Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Landmine Wireless Foot Pedal Review

  I almost never think about it until I am actually doing a tattoo; power cords, wires, and lines are really inconvenient.  They always eventually end up in the way, twist in some weird manner, or get caught on something.  More over, they can be very inefficient and are easily damaged.  So, if I can find a way to reduce the number of cords in my process, I am going to go for it.  

 The first time I saw a wireless foot switch in action was when I went to visit Myke Chambers at his studio.  Myke was gracious enough to show a friend of mine and I his set up, and he demonstrated the convenience of the wireless switch.  It allowed him to move about his station and set up as he needed with greater flexibility.  The foot switch cord was no longer in the way or a matter of concern for Myke.

 Back then, the tech involved in a wireless switch was still on the pricey side, which is surprising when you consider how simple and prevalent remote technology is.  There must simply not have been much demand for such devices; the idea was still novel.  I hadn't even given the wireless switch a thought until one of the artists in the studio I currently work mentioned that his switch was going out after years of operation and how he dreaded going back to a standard switch and dealing with the cord.  I was in the market for a back-up to my back-up (I tend to do about three layers of redundancy with my equipment), and ran across this item on-line.

The Landmine Wireless Foot Pedal retails for between $65-$70 on most sites, but can be purchased for as little as $45 on sites like Amazon.com.  The device comes with the foot pedal, USB power cord, and receiver.  The foot pedal is about 4.5 inches in diameter, can be actuated from any point, and runs on a CR2450 battery.  The battery is rated to run for 300 continuous hours and can be in stand-by mode for 200 days. The receiver works with a .25 inch jack.  The device can operate by remote or by connecting it to a power supply with a standard clip-cord, but older power-supplies may cause damage to the contacts.

 Setting up the foot pedal was a simple process.  I was a little disappointed that the receiver had to be connected to a power-source in order to operate.  It had another damn cord!  The point was to reduce the number of wires involved in my set-up.  Still, the wire was out of the way, and having a wireless foot switch proved to be convenient.  Operation distance seemed to be limited to about 20', with a barrier between the foot switch and the receiver disrupting function.  There was no cord between my switch and my power supply, and I immediately felt a little less tethered.

 When using this the Landmine Wireless Foot Pedal, you will want to keep a back-up handy.  I have initially found that after about two hours of normal operation the device became temperamental and inconsistent.  This may have been some kind of "breaking-in" period, as later usage was far more consistent. The potential operational issues off-sets the wireless convenience of the device, because while I dislike the cord, I loathe inconsistent operation.  It may have been the device, or it may have been something else, like a loose RCA connection on my machines.

  Over-all, I am satisfied with the device, especially for the price.  The device could be a little larger, as its thin size can make moving it around with your foot a challenge if it somehow ends up in a corner.  Changing out the battery for a new one was simple, and may have resolved some of the initial issues I was experiencing.  Now, if there is a reliable wireless unit for my machines...

Jason Sorrell is a writer, tattoo artist, satirist, artist, and generally nice guy living in Austin, TX.  He loves answering questions about tattoos.  Shoot him a message at https://www.facebook.com/tattoonerdz/