The MIDItools® computer is a generic hardware device designed to
perform MIDI operations. It consists of a chassis,
a main board called the CPU
board, and a front
panel board. The CPU board hosts a Motorola 6805 processor,
a MIDI interface, some extra memory and an analog to digital converter.
The front panel board contains 8 switches, 16 LED's, a potentiometer
and an LCD
display. The CPU board also has sockets for connecting the front
panel, LCD and an optional expansion board via ribbon cables. To
gain an in depth understanding of the MIDItools® computer read Digital
Projects for Musicians by Craig Anderton, Bob Moses, and Greg
is sold either as a kit
or as an assembled unit. It comes in either a rack
mounted or hand
held configuration. Once you know what application you want
you simply choose the platform and place an order. We program the
processor chip for you and send it with the kit or unit. The nice
thing about MIDItools® is that once you have one, you actually have
several devices. All you have to do is pop in a new processor chip,
and you have a completely new tool.
MIDItools® were designed with two purposes in mind: one, to teach
electronics and MIDI and two, to enable artistic technologists to
create designs not tied to a computer. Check out the Applications,
Catalog, User Projects and Educational Packages links to see the
full potential of MIDItools®.
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The brains of the MIDItools® computer is the Motorola
6805 microcontroller. Its ports connect to the switches, LCD,
and other peripherals through four busses. Port A forms the Control
bus which supplies on/off signals to the peripheral devices. The
Data bus (port B) communicates parallel data to and from expansion
boards and writes characters to the LCD display. Port C is the Switch
bus which receives input from the front panel switches.
The SPI (Serial Peripheral Interface) bus originates from three
special purpose pins of port D. This bus supplies serial data to
turn the LED's on and off, receives data from the potentiometer,
stores and retrieves data from external memory, and communicates
with expansion boards.
In addition to the busses, the 68HC05 also communicates with the
outside world through its SCI (Serial Communications Interface).
This interface utilizes three different special purpose pins of
port D. The SCI is an onboard UART
which sends and receives MIDI information supplied by the MIDI interface.
See the downloads section of this site for complete schematics
and DO read Digital Projects for Musicians!
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Start by deciding which MIDI application best suits your needs.
You can do this by reviewing the Applications section of this site
or reading Digital Projects for Musicians. If you have a specific
application in mind not listed please visit our Custom Design page.
If you want to build the MIDItool yourself you'll need to be familiar
with soldering techniques, identifying electronic parts and basic
construction. Again, all of this is covered in the book.
Once you know which MIDItool you want you'll choose either the
hand held or rack mounted version. If your application requires
an expansion board you'll need the rack mounted platform by default.
Then just go to the catalog, choose your kits, and order. We'll
program your chips and send your kit or assembled unit within three
days. If you have any questions or need help don't hesitate to contact
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The Downloads section of this site
contains all of the binary application files so that you can burn
your own EPROM's or OTP's. Schematics and User Manuals are available
for download as well.
Please join the Yahoo MIDItools® discussion group. To sign up, send
a blank email to this address: <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
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