Wednesday, February 18, 2009

$1 Nanoloop MIDI Sync!


Overview
So here is a very simple circuit that you can use to synchronise Nanoloop (for the Nintendo Game Boy) to a MIDI clock source (such as a sequencer or a drum machine).

This circuit works and has been tested, but of course I can't guarantee that if you build it, it will work. At any rate, at least you won't be wasting much money because the only component that is needed is the 4017 IC, which cost me about $1.

This schematic does not adhere to MIDI hardware specifications (there is no optocoupler, for instance) and there are no filter or bypass caps for the Game Boy power supply. So these are the sorts of things you might like to add (or not). However, I have it working in a very stable fashion 'as is'.

One thing to note: you can only send MIDI clock messages on the output that is connected to the Game Boy, because other MIDI messages will mess up the synchronisation. Although some may find this a little limiting, I always tend to use a dedicated port for any MIDI clock sources anyway, so it suits me just fine.



How To Use It
• Build the circuit
• Set your sequencer to output MIDI clock messages
• Set your Nanoloop to external sync
• Press play and party!




Schematic
4017 Power Supply
- Connect 4017 PIN 16 to GB LINK 5V
- Connect 4017 PIN 8 to GB LINK GROUND

4017 Operation
- Connect 4017 PIN 4 to 4017 PIN 15
- Connect 4017 PIN 14 to 4017 PIN 16

GB Sync Signal
- Connect 4017 PIN 3 to GB LINK SERIN

MIDI Input
- Connect MIDI PIN 4* to 4017 PIN 13
- Connect MIDI PIN 5** to 4017 PIN 8

* when looking at the back of a female MIDI connector, the middle-left pin is pin 4
** when looking at the back of a female MIDI connector, the middle-right pin is pin 5



Demo Video:

24 comments:

10k said...

I am answering your blog, WHILE BEING FILMED. That's right.

Michael Una said...

Holy shit that's awesome on so many levels. I had this on my "to do" list and figured it'd be a gigantic time-eater. I had no idea it was so simple...

Harold said...
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Harold said...
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Harold said...

can i use this with my nintendo ds?

Sebastian Tomczak said...

Hi Harold,
No, not this one.

Cheers,

Seb

Mr Vidiot said...

sweet mate! i've trying something similar to drive my 16 step sequencer using a 4516 counter chip, but i'll have to give this a shot!

i've been trying it out using diodes and an optocoupler as well just to be on the safe side, but this is nice and simple!

cheers,

bod

momo said...

I just tried to build this, but it won`t work, probaply because I`m using external 5V Power because the Powersupply of my Linkcale is missing... :(
here is the cicuit:
any suggestions?

Anyway Thanks a lot!

momo said...

ok... sorry, finaly it is working. I mixed the Pins. Power is now coming from Gameboy itself by just putting the circuit in it.
MIDI-out for Gameboy

Thanks, Sebastian for your work!

Adrium said...

"Holy shit that's awesome on so many levels. I had this on my "to do" list and figured it'd be a gigantic time-eater. I had no idea it was so simple.."

ME TOO !!!

Michael said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael said...

How can i tell which wire is which on my link cable?

Sling said...

So I figured out which cable was which.

I built the circuit and it doesn't work. My nanoloop moves two steps when I turn my drum machine on but then nothing.

Any one have any suggestions?

gmc said...

can use this interface with a gba?

gmc said...

can use this interface with a gba ?

Richard said...

hi!
The 4017 IC circuit that you used, I would like som more inormation about it and where you found it?

Sebastian Tomczak said...

I made it. Why do you ask?

Richard said...

i want to try to build one my self.

Marm said...

I've been looking for a solution to sync my Boss DR-110 to MIDI. I believe it uses essentially the same 12ppq sync signal as nanoloop. Any idea if this is likely to work? I can't see any reason why not, but it seems too easy!

electri-fire said...

I think there could be an error in the description of the connections.

It says " Connect 4017 PIN 14 (= Clock In to 4017 PIN 16 (=5 Volt)."

Thus the 4017 is not recieving Clocks.

And " Connect MIDI PIN 4* to 4017 PIN 13 (= Clock Enable)"

Pin 13 should usually be held High (at 5 Volts ).

So I guess you have this reversed?

electri-fire said...

Richard said...

The 4017 IC circuit that you used, I would like som more inormation about it and where you found it?

What I actually THINK you asked was: "Where can I get the datasheet?"
You should have left the word "circuit" out of the question though, as now it suggests Tom had copied /stolen the design from somewhere/ someone.

Datasheet here:
http://www.datasheetcatalog.org/datasheets/320/499984_DS.pdf

electri-fire said...

Remark: Tom: I forgot to thank you for this excellent contribution. Brilliant.

Next remark: If I understood correctly, basically your schematic devides the incomming MIDI clock bits by two and then sends it to the Gameboy.

So a flipflop or 4040 binary counter could be used as well if you have those lying around.

electri-fire said...

When using a 4040 CMOS binary counter, the schematic would be:

4040 Power Supply

- Connect 4040 PIN 16 to GB LINK 5V
- Connect 4040 PIN 8 to GB LINK GROUND

4040 Operation

GB Sync Signal
- Connect 4040 PIN 7 to GB LINK SERIN

MIDI Input
- Connect MIDI PIN 4* to 40 PIN 10
- Connect MIDI PIN 5** to 4040 PIN 8

* when looking at the back of a female MIDI connector, the middle-left pin is pin 4
** when looking at the back of a female MIDI connector, the middle-right pin is pin 5

Indeed a 4516 counter could have been used as well.

ryba said...

Hello.
Could this be used (with some modification) for midi to sync24 (for prophet64) synchronization?
thank you.