Hi guys and girls,
I'm currently drawing plans for a data acquisition system using the Arduino platform. I have a lot of experience programming, but very little experience with hardware design and creation.
My DAS will use vibration sensors (piezo discs) to record individual notes played on a gamelan instrument (a metalophone similar to a xylophone) so that I can write out a score of the music in real-time. This means I will need many analog inputs, and so I was thinking of using the MUX shield which provides 48 analog inputs.
Here are my current hardware questions (I'm fine for the software):
1) Since this will be a permanent system it needs to be rugged. I've read that the Arduino is mostly a prototyping platform so this has me worried a bit. Do you think solid permanent projects can be created with the Arduino?
2) My idea is to use an Arduino without headers so that I can solder my connections instead of using flimsy pin connections. The problem here is that I can't find a MUX shield without headers. Does that exist?
3) As far as I can tell the Arduino uses a 10bit ADC. Does that mean that I could gather 10bit with 44,100 samples per second on each of the 48 analog inputs? Or would I need a smaller sample rate? The reason I'm asking is that for certain notes it might be required that I do waveshaping analysis.
4) I was also looking at the Arduino nano with has 8 analog inputs since this means I could get 64 analog inputs with multiplexing, instead of 48 with the Arduino UNO. Is that right?
5) Does anyone have any experience using piezo elements with the Arduino? I did the knock tutorial here: http://arduino.cc/en/Tutorial/Knock but my level was way to low to detect a knock. I tried with various buzzers and always had the same problem. Perhaps I need to create a small amplification circuit.
Those are my main questions for now. I have a few others, but I don't want to flood you with that.