It is currently Thu Jan 21, 2021 1:23 pm


I'm new to this, here's where I am, and could use direction.

Building organ consoles for use with Hauptwerk, adding MIDI to existing consoles, obtaining parts, ...
  • Author
  • Message
Offline

Dr_Quemeshine

Member

  • Posts: 2
  • Joined: Mon Oct 26, 2020 3:49 pm
  • Location: Gladstone, OR

I'm new to this, here's where I am, and could use direction.

PostSun Nov 15, 2020 11:44 pm

Greetings all, let me first introduce myself. I'm Dr. Quemeshine, just turned 26, have a Ph.D in metaphysics, and own a holistic healthcare practice. On the other hand, I'm crazy passionate about organs, and actually have a big pipe organ project in the beginning stages. I played my nana's spinet Lowry since birth, then starting with pipe organs in the 9th grade. Anyhow, I had a 1979 Baldwin Cinema III that I'm converting to midi. I have a basic understanding of circuitry, but nothing with electronics engineering, so learning about MIDI wiring is a whole new world.
I stripped everything out of the Cinema III (BC3 from here on), and am about to put diodes on the key contacts. I'll show you below where I am in the pics. I am looking for guidance on what hardware, how to wire the keys to the hardware, and that jazz. Hoping someone can direct me to some decent how to articles.
I put in a custom light job with sentimental light bulbs, and the BC3 is a founding fixture in my marriage.

Here's the link to my pics.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/zad28jji6B3v4cdi9
Offline
User avatar

engrssc

Member

  • Posts: 6825
  • Joined: Mon Aug 22, 2005 10:12 pm
  • Location: Roscoe, IL, USA

Re: I'm new to this, here's where I am, and could use direct

PostMon Nov 16, 2020 2:55 am

Welcome, and as a well worn saying goes, 'You've come to the right place.'

Gutting and old instrument is a good first step. And as you are reaching out for information, another good. You'll find it is time well spent to do proper planning and research so as to not waste time and $$. For instance, you don't need keying diodes if you use this MIDI encoder which provides MIDI output (5 octaves) for a single manual.

https://www.midi-hardware.com/index.php?section=prod_info&product=BBS-1K&R2=USD

along with Master Controller:

https://www.midi-hardware.com/index.php?section=prod_info&product=MRG2&R2=USD

A useful feature of this Forum is to use the search function the lower one bsar the upper part of the topics page. And, yes, it takes some knowledge of terms, etc to ask a question. But that will come as you proceed.

Rgds,
Ed
Offline
User avatar

IainStinson

Member

  • Posts: 1107
  • Joined: Tue Dec 29, 2009 6:08 pm
  • Location: NW England, UK

Re: I'm new to this, here's where I am, and could use direct

PostMon Nov 16, 2020 4:56 am

Welcome and good luck with your project.

Some years ago I converted a very old Johannus organ into a midi console. I removed most of the electronics and used the stop tabs and keys with an earlier version of this kit https://www.midiboutique.com/MIDI-Encoders/hwce2-bundle2 from Midi Boutique. Their kits support various ways of keying . For my console conversion the keys and stops were in effect simple on off switches with no diodes, the also offer scan matrix support. Take a look at their website and user manuals.

I used flat ribbon cable (16 core) to connect each keyboard octave (3 or 4 spare wires) to the spreader boards. This kept the cables in the console manageable and attached easily to the plugs to connect to the spreader board.

Work out how many midi inputs you need, two manuals, pedal board, xxx stop keys, xx pistons and y expression pedals to size the equipment you need. You can use note on off for stop control.

If the stop keys were built to move when a piston was pressed, they will have solenoids built into the switch. If they have and you want them to move when a piston is pressed, you will need a midi decoder to drive the stop solenoids and a large enough power supply for the solenoids. You may be able to recover that from the old console.

Other people have used other encoders - some using micro controllers: you’ll find lots of details on the forum. The forum search facility is very helpful.

Best of luck.

Iain
Offline

Dr_Quemeshine

Member

  • Posts: 2
  • Joined: Mon Oct 26, 2020 3:49 pm
  • Location: Gladstone, OR

Re: I'm new to this, here's where I am, and could use direct

PostMon Nov 16, 2020 3:01 pm

Hey guys,
Thanks for the info. I'm excited to be a part of this and on my journey. I love doing organ repair, my host mom when I lived in Germany was a repair tech and I got to be her assistant, which was amazing. I have an 1890's pump organ I got for my birthday that I went through and refurbished the reeds, vox humana (a delightful spinning device that just adds vibrato, but for marketing purposes of Montgomery Ward, they disguise it as an actual voice), new straps, etc.
I'm definitely a research guy, especially on projects like this. In my very small living room, I have a Hammond B3, the shell with fancy lights of my Cinema III, and the 1890's Montgomery Ward pump organ. I'm trying to turn this console into my music making station, not just a virtual pipe organ.

