revving up a Kinesis foot pedal

No driver? No problem!

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For some reason, Kinesis never wrote an updated driver for their original Savant Elite triple foot pedal, and you have to have a 32-bit computer to re-program it. Screw that, let's put a Raspberry Pi Pico in there and call it a day.

I've been using a single foot pedal for Shift and I absolutely love (and recommend) it. I found this triple foot pedal at Goodwill and I had to have it whether it worked or not.

Well, it works, and it's set to left arrow, right arrow, and right mouse click. I would prefer Ctrl, Shift, and Alt in that order. So I found the driver and the manual on the Kinesis site and read about reprogramming it. Turns out you must have a 32-bit computer to reprogram it, and running the program in XP-compatibility mode doesn't work. Since I'm fresh out of 32-bit computers, I decided to open her up and see about replacing the controller.

Honestly, it couldn't be easier -- the Pico has enough GPIO and grounds that I can re-use the plugs and the right-angle header connectors.

Adobe Portable Document Format - 1.56 MB - 09/03/2021 at 15:39


  • 1 × Kinesis Savant Elite foot pedal the first generation
  • 1 × Raspberry Pi Pico
  • 1 × really long, semi-fancy USB-micro cable

  • Well, that was easy.

    kristina panos09/05/2021 at 15:35 0 comments

    It's done, and it's working, and I'm making all these capital letters with it. I almost had to forego using the JST plugs and header pins again due to space constraints, but I managed to squeeze it all in there and get the lid screwed down.

    I have plans for future improvements:

    • there is a hole in the bottom of the enclosure for accessing a slide switch on the original controller that switches between play mode and programming mode. I would like to wire up a reset switch and mount it there.
    • the switches are not as clicky as I'd like them to be, especially the middle one that I plan to use the most. My old Shift pedal is pretty loud, and I like the feedback. I'm going to see what kind of switches the pedals have now, probably Cherry lever switches or something. If possible, I'd like to replace them with something super clicky, like Cherry greens or Kailh box navys or jades.
    • I'd like to add some kind of homing bump to the middle pedal for reference, like maybe half a bouncy ball or something.

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Lewis Folsom wrote 5 hours ago point

Just what I needed! You just saved me a lot of time. Thank you!

  Are you sure? yes | no wrote 03/06/2024 at 12:13 point

I'll be sure to keep an eye on this thread. Looking for the same issue. Bumped into your thread. Thanks for creating it. Looking forward for solution.

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dragon788 wrote 02/22/2024 at 18:57 point

I've had one of these for YEARS and was struggling to find a use for it, because the default programming sucked and I hadn't sorted out the programming because I'd switched to 64 bit or Linux long before that point.

I love how simply you were able to describe your process and get things working, I actually picked up a few of these cheap and I'm going to go crazy soon with swapping in a Seeed Xiao RP2040 instead of the Pi Pico to get a USB-C connection and smaller chip footprint, but similar wealth of pins to use, and I may actually see if I can do the same thing for the 30AJ that has a phono jack port in addition to the 3 pedals for up to 4 input mappings.

I was also thinking you could also map a hold to "Ctrl+C" and a double tap to "Ctrl+X" and a quick tap to "Ctrl+V" which would be potentially thrice as many actions pre pedal, so 3 for a single pedal, 6 for a dual pedal, and 9 for a triple pedal, or a massive 12 for the 3x pedal plus jack model. If you wanted to get REALLY crazy you could map triple/quadruple/etc clicks, but that's getting into pianist/drummer levels of coordination and timing/debounce.

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kristina panos wrote 02/24/2024 at 18:00 point

Nice! It never occurred to me to do double taps or quick taps. I wish you the best of luck with your project!

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danjovic wrote 09/28/2021 at 18:23 point

Hey Kristina, I intend to do a similar project with a racing pedal I have acquired on a recycling facility. Yet on the cheap side I should go with a digispark from my #F.P.S: Foot Presto Switch. At that time I needed ro modify the original keyboard library so it could hold the key pressed as long as the respective switch was held down.

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Anoir Ben Tanfous wrote 09/19/2021 at 10:17 point

Äccording to their website "Once the foot switch is programmed, it can be used in a 64-bit environment" so I guess a VM machine can spare the replacement of the controller

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Anoir Ben Tanfous wrote 09/19/2021 at 10:12 point

I got the same and I didn't use it (bought at thrift store as well) and now I stumbled upon this, I think this will be my next project, thank you for sharing this and looking forward to seeing your progress and future improvements... I think this would help a lot with CAD and 3D design... 

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kristina panos wrote 09/19/2021 at 20:39 point

That's awesome to hear! You are very welcome. I have since opened up one of the pedals and took some pictures -- I should make a log entry about it. :)

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