Powered by the CLEF, a custom MIDI chime doorbell controller.
For many years, church organs of all kinds included tubular Chimes for their accompaniment.
They were built by J.C. Deagan, Maas/Rowe, Peterson, etc. And as the technology improved,
some of these wonderful tubular chimes were being replaced with newer, electronically produced
MIDI style systems that required little if any maintenance. Chimes are now becoming a lost art.
I rescued a rack of 21 Deagan Class M tubular chimes. They were manufactured in the 1920's.
These vintage chimes have been repurposed into an exotic doorbell system for our AZ home.
Originally keyboard played, the chimes are now driven by a custom designed MIDI file player.
The MIDI player is the 'CLEF', designed by Resonant Instruments (me). The player powers the
chimes, activating the twenty-one solenoid drivers that power the individual strikers and dampers.
These chimes were arranged inline as a rack of twenty one. I have since separated them into sets
of seven, and layered them three-deep into a custom wall cabinet. The cabinet was installed into
an unused hollow cavity near the main entrance foyer. The completed chimes sound wonderful.
Selected music is composed on a MIDI enabled keyboard, and recorded to the CLEF MIDI player.
Song files are saved to a standard SD memory card. The SD memory card holds hundreds of songs.
An LCD display indicates the MIDI file being played, and plays when the doorbell button is pressed.
I have included a short video of the original 21 chime inline rack with the hand wired prototype
CLEF electronics playing a test sequence of "Ding Dong, the wicked with is dead"
Some images I kept from the build process.
Three sets of seven strikers / dampers were assembled to painted hardwood support panels.
Each set was linked to a harness via a DB9 connector pair. The three rows of seven chimes were layered
with the shortest set of seven chimes first (deepest), and having the third and longest chime set on the outside.
This layering method saved some depth in the cabinet, and also helped to hide the solenoid rails from view.
The damper side view of the three completed striker racks.
The three striker racks again from a side view.
Now that the solenoid work was completed, it was time to start
wall framing and cabinetry.
The hole in the wall is shown already framed and wired, and
The three solenoid striker racks are installed to the cabinet,
and chimes are hung.
View of the outer rack. These solenoids will be covered with a
matched facia panel to conceal the mechanism.
This is where the design stage of the CLEF controller
Here's an inside top view the CLEF controller electronics. It's all contained in a relatively small, clear Polycarbonate enclosure.
I added the ability to control the chime volume in the design process by means of a programmable power supply to the solenoids.
The volume can be varied in four steps, from somewhat quiet, to very loud using MIDI note commands embedded in the file content.
I currently have the volume set to loud for the door chime function.
The external connections are all on the back side. A DB-25 connector serves as the output to the chime solenoids.
The SD card slot is a push-push style, and a DIN connector is the MIDI input. Power: 20vdc at 5.5A via a laptop style supply.
The CLEF controller includes a menu keypad for Up, Down, Left, Right, and Stop, Play, Record.
An Infrared remote control was included in the design to permit remote song selection and operation.
The CLEF controller shown in the service drawer below the
Front view of the completed and functioning Deagan MIDI
I included a short video of the chimes playing the familiar
If you would like to purchase the CLEF recorder/player for
your existing chimes, or would
Click Here to download a PDF copy of the CLEF Owners Manual.
The assembled CLEF controller, with power supply, and sample
MIDI doorbell chime music is $499.00