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Trevor

Newbie Looking to Drive (real!) Pipes

65 posts in this topic

Hey everyone!  First post here.

I have a III/20 (3 manual, 20 rank) pipe organ that I have been building in my home over the past couple years.

organ "chamber"

n210901242_30459537_6649.jpg

My plan is to have three 64 note drivers for each of the three 61 note manuals, a 32 note driver for the pedal, and possibly a driver for the 59 stops (including couplers).  Ideally, I would like to have the drawknobs and coupler tabs move, so I would need two 64 note drivers; one for the "on" solenoids and one for the "off" solenoids.  This way I could have manual 1 on midi channel 1, manual 2 on channel 2, 3 on 3, pedal on 4, stops "on" on 5, and stops "off" on 6. :o

console

n210901242_30479985_2322.jpg

Unfortunately, my knowledge of electronics is fairly limited.  I have built a couple of diode matrix relays with transistor drivers for the organ, but that's about the extent of what I can comprehend right now.

relay

n210901242_30481534_3681.jpg

What would it take to put together something like this?  I have read other posts on this forum about driving pipes and read about MIDIbox on the website, but it all goes waaay over my head! ???  What do I need to do to get started?

Thanks!

Trevor

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I'm not the right guy to give advice on this project at this point, I'll leave it to the pipes experts... But I have to say...

WOW!

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..same as above... WOW !

..Trevor i think that you ve landed in the right place and i also think that if you ve made it till this point, who s gonna stop you from building a Midibox to drive it all?

I have no experience with Organs, but if i ve understood right it s just a on/off thing so believe me it s going to be easier than you think, it ll take a while to understand the basics but it s definitely doable, there are a lot of "Organ addicted" here around that will happily help you.

Please have a look at the Wiki, there has been a revolution in there and a lot of effort to make it more accesible, enjoy it!

Also i think that you should start reading the http://www.ucapps.de/mios/ain64_din128_dout128_v1_3.zip

application, it may be what you are going to use.

Good luck

Simone

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Hi Trevor,

Congratulations on what you have done so far. Very nice installation.

Are you asking if you can use a Midibox as your organ relay? I believe the answer is a heavily qualified yes. Midibox can generate the on/off signals you need to drive the pipe valves and the actions for the draw knobs. Midibox can also read the inputs from the keys, pedals, stops, and pistons.

The heavy qualification is that the existing programming can do three things with all of that. 1) Translate those inputs into MIDI messages. 2) Translate MIDI messages to control the outputs.  3) Directly couple 1 on/off input to 1 on/off output.

You need two things. 1) An organ relay that takes a stop and a note input and logically combines them to produce a pipe output.  2) A combination action that has a settable combination memory so that a piston input produces many outputs to control the draw knobs as set in the combination memory.

If you can program the PIC microprocessor that is the brains of a Midibox, then  it probably wouldn't be terribly difficult to create an organ relay and a combination action.  You could also use Midibox to create MIDI Input that goes to a PC and take MIDI Out from the PC to control the pipes and draw knobs, and use something like jOrgan on the PC to be your relay and combination action.  But if you want an off the shelf solution then I'd suggest looking at a commercial solution.  I believe Opus Two and Artisan have relatively low cost organ relays/combination actions that would meet your needs.

Hope this helps.

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Yow!!!  I don't think I'd have the patience to deal with a breadboard like that.  If I were you, I'd use telephone punch-down blocks.  But still...  20 ranks of pipes in your house.  Pardon me whilst I drool. :o

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thank you everyone!

jimhenry,

I already have the relays for the pipe organ made (the crazy things on breadboard).  I'm not looking to have Midibox read from the manuals/pedals/stops.  All I would like is something that can interpret MIDI signals coming from Finale/Sibelius. etc. on the computer and turn it into 12V going to the correct key relay.

I do have a combination action.  That's a good idea to have it on pistons instead of each drawknob/coupler.

What I am looking to build is something like this: http://www.j-omega.co.uk/mtp8.html

I have a total of 31 pistons, so that could be fit into a 32 output board.

I would wire the outputs directly into the key and piston contacts.  I think that would work.

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Trevor,

As a beginning, I would recommend that you read the "Midification" thread on the current forum, end to end.  That would give you a very base line knowledge of what it will take.

To answer your question, there are midibox modules to provide all you will need to midify your organ console, and provide the necessary magnet drivers for the pipes.  You don't really have to know alot about electronics, but you will have to develop some skill in following schematics and soldering.

