Foot Pedals for the BK-7m

December 19, 2016

My BK-7m backing module did not come with any kind of a foot pedal, as they normally don’t, even from the factory.  However, using the BK-7m effectively without one is near impossible.  The biggest challenge is the fact that Roland’s FC-7 foot pedal has been out of production for several years now, and they are just about impossible to find.  The ones that you do find, are always overpriced.

So what does one do??  Well, Roxy’s Music in New York USA was the first to come up with an affordable solution and that was to adapt a Korg EC-5 foot pedal and rewire it so that it works on the BK-7m.  Though nice, it’s 2 fewer switches cut in to how one would use those pedals in all but the most rudimentary of manners.  Their partial solution was to add a Boss ES-5U single switch pedal controlled via the expression pedal socket of the BK-7m, giving you a total of 6 switches, which is kind of the bare minimum and is acceptable, but not quite optimal.

There is also the cost factor… I would need to spend $80US for the EC-5, $45US for the Boss pedal and $30US for the custom EC-5 cable.

My DIY juices started to flow and I started looking at my options… and luckily I had two choices jump out at me almost immediately!

First, let’s document the pin-out that the BK-7m demands for it’s 7 switches.  This diagram comes from the Roxy’s video via a screen capture:

Please note that this is looking at the DIN-8 plug from the FRONT!

OPTION 1 (about $6):

I own a Ketron X4 and with it I purchased their FS-6 pedal.  It comes with a custom male DB-15 connector.  The good part is 6 switches in one.  The bad part is the DB-15 connector.  I don’t want to destroy the ability of this pedal to be used with the Ketron X4, and at that point, option #1 popped in to my head.

Make an adapter that fits over the FS-6’s DB-15 connector and converts it to a DB-8 connector on the other end.  This makes the adapter removable and doesn’t damage the original pedal.  Within seconds, it can be used on either arranger!

The good part:

  • it’s very easy to make
  • it’s very affordable
  • it doesn’t damage the original connector, just plug in the adapter, plug it in to the BK-7m and enjoy!

The bad part:

  • it’s only 6 switches.  Though still quite livable, for full functionality, if I want 7 switches, I would need to add something like the Boss ES-5U pedal.
  • But what if I wanted to use a swell pedal for expression or have all 8 features available to me? Not possible with this setup.
  • What if I wanted to have the Ketron X4 available to me at the same time? Not possible with this setup.


  • A DB-8 connector ($1.20)
  • A DB-15 female connector ($1)
  • A DB-15 connector cover ($1.60)
  • A 2 foot length of wire ($2)

Grand total for this job is an incredibly cheap $5.80 and 30 minutes of my time to solder things up.

The work:  Wiring is based off looking at the BACK of the plug, as shown in the picture:

The plug wiring is:  top row, left to right: 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8 and bottom row from left to right 9-10-11-12-13-14-15.

Ketron FS-6 pedal:

Pin 15 is the COMMON or GROUND.

SW #1 uses pins: 15 + 8
SW #2 uses pins: 15 + 10
SW #3 uses pins: 15 + 7
SW #4 uses pins: 15 + 4
SW #5 uses pins: 15 + 14
SW #6 uses pins: 15 + 13

OPTION 2 (about $7.50):

I have a very interesting 2nd option!  Back from the days of my first electronic accordions, they included 2 foot pedals that I never used or needed.  One is a 3-switch pedal, and the other is a 4-switch pedal.  Hey 3+4=7!  So I would need to wire up both pedals to one connector, and I could have all 7 functions available to me, leaving the expression pedal available for BK-7m volume control or an 8th switch!

The good part:

  • it’s also very easy to make
  • it’s also very affordable

The bad part… wait, there is NO bad part!

  • It’s a full 7 switches.  I don’t need to add something like the Boss ES-5U pedal.
  • But what if I wanted to use a swell pedal for expression? Sure, go ahead, the expression pedal socket is not used with this setup!
  • What if I wanted to have the Ketron X4 available to me at the same time? No problem, we’re not using the FS-6 pedal, so use it with the Ketron X4!

Cost of #2 is slightly more:

  • A DB-8 connector ($1.20)
  • A 6 foot length of wire ($6)

Grand total for this job is an incredibly cheap $7.20 but amount of time/work goes up a bit more to about 45 minutes of my time to wire and solder things up.

Let’s document the 4-switch foot pedal wiring.  It has a 6-wire setup using Brown, Black, Blue, Red, Green and White wires.  It turns out that the white wire is the ground or common wire.

SW #1 (minor/bottom left) uses: White + Green
SW #2 (seventh/bottom right) uses: White + Brown
SW #3 (break/top left) uses: White + Blue
SW #4 (start/top right) uses: White + Red

Note:  I had to rewire this pedal inside the box.  It was apparently used for a proprietary use and had integrated lights and additional resistors in the wiring which prevented proper use.  I had to disable the lighting function, removed the resistors and rewired the switches to basic use, tested them out and it works perfectly.  Added time, 15 extra minutes to remove the unwanted resistors and rewire.

Let’s document the 3-switch foot pedal wiring.  It has a 5-wire setup using Copper shield (not used), Black, Blue, Red, Green.  On this one it turns out that the green wire is the ground or common wire.

SW #1 (Bottom) uses: Green + Black
SW #2 (Top Left) uses: Green + Red
SW #3 (Top Right) uses: Green + Blue

Addemdum: December 22, 2016

So… did it work??

You betcha!!  Both work nicely!  The 6 switch pedal is super convenient, but I am really loving the 3+4 option, it works surprisingly well!  The only thing is that the factory default settings are off on 2 switches.  No problems, I can set things up in the BK as to what feature each switch activates easily enough, making it perfect and I can leave the X4 connected to it’s 6 switch pedal.  The video below shows the 7-switch setup works great.

Addendum: December 24, 2016

A very cool little Christmas gift is coming!  My sister found out that my little round pedal reserved for the PERF-NEXT switch was not working 100% (it is pretty old), so she ordered the Boss ES-5U pedal from Ebay via Japan for me (for just under $50Cdn)… which means that it will be here near mid January 2017.  Thank-you Sis!!  🙂

Addendum: December 25, 2016

Believe it or not, I’ve received an email that the pedal has already shipped!  Expected arrival around January 24th.  Nice!

Addendum: December 27, 2016

I’ve found a place online in the USA that sells the perfect DIY solution for a very affordable amount.  If you have a little bit of DIY ability, can drill holes, screw in stomp switches, do a little soldering and if you want, a bit of painting, you can make your own 8-switch stomp pedal for under $60US!  Check out the site in the link below.  If I did not have my switches, this is the place I would be buying from to have my solution!

Check them out!

Addendum: January 15, 2017

I’ve been out of town for the last week at a family funeral, but my sister called me that my Roland BOSS FS-5U pedal came in.  This pedal is a Christmas gift from her, and she ordered it via eBay all the way from Japan.  Predicted delivery date was middle/end of January, however it came in on the 11th, nicely packaged with markings from, of all companies… Amazon!

Here are a few low quality pictures of it taken by my cell phone:

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This pedal will be to activate the Performance Next function of the BK-7m and should serve perfectly for this purpose.