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Yamaha B1 Silent SI board mod: add midi out (without buying the new version!)
Old 26th January 2017
Gear Maniac

Yamaha B1 Silent SI board mod: add midi out (without buying the new version!)

Hello everyone

thought about posting here something I discovered some time ago for a friend who needed some help with Yamaha B1 Silent Piano SI.

This is a very fine entry level acoustic piano with the quite ingenious and useful 'silent piano', that is just a laser sensor under the keys that converts them in MIDI and allows playing at night using one of the pedals (that simply lifts the hammer so they never touch the strings, so you get basically real piano action/weight but the sound is just mechanical and it comes instead from the samples rom that is in a box under the piano).

Now these are somehow difficult to find second-hand, because Yamaha introduced then an upgraded version, that is the same piano with a board that has more sounds/options and, most of all, MIDI OUT.

But it costs 4 grands, while the second hand previous version, the same exact piano apart from this small electronics addition, costs usually HALF THE PRICE.

We tried contacting Yamaha asking for an upgrade (paid), and they refused to comment for 'internal policies'. So once again I did it on my own with the precious help of a friend, as I was sure they are obviously using MIDI but they implemented it only in the second upgraded version to have people spending money.

Long story short, opening the box under the piano we found that obviously it was a board using already MIDI (why reinvent something that exists?), and is even USB ready!

Because Yamaha refused to help with circuits, we did it all and I post below the pictures of the small circuit board (some soldering needed) and how to simply connect to the main connector in the Yamaha board, the one coming from the controller under the keys that sends MIDI ready signals.

You basically 'take' the power (5v) and signal (GND and RX) from the connector in the pictures, and with the small pcb you get a MIDI OUT. The scheme is made for 4 MIDI OUTS, but you can adapt for just one as I did.

There are more elegant ways to do it, but without modifying the original thing you can just to what I did and simply plug your cables on top of the other cables in the connector, and keep them steady with a short resistor as I did.

Sorry obviously there's no way here to explain how to read the circuit scheme or how to solder, but if you have a friend with even basic soldering knowledge that circuit is super simple and in no time you'll be ready to get MIDI OUT from the same Yamaha B1 that Yamaha wants to sell you twice the price.

Once you have a MIDI OUT you don't need any of the other (anyway very limited) options in the new model electronics, because you have much more with any basic computer: the new B1 itself is an acoustic piano identical to the older one

Good luck!
Old 10th February 2017
Here for the gear

Very good post.
According to a few of my friends, they told me that the pin 6 of the sn74ls14 should be connected to pin 2 of the jtopiano (tx) and not on 3 (rx). If this is correct, in total we have 4 cables to connect to piano card. Finally I cannot understand if the two connectors (jfrompiano and jtopiano) are the same (and only one) connector with 5 pins. Thank you for the collaboration
Old 4 weeks ago
Here for the gear

Hi, Thank you for sharing. I want to use a USB B connector, not the old midi connector. On the usb I have Vbus, D-, D+, GND. How does this connect in the circuit scheme? Was there any conclusion on the last post, suggesting pin 6 on chip to pin 3tx and not pin 2tx?
Old 4 weeks ago
Gear Maniac

Hi, the only conclusion I do have is that after years is that I keep using it as in that scheme, and it all works perfectly after years
Old 4 weeks ago
Here for the gear

Sounds great. Thank you. What about the usb? Do you know how to connect it to the usb b connector?
Old 4 weeks ago
Gear Maniac

That scheme is for standard midi din out, so is super easy to get any midi/usb on Amazon and similar for a tenner and go from there.
Old 4 weeks ago
Here for the gear

Yes of course, but if the same circuit could be used to mount a usb b female on my piano, it would also be a more elegant solution to just get a usb b male to lightning cable to plug in the iPad directly. No adapters needed.
Old 4 weeks ago
Gear Maniac

Obviously yes, maybe someone else can experiment.

Personally like on all my synths I never use or want the direct usb, I prefer a standard midi din compatible with all my devices without the need of a computer
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