Saturday, November 28, 2009

Recycling the Baldwin 172 - the keyboards

Got a non-working Baldwin 172 from Craigslist for free. Took it home, it made some sounds, but could never quite get it to behave. The next day, all I could get was a single droning note. So on to the parting. What is the value in a 1983 vintage organ with cheesy built in sound effects? Even with non-functioning tone generation, it is loaded with useful parts.

- Two 3.5 octave keyboards
- A 1 octave bass pedal assembly
- Lots of control switches
- Spring reverb
- Volume pedal
- amplifier w speaker
- Furniture grade sides and top

Primarily, I'm looking for piano keyboard assemblies, the rest is bonus.

I've been taking photos. I'll get those pictures up shortly.

The keyboards, unfortunately, do not have a separate switch/key, they are wired in a matrix. The C-64/Cynthcart project requires a different matrix encoding, so the existing switches are not usable.

Fortunately, the switch mechanism is not recessed like in the gutted Oxygen 8 keyboard I started with, so replacing the switches should not be too difficult.

Another lucky break...these keyboards were designed to be easily adapted to different lengths, so creating a mechanically sound 2 octave keyboard should be pretty easy.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Music keyboards for the C-64 and Cynthcart

I've been playing with Paul Slocum's Cynthcart software for the C-64 :

The software is fun, but the interface leaves much to be desired. I would prefer a labeled control panel and a real piano keyboard. Of course, there are some complicating factors.

First, the switches on commercial music keyboards are matrixed completely differently than the C-64 keyboard.

See this diagram :

This requires a complete rewiring of the keyboard. I tried to rewire one of these by hand, and it was a disaster. Consumer grade circuit boards were not designed to be modified. They fall apart. PC traces come off the board, etc.

The plan now is to build a panel to hold 25 micro switches, and I will wire the switches by hand. If I wanted to build just one of these, I would hack it out, but this may be more universally useful, so I'm considering designing a panel that would be cut on a laser cutter, with holes for the switches. I can then wire the switches however I wish.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Nokia 6350 for Mom

Mom prefers the old black and white Nokia phones, but they have started to become unreliable on the AT&T network. So yesterday, I got her a Nokia 6350 from the AT&T store. I wanted something that would be simple to use, and that would let me create a slide show for the wallpaper (for family pictures).

The slideshow feature I discovered by poking around in the phone. Google searches did not locate any mention of the feature.

I adjusted the fonts to the largest size, cleared out all the AT&T phone number cruft and added contact info for Kerry, Jennifer and myself.

I had purchased a 2GB SD card to hold pictures, but was unable to get the phone to properly recognize it. Instead, I configured the slide show to come from the "Recieved Items" folder. So all I have to do is send a picture over via Bluetooth and it automatically appears in the slide show. A more elegant solution anyway.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Big Junk Night : I'm 3 for 3

My sister lives in Bowling Green, Ohio, which is the home of Bowling Green State University. Every year, as the students are about to move out, they hold a "Big Junk Week" where residents load the curbs with unwanted "stuff" and turn the entire town into a week long free yard sale.

In past years, my sister scored replacement bathtubs and toilets for her early 20th century home. I've gotten functional music keyboards (some MIDI, some not). Last year, she brought me a first generation PS2, which required a laser adjustment.

This year's haul has been a fruitful one so far :

- Another 1st gen PS2 - disc detection on the PS2 uses the laser. If it gets dirty, no disc is detected. Fixed with a cotton ball and some alcohol

- PS2 Guitar Hero Guitar - Had a broken whammy bar. Fixed with 2 rubber bands.

- Wacom Tablet - not officially "big junk"...from my brother in law. Appears to work

- Micro USB cable - Generally not such a big deal, but we needed one at work to test a new SMS system, and no one else had one

It has also come with stuff that should have stayed "thrown away"

- A Sharper Image roll up piano - What a piece of junk. Totally unplayable.

I'm planning on making to trip to Bowling Green next year. Big fun.


Psychological Traffic Calming

I live on a street in old Cary which has turned into a speedway, especially near my house. I live at the end of a stretch of straight road that the leadfeet (leadfoots?) in my neighborhood can't resist. Here is a clever solution from a fellow in Hamburg : a Fake Traffic Camera.

Looks like a fun project. I have an official looking watertight box (thanks NCSU Surplus!) and stuff that looks like a lens (maybe even a lens...). Add a padlock to the box and I'm all set.