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Arduinos: Some Afterthoughts

PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2019 5:07 pm
by Coenraads
Those of you who have been following my posts, know that I've been on a mission to promote the use of Arduinos in the organs/MIDI environment. If you have some electronics/programming background, I would encourage you to take the plunge since it can be very rewarding to build your own hardware. And I have yet to destroy one despite many connection errors being made during my experiments.

I'm not a professional programmer or electrical engineer and am largely self taught in this area. My computing background goes back to FORTRAN (on punched cards), BASIC and Pascal and you'll see from my code, that the computing constructs I use are pretty elementary. Certainly not up to current C programming standards. I.e., despite the power and sophistication of C, it is still an easily accessible language.

Arduinos have a reputation of being a toy for hobbyists, but that doesn't do justice to its ease of use and flexibility. In the Arduino MEGA configuration, there are seventy pins many of which can be configured in software to perform a variety of functions.

You don't want to bother with diodes and want to parallel scan a 61 note keyboard? You can turn the pins into digital inputs and you can even turn on internal pull-up resistors to keep the pins high when the switch is open.
You need 64 outputs to drive 5V compatible drivers? That too can be done.
If you need analog inputs for reading a swell pedal, some pins can be defined to do just that.
If you need serial ports to let the Arduinos talk to each other or for MIDI IO, you have four ports to choose from.
If you need a Pulse Width Modulated output to accurately control that DC motor turning your Zimbelstern, it can do that. The flexibility of this platform is astounding.

The Arduino has three kinds of memory. Flash memory stores the uploaded program even when the power is turned off. Volatile RAM is available for running the program. And finally there is EEPROM that the program can write to and these data are then saved, like having a small SSD available. This is one capability of the Arduino I have yet to exploit. I'm thinking of writing code to turn the Arduino into a standalone combination action for use with both virtual organs or pipe organs. Stay tuned. This will probably be my last effort.

If you are using Arduinos yourself, or I have inspired you to try them, let me know what you are up to. I appreciate the positive responses I've received so far.

Re: Arduinos: Some Afterthoughts

PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2019 5:29 am
by Santibacanomc
Hello! It's great to hear that! I have used the Arduino uno in order to have thumb pistons and expression pedals. My next step is to wire and code another one of these boards to have illuminated thumb pistons. Perhaps you could help me with the software?

Re: Arduinos: Some Afterthoughts

PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2019 1:38 pm
by Coenraads
May I begin by suggesting that you read my post of Feb 24, "Lighted Stop Rail Scanner". There I make use of the Parallel Scanning and Decoder programs (See code on my website) to implement a toggling version of a stop rail. This is essentially the same as operating lighted pistons. Peruse the code and I think you will find an implementation of all the ideas you will need.

Let me know how I can help you, but I will need a fairly complete description of your hardware setup.

"Long distance coding" is unfortunately not feasible. There is that little thing called debugging, both of the hardware and software. But I'll be happy to help you get pointed in the right direction.