Sunday, January 11th, 2009
OR::: How I made an $8 touch-tone phone MIDI controller!
1) Find, steal, or have an old touch-tone phone.
2) Go to TJ Max (yes) and buy yourself a Targus USB Number Pad for $8. Theoretically, any USB number pad will do, but this is what I used, and it was cheap so…
3) Take apart the cases. Just unscrew stuff, don’t go breaking stuff yet.
4) (skip ahead to Step 5 if historic re-enactment is not your primary concern) spend at least three hours looking at things from different angles trying to figure out what to do next.
5) (This is where it gets a little vague) after a series of trials, I determined a number of things:
a) The keys on the phone are not electronic and are spring loaded.
b) The keys on the number pad are electronic, but not wired. They are just two sheets of plastic with metal circuit contacts printed on them.
c) That by far the easiest thing to do here would be to have the phone key press the number keys.
d) Figure out how to do that.
6) In this case, I had the place I ordered pizza from donate some plastic straws (which fit perfectly into the holes in the underside of the phone keys). I cut the straws down to size so they just barely poked above the rim around the back of the number box.
7) I mounted (hot glued) the phone keys to the front plate of the phone.
8) I spent another hour at this point wondering what the hell to do next. I also ate 70% of a pizza.
9) I finally decided to mount the number key pad directly behind the phone keys. I did this with some chopsticks that were donated from the Thai place my friend had eaten dinner at. I just drilled some holes in the back of the phone case, inserted the chopsticks, and basically just hot glued the whole thing together.
10) There was further pant-less Dremelling of things and breaking off of parts in the original phone box first thing this morning, some taping down of wires, but this is basically it. If you get everything lined up correctly and mounted tight. The key grid was just about the prefect size for all the keys to line up.
The only other thing is to download Multi Control so you can patch the HID signals through to MIDI, and then do whatever the hell you want with it. I’m using it to trigger samples and perhaps a light rig in the future.
Great way to spend the weekend. Don’t call us, we’ll call you.
If you like this, you should see what happened to the head
Saturday, January 10th, 2009
MOD PROJECT::: For Back and to the Left, the ultra-secret governmental DJ bureau that I am a member of, we fabricated a nifty communication (pre-cuing) device.
This was an incredibly simple mod, and was even pulled off lacking some fairly essential tools. I simply sacrificed a cheap pair of old 1/4″ headphones, got a donated old plastic phone from a friend, and then it’s basically just a matter of breaking things and cutting wires until you’ve got your headphone cord with two exposed wires (in this case black and white) and the two original wires (still attached) from the handset speaker. Strip em, tie em together, cover the joins, put everything back together, plug it in and yikes, you’ve got a handset headphone.
There are a number of slight modifications that can be done on this build. I just plowed blindly ahead (very against the philosophy of B.A.T.T.L. which is intensely bureaucratic)
End of communication:::