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MIdifying an Allen pedalboard

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

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MIdifying an Allen pedalboard

PostTue Jun 13, 2023 11:33 am

Several years ago I midified an old 30-note pipe organ pedalboard using the mpc32xrs encoder from Midi Boutique and have been using it with Hauptwerk with good success. However I miss the extra two notes of a 32-note board and a local technician says he has a 32-note Allen pedalboard and reed switch assembly. I am hoping that the reed switch assembly will make the job of midifying the pedalboard easier, and am interested in hearing about midi conversions of Allen pedalboards using the reed switch assembly.

I did see a post from forum user organtechnology about using Highly Liquid encoders, but there were no details.

Stephen
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magnaton

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Re: MIdifying an Allen pedalboard

PostTue Jun 13, 2023 1:47 pm

The Highly Liquid boards are no longer available. I acquired a VPO console several months ago that uses 2 HL boards for pistons, 32 note pedalboard, and expression. The keyboards uses a different encoder. I started having trouble with one that had the 2 expression shoes connected. The pots were fine so it seemed I needed to tweak the code for the boards. I found some documentation and it seems to use MIDI Sysex messages for coding? I didn't want to experiment and wipe out something as everything else was working perfectly, so I went the Arduino route. I actually used an Arduino Leonardo (just $12) that is capable of being MIDI compliant thanks to the ATMEGA32u4 chip on board . So I just needed a USB cable, Windows and Hautpwerk recognized it accordingly, and I was done!.

Here is a project for wiring a complete 2-manual organ using an Arduino Mega (lots of inputs).
https://projecthub.arduino.cc/Larason2/midi-for-digital-organs-398d3e

** Note **
All Allen pedal boards, pistons, keyboards, toe studs, etc. are in a Scan Matrix design vs a discrete (common bus) design found on an other organ electronic brands (like older Rodgers) or pipe organ consoles. MidiBotique does sell encoders that work with standard matrices. I don't think the Allen pedalboard follows a standard matrix pattern. Not an issue for an Arduino since you can easily customize the code.

Danny B.
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sschaub

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Re: MIdifying an Allen pedalboard

PostWed Jun 14, 2023 5:28 am

Danny,

Thanks for the very helpful reply! I will take a look at that link you sent.

Stephen
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sschaub

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Re: MIdifying an Allen pedalboard

PostWed Jun 14, 2023 11:05 am

Danny,

I took a look at the link and am rather out of my league. If you have time to consider some follow-up questions I would be most grateful.

If I were doing just the 32-note pedalboard, do you think the Arduino Leonardo would have enough inputs, or would I need the expanded inputs of the Mega?

Would the Leonardo or the Mega board support a standard MIDI output connector (not just USB), so I could use the pedalboard with MIDI equipment other than Hauptwerk?

I've looked around for documents or videos about projects like this that I might be able to follow, but there just aren't many forum posts or Google search hits, and the ones I've found are very sparse on details. The project link you sent seems to be the most comprehensive so far. I'm a software professional but am a complete novice when it comes to electronics. I can solder but don't really know how to read the diagrams included with that project. I have a local friend or two who may be able to help me if I can get all of the relevant information together. This would be a great way for me to learn!
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magnaton

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Re: MIdifying an Allen pedalboard

PostWed Jun 14, 2023 2:03 pm

I've mapped out an Allen pedal board and its 7 rows by 6 columns. Yes a Leonardo has enough pins to make this work as you can modify an Analog pin to be digital. There are digital 14 pins with pins 0 and 1 being Rx and Tx which again I think can be altered to be digital. I'm still learning myself.

Yes, I think you can add a 5 pin MIDI Din plug to this board to handle the data transmission. The Arduino organ link in my first post features an Arduino Mega which has a lot more pins as its name implies. You can get a daughter board for screw terminals and as well as MIDI break out board with 3 DIN connectors. Might be a bit overkill for just a pedalboard but the cost factor is attractive. With this board you'll need to have a MIDI to USB adapter for computer use as well a separate power supply.

Danny B.
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sschaub

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Re: MIdifying an Allen pedalboard

PostThu Jun 15, 2023 9:39 am

Thanks for this very helpful analysis. I really appreciate the information.

You mentioned that you've mapped out an Allen pedalboard. Have you published that mapping online anywhere by chance?

Stephen
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Coenraads

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Re: MIdifying an Allen pedalboard

PostSun Jun 18, 2023 12:01 pm

I've wired up Allen keyboard stacks and the matrices in some cases are just plain weird. With the help of a circuit diagram they can be deciphered and I was able to write custom code to accommodate them. (The diodes are backwards compared to the pattern I like to use and bottom C, instead of top C is treated as the odd note out. And not all keyboards are the same.)
I've wired up a Rodgers pedal to an Arduino Mega but not an Allen pedal. It too may be weird. Instead of looking for an encoder to match the Allen matrix, I recommend just parallel wiring it to an Arduino Mega using the parallel scanner code on my website:  

https://sites.google.com/site/casavanto ... el-scanner

I've had several reports from people who have used it successfully. It puts out DIN MIDI which can easily be converted to USB using an inexpensive converter. 
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sschaub

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Re: MIdifying an Allen pedalboard

PostTue Jun 20, 2023 12:11 pm

John,

Thank you for this response, and for sharing your scanner code. This very helpful!

Stephen
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RichardW

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Re: MIdifying an Allen pedalboard

PostWed Jul 19, 2023 2:17 pm

This might be a bit late but I MIDIfied an Allen pedalboard many years ago with an mpc32xrs and I just removed all the Allen wiring and rewired it so that each switch had its own wire which went to one mpc32xrs input.

I was quite happy with soldering the wires but your milage may vary as they say on the internet!

Regards,
Richard
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sschaub

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Re: MIdifying an Allen pedalboard

PostWed Jul 19, 2023 3:49 pm

Thank you, Richard. That sounds like a great option. It's nice to have options!

Stephen
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Stuart

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Re: MIdifying an Allen pedalboard

PostWed Jul 19, 2023 6:38 pm

Several years ago I MIDIfied an Allen pedalboard by completely re-wiring it. The details can be found at
https://stuartblanchard.com/midi-conversion-of-an-older-allen-pedalboard/
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sschaub

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Re: MIdifying an Allen pedalboard

PostWed Jul 19, 2023 8:52 pm

Thank you, Stuart. That's a great post!

I am hoping to avoid a complete rewire project.

Stephen

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