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gwhlevy

Electronic Concertina Midi Controller

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I just received an email from Jordan regarding contact bounce. He says this is dealt with in the software/firmware onboard the MBE. He states that any momentary contacts will work, as long as they fit the end boards for the concertina.

 

Grant :^)

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Since only momentary contact switches are needed, now I have to figure out what size to use. I thought I saw a poll on the Yahoo squeezebox group on button size preference.

 

Any body what to put in their 2 cents worth on button diameter?

Edited by gwhlevy

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Per Jordan, the MBE is set up to work for a MIDI Bandoneon.  So, if I understand this correctly, it will play a different note on the press and the draw, like a Bandoneon would.

 

I have an inquirey in to him to see if the MBE can be set up to be the same note on the press and the draw.  Hopefully, it can be.

You already got the answer from Jordan, but the answer is actually built-in: If you can separately specify push and pull notes for a given button, just specify the same note for both directions on each button. No?

 

Anyway, this gets more and more interesting. Can this be installed in an existing concertina to be activated by the existing buttons? I have a Crane duet where the reed pans and many reeds have been damaged, but it's otherwise in great shape. 'Twould be great if I could forget the reeds and convert it to a MIDI box. (With its 5-wide keyboard, I could even experiment with various anglo layouts by programming different sets of notes on each button.)

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Since only momentary contact switches are needed, now I have to figure out what size to use. I thought I saw a poll on the Yahoo squeezebox group on button size preference.

 

Any body what to put in their 2 cents worth on button diameter?

There's a poll right here in the Instrument Construction & Repair Forum. It's been viewed more than 200 times, but has received only 16 "votes", one of which was a "Don't Care", so take it with a grain of salt.

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Has anything happened with this since November? I find it interesting, PIC's and Concertinas are two things I am interested in.

 

Russell Hedges

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Hi all! Yes, things have happened. I'll be sending off to Jordan this week or so to get the MBE!

 

He can set up the PIC anyway you want. I.E., same note press and draw, octave overlaps (for Haydens), etc. You just have to specify your desires when you purchase an MBE from him.

 

>>Can this be installed in an existing concertina to be activated by the existing buttons? I have a Crane duet where the reed pans and many reeds have been damaged, but it's otherwise in great shape. <<

 

Yes, Jim, you probably could install it. It would require coming up with a board to hold the button switches at the proper depth and placement. So...if you like tinkering with things, (as I do) this could be a fun project for you!

 

I haven't decided if I want to use individually contained switches for the buttons, that is, one switch per button, or a sheet of buttons, similar to those used for computer keyboards. That's gonna take some playing with, I think.

 

Grant :^)

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If you wanted to install the MBE Concertina into a real concertina, keeping the original buttons and feel, I would recommend optical or magnetic detection of the button position, with no contact to the actual button at all. It's not as expensive as you probably think. About half a dollar per key, opto. And a lot of fooling around to install them!

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Your optical detection sounds interesting. How would I do it? I'm not an electrical engineer, just a hobbyist, but if you give me a schematic, I can figure it out!

 

It would be great to use a real button setup, even for the totally reedless MIDI concertina I want to build around the MBE. Looks like I'm gonna have to get with a builder (Bob Tedrow or Mr. Harrington come to mind) for parts and ideas.

 

Thanks for your suggestion! :D

 

Grant :^)

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The schematic would depend on the PIC. How will it scan the keyboard? Once we know that, we can make a schematic for the opto's. But imagine twenty keys, scanned with five outputs and detected with four inputs. The only external parts would be a couple of resisters. Mechanically, you put a flag on the lever and interrupt the light beam of the opto, either when you press the button, or when it's released, depending on how the PIC is programmed.

 

Have you any hardware yet?

 

Russell Hedges

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Russel, I'll be purchasing the "hardware" from Jordan Petkov shortly.

 

I'll let you know when it arrives.

 

Grant :^)

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The schematic would depend on the PIC.  How will it scan the keyboard?  Once we know that, we can make a schematic for the opto's. 

The problem is that the board in question (as far as I can tell) scans buttons as SPST switches. Interfacing TTL sensors (or even open-drain sensors) to a circuit assuming SPST can be a pain.

 

Caj

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I'd like to see how the keyboard scanning is done. Perhaps it would be a pain, but if it isn't too hard, wouldn't it be worth it, to get "REAL" key action and feel?

 

Russell Hedges

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Hi, Sorry I haven't posted to this thread for while. I had a financial setback that got in the way of my acquiring the MBE from Jordan. I hope to do so shortly.

 

As for keys, Jordan assures me that only momentary contact mechanical switches are needed. He has dealt with "bounce" within the firmware, he assures me.

 

You can specify the same note on press/draw or any other configuration you'd like when you order from him.

 

I'll let you know when I get it.

 

Grant :)

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Grant -

It might be worth thinking about using the gold wire used by electronic organ builders for key contacts for making your switches. It used to be available in the hobbies electronics catalogues. Its possible that something like this could even be built into an exisiting concertina.

best wishes ..wes

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Hi Wes! "Long time, No hear". Hope you're doing well.

 

I don't know how those switches would look. Can you describe them to me? I'm curious about that idea, because I'm sure that the gold wire would make the switch more reliable.

 

I don't see why (other than problems with placing contacts or switches) that this couldn't be used in an existing concertina. They do it all the time in accordions.

 

I've talked with Bob Tedrow about a case and bellows, he can build just about anything or size I may want to use.

 

Grant :)

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A switch is just two bits of metal making contact, so electricity can flow. Many Electronic Organs don't use conventional switches like you see in hobby catalogues, they just use flexible (springy) wire to make these contacts. Perhaps electronic accordions use this system too? Pressing a key on the organ keyboard pushes the flexible wire into contact with another piece of wire.

 

You can bend the flexible wire into any shape you want, and with a bit of thought you could arrange a switch to have very little effect on any actuating mechanism, either in length of travel, or required action force. Drop me an email if this hasn't made sense!

 

best wishes ..wes

Edited by wes williams

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Wim Wakker has been making MIDI Anglo concertinas for a while now. His website can be found at http://www.concertinaconnection.com/wakker%20midi.htm . The instrument has a flexible setup as far as key arrangement goes. You can assign any note to just about any key. This would facilitate playing in different keys than C/G that most Anglos come in.

 

It's a very exciting instrument.

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Admittedly my Whiteley/Lachenal MIDI anglo can't be programmed for non-standard layouts, but at the touch of button it can be a C/G, a G/D or a Bb/F. It's with Roy right now having a final tweak made to the response. When it comes back I shall be doing a full report on it.

 

Chris

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