My home project over the last couple of years has been midification of a Moller 2 manual console and assembly, construction, fabrication, etc., etc., of regulators, wind trunks, windchests, blowers, in order to have a hybrid organ of 5 ranks of pipes playing with multiple ranks of electronics sounds either from soundfonts or wave samples.  So far I have completed the base organ, i.e. console, wind supply, pipe chests for three ranks with the remaining two under construction.  My system is based on the midibox midio128 modules for encoding the keyboards and the midi decoders and magnet drivers.  Jim Henry stated it very well above, when he said that you will need a relay to run your organ.  This became very obvious for me very soon after beginning my project, until I discovered jOrgan and miditzer.  Both can be considered to be relays since they can provide most of the functions of a conventional, commecial relay.  What attracted me to them was that they are "free", with lots of support through the forums for each one.  The VTO software was developed to allow anyone with midi keyboards to use their home computer and stereo system and set up an organ. It just so happens that we can benefit from the same software as an actual computer based relay.

In my case,  At this point, I lean toward jOrgan and it can provide the relay functions for a theatre organ or a more classical organ.  You did not say which type of instrument you desire, although your console is classical.  Jim Henry's recommendation of Artisan products as a relay is well taken.  You can put together a very fine relay with Artisan modules and limit your organ to the 20 ranks of pipes you already have, and if you so desire, couple it with other voices with jOrgan, miditzer or someother VTO software. Artisan is pre-built and bears a price tag considerably above midibox kit prices.  It is possible to merge the two systems together using parts of each, but that will take some planning. If cost is not an issue, go for it.  Otherwise read on.

The other issue you need to understand is that with the VTO software( jOrgan, Mditzer, Haupwerk) the system is PC based and you will need a computer of sufficient computing power to run the system, not necessariy dedicated, but with ample speed, storage and memory.  In my case, I am not interestedn having a computer monitor residing on top of the console, so all organ functions are sent and/or received through midi messages.  The computer resides in the pipe chamber 30 feet from the console.  My console is fully functional with stops, pistons, couplers, two manuals, pedal, swell and combination action.  I have not implemented the cresendo pedal but could.  Only one other feature is not fully developed and that involves powering the on and off magnets on the stop switches (SAMS).  The combination action built in to jOrgan operates the stops, but they don't change position on the console.  To my knowledge,  of the VTO software available, only Haupwerk will do the complete organ, although the software is expensive.  Upgrades to jOrgan are hopefully forthcoming, same for Miditzer.

In a nutshell, thats what I am doing. It has been an in depth learning experience for me which has provided many hours of pleasure.  You can email me if you have specific questions.

Johnc

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thanks Johnc.  It's good to know that this has been done successfully already.

I'm planning on using the computer only for the output of MIDI from Finale files.  I want to be able to just plug my MacBook Pro into the organ, put on some music from Finale files, and do homework, study, read or whatever.

I'm going for a classical, somewhat symphonic organ with quite a bit of unification.  I make all of my relays myself so I'm all set with those.

Tomorrow I will read read read!

here's a very rough diagram of what I'm going for:

midibox.jpg

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Hi Trevor,

I assume that the Midibox would be wired in parallel to your console? This should work. You will want to focus on the MIDIIO128 project. You will need at least 2 Cores with up to 4 DOUT boards for each Core.  You can have a maximum of 128 outputs on each Core.  Midiboxes are easily chained together to get as many outputs as necessary.

You'll need to look at the output drivers of the DOUT board to determine what is needed to match the electrical characteristics of the console and to determine if there are any current capacity issues.

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Yes, the Midibox will be wired in parallel into the key contacts.

Can a single Core be split between 2 Midi channels so I could have 2 DOUTs on one channel and 2 DOUTs on another?

If this is the case, it looks like I would need 2 Cores and 8 DOUTs.  Is that correct? (I think I finally understand this :))

Otherwise, if each Core is limited to the 128 MIDI notes and only one channel, I would need 5 Cores for the 5 channels (Choir, Great, Swell, Pedal, Pistons) :-\

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Trevor,

The beauty of the midibox core is that it can be programmed to send out or respond on multiple midi channels.

Each dout module has 32 outputs.  The midio128 application can be programmed to accept midi messages on different channels.  My organs uses two cores with four douts on each core.  That gives me 4 ranks of 61 magnets, each rank  on different channel, two ranks per core.

