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Reed switch setup for this Allen pedalboard?

Building organ consoles for use with Hauptwerk, adding MIDI to existing consoles, obtaining parts, ...
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mstevens4045

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Reed switch setup for this Allen pedalboard?

PostMon Apr 26, 2021 8:33 am

I recently decided to build a simple DIY home organ, and picked up this AGO Allen pedalboard on Ebay. The pedalboard does not come with anything aside from what's pictured (no horizontal crosspiece for switches, etc) Please see photos on this website:

https://www.filament-studio.com/hauptwerk

I'm trying to decide how to configure the reed switches to MIDIfy. I'm curious about the solution mentioned on the site below: screws with magnets glued to each head.

https://stuartblanchard.com/midi-conversion-of-an-older-allen-pedalboard/


In this case, the reed switches are each set horizontally on a concave crosspiece (as if each switch is lying on its back). Then screws are drilled into the bottoms of pedals, allowing the magnets on their heads to descend vertically over the switches as pedals are depressed. I like this solution because it could avoid the issue of notes accidentally turning off at the deepest point in key travel. This is something I've heard can happen when magnets are mounted at the tips of the keys to swing in to—and then back out of—the reed switch's range.

With all this in mind, here are my major questions:

1) Instead of using this concave crosspiece to compensate for the AGO pedalboard's curved design, I'm wondering if a simpler solution could affix all the reed switches to a flat board underneath the pedals, then use varying screw lengths to achieve even spacing/travel between magnets and the switches. In this case, the screws would be shortest in the middle of the keyboard because the middle keys are closest to the ground.

2) For this screwhead-based design, what kinds of magnets might be best? I've read that people often struggle with magnets that are too strong and activate the switches prematurely.

3) If a concave crosspiece is necessary to build, roughly how much of a gap should I plan for between the pedals/screwheads and the reed switches? It seems this could be easily fine-tuned by loosening and tightening the screws one at a time, but I'll need to be reasonably close to begin with.

4) If I need to make this crosspiece, how would the curve in the wood be achieved? I'm not a woodworker but I assume the curve would need to be measured with a three-dimensional ruler, and some kind of heat bending would be required to shape the wood. Any tips on this would be greatly appreciated.

I'm sure there could also be another entirely different way to get these pedals MIDIfied, so if there's a simpler, more obvious way to rig up this pedalboard, feel free to steer me in a more sensible direction!

Best,

—Michael
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NickNelson

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Re: Reed switch setup for this Allen pedalboard?

PostMon Apr 26, 2021 3:31 pm

mstevens4045 wrote:I like this solution because it could avoid the issue of notes accidentally turning off at the deepest point in key travel. This is something I've heard can happen when magnets are mounted at the tips of the keys to swing in to—and then back out of—the reed switch's range.


Another approach I have found useful, if the MIDI encoder can be configured to accommodate it, is to arrange the reeds/magnets so that the reed is actuated when the pedal isn't pressed. The magnet moves away from the reed
when the pedal is pressed and can obviously go as far as it likes.


mstevens4045 wrote:For this screwhead-based design, what kinds of magnets might be best? I've read that people often struggle with magnets that are too strong and activate the switches prematurely.


Small ones! I have used cylindrical neodymium magnets 3mm high and 4mm diameter successfully. It's worth trying
a few different adhesives since some seem to 'stick' to the magnets more firmly than others. Also, try to use brass
screws if possible as this will reduce the interaction between adjacent pedals. In general machine screws will be easier
to use than wood screws and capable of finer adjustment.

Nick
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engrssc

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Re: Reed switch setup for this Allen pedalboard?

PostMon Apr 26, 2021 4:12 pm

NickNelson wrote:Another approach I have found useful, if the MIDI encoder can be configured to accommodate it, is to arrange the reeds/magnets so that the reed is actuated when the pedal isn't pressed. The magnet moves away from the reed when the pedal is pressed and can obviously go as far as it likes.

Midi Hardware's pedal encoder works in this manner and it can be setup easily.

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

4.2.28 Reversed notes action - #2161
If keyboard's contacts are normally closed, and open when key is pressed, you may
take advantage of this mode. If keyboard is assigned to reversed action event, MIDI
note-on is sent when contact opens, and note-off when contact closes. There is no
need to short to ground any unused inputs of keyboard scanner, the only drawback is
that during power-up you will see a burst of note-off messages, which can actually be
useful sometimes. To have reversed action without the note-off burst, you need
customized reversed keyboard scanner version available on request.


Esp good to use with a pedal board.

Rgds,
Ed
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engrssc

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Re: Reed switch setup for this Allen pedalboard?

PostMon Apr 26, 2021 4:43 pm

NickNelson wrote:It's worth trying a few different adhesives since some seem to 'stick' to the magnets more firmly than others.

My favorite has been:

https://www.amazon.com/Gorilla-Household-Glue-7-75-ounce/dp/B082XG9X7Y/ref=psdc_12900031_t2_B082TP4Z1G

Rgds,
Ed
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Coenraads

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Re: Reed switch setup for this Allen pedalboard?

PostMon Jun 14, 2021 1:23 pm

I know I am late to this party, but anyone looking for ideas about how to add reed switches to a pedal board may be interested in the approach I took with a Harrison&Harrison pedal board. Instead of the almost universally used "moving magnet" approach, I implemented a "moving shutter" approach. I do not claim this idea is new.

https://sites.google.com/site/casavanto ... eed-switch

As for magnets, dollar store ferrite magnets every time. I keep a supply of various sizes on hand.
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damuehlbauer

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Re: Reed switch setup for this Allen pedalboard?

PostMon Jun 14, 2021 2:25 pm

Every pedalboard is different, so this solution might not work for you, but it works for me. I bought the Reed32 boards from Midi-Hardware, (http://www.midi-hardware.com) along with the BBSP scanner and MRG2 master controller. The board comes with magnets and I was able to attach them to metal strips that were already on the end of each pedal. I built a simple plywood strip to hold the Reed32 boards.

Here are links to two photos (hopefully):

https://www.dropbox.com/s/r12yf7phyq7ie82/IMG_0529.HEIC?dl=0
https://www.dropbox.com/s/m2lxadpybtgr5xu/IMG_0530.HEIC?dl=0

Message me if you have questions.
David Muehlbauer
Mesa, Arizona USA
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magnaton

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Re: Reed switch setup for this Allen pedalboard?

PostMon Jun 14, 2021 3:40 pm

mstevens4045 wrote:With all this in mind, here are my major questions:

1) Instead of using this concave crosspiece to compensate for the AGO pedalboard's curved design, I'm wondering if a simpler solution could affix all the reed switches to a flat board underneath the pedals, then use varying screw lengths to achieve even spacing/travel between magnets and the switches. In this case, the screws would be shortest in the middle of the keyboard because the middle keys are closest to the ground.

Yes, here is a video of someone doing exactly that:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AoFcEz0MsmI

They used a reed assembly pre-spaced for an AGO pedalboard from MidiBotique:
https://www.midiboutique.com/accessories/csr32p
Which plugs into this board: mpc32xrs MIDI Encoder

Danny B.
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ldeutsch

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Re: Reed switch setup for this Allen pedalboard?

PostMon Jun 14, 2021 4:08 pm

I have used the Peterson pedalboard contact system on a similar switch-less pedalboard. I have been completely satisfied with he results many years later. Here is the link:

http://www.petersonemp.com/products/pdf/Pedalkey.PDF

These switches mount under the pedalboard and are fully adjustable for the set point. I recommend getting the cabled version so save lots of wiring work later.

Les

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