroller will change the state of the pedal (on to off or off to on)
On lui donne la valeur de zéro initialement. Lorsque la valeur de changestate sera de 1, le microcontrolleur activera la pédale.

For instance, changestate will be equal to 1 when the switch is engaged (with debouncing):

if(GP1 == 0) { // if the switch is pressed
   __delay_ms(15); // debounce
      if(GP1 == 0) {
         __delay_ms(200); // switch is off
         if(GP1 == 1) {
            changestate = 1; // changestate = 1
          }
          else {
             changestate = 0;
          }
       }
    }
    __delay_ms(10);

}

Then, we will have to precise the 4 steps we have defined earlier in the code when changestate is equal to 1, depending on the state of the pedal. If the pedal is on (state =1), it is turned off, and if it is off (state = 1), the effect is turned on:

if(changestate == 1) {
   __delay_ms(20);
   if(state == 0) { // if the pedal is off
      GP2 = 1; // activates the photoFET (step 1)
      __delay_ms(10);
      GP0 = 1; // LED on
      GP5 = 1; // relay on (step 2)
      GP4 = 0;
      __delay_ms(30); // wait for the pop to go to ground (step 3)
      GP2 = 0; // photoFET off (step 4)
      state = 1; } // pedal is on
   else { // if the pedal is on, same steps
      GP2 = 1;
      __delay_ms(10);
      GP0 = 0; // LED off
      GP5 = 0; // relay off
      GP4 = 0;
      __delay_ms(30);
      GP2 = 0;
      state = 0;
      }
   __delay_ms(20);

   changestate=0; // reset changestate to 0 (otherwise it will switch continuously)
}
      

if (state == 1) { // effect on
   GP0 = 1; // LED on
   GP5 = 1; // relay on
   GP4 = 0; }
else { // effect off
   GP0 = 0; // LED off
   GP5 = 0; // relay off
   GP4 = 0;
 }
    
It adds a small delay during activation of the effect (40ms), but while playing, you cannot tell at all. However, there is no more "pop" noise, which is completely audible!

It works really well, and we only need to add one component! Finally, we have a true bypass system that is reliable, with clickless switches and absolutely silent!

Here is the full code. Do not hesitate to read again the relay bypass post to understand which part does what.

#include <stdio.h>
#include <stdlib.h>
#include <stdint.h>
#include <xc.h>
#include "header.h"

void main(void) {
   ANSEL = 0; // No analog GPIOs
   CMCON = 0x07; // comparator off
   ADCON0 = 0; // AD ND converter off
   TRISIO0 = 0; // output LED
   TRISIO1 = 1; // input footswtich
   TRISIO2 = 0; // output TGP222A photo FET
   TRISIO5 = 0; // output activated relay
   TRISIO4 = 0; // output ground connection of the relay

   GPIO = 0; // set outputs as low level (0V)

   uint8_t state; // set the on or off state of the pedal
   state=0; // pedal off at the beginning
  
   uint8_t changestate; // changing state

   changestate=0;

   while(1) { // main loop
      if(GP1 == 0) { // if the switch is activated
          __delay_ms(15);
          if(GP1 == 0) {
              __delay_ms(200);
              if(GP1 == 1) {
                  changestate = 1;
              }
              else {
                  changestate = 0;
              }
              }
          }
          __delay_ms(10);
      }
     
      if(changestate == 1) {
          __delay_ms(20);
          if(state == 0) { // change to on
                GP2 = 1; // PhotoFET on
                __delay_ms(10);
                GP0 = 1; // LED on
                GP5 = 1; // relay on
                GP4 = 0;
                __delay_ms(30);
                GP2 = 0; // PhotoFET off
                state = 1; }
          else { // change to off
             GP2 = 1;
             __delay_ms(10);
             GP0 = 0; // LED off
            GP5 = 0; // relay off
            GP4 = 0;
            __delay_ms(40);
            GP2 = 0;
            state = 0;
            }
          __delay_ms(20);
          changestate=0;
          }
     
        if (state == 1) { // effect on
            GP0 = 1; // LED on
            GP5 = 1; // relay on
            GP4 = 0; }
        else { // effect off
            GP0 = 0; // LED off
            GP5 = 0; // relay off
            GP4 = 0;
        }
      }
   __delay_ms(10);
}

There it is! I hope that everything is clear. I know it is not an easy subject, but guess what? You can ask any question you like in the comment section!

In a next blog post, we will see how to add a "temporary mode" like in my Montagne Tremolo!

If you liked this post, thank me by liking the Coda Effects Facebook Page!


To go further

Stompville post that helped me a lot!
Datasheet of the TLP222A
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13 Comment
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I have one here with 40106 IC. It would be interesting to try and make this one work, to avoid programming the PIC.

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very interesting article, have to "convert" it to my AVR attiny chip and give it a go... thanks for sharing

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Absolutely silent is NOT when input signal is still present.

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I could not get this to work. My first attempt, the pedal/LED would turn on but not off. I erased the PIC and started again and now nothing works and the only way I can get the relay to change states is by jumping pins one and two of the 12F675. Also, if I enter the complete code as listed (copy/paste or line by line) I get an error and the code can't be compiled. The culprit seems to be the double closed brackets after GP4=; -

GP4 = 0;
}
}
__delay_ms(10);
}

If I leave both of the brackets in the code, I get an error. If I remove the second bracket, the code compiles but the PIC does not change the relay state. Any suggestions? Thanks.

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Hey How are you??? Do you recommend to dedicate a pin of the PIC for the Relay ground?? Or can i take the Relay ground directly to the PCB Ground?? I order a bunch of Relays but it will take a long to arrive and i can not make tests, Greeting from MExico!!! and sorry for the english :O

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work well excellent system .... is possible made it with Attiny 13A and H11F1 or H11F3 ?

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Actually, I have never tried this option, could be interesting! Let me know if it works like this.

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Could be! The H11F1 has a fairly low capacitance when on so it seems very doable to me. However, the code will be different as it is Arduino and not a PIC.

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I have the same problem. Has anyone solved it? Thanks.

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Hello!

Maybe try to use the new version of my relay bypass system: http://www.coda-effects.com/2017/02/relay-bypass-final-code.html

Also, the problem might comes from the fact that the PIC cannot deliver enough current to make the relay switch. A way to make it happen is to add a transistor before the relay to increase the amount of current provided to the relay.

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any chance that a different model of the photocell works? the ones ive found of those you stated are expensive where ive found them :(

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Hi, I made on a few of these relay bypasses with your stuff and installed them in many boss pedals. My issue now is, I have an SD-2 which has a bicolor LED related to the two channels on the pedal. How do I wire the anode side to the relay bypass module if there are two anodes? They seem to run through additional subcircuits and I cant find where to tap both of them to the relay bypass.

Heres a schematic of the sd-2
https://s1.postimg.org/8cx8yp5c3v/Boss_SD2_schematic.jpg

Heres the same schematic closer up on the LED section

https://s1.postimg.org/8cx8yp5c3v/Boss_SD2_schematic.jpg

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https://s1.postimg.org/66h9luk26n/led_circuit.jpg sorry i posted two of the same image. Heres the led section close up
https://s1.postimg.org/66h9luk26n/led_circuit.jpg

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