Here's what my goal is:
I tore out all the tabs. If you've ever played a BC3, the entire bottom row of tabs are useless, except for the rhythm machine and manual percussion tabs--just lots of hoopla to make it look exciting. Instead, my intent is to put in an array of three or four small touch screens where the tabs used to be, then two more, larger touch screens mounted to both sides of the music stand. Right above the solo KB, is a bar that had some preset buttons and various rheostat volume controls for accomp, pedals, perc, and some power switches. I tore out all this and will be replacing it with new buttons to use for presets (if you could direct me to the best buttons to buy new, that would be great).
I want this to be run off PC because I want to use other programs with the console as well, like SoundTrap for music composition and use the KBs as moog style synths, then Sibelius for notation. For the sound, I just plan on hooking this PC into my existing 5.1 surround sound in my living room. See what I'm going for? An all around PC driven music console, mixing the beautiful cabinetry and nostalgic horseshoe shape of a theatre organ with the star-treky lights and screens of tomorrow. I might try to photoshop up a prospection picture to share.

With all this being said, what I specifically need help with: I have taken out every single electronic component except the key contacts, but notice all the resistors and diodes have been removed. Several keys were not working and the components were failing when tested. What components do I need and how do I wire them to get these KBs and pistons to interact with a PC? Pic of board here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/Rom94VJrGKEpzGbX6

Once again, I sure do appreciate the warm welcomes. I live for learning new things and understanding my hobbies at a deeper level, so getting to wire it all up is wildly exciting. Cheers all!
~Quemeshine
Offline

larason2

Member

  • Posts: 225
  • Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2016 9:32 pm

Re: I'm new to this, here's where I am, and could use direct

PostTue Nov 17, 2020 12:46 am

I agree with the above recommendations. I personally have been a user of Midi Boutique boards, and highly recommend them. The easiest and cheapest way is to buy one of their HWCE2 packages. I have bought the packages with SM8x8 boards, but these only work if you don't have a common return rail for each keyboard. If you have a common return rail, then get the Keymux64 boards. They also come with all the cables you need to connect the boards together. Then, all you need to is buy some AWM cable (appliance wiring material), and use a hobby knife to cut the ends and strip the wires, then solder the wire ends to each switch. For the SM8x8, you have a return for each set of 8 keys, for the Keymux64, you have a common return for all of the keys. For both board sets, you don't need to wire diodes separately, that functionality is included on the expansion boards. Also note, that they have a HWCE2, and HWCE2x. HWCE2 is enough for pedals, two keyboards and a fair number of stop tabs, but if you have a lot of stop tabs or need an extra keyboard, you should get the larger board. It isn't a problem that the resistors and diodes have been removed - you would have had to remove them anyway to get the contacts to work with a system like this.

Also, as Iain said, if you want the stops to move on their own, you will need a MIDI decoder. However, if you just want to play the instrument, you can start with just an encoder as above, then add the decoder later as time and money permit. I would save all of the circuitry that you removed, as the components may come in handy later.

For expression pedals, there have been some posts on this forum on how to build your own expression pedal controller using inexpensive parts, with a very useful example having been posted by John Kinkennon, with another useful one by Ed, who previously posted on this topic. I have used John Kinkennon's design and it worked very well, you may want to look into how to do that, and we could help you with putting it together.

If you are programming savvy, you can also save some money by buying Arduino or Teensy boards and programming them yourself as a MIDI encoder/decoder. It would also be more complicated to wire, and you would have to buy multiple and chain them together with the programming, but it is an option.
Offline

jkinkennon

Member

  • Posts: 1125
  • Joined: Thu May 07, 2009 9:43 am
  • Location: Vancouver, WA

Re: I'm new to this, here's where I am, and could use direct

PostTue Nov 17, 2020 10:22 am

I am located about 30 minutes away and do a lot of MIDI conversion work. I'm retired so there's always time to meet up and discuss MIDI projects. Until we get a vaccine for the virus it is strictly short visits with masks, but it's possible I would have some useful parts laying around the garage so feel free to get in touch through the contact info on my web site. I've used a fair amount of Midi Boutique equipment (RIP Jordan Petkov) as well as designing my own encoders/decoders so I can answer most questions you might have. John Kinkennon

Return to DIY organ consoles / MIDI

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests