A simple MIDI to USB converter tailored for the FCB1010 foot pedal board

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This project's aim is to implement the missing stompbox function on the Behringer FCB1010 pedal without having to modify the pedal board with custom electronics.

As you may or may not know, the Behringer FCB1010 is an awesome MIDI foot pedal board; with its 10 foot switches, 2 bank switches to rotate between 10 banks of presets (that an user can modify at will), 2 optical volume pedals (not the crappy potentiometer-and-gear things), and also two relays that can act as regular footswitches to control your gear that does not talk MIDI, all in a nice metal enclosure that can withstand a lot of abuse.

The only downside? It does not have a stompbox mode.

That is, you can program the device to send with one switch up to 5 CCs and 2 Note messages, but you can't toggle a CC or a Note. If, for example, I use a MIDI to USB converter to route the MIDI signals to my guitar amplifier and effects simulation software and I map one pedal to a distorsion effect, I would have to keep its associated pedal down as long as I need the distorsion. It's totally impractical and not natural.

There are solutions to this problem: you remove the internal EPROM that controls the thing and change it with a modified version that allows this and some other features.

But, I like to not change things that work pretty well, so I'm going to make this little board that will implement via software the missing functionality, without touching anything inside the FCB1010.

How? I will assign one note (note X) to each pedal, and I will let the MIDI to USB converter ignore every received Note X OFF message; then the converter will send a Note X ON message the first time it receives a Note X ON message, and will later send a Note X OFF message when it receives again a Note X ON message.

Easy as pie.

PLUS: I want to challenge myself to try and fit this thing in less than 1 KB of ROM; for this reason, I'm going to use the smallest USB enabled MCU I could think of, the ATmega8u2. If I will not be able to do so, well I will still have a neat board that will solve an issue I have anyway, so it's a win-win for me.

  • Board up and running

    Michele Perla01/05/2017 at 12:15 0 comments

    Hi there,

    quick update: a couple of days ago I assembled one board, and guess what? As soon as I plugged in the USB cable it enumerated as "ATmega8U2 DFU" so this means that the USB side of the board is working fine.

    I also did a really small blink test (which takes 190 bytes if made in raw C using Atmel Studio), setting the fuse bits to use the 16 MHz external clock with no division, and using a delay of 1000 ms between toggling the pin and guess what? It blinks properly, so the chip is overall fine.

    I will test MIDI over UART and then I will implement the USB MIDI functionality in the next days.



    EDIT: the assembled board looks like this:

    The board was printed by Smart Prototyping: as you can see the logo on copper came out nicely, and also they didn't use the classic cheap dark green solder mask, but a more clean looking emerald green one, I must say I am really happy. I will post a small tutorial on how to make neat looking logos on copper in KiCad (it's easy as 3.14159265359....)

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