Talking Shop Tuesdays – Episode #1 (Foot Switches and Foot Pedals)

Welcome to the first episode of Talking Shop Tuesday! Today we are discussing Foot Switches and Foot Pedals.

First, let me explain the difference as they are often confused with one another. The Foot Pedal is the rubber bladder that you step on to push air through a hose and into the foot switch on the back of the shaved ice machine. That air then triggers the switch and causes the ice shaver to run.

This topic is extremely important because the foot switch and pedal absolutely vital to our shavers, especially our Block Ice Shaver. The Snowie 3000 and 1000 Ice Shavers have a bypass switch on the front of the shaver. This switch allows you to run the ice shaver without the foot switch if necessary. This is intended for backup purposes but you can use this switch as often as you would like. It is far more convenient to use a foot pedal.

Our Snowie Block Ice Shaved Ice Machine, however, relies completely on the  foot pedal and switch. I often get asked if it is wise to have a backup Ice Shaver. My reaction is always, “Absolutely!” but that can be an expensive solution for someone starting out. My advice for the budget strapped entrepreneur is to purchase backup switches and blades for your Shaved Ice Machines. This is a cheap and fairly thorough backup solution.

Carl begins by showing us two versions of the foot pedal. We have moved back to the larger bladder because we feel it is stronger and more reliable. We have cycled between them as each product shows greater ability to become error free.

There are really only two things that can error on a foot pedal. The most common problem is one that Carl explains in the video, this is when the end of the tube gets stretched, dries, or cracks allowing air to escape out of the hose so there is not enough pressure to activate the switch. This is a very simple fix. All you have to do is cut an inch or so off the end of the hose. This will give you a brand new, air-tight fit on the end of the hose.

The second point of error is your pedal can split. This usually happens when users stomp on the pedal rather than lightly step on it. It is also common for the pedal to flip upside down and on its side. This results in the pedal being asymmetrically crushed and can damage the bladder.

The best way to diagnose this is to take the pedal off your Shaved Ice Machine and lightly place your finger over the end of the tube. Now step on the pedal to let all the air out past your finger. Next, hold your thumb firmly over the end of the hose to make sure no air can back into the pedal. If your pedal inflates while doing this, it either has a crack or a broken seal.

The most common problem with the foot switch (the switch mounted to the back of the shaver) is that it will become “welded” in place after repeated use. When you select “Foot” on your front switch it will either run constantly or not at all. This occurs because you are constantly activating that switch, hundreds if not thousands of times a day. It is similar to my kids using the windows switch in the car. They will roll it up and down perpetually. Thank heavens they put that lock switch on the drivers door to prevent them from doing it. They do that for two reasons, one to keep your kids from driving you nuts and secondly to keep them from wearing out those switches. This little switch on your ice shave is like a windows switch in a car that has no parental control. It is constantly being triggered.

Our switches are very reliable and we are always looking for more reliable and robust switches. However, we wanted to send you this post so that you can be prepared for what may occur. It can be far more costly when you are at an event and you cannot support your crowd because a switch went bad. Get your backup switches today.