DIY ‘midi’ footpedal

[forrest] passed along this diy foot-pedal ‘midi’ controller. It’s a good re-use of hardware, but not a true midi controller. The pcb was gutted from an old keyboard, and the pedals were scored from a mad 60 mile tour of the local radio shacks clearance bin. Since the pedals are simple momentary on switches, it was a matter of wiring them to the controller and using a laptop to generate signals via usb midi interface. Replace the keyboard pcb with a drum controller and you’d have an interesting stand alone solution.

Just so I could enjoy some extra crow, I managed to leave one other entry out of my published list of Design Challenge entries. [Jason] sent in this MEGA32 programmer/dev board. He kept it single sided, but you’ll need a parallel port to use it.


  1. Nathan says:

    Replace the keyboard PCB with a what?

  2. norvan says:

    you can take the computer out of the equation by buying one of those old ass keyboards (the piano kind, not computer kind) with midi outputs and just wire up the foot controllers to the key contacts on the keyboard. It’s less versatile, but easier if you don’t have a laptop or a midi-usb interface.

  3. Lambda_drive says:

    Ewwwwwww myspace!

  4. nathan – ‘drum controller’ was eaten by a grue on the internet, apparently. it should make sense now. The suggestion of gutting an older synth is an idea – but quite a few of the older synth’s are nicer than the current lot.

  5. TJhooker says:

    “Ewwwwwww myspace!”

  6. th0mas says:

    Or you could build a custom midibox based application – (obligatory ;) ).

    Or something using my up and coming AVR dev board! :D

  7. GUF says:

    Although this is pretty impressive (I guess), I can’t help but wonder why the guy didn’t get the Behringer footpedal that’s like 1/5 of the cost of the Roland – it’s gotta be better than driving to 6 radio shack’s in the ghetto

  8. Yeah, I know that using an old music keyboard would have made things more efficient because it wouldn’t need a laptop, but I left the only old music keyboard I had in Milwaukee by accident when I moved :) I just happened to have a few QWERTY keyboards and an old laptop laying around. I got my inspiration for this project from a guy who actually used that method (the midi keyboard):

  9. MRE says:

    so… you have no need of playing chords? (not that a chord made up of more than two notes is possible, unless you have three feet! ;)

  10. wolf says:

    It appears to me as if the design chalenge entry has the footprint of a serial port to the right of the parallel one, I wonder if it may work with serial as well…

  11. mungewell says:

    and you’d have an interesting stand alone solution.

    ha ha… great punn ;-)

  12. I just wanted to put an all through hole avr programmer out there that could be used as a development board also. I think we will be seeing some of these design entries show up in bigger projects…

    So don’t eat crow on my account!
    Jason Rollete

  13. Son of a beehive… I almost kicked myself when I saw that Behringer FCB1010. I didn’t even know about it for $*#^%( sake! After searching the internet for hours, too… lol. Luckily, it only has ten pedals, an up/down, and two expression pedals: not enough to cover a full octave range (unless I bought two… :). So I guess I’m still happy with this project. *phew* that was close…

  14. strider_mt2k says:

    That is some really nice work!
    The soldering and cable routing is all done very neatly considering the amount of cables to keep straight. (literally and figuratively)

    Very nice use of some off the shelf components too.

    I for one love a good Rad Shmack road trip myself as well.
    I recently went on a quest to snatch up some of those wireless temp/hygro modules and realized that these days are coming to an end as Rad Shmack gets away from some of the old school coolness.

    Kudos on the cool build!

  15. Computer_Kid says:

    Something useful on MySpace!?

  16. Brad says:

    Very nice forrest, just what I’m trying to get together. But why the strange layout instead of trad pedalboard design?

  17. juancho says:

    Que ladron!!! jajaja… eso no es DIY. LADRON! ensima re gato.-

  18. Tad says:

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