Sunday, December 14, 2008

To MIDI a set of Hammond New B-3 Bass Pedals

Somebody went through the expense of buying a New B-3 from Hammond Suzuki and didn't want to keep the pedals. I can understand that, but it doesn't mean that I approve! Anyway, they sold the pedals online to my new customer who wants to hook them to his Hammond XK3c Organ keyboard.

Problem #1: The MIDI encoding for the pedals is part of the organ circuitry, and is not in the pedal assembly. All you get is a 15-pin female DSub connector on the pedal box. So it's not "Plug-n-Play."

Problem #2: He's about 1000 miles away from my shop.

Best Possible Solution: To create a portable interface that will bridge the gap between the stock New B-3 pedal board and any MIDI device.

How I did it:

1) I had to get the layout of the 15-pin female DSub connector on the pedal board from the New B-3 Service Manual. I finally found it, and had to use a strong magnifier to read the fine print. The pedal assembly has *some* of the electronics needed for the MIDI encoder.

2) I had to see if the 25/32 Bass Pedal MIDI Encoder card I had in stock would work for this application. So I called the manufacturer/engineer/main guy and explained it to him. He gave me a green light for the project.

3) Into the shop to find a 15-pin male DSub connector and some ribbon wire.

4) On a piece of paper, match the output pins to the input pins.

5) Wire the interface cable. Pack in a box with circuit board and wall-wart power supply and ship.


The nice thing is that I can duplicate this anytime I need to use a new Hammond pedalboard with a MIDI interface. It will probably work with most of the Hammond pedalboards from the 90's and 00's. Even the 32 pedal church versions. But I'll have to check the service manuals for each before I can say so with certainty.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Too Many Hammonds & Leslies, Not Enough Space

I have way too many of these beasts. I moved the organs on Saturday. Only the pedals are left. I'll move them on Monday.

Mr. Landlord isn't going to put up with my stuff forever. I'll have to downsize pretty fast if I'm going to avoid another surprise call for evacuating this new space. I'll post a list here pretty soon. I am thinking about listing them all in my eBay Organ Store.

But first, I've got to get some benchwork done on a couple of Hammond Tone Cabinets a church brought in for repair. More on that soon.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A Moving Experience

I had a call from Mr. Landlord yesterday, letting me know that he finally leased the entire 5th floor to a CPA firm for the next 11 years. That's great news. Their construction crew would be starting tomorrow (Friday) to rip out everything and start over. That's also great news. Now the bad news. I've been storing 8 Hammond Organs, 15 Leslie Speakers, 29 sets of bass pedals, 17 benches, 10 Hammond Tone Cabinets, and some odds and ends pro sound speakers. Almost everything is on wheels, except the benches and the pedals.

I humbly asked Mr. Landlord if he had another suite in the building where I could stash this stuff until I can sell it, and he graciously is letting me use a vacant office on a different floor. I saw it yesterday with the building manager and it's got desks and cubicle parts and chairs and junk all over the place, like the tenants maybe skipped town. A big pile of mail under the mail slot, mostly junk. She gave me the key and I did a bit of tidying up.

So this morning when I arrived at work I got started right away by moving all the Leslie Speakers and the Hammond Tone Cabinets down the World's Second Worst Elevator. The gap between the car and the landing is a wheel-gobbler. After lunch I got caught up on some paperwork because I was exhausted from the morning activities.

Then I got busy and moved all the benches to the new location. Those I had to carry down the long long hall.

Now all I have left to move is the Organs and the Pedals. I'll have to do them on Friday. I'm way too beat now.

About those pedals. I have 15 Hammond Organs that use the removable pedal boards, but I have 31 pedal boards. I think they somehow multiply at night when the lights are off. I don't know if the other Hammond Techs have this problem, but I don't know where I'm gonna PUT these guys. They take up a whole room on the 5th floor. I think I'll pick one pedal board for each Hammond Organ console I have in stock and I'll put the rest out on Death Row until I can figure out how I can get rid of them without using them for firewood or worse. Maybe I should stick them up on my eBay store.

Okay, enough for today. Gonna go home and do the New York Times Crossword.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

First things first. . .

I laid awake for a while the other night thinking of all the service calls and shop work I've done over the years on Hammond Organs and Leslie Speaker cabinets. The next morning I decided to start putting my time and energy into this blog. Then today I got contacted by Mark Joyner of Simpleology about his multi-media course on blogging. How timely! So I got off the dime and set up this blogspace for anyone who might enjoy knowing what goes on behind the scenes and under the dash of the venerated Hammond Organ and Leslie Speaker.

I'll be learning as I go, so please bear with me with some patience as I begin to loosen up and type relevant stuff here.

I'm evaluating a multi-media course on blogging from the folks at Simpleology. For a while, they're letting you snag it for free if you post about it on your blog.

It covers:

  • The best blogging techniques.
  • How to get traffic to your blog.
  • How to turn your blog into money.

I'll let you know what I think once I've had a chance to check it out. Meanwhile, go grab yours while it's still free.