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Piston stuck on problem

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Piston stuck on problem

Postby mumblecake » Tue May 19, 2015 11:39 am

Hi,

occasionally I'm having the issue that when I press one of my thumb pistons it gets stuck in Hauptwerk (St. Anne's). The piston does subsequently NOT react to the "reset all midi events" and also does not get unstuck when pressing it on the touch screen or with a mouse. I also go into the properties to assign/re-assign the piston and the same piston happily reacts when pressed but the virtual piston simply will not release. The only way of getting the piston reset is by reloading the sample set/reloading Hauptwerk.

Any ideas of how I can get out of the misery without the lengthy process of reloading the sample set?

thank you very much

Best Regards

Mathis
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Re: Piston stuck on problem

Postby mdyde » Tue May 19, 2015 11:48 am

Hello Mathis,

(Reinstalling the sample set shouldn't make any difference.)

Which specific piston are you referring to? What MIDI hardware/message are you using to control it?
Best regards,
Martin.

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Re: Piston stuck on problem

Postby mumblecake » Wed May 20, 2015 3:19 am

Hi Martin,

Thank you very much for your reply. Your expert insight is always most appreciated.

The pistons that have got stuck so far have been the second combination switch ("2") on the Swell as well as the second combination switch ("2") on the Great. What I don't understand is that the piston doesn't get unstuck even when I unregister the midi event. It seems to be "software" stuck. I can't see anything hardware related forcing the virtual piston to remain on in particular as I can still see the midi activity when pressing and depressing the physical switch. That said it can obviously be something hardware related that "confuses" Hauptwerk.

I am using a midibox controller which is using the windows usb midi legacy drivers. The midibox is forced to one midi port (normally it uses four ports but the driver is known to cause problems and I'm only using one port anyway).

During the build of my console I was using CC messages but following an email conversation that you and me had some time ago (added to the end of this message as it might be relevant) I changed that over to note on/off messages (to increase throughput compared to NRPN). Are there some known issues with note on/off events in combination with pistons?

original email exchange:

I wrote:I'm currently working on a Hauptwerk conversion project using midibox. I have 43 stop action magnets from an old Rodgers organ. The midibox controller is configured to send out the SAM information on midi channel 5 cc=0-42 with conventional off=0 and on=127. I have tested those with the St Anne's default organ. All Sams are working except for the one on cc=38. When I manually switch the SAM I can see the midi signal coming into Hauptwerk but the virtual stop jamb which is configured for this signal is not moving. When I click the virtual stop jamb my SAM gets actuated. I have now changed the configuration so that the same SAM is now transmitting/receiving on CC=39, skipping CC=38. With this configuration the SAM gets properly read by Hauptwerk and everything works fine. My question is: What is wrong with chn=5 CC=38 (I haven't tested changing the channels so I don't know if that really has an impact). Is this reserved for some reason? I would also be grateful if you have any documentation about potentially reserved signals and also recommended signal ranges.

Martin wrote:The only MIDI controller numbers that are reserved (have special meaning) within Hauptwerk are those that are defined within the MIDI standard to be parts of NRPN/RPN MIDI messages:

http://www.philrees.co.uk/nrpnq.htm

... i.e.: 6, 38, 98, 99, 100, 101.

(Those need to be reserved because Hauptwerk supports NRPNs and RPNs.)

Apart from that, there are general recommendations for MIDI implementations for DIY projects in the corresponding sub-sections of the 'Reference: MIDI implementation' section in the main Hauptwerk user guide (pages 217-225 in the current v4.1.1 version).

The most important note there is probably that any given MIDI switch should receive exactly the same MIDI message as it sends (same event type, channel, event number, etc.), so that Hauptwerk can configure MIDI output to it automatically by auto-detection. That's especially important since MIDI settings are per-organ, so configuring them all by hand for all organs could be very time-consuming.

Although the user guide mentions using NRPNs or note-on/offs for switches, MIDI CC-on/offs (value=0 for off, 127 for on) should be fine too, provided that you avoid the NRPN/RPN controller numbers mentioned above.

I wrote:Is there any advantage of using NRPN over CC? If I understand it correctly it is a protocol which is build on CC which means that a boolean switch which would be expressed over CC as a single message would as NRPN be encoded as 3-4 CC messages thus unnecessarily clogging up the midi bus. My usb midi controller uses a driver which is around 50 times quicker than standard midi but on standard midi wouldn't this overhead significantly slow down communication? I think e.g. of a general cancel which on the St Anne could actuate a maximum of around 40 stop jambs/combination jambs. Wouldn't NRPN significantly slow things down here.

I can imagine that for swell shoes the 14Bit resolution could make sense though from what I read most organ manufacturers only implement 12-40 step rollers for those which means that the resolution is less than 6Bit.

For now I have reconfigured my controller to skip cc=6 and cc=38 (not getting close to 98, 99, 100 & 101). If there is a tangible advantage of using NRPN I might be persuaded to reconfigure my controller.

Martin wrote:The main reasons that the user guide recommends NRPNs are:

- There are lots more of them than there are CCs. (Theatre organ consoles often have more than 128 stops/pistons/switches, for example.)

- Although Hauptwerk only has six 'reserved' CCs, most other MIDI applications (sequencers, etc.) have special functionality for lots of the other CC numbers ( http://www.indiana.edu/~emusic/cntrlnumb.html ).