On the encoder side,  the same thing holds true.  Each core can handle 128 inputs with 4 DINs.  Each DIN has 32 input pins, each of which is programmable.  You need to read up on the midio128 and its companion cards on the http://www. uCApps.de website.  Again I also recommend you read through the "midification" thread.

To answer your question,  one core with 4 DOUTS will get you 128 outputs. How you divide them up among the 15 midi channels is your call.

Johnc

ps: Send me your email address and I'll email you some photos of my decoder setup. My email address is jwcouvillon@cox.net

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excellent! ;D

What do I have to do now to get started (besides read)?  Order a Core Kit and 2 DOUT kits so I can get one manual playing?

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Trevor,

That would be a good start, however, you said "Yes, the Midibox will be wired in parallel into the key contacts".  This is a bit confusing.

The midibox core can be used to encode keyboard contact closures (DINS module needed) into midi messages and send these out to remote devices such as a pc running jOrgan, miditzer, Haupwerk or some other device, or  it can be the remote receiving device that accepts a midi stream on a pair of wires from the PC and converts the incoming midi messages back in to contact closures (DOUT module), or a drive source for a pipe magnet.  Or it can do both at the same time.

Would you explain what you mean by "wired in parallel into the key contacts".  If you use a PC runnig finale or noteworthy composer, or some such software you will take a midi signal from the pc and the midibox core will have to be programmed with the correct midi  channel, midi note# and type of midi message that the PC is sending out. If this is what you plan to do, then your setup will not have anything, directly, to do with keyboard contacts.

If you are going to drive pipes,  you will need the DOUT that has the ULN2803 driver chips on them.  These are available from SMASHTV,  http://www.avishowtech.com/mbhp/buy.html.  You will also need a core module which you will have to assemble.  Each core has an identifing code number, so you will need to specify that you would like the bootstrap loader and also the operating system MIOS be installed on the PIC 18F452 processor, and the PIC id be  "00" since this is the first core.  Each additional core will have an id number, 01, 02, 03 and so on.  You will have to read up on the procedures for doing that  in the wiki section of the midibox website.

Good luck

Johnc

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sorry I made that a little unclear ???

I think the key contacts would be the best place to wire the DOUTs because there are pins that can easily have other wires soldered onto them.  Also, the coupler relays are all right in the console and the key contacts are the only good places to wire into before hitting the relays in the console.

Can I just choose any numbers for the 16 digit PIC ID?

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Trevor,

In an earlier post you said " I'm not looking to have Midibox read from the manuals/pedals/stops.  All I would like is something that can interpret MIDI signals coming from Finale/Sibelius. etc. on the computer and turn it into 12V going to the correct key relay."

The above is in conflict with your last post where you said " I think the key contacts would be the best place to wire the DOUTs because there are pins that can easily have other wires soldered onto them.  Also, the coupler relays are all right in the console and the key contacts are the only good places to wire into before hitting the relays in the console."

YOu can't wire DOUTS to the keyboard contacts.  It seems to me that you are going in two different directions at the same time.

If you want to drive pipe magnets from midi messages that come from your laptop running finale/Sibelis, that you can do with a system as shown on your jpg on an earlier post.  Your laptop feeds out through a midiman 1x1 or 2x2 usb interface, the midi signal goes to a midibox core with douts only.  Each DOUT drives a pipe magnet.  There may be a conflict with your existing diode matrix where by you can't drive a magnet from a DOUT through the matrix.  Do you have a schematic of your diode matrix? Can you email it to me.  In any event you will have to have a DOUT pin for every pipe magnet you intend to drive.  Divide the total number of magnets by 32 and that equals the number of DOUT modules you need. Divide the number of DOUT modules by 4 and that tells you how many midibox cores you need.  Each core can handle 128 outputs.  Provided you can configure the midi music to assign different ranks to different midi channels, the system could work.

or

Going back to keyboard contacts opens up a whole new box of goodies.  You will have to have independent contacts available on the keyboard for connection to the DINS. Then comes a decision wether to use a matrix format or wire each key contact to a pin on a DIN.  The matrix requires one DIN and one DOUT to do an 8x8 matrix, but required only 16 wires.

the other approach will require 61 wires and one common.

If you take this approach,  you will end up with midi messages to route somewhere.  I don't see where this fits into your program.

With this, I am very confused. 

