Stompbox Real Sensors

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Revision as of 07:15, 18 May 2011 by Eberdahl (Talk | contribs) (Build the Button and LED Circuit)

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Lab 2: Controlling an Effect with Real Sensors
Designed by Edgar Berdahl

Due on Wednesday, July 20th at 9AM

Download software

  • Make a Lab2/ folder for this lab.
  • Download the following:
    • Arduino Software
      • If you have never used an Arduino with your computer before, you need to install the FTDI driver that comes with the Arduino software; this enables your computer to recognize the USB serial communication chip on the Arduino.
    • Firmata firmware (use
    • Either Maxuino or Pduino.

Power Connections

  • In order to run circuits on the breadboard, you need to get power to it. The Arduino gets 5V from the USB connection, so in this section you will make the 5V accessible to the breadboard.
  • Make sure that your Arduino is mounted at the very end of the breadboard with the higher-numbered rows, as shown in the following picture. In that case, the GND and 5V pins will end up in the 19th row. (Otherwise if your Arduino isn't mounted this way, you simply won't be able to rely on the row numbers, but you can still figure out how to wire things up!)
  • Recall first that that holes in the solderless bread board are wired together as shown:


  • Using short jumpers, connect the GND row to the blue "GND" bus on the breadboard, and connect the 5V row to the red "power" bus on the breadboard.
  • Connect the "GND" and "power" busses from both sides of the breadboard together as shown.


Viewed from further away, your breadboard should now look like the following:


First Circuit: Potentiometer

Now you will build the following voltage divider circuit, to connect one potentiometer to analog input A0.


For some help on placing the wires, please see the following picture. In order to ensure the correct orientation, ensure that the text on the potentiometer is facing away from the Arduino (see also oblique picture in next section). Circuit2.jpg

Add A Second Potentiometer

Now connect a second potentiometer to analog input A3 using the same voltage divider circuit.


Again, ensure that the text on the potentiometer is facing *away* from the Arduino (see the red boxes in the following figure):


Add A Button

Most stomp boxes have a button, so we include that as well according to the following circuit:


The corresponding picture of the bread board is shown below:


Add An LED

Finally, we add an LED for fun and to help with debugging.


Putting it all Together

  • Create a patch to make sounds based on button and sensor values from the Arduino. You can try to adapt your patches from Lab 1, or come up with a new patch.
  • Try to make a simple musical interaction. Think about music -
    • does it have dynamics?
    • can you turn the sound off?
    • can it be expressive?

Appendix: Install Stompbox Firmware onto your Arduino Nano

If this wasn't already completed for you before starting the lab, then you must do it yourself!

  • Change to the ~/stompbox directory by typing cd ~/stompbox at the console.
  • From the terminal, run the command arduino & to start up the Arduino software.
  • From the menu Tools|Board choose Arduino Duemilanove or Nano w/ 328
  • From the menu Tools|Serial port choose /dev/ttyUSB0
  • Open the sketch ~/stompbox/simple-stompbox/FirmataAllInputs_ExceptOnePWMOut/FirmataAllInputs_ExceptOnePWMOut.pde
  • Press the Verify button.
  • Check the Arduino messages window to make sure that you have successfully installed the firmware. (Usually, it will say something like Done compiling and Binary sketch size ...)

Important Note

Some small amount of the text and images here was taken from prior laboratory exercises for the course Music 250A. We regret that we do not know who contributed these elements, but these people are likely to include Wendy Ju, Bill Verplank, Michael Gurevich, and possibly more.

Stompbox 2011