Fixing a Ditto Looper broken switch (step by step)

The Ditto looper from TC Electronics is really a good looper... In theory! Simple to use, no quality loss due to the high sampling rate, true bypass... Everything to make it the best looper for guitarists!

Bottom line is...

It is really fragile! Mine did not resist to 6 months of intensive use, and during a rehearsal it just stopped working. LED was still on, but I had to click at least 20 times on the switch before anything happens! It was impossible to record any loop... I guessed that the switch was broken, and I decided to fix it.

Here is a step by step guide if you ever have this problem one day!

 Disclaimer: I will not be held responsible if you break your looper by trying to repair it. The Ditto is quite fragile: it is all SMD components, sensitive to heat and shocks. Take your time and be cautious.


What do you need?

You do not need a lot of things to repair the Ditto (a broken one of course):
  • Your broken Ditto
  • A soldering iron
  • Solder
  • Desoldering braid (or a pump) can also be useful. 
  • A small allen key to remove the screws that are not standard (thanks TC, another bad point for you).  
  • A replacement switch, either a classic microswitch, or an arcade switch like me
It has to be "normally open" to function. The diameter should be 12mm. Beware of the size of the switch, there is not that much space inside the Ditto, so the smaller, the better

If you want, I bought a small stock of arcade switches, you can buy one. I still have a few left.




You will also need a cutter drill (not on the picture).

Ditto looper TC electronics switch repair




First step: dismounting the pedal

To do this, you need to remove the 2 plastic pads to have access to the screws.

Ditto looper TC electronics switch repair

Use the allen key to unscrew it, and remove the backplate. Also unscrew the side jacks. You will have something like this: 

Ditto looper TC electronics switch repair

Then, remove the knob by pulling it with pliers. There is nothing to unscrew, just pull it gently.
 
Ditto looper TC electronics switch repair

Pull out the circuit board. Hold it by the two side jack inputs. It should be easy to remove. Do it slowly and be cautious, there are pins that connect it to the other upper PCB that are quite fragile

Ditto looper TC electronics switch repair




Second step: desolder the microswitch (OPTIONAL)

This is THE painful part of the repair, but good news: I have just discovered that it is optional (read below).

I strongly advise you not to do it and follow instead the instructions in the grey box below.


You first have to desolder the 100uF capacitor to have access to the lugs of the microswitch. 
Soldering is fun and easy, desoldering is hell: long, hard, risky for the components...etc. 


 Beware!
Desoldering the switch is quite difficult. Moreover, I have just discover that with the arcade swith used here, you do not even need to do it! I have let this step in the tutorial just in case, but you can simply bend the lugs of the switch (it fits!), then solder each lug to the bottom of the PCB. Here is a picture:
Ditto looper switch repair
It is really easier this way, so please do it like this!


Commercial circuits are particularly a pain to unsolder because most of the time, the solder is really dry so hard to melt. Moreover, there are two SMD IC just near the switch, so be cautious in order not to break it by overheating it. You can use a desoldering braid or pump (pump is better). I managed to desolder the 2 first lugs near the removed capacitor. However, lugs that are behind are really not accessible, so I just broke it by twisting the switch several times. 

Ditto looper TC electronics switch repair
The culprit: a faulty microswitch
 
Ditto looper TC electronics switch repair
The circuit once the capacitor and the microswitch have been removed

Next, resolder the capacitor, and solder two small wires (not too small) on each side of the microswitch (left and right). You should have something like this now:
Ditto looper TC electronics switch repair

We just have to replace the spring switching system by a real switch, using an arcade button.




Third step: remove the top PCB and removing the old spring switch

So we need to remove the other PCB. For that, you will have to unscrew two screw located at the top and bottom of the enclosure:

Ditto looper TC electronics switch repair

Then, pull out gently the PCB from the enclousre. You should have all of this on your table now:

Ditto looper TC electronics switch repair

Next, remove the spring switch. To do that, to not try to turn the inside bolt, but unscrew the metallic circle on the top of the switch. Indeed, the thread of the screw is on the top of the switch. A picture should be self-explanatory: 
 
Ditto looper TC electronics switch repair




Fourth step: filing the hole to be able to put the new switch in

In the old switch hole, there is a small tab to prevent the switch from moving. We need to remove it because our 12 mm switch cannot fit in with this tab.

Ditto looper TC electronics switch repair

For that, we will use a cutter drill. If you do not have one, I highly recommend to buy one. It can be quite expensive, but it is really useful for a lot of purposes. Using it, we can remove the tab to have a smooth hole:

Ditto looper TC electronics switch repair

Lets check that the arcade switch can fit in... Perfect!
 
