Buddy Board Current Usage
The DC Power port option for the 12-Button Footswitch will allow you to power up to 200mA of pedals on your Buddy Board. The power is 9V DC, center negative. It is recommended that you stay below this limit, for a maximum pull of 150mA. You should check the gauge of the individual wires in your VGA cable to make sure that the wire size is big enough to handle up to 200mA of power at 9V DC. Most VGA cables should be OK for that small amount of power. Others could overheat and damage the cable, perhaps melting the plastic insulation or creating a fire hazard. Below is a list of wire gauges and their recommended current handling maximum:
- 32 gauge - 91mA
- 30 gauge - 142mA
- 28 gauge - 225mA
- 26 gauge - 360mA
- 24 guage or less - more than enough mA
Most VGA cable wires are made of several strands of very small wire, typically around 30 gauage. For example "7x30" would indicate 7 strands of 30 gauge wire twisted into a single wire with a bit less than 7 x 142 mA of current-carrying capability, perhaps rated overall as 26 gauge.
If you are using the 18V Power module, you can see the current utilization change as you connect your tuner pedal. Make sure you don't exceed the maximum. Exceeding the maximum will cause voltage regulators in your Rack Switch VGA module to overheat. Normally they will just shut down when that happens and try to cool off. But continued over-current utilization can damage them.
At the time of writing (Nov, 2018), we found the following information about the current usage of several popular tuners. Always double-check with the manufacturer or datasheet specs, as new models or changes could be made to these pedals. This is meant only as a guideline. We have not verified this data.
- Boss TU-2 - 35mA
- Boss TU-3 - 95mA
- Boss TU-3S - 95mA
- Boss TU-3W - 110mA
- Digitech HT-2 - 40mA
- Digitech HT-6 - 40mA
- Fender FTN-1 - 15mA
- Korg Pitchblack Advance - 20mA
- Korg Pitchblack Custom - 40mA
- Korg Pitchblack Pro (rack tuner) - Korg says 200mA, we've always seen < 80mA
- Planet Waves - 35mA
- Polytune 3 - 45-50mA
- T-Rex Tunemaster - 70mA
Power comes to the footswitch through your VGA cable. Some older VGA cables do not have all 15 pins wired, conforming to an older VGA standard. These cables will not work. Make sure there are three rows of five pins in your connectors. These older cables usually have a pin missing in the middle row. Newer VGA cables that are used with higher resolution VGA monitors, projectors, and HDTV often have all 15 pins present and connected, so they are relatively easy to locate. The biggest problem is that in most product descriptions they don't say whether it is a 14-pin or 15-pin cable. You may have to verify that detail with your supplier. Sometimes these 15-pin cables are described as "fully wired".
It is pretty popular to have a wah pedal at the beginning of an effects chain. If you already have a tuner pedal there, why not put a wah there, too? A wah should pose no problem. We checked the power utilization of many wah pedals. Every one we checked claimed to draw 10mA or less. That is a tiny amount, even if you also have a tuner pulling a little bit. But definitely check with the manufacturer of the pedal, or watch the consumption on your 18V Power module, to make sure you are not exceeding the maximum power consumption.