Control Chain Devices

As I am eagerly awaiting my Dwarf to turn up, I can’t help but wonder what to do with the control chain option.

Having it described as better than MIDI, i couldnt wait to see what additional hardware is available but only found 4 button footwitch : (

Then I found the arduino shield which looked promising to find a sketch for one button or one potentiometer : (

I did stumble across a 4 knob 2 screen box but cant find it anymore.

So heres my thoughts.

Is it really better than midi ? If so why only basic controllers?

I use a sketch made by Dave at Notes and Volts to make really cool controllers with 16 pots and 16 switches with ease. And I have no idea how to program arduinos but its so easy to change to what I need.

Can we work together to build a similar type of generic sketch that can be altered to suit?

Also how about having a blank dwarf case with the ethernet cut outs and powder coating to match to be drilled and machined to taste ?

Really hoping this can turn into something special and look forward to everyones responses


I recently got the arduino shield and plan to make something for my own purpose (or a minimal PoC with parts I have lying around, at least). An expression pedal from MOD is in the making, and this is a totally new avenue for 3rd party vendors to develop control interfaces for MOD.

Imagine this as an extension of the UI on the MOD unit itself, your plugin can have dedicated display and controls with such extensions. It’s much deeper connectivity than a midi controller in that sense.

However, the MOD team is small and can’t very well do “ALL the things! o/” (all the time), so it’s on the DIY and 3rd party support to start exploiting these extended capabilities :slight_smile:

Another (recent) example using control chain is:


Hi Austin,
I don’t know the exact state of the arduino-lib at the moment, but i tried to to get my own ControlChain pedal, which is based on the arduino shield, running: The TrippleCPedal (ControlChain)
In the end i was never able to make it work reliably and i gave up for the moment.
Some time ago someone from the MOD team said, they will revise the lib, but i don’t think that happaned yet…

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Yes this is my worry. I did a long search and read all the posts but not many true sucesses.

Shame really as its a main feature of the dwarf and duo x .

I never really understood why the expression pedal got so complicated which leaves only the 4 button switch. Hardly taking it to the next level.

Will probably just stick to Daves arduino code thats been working so well for me, and use the Midi inputs - if my dwarf ever turns up. Or even just use my Helix or Pacer.

As Im not sure how Im going to use the dwarf will wait for it to arrive before I commit to a design.


The Control Chain is something that we want to “give more love” in a nearish future. Yet, as @dreamer stated, we are a small team and at this point completely overwhelmed joining the Dwarf development with the COVID restrictions and overall situation (and its consequences).
You can find for example this tutorial that explains how to make a control chain device that bridges with expression pedals.
Personally, I want to explore more the control chain port and the Arduino shield. Perhaps building some things that I can share with the community, but again…time is not playing on my side.


Hi Jon,

As always do appreciate that you are a small team and there is never enough time in the day.

Maybe we can as a forum try and solve the issues, or even crowd fund someone who can - Dave at Notes and Volts springs to mind although Im sure there are plenty more out there.

As I only came in when the Dwarf was being pitched, I have missed the actual control chain basics. I know we can have upto 8 devices but what are the constraints per device?

Is it only 4 knobs or 4 buttons with 2 screens?

Can we add multiplexers to increase these numbers without additional screens?

How many actual knobs and buttons can the dwarf and duos actually respond to ? My Helix is limited to 16 knobs and 12 buttons off hand. Is the dwarf similar.

Is the actual programing of the buttons much different from the normal arduino midi codes? ie without using the screens to show update values.

Still feel a generic tweak at your leisure sketch would really help push the control chain and make the Mod devices more desirable.

Unfortunately still no Dwarf and havent bought a shield yet so just bouncing ideas and thoughts.

P.s maybe eurorack the shield and DUO X as another thought


Hi Austin,

Thanks for your understanding and your aim to engage this community. That’s exactly the best of communities like this. We will keep an eye on this and perhaps save a lot of stuff from this conversation as a request (I already did with some stuff that you mention here).

Going straight onto your questions:

No. That’s only what is available on the MOD Footswitch. But you can have completely different configurations.

The previous answer and this one kind of connect. Your only limitation is the characteristics of a chip used on the Control Chain device. For example with the Arduino Shield on an Arduino Uno you have 14 digital pins and 6 analogs (in theory, there are technics to change this but not going too into that here).

No, basically there are no limitations. The only limit is the number of assignable parameters and the type of them on your pedalboard.

No. You can even use the arduino IDE.

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Cheers as always Jon. Will leave you in peace :slightly_smiling_face:

Will wait till the Dwarf turns up and hopefully we can reconvene regarding the control chain devices. And fingers crossed we can all chip in and see what happens.

Stay safe


I use 3 mod footswitch. There are some issues but it works.


Hi Julien - that looks pretty cool but rather expensive ; )

What issues did you run into ?

Yes it’s rather expensive but less than other big pedalboard like Helix or Headrush and it’s more flexible.
There are two issues.
Control chain device order is not good when I power on the Mod duo, I have to unplug and plug the Ethernet cable , then reload a pedalborad to have the good control chain footswitch order.
Sometimes when I use too much footswitches in a short time some controlchain footswitch loose connection.
In fact 3 control chain footswitch is not officialy supported and tested.


It was not the most conventional user case until now people using multiple footswitches so some bugs were not yet above the water (yet you have a super cool setup and I personally can see the point of it!). Those issues are already being sorted out and hopefully, soon there will be new firmware for the Footswitch. But I believe that you are aware of that :wink: