Old 11-02-2016, 10:10 AM   #1
shift838
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Default USB MIDI Foot Controller Completed [used with Reaper]

All,

I thought I would share this little project that has made my recording life easier with Reaper.

I am a guitar player and decided I wanted to start recording some of my songs and tried multiple DAW programs and settled on Reaper because of price and the sheer amount of features this program has. Not to mention, it's easy to use, it is updated quite frequently and the support from Reaper and the community is great.

Once I started recording, I quickly realized how much I hated using the mouse or keyboard for pretty much anything. I wanted to be able to control Reaper with the touch of a foot (since that how all of us guitarist like to control effects).

So I started researching of what I could use. Well I found a little gadget that allowed me to assign MIDI Control Codes to momentary stomp switches (there were only 3). I figured that would be plenty. Start, Stop, Record.. Should be good right? So I bought it.

Well after purchasing it and using it for a few months I quickly realized that I was using other transaction commands, Arm Track, Remove Item, etc quite frequently and the 3 button version just was not cutting it. I then started my search for one that had more. I settled on 8 switches is what I could use. I found out that these little Programmable USB MIDI Foot Controllers with 8 switches were indeed pricey and I did not want to dish out the coin for that, especially since I know how to program.

So... I built my own.

I used a Teensy 3.2 Micro Controller (Arduino code), panel mount USB extension, SPDT toggle, 2 x LEDs and 8 SPST Momentary (soft touch) switches and an old 3U Raised Rack Space cover(for enclosure) and 4 adjustable feet.

The controller is coded in 'C' language and is 2 controllers in one. If the Toggle is off it will send MIDI Note Codes while pressed (note on) and send the 'note off' code when released. When the toggle is engaged it will send the MIDI Control Code, this is the type I needed to do so I could send MIDI CC to Reaper to control Transaction commands like Record, Play, Stop, Arm, etc. (the controller will work with other DAW programs but Reaper in my book wins hands down)

Now I have a completely functional 8 switch (can have more if you want) Programmable MIDI USB Foot Controller that i use with Reaper. It's easy to build and code and not to mention I did the whole thing for under $70 USD and a few hours.

It even works on Windows 10 with no drivers needed they are already there.

For a high resolution pictures in the below link

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/uh9b2ux15...t5FRJfNda?dl=0


Video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kq9DME06KDI

It can even have a MIDI IN/OUT 5pin DIN connected to it so it can send CC codes to an actual guitar rack effect if i wanted to wire that in.

For more informatino on the Teensy 3.2 used you can go to:

https://www.pjrc.com/store/teensy32.html


If you would like more information of how I did it contact me.

Last edited by shift838; 11-02-2016 at 03:39 PM.
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Old 11-02-2016, 12:05 PM   #2
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You clever little bugger you!
I currently use a combination of a MIDI footswitch with ONE function and TouchOSC on my tablet.
This is rather elegant.
Wish I was up to date with current electronics but I quit having much to do with it when surface ount components reared their ugly little heads.
If I had a schematic I suppose I could get my bro in Florida to make me one....

(He is the family nerd)
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Old 11-02-2016, 12:29 PM   #3
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Justin will like this.
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Old 11-02-2016, 01:29 PM   #4
shift838
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The Teensy is a very handy little unit. You can mount it to most any basic circuit board to design and connect the appropriate pins.

the USB provides the necessary voltage to the board.

Teensy pins:

0 = Toggle
pins 1-8 hook up to the momentary switches
pin 14 to LED #1
Pin 15 to LED #2

All grounds are shared and hook up to ground pin on the Teensy 3.2

I even created a VB .NET program that can run and test when the buttons and pressed and released and will display the MIDI CC or Note Code

I did make a video of it working and have added it to the original post.

Last edited by shift838; 11-02-2016 at 01:35 PM.
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Old 11-02-2016, 01:43 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ivansc View Post
Wish I was up to date with current electronics but I quit having much to do with it when surface ount components reared their ugly little heads.
That's a no-good excuse, Ivan.

The Teensy is available as 16 pin DIL and as a readymade board. Just need to add some wiring, power and program the thing. Hardly any external components needed. And programming is as simple as running the editor on your PC and uploading the firmware. You've probably done that several times for your audio interface...

The hardest part is making the case, really.

Quote:
If I had a schematic I suppose I could get my bro in Florida to make me one....

(He is the family nerd)
Schematics are available on the net, as this is a fairly standard application for Teensies. And for a couple of other cheap microcontrollers out there too.
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Old 11-02-2016, 01:54 PM   #6
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Yes!!
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Old 11-02-2016, 02:13 PM   #7
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The code was simple. I kept it real simple at first.

Last edited by shift838; 01-02-2018 at 07:09 PM.
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Old 11-02-2016, 02:23 PM   #8
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Well done shift838,
Hopes went up when I saw the title. I recently ordered an Audiofront widget for expression pedal to USB after having looked and failed to find a satisfactory DIY project. I have a MIDI keyboard up the creek and a digital piano lacking expression input.

I would like a USB input for expression pedal, or better still multiple expression pedals and/or piano pedals. Anyone know of such a diy project?
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Old 11-02-2016, 02:39 PM   #9
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Well done shift838,
Hopes went up when I saw the title. I recently ordered an Audiofront widget for expression pedal to USB after having looked and failed to find a satisfactory DIY project. I have a MIDI keyboard up the creek and a digital piano lacking expression input.

I would like a USB input for expression pedal, or better still multiple expression pedals and/or piano pedals. Anyone know of such a diy project?
Check this one out. This is a DIY expression pedal. Should get you in the right direction. I would think since the Teensy is Arduino compatible you could use the same code with very little modifications.

http://imajji.net/topic/watch/vid01Tp3aONkvUP8
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Old 11-02-2016, 02:43 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shift838 View Post
Check this one out. This is a DIY expression pedal. Should get you in the right direction. I would think since the Teensy is Arduino compatible you could use the same code with very little modifications.

http://imajji.net/topic/watch/vid01Tp3aONkvUP8
That page comes with virus infection warning. Claiming to be from Microsoft.
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Old 11-02-2016, 02:51 PM   #11
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That page comes with virus infection warning. Claiming to be from Microsoft.
pulls up fine on my Windows 10 with McAfee no problem.
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Old 11-02-2016, 02:57 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shift838 View Post
pulls up fine on my Windows 10 with McAfee no problem.
Page opened fine. Win 10.
Then warning come with voice claiming to be from Microsoft. Critical no D845....blah blah. It claimed Microsoft would be forced to shut down my computer from infecting their networks if I closed that page.
I could only close the page by closing I.Explorer. I ran virus check, nothing, think it is just a confidence trick, lacking a real virus.

I only had I.Explorer open. Quick scan found nothing, now doing full scan, just in case.

Last edited by Softsynth; 11-02-2016 at 03:04 PM.
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Old 11-02-2016, 03:08 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Softsynth View Post
Page opened fine. Win 10.
Then warning come with voice claiming to be from Microsoft. Critical no D845....blah blah. It claimed Microsoft would be forced to shut down my computer from infecting their networks if I closed that page.
I could only close the page by closing I.Explorer. I ran virus check, nothing, think it is just a confidence trick, lacking a real virus.

I only had I.Explorer open. Quick scan found nothing, now doing full scan, just in case.
I've seen that on other pages before and had to kill IE in the task manager.

I opened it up via IE 11 and Edge and did not see it just to make sure. I even tried Chrome on another machine no report of any issues.

Anyway... an expression pedal should be easily done with a 10k potentiometer and an arduino style board a couple of resistors.
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Old 11-02-2016, 03:32 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cyrano View Post
That's a no-good excuse, Ivan.

The Teensy is available as 16 pin DIL and as a readymade board. Just need to add some wiring, power and program the thing. Hardly any external components needed. And programming is as simple as running the editor on your PC and uploading the firmware. You've probably done that several times for your audio interface...

The hardest part is making the case, really.



Schematics are available on the net, as this is a fairly standard application for Teensies. And for a couple of other cheap microcontrollers out there too.

O.K. You build one and I will drop in at your place next time I hit Dunkerque for a look over your shoulder!!! ... or you could just program mine if I pluck up the courage to build the box and innards!

