[131] Diode Clipping Switch

Date: August 12th, 2008 | Comments : [4] | Categories: DIY.

Diode clipping switch

Here is an easy mod for switching diode clippers.

The clipping diodes are configured to shunt the signal to ground when their forward threshold is exceeded. In this setup, a pair of LEDs are across the signal path at all times. The switch is an SPDT with a center-off position. Other types of diodes are connected to the outside poles of the switch and the center lug goes to the signal. When in the center-off position, the LEDs are the only diodes in the circuit and will be doing all the clipping.

If the switch is toggled up, as shown here, the 1N34 germanium diodes will clip the signal and the LEDs are effectively out of the circuit. When the switched is flipped down, the silicon diodes are conducting first, instead of the LEDs.

This configuration works great with an MXR Distortion Plus or a Rat pedal, and gives you 3 distinct distortion sounds with one small switch.

Check out my Rat mod ebook for more ideas.


4 Responses to “Diode Clipping Switch”

[573] Bill Dunham Says: 5:06 pm, December 8th, 2008

Quick question about the circuit you show above, I assume that when the 1N914’s or the 1N34A’s are selected, the LED clipper circuit has no effect because the threshold voltage of the LED is higher than the other diodes. Is this why you don’t need to remove the LED’s from the circuit when selecting the other clippers?

[936] Vintage Rat mods! « A Musing of the Toniwha Says: 11:11 pm, January 26th, 2010

[…] found the clipping switch to be quite taxing and so I didn’t take any photos of it. Following this ( amz rat clipping) for how to work it, and this (mighter mouse mods) for the mosfet clipping  I […]

[2229] A2 Says: 10:46 am, July 5th, 2011

Hello all itried this.. my question is if the led is effectively out of the circuit then why the led still blinking? is this normal? 😀

[668734] Wee-Lamm Says: 10:48 pm, May 21st, 2015

@A2, no, the LED’s are not out of the circuit. As the signal prefers to take the least restrictive path to earth, the LED’s present a higher load than either of the 2 diode pairs while they are switched on.

This “effectively” implies that they will have no effect while either of the other 2 pairs is in the circuit, but being that the signal is alternating current, their will be 2 times each second where both sides of the signal will be at their lowest.

This may help a bit too. 🙂


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