Refresh / Reload Close Window

The Flip Box:

This is all about my Flip Box.

The Finished Flip Box (Picture - A small black box with several connectors)

Purpose: To use gaming type plane rudder pedals or car foot pedals to control MIDI control functions on axis one and two on the PC game port.

Description: The Flip Box changes the game port configuration so that axis one and two become axis three and four and vice versa. The first two trigger buttons are then routed to seperate foot switch pedals while the third and fourth trigger buttons are patched to buttons one and two on the joystick.

This is so Cool! The Flip Box is a little gizmo I made so I could use my CH Products Pedals as a MIDI controller. I picked up the pedals at the Goodwill Computer Museum for Six Dollars. So they worked great with the computer games and such, but then I remembered a little program I used to play with back in the Windows 3.11 days. The program allowed you to control MIDI functions with a Joystick, but when I upgraded to Windows 98 it just would not work so I left it down in the archives somewhere. So I searched the net looking for something simular that would work with the modern world.

I came across some real nice software a man had written in Austria with all the bells and whistles. It looked real nice but it just didn't work. I suppose something was lost along the way in the translation from German to English and after corresponding with the author several times I came to the conclusion the man had no idea what in the hell I was talking about.

So I searched some more and found the old stuff I used back in the old days that had been slightly upgraded, and it worked! It just seems that HABI has some great ideas and one day he will get around to finishing up what he started. Until then I had to come up with a hardware solution to do what I wanted with the state of the software as it is now; and the Flip Box was born.

The Flip Box Chart - Click to Zoom

Here's what it does: It takes the standard joystick input and flips around axis one and two with axis three and four. A standard PC joystick uses axis one and two, and a second joystick pluged into the same game port would use axis three and four. A real good joystick might use three or four all on the same stick, there are even a couple of games that utilize five but that's DOS and I said the modern world here. So theoretically if you pluged a straight through 'Y' into the Flip Box and connected two old joysticks player one would be player two and vice versa so to speak. Then if you plug in the pedals which by the way don't have any buttons on them, they will use axis three and four in car mode or just axis four in airplane mode. So what I did was port out the buttons to some foot pedal switches, then patched the one and two button on the joystick back to the regular buttons three and four on the game port. Ok, so everything is ass backwards! That's it.

What this allows me to do is control any of the MIDI controllers such as Pitch Bend, Aftertouch, Program Patches, Notes, or any defined MIDI controller with my flight ''rudder'' pedals and foot switch pedals. The the joystick is still available if needed in case that software ever gets done, or I just want to fly the airplane upside down sometime. That will throw them for a loop. Anyway I've had lot's of fun with the Flip Box.

Patch Chart:

And just a side note: I'm using a Sound Blaster Live sound card. I've been using a Yamaha Portatone MIDI Keyboard as my input device, with yet another sustain pedal on it. You can never have enough pedals you know. My hands are usually pretty busy playing the keyboard. Build yourself a Flip Box and you'll Flip Out too.

I scrounged up the parts at several places. The D-15 jacks came from a computer supply place. The D-15 Female was 68 cents, the male was 44 cents. I sabatoged a 95 cent Joystick 'Y' from Goodwill for the wire, also got the screws there. I got the little box and the audio jacks from Radio Shack. The foot switches are about five dollars each, and the adapters where two dollars. Throw in some solder and some shrink tube too. I took my time and it took me about two hours from start to finish including carving out the holes and soldering it all up.

Ok, so I didn't get buttons on the joystick work, maybe there is a bad connection, or I went dyslexic ater looking at the thing for two hours. Here are some schematics I drew up after the fact. The first one is your standard PC Joystick Pinout. The Flip Connector is the simplest version, if you look at the picture with Merl the cat you can see the old 'Y' cable I was orginally using for the Flip over to the left. There is a Saitec Syborg in the picture but if you have a CH Flightstick to go with the pedals it seems to work a lot better. Then the Full Flip Box Schematic is the third dirgram. All of the related links are down there at the bottom of the page.

On the next revision I think I will continue the connections on from the switch jacks to the joystick side connections so that all four buttons 'might' function on the joystick.

Addendum: Michael Sexton at CH Products provided me with these CH Products Pedals - Technical Drawings.

PC Joystick(s): Hardware Pinout - All Potentiometers are Linear 100 kiloOhms.

Flip Connector: Connects Game Pedals to Joustick 1, Optional Connected Buttons to Joysitck (Joystick is Inoperatable)

Flip Box Schematic!

Complete Schematic - The CH Pedals might not be exactly wired like this; I took my best guess.

Hat View Codes

Flip Box Pictures:

Open View of The Flip Box. Look at all the pretty wires!

All hooked up!  Merl does the final inspection.
Merl does the final inspection!

The Joystick Control Panel; everything is working as expected.


Related Links:

Just experimenting around with some MIDI Joystick Controllers.
Control Pitch Bend, Aftertouch, Volume etc. with your Joystick or Foot Pedals.

I had a lot of problems getting this one to work, confusing documentation.
60 Day Demo Versions of all of his software:
GM Keyboard, WaveBlaster Manipulator, MultiMidi, and JoyMIDI.
Hermann Seib's Joysitck MIDI Controllers.

An old favorite of mine, but not as vervsatile, available from many sources.
You might need to Search around the net to get the most current version.
(Try the Oak Software Repository?)
This page had a nice layout...
HUBI's MIDI Loopback, Joystick Controller etc.

Sound Tower - Synth Software
This site is Framed; go in through the main page to download...
[Freeware] Description Only: MIDIJoys - The Complete MIDI Continious Controller Toolkit.

Some Related Items:

Build your own Toaster Analogue Acid Controller.

In German: (At least look at the picture.)
Homepage von Clemens Kurtz Musik mit MIDI, Keyboard und PC, Recording MIDI-Joystick Controller

Nice documentation in German:
Kutrz - HubiŽLoopBack Device, Version 2.5, 25. März 1997

Commercial Applications look around at Vellocet Music Software.

libmidiIV - Midi in/out through Inventor
Sample Files

Electronic Projects for Musicians:
PAiA Electronics ~ Oklahoma City

MIDI related articles.

Flip Box Icon Flip Box Icon Flip Box Icon Flip Box Icon Flip Box Icon