Arduino anyone?

Posted: 9/23/2012 12:00:24 PM

From: Arcata Ca.

Joined: 7/5/2012

Just got the Arduino Uno earlier today. Pretty interesting little toy. Paired it with some LEDs and did that for about an hour. Then all of a sudden a capacitive synth came out! Wild stuff. I'm going to put it in a box tomorrow. The waves are a bit square unless I short out a section and then it gets nice and sinusoidal.

Anybody else mess around with these little gizmos?

Posted: 9/23/2012 1:09:15 PM

From: Northern NJ, USA

Joined: 2/17/2012

"Anybody else mess around with these little gizmos?"  - Neal1929

I researched them for about a day before deciding they unfortunately aren't powerful enough to do what I needed to do in my (mostly) digital Theremin (which needs at least 10x this speed and a wider data path).

I wonder why these processors are still running at 16 MHz?  Are they using some kind of huge feature (>1um) process technology?  I know the AVR was designed to easily do wider data manipulation than the native 8 bits, but that coupled with the low speed is crippling when it comes to doing anything significant in real-time, or any decent DSP.

What would be neat would be a very simple 16/32 bit processor running at 1 GHz with some internal Flash & RAM.  Not sure why no one makes one.

Posted: 9/24/2012 1:09:32 PM
Jesper Pedersen

From: Iceland

Joined: 3/10/2012

I've been using arduinos in my artistic practice for a couple of years now. It's a great tool that has enabled me to realize projects that I couldn't have done without it. It has also brought me together with people from many different fields using the arduino in anything from interactive art installations to autonomous submarines. We even started a band here in Reykjavik called "Arduino Bandið" that only use arduino based technology like MakerBots, musical automates, physical computing, synths, DIY dolly rigs etc to create music and visuals. A lot of fun :)

It is easy to generate some really nice 8 bit LoFi pulse waves and glitchy punk console sounds with the bare bones arduino. But it is not really made for working with sound since it is an inexpensive micro controller and not a DSP engine. But there are shields (plug in extension boards) available that enables you to work with high resolution audio directly.

Another way is to do all the DSP externally and use the arduino with different sensors to build your own custom "midi controller". In my experiments with making a space controlled instrument I've been using photo cells, infrared proximity sensors and the more precise ultrasonic proximity sensors and then doing the actual synthesis and processing in Pd (Pure data) and Pduino.

@dewster: have you checked out Raspberry Pi?

Posted: 9/27/2012 5:16:16 PM

From: Hillsborough, NC (USA)

Joined: 2/13/2005

I've had an arduino Mega 2560 sitting around unused forna while and just dug it out after meeting Moldover and seeing some of the awesome custom controllers and guitar hacks he's done with a similar chip.  I'm definitely going to have to play around with it.  The first challenge is getting the driver to install on Windows 8. Looks like you have to disable the requirement for all drivers to be digitally signed in order to get started,  Now on to the fun!

Posted: 9/29/2012 3:35:42 PM

From: Champaign, Illinois USA

Joined: 9/29/2011

I bought an Uno a couple months ago so I could mess around with it. Haven't done anything concrete yet aside from their version of "Hello, world."  Always too many projects/interests and not enough time. Speaking of which I also dragged out some early robotics microcontroller boards from circa 20 years ago... the Arduino platform represents lots of progress toward making such things much more powerful and easier to use!

Posted: 9/29/2012 5:44:29 PM

From: London, UK

Joined: 6/5/2007

I've got an Uno R3, done a few things with it, but not much, am finding it like much Open Source stuff, OK when you have invested a lot of time researching why it doesn't work.

There are loads of great sounding projects, but lots seem to consist of a breadboard layout poorly documented.  Breadboard is for prototypes, well that's what they told me when I studied electronics at college!  A project isn't really ready to be shared until it can be recreated.

That said, looks like a starting point for some to get involved with project building.

What do the other electronics people on here think?


Posted: 9/29/2012 8:38:06 PM

From: Hillsborough, NC (USA)

Joined: 2/13/2005

Completely agree @MusicPapa.  I have some old HC11 boards in my workshop I keep meaning to dig out and play with again. The shield ecosystem and plethora of OSS routines available for the Arduino certainly make it more approachable.

@MarkT - One of the problems I always had with etched boards was the cost of getting a batch made.  Etching your own is fine for proof of concept but really doesn't scale.  Do you know of any sources to have small boards (say under 6"x6") fabricated cheaply?

Posted: 9/30/2012 8:05:38 AM

From: London, UK

Joined: 6/5/2007

Jason, I always make my own using the UV light box method.  My point was that a project where the author has supplied a PCB/stripboard layout is complete, a breadboard layout is not and this seems common in Arduino projects.

There are many PCB fabricators around, not looked at them for a while, but from memory, price depends on quantity, how many do you need made?  I'm away from home at the moment, spent much of the last week designing PCB's by the pool!

HC11 boards sound interesting, do you have any spare?

Posted: 9/30/2012 1:54:50 PM

From: Hillsborough, NC (USA)

Joined: 2/13/2005

Sadly, no spares.  But I found a link to the board I have.  There are 2 I've used in projects:  The Zorin ModCon controller and the Zorin MIDI Gizmo:

These make it super easy to build MIDI controllers, and the ModCon gives you plenty of RAM to store notes/sequences/etc.

It's hard to tell from this page, but the CGN board is also nice, and it's super compact: 

Posted: 10/1/2012 7:50:01 AM

From: London, UK

Joined: 6/5/2007

Great thanks  for the link, I looked at using them years ago to make some MIDI controllers, but settled for the MIDIBox route, which is the best example of open source I have met so far.  Also an excellent crash course in practical electronics.

Anyway back on topic, this thread has reminded me of the couple of Arduino projects I have planned, so when I get back from a Camel ride, my first Shield will be designed.

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