- (Minor:) NRPNs support high-resolution continuous controls. That's largely irrelevant for expression/crescendo pedals, but might occasionally be useful for providing precise automated control of pitch, or MIDI file playback speed, for example.

The disadvantage of NRPNs is the extra bandwidth, as you mention.

If none of those NRPN advantages are relevant to your planned project then by all means use CCs.
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Re: Piston stuck on problem

Postby NickNelson » Wed May 20, 2015 5:15 am

I'm not sure it's relevant to the current problem, but I always use note-on/note-off for stops control, and program change messages for pistons. I would only use control change messages for things like swells and crescendos. I think this is fairly conventional.

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Re: Piston stuck on problem

Postby mdyde » Wed May 20, 2015 5:17 am

Hello Mathis,

Note-on/off messages should certainly be fine. Lots of people use those for controlling Hauptwerk's pistons.

I doubt it's relevant, but we released Hauptwerk v4.2.0 yesterday, which has some features to aid compatibility with some less-buffered MIDI encoders/decoders (and various others things for MIDI hardware compatibility). Do you still see the problem with v4.2.0?

If so, just to confirm, it's two of the divisional pistons on the St. Anne's virtual console that are showing the problem (as opposed to two master scoped pistons that you might have programmed as divisionals, for example)?
Best regards,
Martin.

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Re: Piston stuck on problem

Postby mumblecake » Wed May 20, 2015 5:40 am

Hi Martin,

yes that is correct, it's sample set divisional pistons rather than the sample set independent master pistons. I know that it shouldn't make a difference but I will de-install Hauptwerk this weekend and install HW 4.2 from scratch (rather than updating). I doubt it will make a difference but it's worth giving it a shot.

Best Regards

Mathis
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Re: Piston stuck on problem

Postby mdyde » Wed May 20, 2015 5:58 am

Hello Mathis,

(Unless conceivably some file has become corrupted on your hard-disk) that almost certainly wouldn't make any difference, except inasmuch as it would reset all of your settings (assuming you selected the option to delete all settings/files in the un-installer). Just using 'File | Revert all settings to factory defaults' would do that too.

However, if you don't have any important settings/combinations/voicing, then I suppose it doesn't hurt.
Best regards,
Martin.

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Re: Piston stuck on problem

Postby mumblecake » Wed May 20, 2015 7:03 am

Hi Martin,

That is exactly what I expect as well. Fortunately it's just the pistons and stops which need to get re-assigned which should be a ten minute job max.

In the mean-time do you have any other idea of how I can get the pistons unstuck without having to reload the sample set?

Best regards

Mathis
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Re: Piston stuck on problem

Postby mdyde » Wed May 20, 2015 7:07 am

Hello Mathis,

Without knowing yet what's causing the issue on your system, I don't have any other intermediate suggestions, I'm afraid. The first thing to do would be to upgrade to v4.2.0, just in case that resolves it.
Best regards,
Martin.

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Re: Piston stuck on problem

Postby mumblecake » Thu Oct 15, 2015 1:58 pm

It's been a while since I was investigating that issue. The issue was gone after I defined the divisions as floating divisions and had defined the pistons through the floating division panel. I assume this is because floating pistons are dealt with by the engine in a different way than hard assigned pistons.

As my original, last decade, single core computer gave up the ghost I had to install Hauptwerk again on another computer and assigned everything again as static rather than floating and the stuck piston problem returned.

Now when I said that I had tried the reset and that didn't work I was speaking from a point of total ignorance ... I had indeed used the reset all keys method rather than the reset everything method. For obvious reasons the reset key method didn't work as a piston is not a key on a manual. The reset everything method DID however work which means two things:

1. I have a working work around and don't have to re-load the organ (I have the reset buttons now on screen so that I don't have to go through the menus)
2. The root cause seems identified as well: a stuck midi event.

I think it might be switch bouncing at a rate which is slow enough that the debouncing on my midibox recognises it already as an "off" ... but too fast so that the midi engine loses the "off" event and never sends it out: hence, stuck piston

Best Regards
Mathis
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Re: Piston stuck on problem

Postby mdyde » Fri Oct 16, 2015 5:08 am

Hello Mathis,

Thanks for the update.

Yes -- that will be a MIDI 'off' message not being sent properly by the piston hardware/encoder (or conceivably being lost somewhere between there and the computer, although since it only affects two specific MIDI pistons, the latter seems very unlikely).

You wouldn't have noticed the issue with Hauptwerk's floating division pistons since they're immediate, rather than having separate 'on' and 'off' states, so a missing MIDI 'off' message would make no difference to them.

Hope you manage to track down and resolve it.
Best regards,
Martin.

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Re: Piston stuck on problem

Postby mumblecake » Fri Oct 16, 2015 6:44 am

Hi Martin,

fortunately I know exactly where the problem is. When I started with my console build I was crimping all connections. As I opted for a cheap crimping tool and cheap crimps I realised half way through that this was too time intensive, lead to unreliable crimps and caused an immense wire spaghetti. I then started using IDC connectors with ribbon cables and soldered those to the wires with heat shrink over the joint.

The solution (which is on the to-do list) is to re-do the connections which are still crimped with IDC connectors, ribbon cables & soldering.

Thanks also for the explanation of how the engine handles pistons differently depending on whether they are statically or dynamically defined.

Best regards

Mathis
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Re: Piston stuck on problem

Postby mdyde » Fri Oct 16, 2015 7:14 am

Thanks, Mathis.
Best regards,
Martin.

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