New E-Roll Player System

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It has been five years since the introduction of the original E-Roll Player System. Not being satisfied with merely "very good" performance, I have made improvements to the electro-pneumatic mechanism over time. The newest model performs flawlessly. Updates have been made available to owners of installed systems. These include improved valve seals and noise deadening bumpers.

For the current production run a number of additional mechanical changes have been made as well as a complete re-design of all electronic components. Installation has been greatly simplified as a result. Maintenance and repair will also be much easier, if ever needed, as all components are interchangeable and require no programming.

New E-Roll Player Installation Manual Please note that this is a low resolution version, to save on download time. Graphics are not of high quality. For a full, high resolution version click here but be warned that it is 3.8 Megs.

The valve block measures 1.25" x 1.4" x 5" ( 32 mm. x 36mm. x 127mm) without connection nipples. The standard configuration of the new valve block allows for the connection of tubes to one side only. This was done in order to eliminate the need for plugs for unused holes. Optionally, the blocks may be drilled for through tee installations.

Sixteen valves are contained in each block allowing for location close to existing signal tubes. The valve orifice is .90" and the valve travel is .040" although these dimensions may be modified for special situations. Air flow at 4 inches water column is significantly greater than the signal tube / tracker bar configuration in both the Duo-Art and the Ampico A. Therefore the units can be installed at an even greater distance from the stack than the original tracker bar and still have adequate valve action. However, this is not likely to be necessary due to the modular design which allows for distributed valve placement. In addition, the rapid response of the low mass valve will enhance valve action further. The integral tee option may also be used to maximize flow through the original tracker bar.

Each valve is controlled by a pulse width modulated (PWM) pick and hold controller. This allows for operation against high vacuum pressure without overheating in extended operation. Each vlave operates independently and is short circuit and overload protected. They are virtually indestructable. Pick period is fixed but can be custom configured. Hold voltage is user settable in order to allow for the quietest possible operation when operation against extreme vacuum levels is not required.

The valves will open against a vacuum in excess of 90 inches of water and repeat at a rate of over 20 hertz. This is well in excess of piano action response times. Higher vacuum and repetition rates are possible by custom configuration. Repetition is also excellent at 4 inches of vacuum and less as the valves are self closing and do not depend on vacuum for their operation.

An interface board is now available for connecting the valve blocks to "the real world" without use of a MIDI controller. This is to allow compatibility with existing systems such as theatre pipe organs. The valve blocks may be connected to any TTL level active high source directly but the interface board expands the connect ability to just about anything. DC voltage switching from 5 to 24 volts is supported with either common positive or common negative to the switches. The interface contains optical isolation to protect the valve electronics. It may also be used to interface to TTL level signals which are active low. Please e-mail if you have an application for this interface board.

A manifold is also available for installations in which the system may be removed from time to time. This can be of benefit to installers who wish to install the capability of an E-Roll Player for testing or future sales. This manifold can be easily installed during restoration of the piano and the system can be installed any time later.Please e-mail if you have are interested in the manifold. They will be built to order until there is a sufficient demand to warrent large scale production.

For those familiar with the original system, here is a list of changes:

Since most users did not install the blocks in tubing runs, the cross drilled holes have been eliminated in order to simplify installation and to eliminate the possibility of seal leaks. Cross drilling will be provided as an option.

Each valve block now has its own data cable which may be of any length needed. This allows for location of each block in any available space close to the components operated. Reliable operation has been demonstrated with a 100 foot cable although this is not recommended. The original system had a cable limit of about 6 feet.

Power wiring is with screw terminal connectors so custom wiring by the installer is now possible. As with the new data cable design, this allows for location of valve blocks anywhere desired without the need for custom made power cabling. Stock or custom data cables will allow blocks to be placed anywhere convenient and then power wires may be run to these locations.

Valve driver electronics have been simplified and no longer contain programmable components. This allows for substitution or replacement boards without reprogramming. Each valve has its own dedicated PWM circuit which is overheat and short circuit protected so a failure of a single valve will not effect the operation of others. In the rare case that one circuit is overloaded, it will simply shut down.

The controller does not require any programming other than loading of a note map. Standard maps are available for common systems and will be installed before shipping if desired. Custom mapping is done through the MIDI interface and is a simple matter of entering notes via a virtual keyboard (included) or editing and playing a MIDI file. No more serial port required and no obscure mapping programs.Motor relay timing is adjustable with a screwdriver and channel selection is via a set of easily accessible switches.

The motor control now provides a switched DC voltage that may be used to control solid state relays (SSRs) as well as mechanical relays. Connection of external valves (such as soft pedal control for the Ampico) is now simplified. Just connect a 12 volt valve with two wires.

If you would like to be notified of further developments please send an e-mail to me by using the link on the navigation bar and I will put you on a list for future contact. Or click on the link for the E-Roll Group and join the "E-Roll Collectors Group" on Yahoo and receive notices about the system.