GINO MIDI INTERFACE old style
On this page some history, or better: nostalgia…..
In the years 1985 and the years that followed, the phenomena MIDI became more and more important in the world of electronic music instruments. It became also a challenge to give electronic organs a MIDI-Interface. In these years I developed a MIDI-Interface, that was based on Zilog’s famous Z80 microprocessor. That interface was destined to be used in electronic organs, piano’s and empty keyboards. This interface got the brand name GINO.
This is a picture of that MIDI-interface. The printed circuit board plus the power-supply and a small box with the controls. In the next paragraph I will give a short description about the principles of the ancient GINO-MIDI Interface.
The whole interface was designed around the famous Z80 CPU. (CPU = Central Processing Unit). This CPU was in these years very famous, and even the first small computers (ZX81 and ZX Spectrum by Sir Clive Sinclair) were based on the Z80 CPU. This CPU was very easy to program in machine-language (assembler). Most people who were new in the world of computers and hobbyists started with this processor. The system-software (a kind of Operating System) had to be stored in an E-Prom. This is a chip that keeps the data, and different then a RAM, the program stays in the memory of this E-Prom. (Electrical Programmable Read-Only Memory) and you had to use a programmer to “burn” the software in the chip. It is a pretty nice experience when you are able to make your own computer work and do what you want it to do. The parts used for this MIDI-interface are still available in well-assorted electronics stores. This interface was also very useful for creating a master keyboard. But I would not recommend to try to build this interface. The microcontrollers from Atmel and Microchip for example are much more powerful and very complete.