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Re: Rick’s Miditzer

Posted: Thu Jan 08, 2009 7:57 pm
by greenfox
I have had the most fantastic week.

I visited 4 homes of virtual organ enthusiasts, had great discussions face to face with 7 enthusiasts, and saw and played 5 different virtual organs in various stages of modification and functionality. All of this within an hours drive of my home.

I can't thank everyone enough for their hospitality, time and enthusiasm.

There are still more people to meet and more organs to see in my area.

I would encourage everyone to go the next step past the forums to meet their local VTPO enthusiasts. There is more we can all learn from how others have gone (and are going) about their projects.

Re: Rick’s Miditzer

Posted: Tue Feb 10, 2009 2:48 pm
by panjere
Hi Greenfox,

The photo of the piston work you posted heped allot. I am a very visual person and seeing something once goes a long way in helping me to understand how it is done. Thank you for posting it. I now have a visual to help me with setting up my pistons for the 260SP conversion on my Conn 652.

Do you have any or know where I might fined photos of a switch for a key that has been rewired on a keyboard? Photo of a pedal board switch? Photo of an expression pedal converted to midi?

I have not yet seen a photo of a key wired. Have seen a photo of an entire keyboard with ribbon cables coming out from them. But never a single close up of a key that has had a switch soldered. I am confused. Heard some people say that up to 12 wires need to be soldered to a single key, etc. Have trouble picturing that. I am trying to make sure I am not getting into something without understanding what I am in for.

I know that allot of this stuff is on the site, but the challenge is that there is so much information available, it is extremely time consuming finding exactly what I am looking for and I have been trying very hard to find what I need.

I found someone to work with here to help me with the conversion work. But I will be doing the rewiring of the keyboards myself. I would love to have a pic of a key that has been rewired on a Conn 652, close up. I understand that the Conn 652 keys are different from the 651 and other models. I am told it is actually easier to do the rewiring based on the way the 652 key is designed. But still, I get allot of technicians questioning how it is done, if it can be done on a Conn 652, etc... etc.

I know someone here has already done it to a 652. You seem to be very well informed of all the work going on in this fantastic site! A single photo of a key rewired would be great help in getting me off to a good start. I will send this post out to others too and see if I get what I need. Any input you have is, as always, very appreciated.

I am ready to buy parts. I have more than one recommendation to use parts built by Artisan. Mainly because of the support and communication available thru them is better than other parts suppliers. I was planning on using connectors since I am a beginner and will probably cross a wire or two, have to do some rework and do not want to have to put the soldering iron to the board too many times and lift a pad. I imagine this will create allot more labor?


Re: Rick’s Miditzer

Posted: Tue Feb 10, 2009 6:31 pm
by greenfox
Hi Steve

I am pleased some of my pictures are useful to you. I understand wanting to see pictures of what you need to be doing.

Yes, the Conn 652 is a good recipient of MIDI modification because it has spare contacts that are not being used. The older models used multiple contacts for different part of their circuitry where the 652 only used 1 contact per note. Conn continued to use the same keyboards and just left the other contacts unused. The "whisker" contacts are there but they don't touch anything. You need to put in a buss bar to get the other side of the contact. The holes to mount the buss bar are there just not being used. Having said this, from memory this is true for the Solo and Great keyboards, however the Accompaniment does not have any spare. The couple of Conn's I have been involved with have used percussion buss bar on the Accompaniment keyboard for their MIDI contacts. For the pedals on the 652, if you want to keep the existing organ function, you will need to mount an extra reed switch beside each of the existing ones. Let me know if you want more detail on how to do this.

You only need one contact per note (or piston) to operate MIDI. If you have more than one spare contact per note you could link them all together then go to the one MIDI wire. This would give a better chance of good contact but not necessary.

I have had some involvement with Artisan MIDI modules. I would say that they are a good commercial system at a reasonable cost. They interface well with Miditzer for notes, pistons and swell/crescendo. (They become a lot more complicated when sending tab messages to Miditzer, but can be done.)

You will be pleased to know that Artisan has screw terminal strips for the wires coming from the notes. There is no need for soldering on the Artisan circuit boards.

Notes and pistons going to MIDI will have a common wire going to a buss bar (that each note "whisker" will touch). Each note then has 1 wire going back to a screw terminal. The differentiation as to which note (or pedal) or if a piston, which piston, is done in the programming of the Artisan uMidi board. Artisan may be able to give you a configuration file already set up for Miditzer.

With regard to the Swell control to MIDI. You will find on the base of your existing swell pedals (looking from inside the back) there are silver circular objects about 1" in diameter with a 1/4" shaft in the middle. The shaft has a lever elbow which twists it as the swell pedal is moved up and down. These are the potentiometers (or Pot's). The standard ones are logarithmic (log) for audio output. To provide a signal to Artisan you will need to change one of these to be Linea (lin).

I don't have pictures from inside a Conn so can't help visually at the moment. It would be good for you to find someone local who has done a similar project to help formulate your plan.

Enjoy your project. It is a great feeling to got sounds coming from an organ you have built or rebuilt.

Re: Rick’s Miditzer

Posted: Sun Jan 31, 2010 8:18 pm
by greenfox
After a long time of focusing on different things, I have made some progress on my console. Mine is nowhere near as impressive as Bill's and is very much focused on function rather than appearance at this stage.

I have the 3rd manual playing now giving MIDI output.
I have upgraded my pistons. Initially I had 22 pistons and had them all close together. I now have 32 pistons and have them positioned and spaced the same as our local real theatre organ.

Re: Rick’s Miditzer

Posted: Sun Jan 31, 2010 8:38 pm
by elpaharo

Your instrument is just as grand as mine. It is not the appearance so much as the sound and love of playing it. After hearing your rendition of "More" I can say you have nothing to hide from. It was simply beautiful. Your Christie disposition is another of your crowning achievements in the VTPO world and I salute your support of this medium. You have the most complete documentation of a VTPO that I have ever seen.

I am really proud to call you a friend and supporter of the VTPO world!


Re: Rick’s Miditzer

Posted: Sun Jan 31, 2010 9:20 pm
by greenfox
Thank you Bill for your kind encouraging words.

I very much appreciate what you have done on a small budget. Mine is very much constrained by budget also. My Pistons have cost me $1.20ea Australian. I know your door bell buttons were economical also.

I must try now to concentrate on some musical playing rather than console tinkering. (But there is always something else to do or try).

It seems you can see the end of your project. Will it really be FINISHED?

Re: Rick’s Miditzer

Posted: Sun Nov 04, 2012 10:04 pm
by greenfox
Hello Everyone

I am working on a new Virtual Organ. I have the express aim of creating an organ that will easily dismantle to fit in a sedan, but still be a full size and capable instrument.
I am reusing the 25 note pedal board and stool from the Yamaha E5AR shown earlier in this thread.
I have changed tack slightly on the tactile switches for pistons and found ones that will accept a white cap.
I decided on Masterkeys 61 MIDI Controller keyboards because they were compact, they stacked well together, and allowed good room for pistons.
I will reuse the uCapps MidiBox128 system for the 50x pistons, the 25 pedals and the swell.

This is early stages so a lot more work to do yet before it will be making music.