2 basic wiring questions for midi project

Hey all,

I'm curious about creating my own MIDI hardware and Arduino seems to come in quite handy. My coding skills are okay, but creating electrical circuitry looks a lot like voodoo to me, unfortunately...

I'm using some basic push button code that sends Midi signals from the Arduino. In terms of the hardware setup, the schematic at http://arduino.cc/en/Tutorial/Midi?from=Tutorial.MIDI looks like a good start.

So my questions are these:

A. Is it possible to wire the the Arduino, instead of a midi jack as described in the tutorial, to a midi coupler that would be connected to a midi-to-usb cable, which in turn connects to my PC, and then send signals from the Arduino to the PC? And all of that without frying the PC-side hardware (or any hardware), of course? (I've done that before, which is why I'm skittish about the whole affair...)

B. I'm using the 5V to power the pushbutton circuit (that includes an LED that lights up when the button is pushed) on the breadboard, so is this unavailable for the Midi connection? Or can the pushbutton and the Midi connection share the power from the breadboard? As you can see, I'm really quite clueless...

And while I'm at it, can you recommend any good books that explain basic electrical circuitry, ideally with the help of the Arduino Uno?

Your help is greatly appreciated.

effisworld:
So my questions are these:

A. Is it possible to wire the the Arduino, instead of a midi jack as described in the tutorial, to a midi coupler that would be connected to a midi-to-usb cable, which in turn connects to my PC, and then send signals from the Arduino to the PC? And all of that without frying the PC-side hardware (or any hardware), of course? (I've done that before, which is why I'm skittish about the whole affair...)

Sure. Chop the midi plug off the cable and wire it directly to the Arduino.

There's very little danger. Most electronics "frying" (technical term) is caused when you exceed voltage levels or things are on different power supplies and you forgot to wire all the GNDs together.

In this case everything is on USB so it's all 5V, has the same GND and has protection from short-circuits. Not much can g

effisworld:
B. I'm using the 5V to power the pushbutton circuit (that includes an LED that lights up when the button is pushed) on the breadboard, so is this unavailable for the Midi connection? Or can the pushbutton and the Midi connection share the power from the breadboard? As you can see, I'm really quite clueless...

Everything can share the same power (it has no choice, really). A single USB connection has up to 500milliamps of current available.

OTOH your midi cable has its own USB connector so it already has power.

effisworld:
And while I'm at it, can you recommend any good books that explain basic electrical circuitry, ideally with the help of the Arduino Uno?

I don't believe in magic books that can suddenly illuminate people. Everything you need is a couple of mouse clicks away on the web.