You need to go back to the forum and wiki and read about what the different midibox modules do.  Also, you need to read up on general midi.  I think that I can help you, but you need to state more clearly exactly what you want to do.

It appears that you have a conventional console with stops, pistons, etc.  Do you have a conventional relay that was designed to be used with this particular console?  Have you gutted the console and wired the keyboards directly to your diode matrix drivers?  What are the existing stop drawknobs connected to? Same question for the pistons?  You mentioned that you already have a combination action,  Then you must have a conventional relay somewhere.  How is it wired up?

Confused,

Johnc

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JohnC,

I believe that Trevor want to add a MIDI Player to his functioning organ. The Midibox will be a second "console."  The MIDI Out will control the DOUT pins to do the same job as pressing a key. So what he will have is a key contact and a DOUT pin wired together to one input of his relay.

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Can I just choose any numbers for the 16 digit PIC ID?

No, there are bit positions reserved for different applications. I recommend the following:

0000 0000 0000 0000 The first core

0000 0000 0000 0001 The second

0000 0000 0000 0002 The third

See http://www.avishowtech.com/mbhp/buy.html under “Core kitâ€, where there is an ID calculator, for more information.

You have a very interesting project, good luck.

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JohnC,

I believe that Trevor want to add a MIDI Player to his functioning organ. The Midibox will be a second "console."  The MIDI Out will control the DOUT pins to do the same job as pressing a key. So what he will have is a key contact and a DOUT pin wired together to one input of his relay.

That is correct.  Sorry I'm making it so confusing.  It's just hard to explain just through text and pictures. 

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Hello Trevor,

My apology for the impatience.

One midibox core and two DOUTS would be a good start.  Pay close attention to PER S's comments above, concerning  the PIC Id,  Its important.  You should check out the midio128 design details on http://www.uCApps.de and read up on connecting relays.  The DOUTS from Smashtv  (http://www.avishowtech.com/mbhp/buy.html) provide some options for mounting the reed relays on the DOUT pcboard this really simplifies things. Without more data on your relay, I would recommend using the reed relay as the individual contacts would be easier to connect in to your relay. However, its your choice.  Good luck!

Johnc

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Thanks, I'll probably end up using the ULN2083 since that has a max of 500mA for each output.  That will be plenty to drive the relays.  Can I order the DOUT kit with the ULN2083's from Smashtv? or do I have to order those from somewhere else?

Here's a schematic I drew of my relay a long time ago (resistor values are 1K now)

schematic.jpg

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oops, I'm re-reading my last post.  I meant to ask if I had to order the ULN2083's from somewhere else or if they come with the DOUT kit.

besides a CORE and two DOUTs, what else do I need to get to get started?  Do I need an LCD, or ribbon cale/connectors?

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Strictly speaking the LCD is optional but I consider it mandatory for your first MidiBox. You should start by getting the Core working with the LCD display. There is no easy way to test the DOUT boards without a working Core. Having the LCD makes is easier to see if things are working. You'll be able to move the LCD from Core to Core as you bring more of the system on-line.

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oops, I'm re-reading my last post.  I meant to ask if I had to order the ULN2083's from somewhere else or if they come with the DOUT kit.

besides a CORE and two DOUTs, what else do I need to get to get started?  Do I need an LCD, or ribbon cale/connectors?

Hi Trevor - The ULN2803 do not come with the DOUT kit and I don't think Smash supply these.  I bought mine from ebay.com, you could buy 15 for $17 (including postage).  As Jim has said, the LCD is very useful (ebay again!).  Using 10 way ribbon cable to connect the DOUTs to the Core makes life easier, don't forget the IDC sockets to crimp on to the cables (again if you are buying large quanities of these, ebay is your friend).  I would also use ribbon cable to also connect the relays to the DOUT.  Good luck with your project.

James

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I placed my order yesterday  :D

1 Core Kit

2 DOUT Kits

1 10 conductor ribbon cable

1 16 conductor ribbon cable

1 16 pin IDC connector

4 10 pin IDC connector

I'm still not sure whether I'm going to use the ULN2803s or the reed relays, but I'm leaning toward the ULN2803s because they're more compact and I can actually afford them!  Any opinions on this?

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My order arrived on Wednesday ;D

I spent half the night last night assembling the CORE and one DOUT!

One quick question-

Are the ULN2803s going to work for my positive keying?  A friend of mine who's into electronics and MIDI said that the 2803 would only work for negative keying.

-Trevor

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