Ditto looper TC electronics switch repair

We can then screw it inside, and put the top PCB back inside. The switch really just fits in, this is tight!
 
Ditto looper TC electronics switch repair

 

Last step: soldering the switch to the old microswitch spot.

To do that, we have to solder the wires we put before to the switch: one on each side, easy! 

Ditto looper TC electronics switch repair

We can then put the Ditto back together. I had to twist the lugs of the switch to make it fit well in height:
 
Ditto looper TC electronics switch repair

There it is: fixed Ditto!
 
Ditto looper TC electronics switch repair

It has now a great look, and it works again like a charm! Moreover, the new switch is quite practical because there is almost no latency between the time you press the switch and the activation of the recording / ending of the loop. It makes looping a bit easier.Moreover, I have ordered 10 buttons, so I can handle a lot of failures if it happens again!

I still have some arcade buttons, so do not hesitate to buy one here:



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Any questions? Suggestions? Post a comment!
25 Comment
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What is your source for the Arcade switch. Model number? Thanks.

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Actually, I got it on ebay so no exact reference... If you find out, I would be glad to hear it! http://www.befr.ebay.be/itm/121542502755?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1439.l2649

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what is the measure of the allen key that you used?

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I had success using a good pair of vice grips to loosen the four screws, and then used a 3/32 Allen key to back the screws all the way out.

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Hi there, would this work?http://www.befr.ebay.be/itm/PUSH-BUTTON-ARCADE-STYLE-PINK-Push-Button-Switches-SW05323-/381449158576?hash=item58d0243fb0:g:P~gAAOSwo6lWLjvW

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I want to use a actual stomp switch what kind should I get like I've been seeing 6 pins and 2 pins (I'm new to this) I just need to know what kind of switch to buy.

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A 2 pins one is enough, however I am afraid that it will not fit in this tiny enclosure...

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thanks for great info. unfortunately, link for the replacement switch is broken (at least i cannot access it)... would this switch be ok? http://www.aliexpress.com/item/16mm-metal-push-button-switch-latching-type-no-LED-button-switch/32511774824.html

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Unfortunately, I do not think so. You need a 12mm diameter switch

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salut benoit :) merci pour---- reply! that was my french ;)
i cannot access the ebay link for the switch you've used - do you have any other alternative link/sthe witch/source please?
p.s. other than diameter of switch that i found at alibaba/aliexpress - everything else would be OK with that switch? adieu

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Hello, I have found some, you can buy them directly here now!

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Hello, I now have a little stock of them if you still need one.

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Let's go full coin op dork : Sanwa or Seimitsu ?

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tc electronics pedals are TOTAL GARBAGE !! THE BIC LIGHTER OF PEDALS ! SAVE YOUR SELF THE TROUBLE OF FIXING GARBAGE AND BUY..................EVENTIDE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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For my ditto X2 i needed a T10 torx key, not an allen key.

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This comment has been removed by the author. - Hapus
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One thing no one seems to say: Thank you for posting these instructions. :-)

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I believe I found the exact button switch that the author uses, though they have green caps instead of red. They are made by Uxcell in China. SPST Normal Open Momentary Pushbutton Switch, 12mm. I purchased them on Amazon, though I was also able to find them on eBay and AliExpress.

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i know this is an older thread but hoping someone can help me!... my problem is that the metallic screw that keeps the switch in place has fallen off to the original switch keeps falling into the box. does anyone know where i can find something to screw it into place?or if anyone sells or has a spare metallic switch?

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Yes I think you are right, it is a Torx key; an allen key does the job as well though.

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Oh no!

These parts are hard to find. Maybe you could ask directly TC?
I will have a look online but I never found anything similar, I think they are custom made for TC Electronics.

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Thanks so much for posting these instructions!
I can confirm this also works with the Ditto x4 pedal, however since it's larger, there's way more space to work. I just cut the old switch off with a Stanley Knife and used a metal saw (without enclosure/grip) instead of a hole cutter.

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Thanks for thorough tutorial, it's really nice!
My problem was that I'm on the road and have a very limited access to tools, so I tried extending the spring by pulling it gently. It's still glitching sometimes (maybe need to extend the spring a bit more) but it's MUCH better than before and it took me 10minutes. Also, it got me thinking that maybe the pushbutton is alright and it would be worth looking into the string replacement.

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