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Author Topic: Newbie - RGB LED strips lights controlled by MIDI footswitch for band stage  (Read 1421 times)
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Hey guys!

I've been looking into RGB LED strip lights for a band's light show on stage and what they want is to be able to change colours, scenes, brightness from a MIDI controller footswitch - something like this:


This controller would have nothing to do with Arduino - it would go straight to a computer. I imagine I could have a MaxMSP patch receive MIDI commands that translate into messages to an Arduino board that changes the LEDs. Unless I could wire the MIDI controller into the board and bypass having a computer on stage! But maybe I'm getting a bit too advanced..

So I guess the flow would be:

MIDI controller (usb) -> Computer -> Arduino (usb) -> LED strips
or, more advanced (maybe?)
MIDI controller -> Arduino (PSU) -> LED strips

I've only just come across Arduino so I have very little idea about its capabilities (and electronics in general). Can anyone put me in the right direction in terms of what I might need, how it might be assembled, and well, if this idea is doable in the first place! I'm just not sure what the best way to achieve what I want to do is. Remember.. total n00b here haha!  smiley-red

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Start Here: http://arduino.cc/en/Tutorial/Midi. It may give you ideas on using a standard midi port with the arduino.
From there you can start playing with using the Arduino to receive midi codes from the controller through an analog pin.Look at this Instractable: http://www.instructables.com/id/Send-and-Receive-MIDI-with-Arduino/.

Finally you can write your code that takes the midi codes and values and responds with the correct display ion the led strip.
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Ah this is great! This is going to open a lot of possibilities!

I'm slowly familiarising myself with this site so forgive me if there are pages that explain what I'm asking already..

Taking MIDI out of the picture for a second - this looks like what I'm wanting to do with LED strips: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=flXAh8j1HK0 - looks pretty straight forward. Once I've got it setup like this I'm guessing I'm done with wiring and only concerned with programming the firmware and MaxMSP. Am I right? Looks like I'll need a power supply if I want more than 1m (1m = 2A) - can I power the LEDs from the board if, say, I were to plug a 5V 10A dc power supply to the Arduino? If so then it looks like all I need for this project is:
1 x Arduino Uno
1 x PSU
1-5m x LED strips
?

I think I will end up having MIDI go directly to the computer instead of communicating just to the board. It means there are a myriad of other options I can employ via a computer - like audio to light, drum triggers etc, that a MIDI controller can activate/deactivate.
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Ok I think I'm understanding this all enough to go ahead and buy my parts - but first I thought I'd post where I'm at in case I need to do some more learning!

Each LED strip requires at most, 2A @ 5V - so a 10A @ 5V power supply will be needed to power up to 5 LED strips. I'm using 4 in this example (but only 1 LED strip pictured)

So, have I done this right?

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While electrically it looks fine, there are some practical things to note.
You can't get 10A through one of those power connectors, nor can you get that amount of current through a solder less bread board.
You will also need some decoupling capacitors and quite hefty ones at that.
http://www.thebox.myzen.co.uk/Tutorial/De-coupling.html
I would put at least 1000uF on each of the LED strips.

In electronics scaling up is often tricky and things you can get away with at low currents cause you problems at high currents.

Quote
can I power the LEDs from the board if, say, I were to plug a 5V 10A dc power supply to the Arduino?
No the contact will-no take it captain.
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Ok I'm getting there - mountain of learning over the last few days!

You can't get 10A through one of those power connectors
Duly noted, thanks. I've left that power connector in the diagram just to represent the power source.

You will also need some decoupling capacitors and quite hefty ones at that.
This is a bit confusing, but I've amended the schema to include decoupling caps anyway. Jumping in the deep end!

How is this looking otherwise? Bearing in mind there are only 2 LPD8806 LED strips here - I'd like to use 5 x 1m strips in the end. Both strips are receiving the same instructions from 10 and 11 on the Arduino (in fact I might end up having all 5 strips receiving the same lighting instructions).


* LED Arduino board_bb.jpg (138.52 KB, 800x497 - viewed 34 times.)
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No the decoupling capacitors go across the supply, that is between the + and -, not in seriese with the supply. Doing that would stop current flowing altogether.
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