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Recommendations for Control Buttons/Sliders?

Building organ consoles for use with Hauptwerk, adding MIDI to existing consoles, obtaining parts, ...
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bobhehmann

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Recommendations for Control Buttons/Sliders?

PostSun Dec 27, 2020 5:56 pm

I'm planning my console build for 2021, and am in need of recommendations for piston-like control buttons (some lighted, some not) and analog controls (potentiometers, rotary or slide). These are for general-purpose controls to be located on the face-plate above the keyboards, alongside rockers for couplers: selecting/loading instruments, temperaments, combinations sets; managing stepper functions; level/trim; recording control. These are not for keyslip pistons, those will be provided as part of my keyboard stack from CMW, as will the rockers for couplers.

I'm awaiting arrival of a few MIDI Boutique (MGB) display panels / controllers, to provide display feedback for these type functions. MGB also has a controller, MSED32, that looks like it would be fitting for controlling my buttons and continuous controls, MIDI encoding for buttons and pots, decoding for lighted buttons.

What I don't have is a good choice for reasonable controls at a moderate price - for example, Klann pistons are nice indeed, but pricey. However, for buttons, that's roughly the form-factor I'm thinking about.

Does anyone have any recommendations for sourcing pistons, and likewise acceptable linear controls? Are there special considerations for lighted pistons e.g. if the controller operates on 12vdc, but piston lamps are rated for 5v - do I solder a resistor in-line for each lamp, if so, how do I calculate the optimal resistance? Any other recommendations from experience relating to this part of organ design?

Thanks all! Here's wishing the community a wonderful 2021.
Cheers, Bob
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jkinkennon

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Re: Recommendations for Control Buttons/Sliders?

PostSun Dec 27, 2020 7:18 pm

If you check eBay you will find blank Rodgers lighted pistons for sale at a reasonable price. These were new pistons stocked by Rodgers until they auctioned off most of their stock and equipment. The person selling them from Hillsboro, OR worked for Rodgers for years and bought a great deal of their inventory.

I'd suggest picking up a small 5v power supply for those you wish to have lighted. This seems preferable to putting a resistor in series with each lamp.

For analog controls I have used ordinary pots, often pots that are already mounted in the console I am working with. Look for 10k (+/-) linear taper pots or faders. Now that I have begun 3D printing it is easy to design and print plastic panels to mount a variety of controls. Often the hardest part of mounting new controls or displays is figuring out the mounting and 3D printing is a great option for brackets and bezels.
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engrssc

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Re: Recommendations for Control Buttons/Sliders?

PostSun Dec 27, 2020 7:32 pm

jkinkennon wrote:Now that I have begun 3D printing it is easy to design and print plastic panels to mount a variety of controls. Often the hardest part of mounting new controls or displays is figuring out the mounting and 3D printing is a great option for brackets and bezels.


Interested in any info re 3D printing you'd care to share, John.

Rgds,
Ed
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bobhehmann

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Re: Recommendations for Control Buttons/Sliders?

PostSun Dec 27, 2020 9:02 pm

Thanks John, I located the units you described. They're very much what I had in mind. Since originally posting, I also found a Polish company, "MIDI Hardware" that sells pistons in bulk, with LED lighting. With the MGB controller, I don't think I have an option for driving the lamps with an external PSU - the lamps have to take their power from the board itself, unregulated, 12-18VDC range. MGB's notes state that the lamps have to be rated for that voltage, or resistors inserted, or if subbing in LEDs @ 20ma/LED draw, typically a 470 ohm resistor. I rather like the MGB board, as it is exactly the right functional specs, at a reasonable price: 32 button/light combos, 7 straight buttons, 4 analog inputs, MIDI in/out, nothing else needed except power. I've dropped Matt an email explaining what I'd like to do. His listing says these pistons normally used a serial resistor to drop the Rodgers' 12V to the lamp's 5V.

Love the 3D printing idea! Not in my near future, but that tech just revolutionizes so many hobbies. My other hobby is building super-detailed large-scale (1/20.3) steam-era model railroad cars and buildings - several small proprietors of super-detailing parts, especially castings, have found the whole CAD/CAM, 3D printing and laser cutting transformative. Fun stuff!
Cheers, Bob
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jkinkennon

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Re: Recommendations for Control Buttons/Sliders?

PostMon Dec 28, 2020 10:06 am

Regarding the 3D printing it's unfortunate that I had a controller board failure followed by a failed replacement board from China so I am debating how to proceed. I am sure the main unit is undamaged but am debating whether to go with a completely different company, so my printing hobby will be sidelined for a bit. The particular model had a run of this same failure plus I am thinking of going with an enclosed model for temperature stability in order to print with some stronger filament types.

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