Open top menu
Adding midi to my Casio SA-1

Adding midi to my Casio SA-1

I absolutely love the lowtech, bitcrushed, mid eighties sounds of cheap plastic keyboards. This Casio SA-1 is one of those.

I have this keyboard for years now (I believe I bought it back in 1990, wauw, that’s a long way back…) and always dreamed about give this baby a way to talk to the outside world.

And now, my dear Casio, you have a way of communicating with the world out there 🙂 From this day on you’ll have MIDI IN. A way of listening to your big brothers and play along.

On the serious side: I want it to be able to respond to commands and use it for musicproductions. Simply because some sounds are just not to be found elsewhere…

The Casio SA-1 has for register pins and 8 key pins which in combination with each other will make 32 separate keys. From what I’ve learned, the 8 key pins are scanned and the 4 register pins are picked up when activated by keys.

More details which also motivated my enthousiasm can be read here.

My version makes use of an arduino nano v3.0. Pretty nifty thing. Normally I’d program in C++ directly, but for this project I wanted to give an Arduino a try.


Boy, nice kit, but also some puzzling with numbers, pin translations, circuitdesigns, different versions of the board and so on. It is kind a working because of some trail and error principles. Also not all pins are to be reached via their ‘shell’. Eg. pins a6 and a7 are not able to be put in OUTPUT mode. That’s not really well documented anywhere but in forums. It took me some time to figure these things out. But on the other hand; it’s real nice to have a ready made board with powerregulators, leds, usb and more at your disposal. This takes some labour out of your hands. This way I could make a board with connections pretty quick.

Still thinking about programming it with ISP and Eclipse, though.

The thing now is to get my new oscilloscope out and see what’s happening on those pins because it now boils down to timing accuracy.

I’ll keep working on this side project…

12140 Total views: 6 Views Today