Thursday, September 5, 2013

Linux-based assistant for a MIDI digital keyboard.

How it started

It all started when a few months ago a friend of mine gave me a laptop LCD taken from an old Compaq Armada M700. The screen is 14.1'' and is in good shape (except the metallic bezel which suffered a bit while I took it apart):

Inside the laptop bezel there is still the inverter for the backlight and a Samsung LT141X7-124 TFT LCD. For some weeks I didn't have a clue what to do with it.

Mmm.. It looks good there.

One day when I was connecting the laptop to the piano keyboard for transferring some MIDI songs by USB, I realized that the LCD screen looked quite nice on top of the piano sheet holder. I wouldn't have to print sheet music anymore and could use Rosegarden to display music scores in realtime with the MIDI music - that would be awesome!

After looking a bit through ebay, I arrived to the following listing about an LCD controller board with inverter (even though I didn't need one) and VGA input.around $29 + free shipping. This would allow me to connect the LCD screen to e.g. my laptop. I messaged the seller asking if the screen model was indeed supported which he replied positively. He also added that he would flash the controller board with the proper firmware for my LCD model. I also ordered this power supply for the LCD controller, for around $7.

What now?

Now I'm waiting for the LCD controller board and power supply to arrive, it should take a few weeks. Then the plan will be:
  1. Test the LCD screen + controller board using the laptop.
  2. Find out which one, Rasperry Pi, Beagleboard .. is best suited for running GNU/Linux with Rosegarden, Timidity++ and a few other MIDI tools.
There is a lot more planned but for now that's all :) Feel free to leave me a message with suggestions and ideas.

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