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ChipMaestro
Authentic Nintendo Entertainment System Sounds from Your Electronic Instruments

Overview
The Chip Maestro is a special Nintendo Entertainment System cartridge that converts MIDI into NES Game Music code. This gives you authentic Chip Tune sound which can be taken straight from the NES's Audio Out port! The Chip Maestro was a spin-off from my TSUNDERE project. After spending a year prototyping it and two years working on a fully developed model funded by Kickstarter, I shipped the first batch out to Kickstarter backers. Currently, the Chip Maestro is sold out. You can check out www.chipmaestro.com to find out how to get one! The Chip Maestro is powered by an Atmega168 chip, supported by a low-power CPLD. A video tutorial on Chip Maestro features can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TjejRawyvpw

The Chip Maestro does not output any video, only audio through the RCA jack on the side of your NES.

Kickstarter backer initials can be found on the back of the circuit board.

Before performing any troubleshooting steps, please make sure that your NES plays official NES games by trying a few games out.

Every Chip Maestro has a diagnostic LED built into it: If you turn on your NES, you should be able to see an LED inside the Chip Maestro blinking when you turn it on, and when you play notes on your MIDI device. If the light ever stays on for a long time, this indicates a communication issue between the Chip Maestro and the NES. Please make sure your NES cartridge contacts are clean and free of any dust or debris. It may be necessary to install a new 72 pin connector if you are experiencing communication related issues. If your Chip Maestro is blinking rapidly when you turn the NES on and are trying to play it, but there is no sound coming out, it may be necessary to perform a Factory Reset by playing MIDI note 10, A#-1. Your Chip Maestro may make some sounds at this point. In either case, wait two seconds, turn the NES off, wait another two seconds, and turn the NES back on. The Chip Maestro will now have reverted to its default settings. The settings on your Chip Maestro are preserved in EEPROM, which means that they carry over from one session to the next. A full list of settings can be found in the tech docs.
Pictures
Files
Schematic: ChipMaestro.sch
Label: ChipMaestroLabel.pdf
Tech Docs: ChipMaestroTechDocs.txt

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Welcome to my online build logs. All these projects are open-source and free to use for non-commercial purposes. Reach out to me at jarek-at-soniktech[dot]com if you have any questions!

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