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Midified Hammond organ pedal

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Hi y'all,

I saw it was a bit empty here, so i decided to post something. Hopefully to inspire other people to show the project they are working on, or have finished.

So about one of my projects:

Since Covid started i began to learn the organ. I could play piano, but the mighty instrument that stood behind the piano in my church took my interest too. I never quit the piano, but i just added the organ to my hobby list. Now I have improved and i wanted to be able to practice playing pipe organ at home. I played with the sounds on my keyboard and midi piano, but i missed the pedal. The problem was that a normal sized organ midi pedal costs like 1- 3K. A bit to expensive for my budget. I have a couple of hobbies that also take a bite out of my budget.

So i bought a pedal from a broken organ on my lokal marketplace. It took a while until I found one, but this one had cost me €120 for the pedal + the original bench with space for books. It was a great deal. I used an Arduino MEGA with a midi over usb library to send the notes in serial format to my laptop. The laptop uses Loopmidi to create a midi instrument, and hairlessmidi to translate the serial data to real midi notes. I used Excel to write the Arduino code, and duplicate it for every note. It was a real time savor.

We removed the sharp metal hammers on the pedals and replaced them with angle brackets to hold a small magnet (€5 for 50 pcs.) Behind every pedal was a screw terminal mounted that held a hall effect sensor. All the data went to seperate pins on the Arduino. While cutting, stripping en crimping all the wires, my brother got Covid. I was waiting for my testresults, so i had all day to work on the pedal. The test came out negative, so in the weekend we could finish the last steps. The costs of the electronics + the tools we did not have were €60.

The pedal worked flawlessly, but we had no register stops (to controll the sound of the organ.) Then we saw for €35 a pretty big commercial touchscreen on the same marketplace. We bought it and ran a software called midistops on it. That software allows you to configure a register setup so i can touch the register i want to open. There are also visuals to wich registers are open. 

I had already a keyboard with usb midi output, so i bought another from the brand 'Nektar' for around €119. We still had an old desk where we could mount everything on. The upper manual is held up by the styrofoam used in the packaging of the new manual (keyboard.) Maybe this will change, but it works better than i ever expected.

The software i use is grand orgue with free sample sets. They absolutely sound amazing. I have a focusrite audio interface with asio driver to reduce the latency of the sound so its playable. Without it, there is just to much latency. I connected an audio splitter with an aux cable to the mic input for recording the sound. OBS doesn't support asio output recording, but there is a plugin for asio input recording, so i used that with the mic input. The other side of the splitter goes with an aux cable to my upper manual. It has a great sound system build in, so i didn't need any external speakers.

The last step for me will be to buy some warm white ledstrips to light up the pedal from above, and to light up the book standard. There will be also external buttons to record, turn the lights on and for register presets. I'm also looking for a slim stationary pc so i don't have to carry my laptop around the house. But those will come later. It works for me, so i first want to finish a different project about turning an old USB webcam to a fully functional infrared night vision camera with a 28-80mm DSLR lens. I still have to wait for that IR flashlight from China. 

The whole organ project had cost me around €215 with a full two days of work, but if you buy one online they cost like a minimum of 1K for only the manuals. Some with pedals and register buttons costs 14K or more. It really matters what type you buy. Of cours the feel isn't perfect, but i can practice on a real pipe organ if i cycle for 45 minutes. So i wont lose the feeling of how to play on the real instrument. The pedal type is different, but i think that only better for if i ever have to play on a different type of organ. It doesn't bother the way i play on the real organ, and my padeling skills improve. It's just a big win for me!

The best part was that the pedal worked first try. No tweaks needed!




I hope more people try to make things themselves. I had a lot of times i wished i had a 3D printer, but i think it also adds to the experience when you make everything yourself from random stuff. Sometimes it can take months before you find something right for a project, but when you finish it you can be double as proud. It's always better when you can say to someone: 'Hey, you remember that broken dvd disc drive you gave me last summer. Its now part of my DIY electron microscope i built from scratch!' (BTW. I have not build a electron microscope from scratch, its just an example, before anyone askes!)


I also hope you enjoyed reading this, and maybe even inspired you to build something similar. If anyone has any questions about the project, anything surrounding the project or just wants more pictures, just let me know. I'm also open for feedback or ideas.


Have a nice day!

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Posted : 08/04/2022 8:38 pm
Felipe Lavratti, dtP2022, Felipe Lavratti and 1 people reacted
Posts: 3
New Member

I just want to say this is ridiculously cool!! You've got some crazy skills, imagination, passion and follow-through! 

Dude! Well done!

Posted : 09/04/2022 5:29 pm
Posts: 3
New Member

Sounds like a nice project. I have been recently looking at various custom midi devices using Arduino type boards.

Posted : 11/04/2022 2:47 pm