Starting off with a bang (I let the smoke out)

Well, that was fun. I managed to fry a shift register somehow, and it looks like my Raspberry Pi is out of commission as well. At least I know that each part of the control system works by itself. The interesting part will be getting everything working together; I hope I haven't found a problem with the hardware.


  1. I have made a couple of PVC air horns.
  2. They can be made in several sizes, from 1/2" ID to 2" and possibly larger if necessary.
  3. They can (theoretically) be tuned.
  4. I have a few MIDI files for Bach organ fugues that I had arranged for brass quintet.
  5. I have a way of controlling the air horns electronically.


     I am building an air horn organ.

Progress so far:

  • MIDI files can be processed using python in order to track what notes should be sounding at a given time (data point at each note-on or -off event)
  • control of a single shift register (mostly) functional
  • power control tested, theoretically functional
  • miswired something and fried one of the shift registers and the RPi2 that I was using to test
  • determined that there are no HDMI cables in the house to hook up the RPiA+ to the TV
  • determined that my WiFi adapter won't work with Raspbian (OS on the Pi)
  • learned to solder
  • designed and ordered first iteration of the controller PCB from oshpark.

Things to do:

  • program control script for the actual output
  • test out control boards
  • find viable inexpensive valve solution
  • revise control boards
  • build lots of air horns
  • tune lots of air horns
  • tune even more air horns
  • check complete control system
  • devise interface
  • final construction
Explanations of the details will follow as I have the opportunity. I'll discuss how the control system works, how the air horns are made, and I'll talk about stuff that goes wrong (or right) as I go along. I'll try to update at least once a week.

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