How to move a full size church organ from a house to a museum

As a hobby of electronics we are grateful to our spouses and flatmates who endure all our weird equipment and cluttered projects in their home. But sharing a home with a pipe organ enthusiast takes a different level of dedication: In the 1970s, an organist from Bristol went to their home in an attempt to install a full-size church organ, effectively transforming the modest residence into a huge musical instrument. Although recently, the house has moved to new owners who, understandably anxious to reclaim some space, have listed the entire system on eBay.

A pipe organ is installed in an attic
There is no cash in this attic; Just lots of zinc pipes and pneumatic tubing.

Fortunately, the auction was won, not by some scrap metal dealer [Look Mum No Computer], Our favorite expert on weird musical instruments. He drove all the way out of Kent to help separate the organ and to stuff dozens of pipes, mile wires and countless valves, tubes, latches and switches into his van. Once back home, he faces the daunting task of reuniting the whole lot into something capable of playing music, which he is currently documenting in a video series.

Organ’s new home is this museum is (not) obsolete, where his own house is decorated in such a way that he has spent most of his life in it. The first step in making it work was to ignite the blower, which effectively had a powerful electric air pump and a pressure-regulating mechanism. Once this was done, a row of pipes was added to test the actuation system. It consists of a set of solenoids that simply open or close the air supply to each pipe. [LMNC] An earlier project still had an Arduino-based organ driver system that allowed him to attach a MIDI keyboard to a partially-complete device and play a few notes on it.

There is still much to be done, but we are certainly impressed [LMNC] Has achieved so far and cannot wait for the organ to regain its former glory. We already knew that you could control pipe parts with MIDI and we saw a lot of small parts made from scratch. Thanks for the tip, [hackbyte]!

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