Arduino MIDI playground boards

In preparation for the BuildBrighton Midi Workshop this weekend, we’ve been busy etching and making up boards for the attendees to use with their Arduino microcontrollers.

These take the form of “shields” which sit on top of the main Arduino board.
Jason did a great job designing the circuit and PCB and Steve really made them look the business with his custom silkscreen/sticker job.

After etching and drilling, the stickers had to be carefully lined up. The easiest way to do this was to hold the board up against a bright light, and apply the sticker, taking care to get the pin holes shining through from the back into the correct places on the sticker front.

To make adding the components easier, we used a drawing pin to prick a small hole in the sticker at each point where a hole had been drilled on the PCB.  The end result was quite impressive!

After populating and soldering all the components onto the board(s) they’re finally ready for testing before the big day. We wanted to make sure that we spent as much time as possible working around MIDI and actually creating something like an instrument, rather than lose half-a-day or more running a soldering workshop, so each lucky attendee will get a pre-made MIDI shield as part of their day’s training.

Included on each board are
Opto-isolator (to conform with the MIDI specification)
4 x pushbuttons
8 x LEDs
1 x potentiometer (variable resistor)
1 x LDR (light dependent resistor)
1 x MIDI in DIN socket
1 x MIDI out DIN socket
Through headers to allow boards to be stacked on top of each other
1 x jumper to disconnect the LEDs to allow the digital output pins on the Arduino to be re-purposed

All in all, making the boards has been a lot of work, but we think they’re worth it. They look really impressive when soldered up, and we’re looking forward to seeing what ideas other people can come up with for them.

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