Highway Star – Full speed from a Singer button controller

Back in April and May of 2012, I wrote the two posts that would become the most popular posts on this site.   These are the posts on how to adjust the Singer button controllers.  I’ve yet to find another brand’s pedals with so much adjustment which is why I advocate keeping them.

Today, I’m going to add a little tidbit of information.   Previously, we took care of a pedal that had been badly adjusted and was creating too much heat or was maybe not as responsive as you wanted – or a little too responsive and likely making noise.

What I didn’t cover at the time was how to adjust the pedal to get full speed.

Today, I’ll explain what goes wrong and what needs to be adjusted.

Based on how many of these pedals I find mis-adjusted – sometimes to the point of being dangerous –  it seems like people think this is where to do the adjustment:

If you’re looking for full speed, this is NOT the adjustment you’re looking for.

It’s Not.

First, how full speed happens

When you “mash the gas” – when the button of the Singer button controller is fully depressed – this is what’s happening under the cover.

This is the pedal when your foot is not on it:

Notice the relationship between 1.  We’ll call that the shorting bar.  and 2. The contacts.


And now, the pedal when your foot is all the way down on the pedal.


When the pedal doesn’t have full speed, more often than not, the shorting bar is not high enough to meet the contacts.

The unfortunate part about this adjustment is that it requires you to disturb the speed adjustment in order to adjust the shorting bar (loosen the nut to adjust it, then tighten it when the adjustment is good) then reset the speed adjustment again.  As far as I know, there’s no spec for this – no measurement I can provide – it’s all trial and error until you get the shorting bar high enough to make good solid contact with the  copper contacts.

Be aware that as with the speed adjustment, just enough is lots.  More is not always better.  If we over adjust things, we create heat and other unwanted consequences.  Set the shorting bar so that it contacts and bends the contacts a tiny bit but no more and pay attention to the instructions I talk about in the speed adjustment post too.  When these pedals are out of adjustment, they have the potential to create enough heat to start a fire.

And always unplug your vintage machines when they’re not in use.

That’s it.  Do you have full speed now?

Today’s Post title comes to you from Deep Purple, of course!  Highway Star – in the Ian Gillan days.   There are some really good covers out there too, like the Chickenfoot version (slight profanity warning)








12 thoughts on “Highway Star – Full speed from a Singer button controller”

    1. Good chance it’s over-tightened if that’s the case. You’d want to follow the two previous posts I link to in this post.

  1. Well done you: )
    There are many particular/specific areas that need this sort of detailed explanation to sort the problem.
    You don’t get it anywhere else online in my experience. (I have looked!)

    Thank you kindly: )

  2. Thank you Tammi! Foot controllers are problematic with my old machines. I don’t mind when they only go slow, so muchas when they go fast without my wanting them to. I appreciate the explanations that you blog (even when I don’t always understand all of it.) I will often go over the blogs again and again, until things fall into place. I have dealt with a couple of issues this way and am very grateful for your guidance. Have a great week.

    1. I definitely agree. A pedal that goes too fast is worse because it’s actually potentially dangerous. A pedal that doesn’t want to go fast is mostly just frustrating. 😉

      If you ever don’t get something I say, let me know! I’ll try to clarify. There’s a good chance if you didn’t understand what I was trying to say, others didn’t either.

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