Hard to believe I am saying this! Years ago my little electronic firm were one of Acorn's first customers for their one-board 6502 based 'puter & "computerised" our range of scientific instruments in a week with it!
But that was long ago & I honestly think my brain is finally clogging up with all the stuff I have crammed into it these last 70 odd years. Never thought I would admit defeat to technology....


@ OP: Aw shoot! I took a look at the PJRC store and for the price I guess I can even afford to mess a couple of those up "learning by doing" can't I? About to order one... Hope the UK customs don't ream me a new one on duty!
Also, any chance of a photo of the innards, just to see how you laid it out and attached the board to the "case"?
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Last edited by ivansc; 11-02-2016 at 03:46 PM.
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Old 11-02-2016, 03:41 PM   #15
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i have posted a folder link to the dropbox now with more photos in the original post.
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Old 11-02-2016, 03:53 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shift838 View Post
I've seen that on other pages before and had to kill IE in the task manager.

I opened it up via IE 11 and Edge and did not see it just to make sure. I even tried Chrome on another machine no report of any issues.

Anyway... an expression pedal should be easily done with a 10k potentiometer and an arduino style board a couple of resistors.
Yes, of course I killed it in task manager, and well I'm still here, Microsoft didn't immediately shut me down to protect their networks!!!

In that case I guess I must have somehow clicked on one of the adverts?
I do not know how that happened though as I am not currently on a laptop or using a touch pad where this can occur by accident.

Back to the project:
The Arduino board could be a good option. I do not actually want the pedals themselves, just a connector and controller software.

First thing is to find out how good the Audiofront widget is.
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Old 11-02-2016, 05:36 PM   #17
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Niiiice.
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Old 01-02-2018, 06:56 PM   #18
shift838
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Default MIDIUSB FCv3 update

So I have been rethinking this design and have come up with a new recoded version. I have completely recoded this unit. Removed the LEDS and added an OLED display.

I wanted to streamline the code since I have a very good understanding of the Teensy now. I have even designed a printed circuit board and have ordered a few.

Check the video of the proof of concept on a breadboard.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=aZQtjmF2Gw8
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Old 02-04-2018, 09:57 PM   #19
shift838
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Default USB MIDI Controller v3.x Finished

I have completed the USB MIDI Foot Controller Version 3.

I have now modified the code to include an OLED for displaying the MIDI Control code when a footswitch is pressed. The controller can accommodate up to 24 foot switches to control various functions of an application that listens for MIDI control codes. It is completely powered by USB and is compatible with both Windows PC and MAC.

I have only put in 8 foot switches for my use even though the code will recognize up to 24. Some of the functions I use them for in reaper (because I hate the mouse) is:

Start of Project, Play, Stop, Record, Remove selected Item, Arm/Disarm. So as you can see you can set your application to respond from a foot command switch.

I'll be posting more information on my website under a new area called 838 Audio.

http://shift838.99er.net
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Old 02-04-2018, 10:17 PM   #20
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very kewl work and to someone like me, ...nice magic

it looks like you are aiming at a production run... true or???
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Old 02-05-2018, 10:03 AM   #21
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Quote:
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very kewl work and to someone like me, ...nice magic

it looks like you are aiming at a production run... true or???
Yes, I will be offering it in 2 or 3 different packages.

1. A DIY that comes with the MidiController (pre-programmed and tested), MFC-24 printed circuit board. User will need to assemble the board components to mount MicroController to PCB. OLED and OLED Cable Assembly,USB Power cable or Bezel not included. User will need to purchase separately from anyone.
2. A DIY with Midicontroller (pre-programmed and tested), MFC-24 Circuit board, OLED with cable and bezel, USB Panel Mount power cable
3. A DIY like #2 but the PCB has been assembled.
4. (not sure on this one yet) Maybe a full unit ready to go. Only labels on a production model for the foot switches would be numbers 1 to 8. This would be so that a user can decide which foot switch he wants to do what and just remember the numbers or pint his own labels.

I like options 1,2 and 3 better as a user can decide how many switches they want and what type of enclosure to put it in. So options 1,2 and 3 are more customizable.
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