Midi Tambourine – Part1

No fancy flash graphics here :)

No fancy flash graphics here 🙂

Okay. So its not completely tambourine functionality (I need to add “Shake”), but certainly this feels like a realistic controller for the skin part. I do want to Midifit the Conga at some point, but this makes a neat sunday project.


Meet Alf. My assistant

Meet Alf. My assistant

Some help from Alf..

Shopping list

1 Tambourine (Tunisia Branding completely optional.. Mother in law’s holiday present for me !)

No expense spared, the real deal

No expense spared, the real deal

Piezo sensor ( Maplins, 89 pence)

A little heath robinson i know, but remember the tambourine is a prototype for the conga :)

A little heath robinson i know, but remember the tambourine is a prototype for the conga 🙂


1M Resistor

5.1 V Zener

Breadboard,Arduino,Jumper wires

My Freeduino

My Freeduino


I thought i would add this to my existing MIDI transport/Controller project, just because I didnt really want to take all apart.

All the bits...

All the bits...

Working in Ableton Live

Working in Ableton Live

Day 3 – Midi Controller


Ill post details later

Day 2 – Reason Transport controller

Okay Im getting into this. Its absolutely a doddle.

Decided at 6.30 I would create a (very simple) controller to FFWD,REV,STOP AND PLAY my Reason Transport..

The Arduino is extremely versatile and quite easily lets me output serial data driven directly from the pins. It looks like I should maybe opto-isolate if  i’m using Midi IN but seeing as most of my experiments are going to be controller based, then Midi out is just peachy.

4 Tactile Push to make  Buttons, each generate a midi note, output via my midi cable (Dont forget the 220 Ohm resistor on the +5v Lead Kids..)

* To send MIDI, attach a MIDI out jack (female DIN-5) to Arduino.
* DIN-5 pinout is:                        

pin 2 – Gnd

pin 4 – 220 ohm resistor to +5V          
pin 5 – Arduino D1 (TX)           

*    all other pins – unconnected            

Hacked around with the code at..http://todbot.com/arduino/sketches/midi_drum_kit/midi_drum_kit.pde

(Basically removed the piezo code for now. Until the sensors arrive 😉

Added extra button code


Loaded up Reason

Set up my secondary midi port (Named Arduino)

Used the Learn function to assign the notes to actions.. eg Transport in this case.



Voila. I now have a remote Reason Transport controller…..

Day 1- RGB Thing. Bit like Ambilight.


Philips have this technology called ambilight. that basically lights the rear of the tv, supposedly enhancing the effect of Movies etc.. Well I thought as I have the arduino, id give it a go..


Stage one..  I found a program (Sketch) and design for a RGB moodlight in the book that accompanies the starter kit. It uses PWM (Pulse width modulation) to light 3 LEDS at varying brightness (IE RGB Values).


My Arduino

That worked just fine…

Stage 2: Again on the starter kit there is an application  to accept serial RGB values.. This works from the serial monitor in the Arduino app.. Input R255,G255,255 gives a theoretical white light..


Right now part 3..

I found some VB code that outputs the RGB value at the cursor point to RGB values. That worked also

Finally, I used the serial control to send to the device.. Very rough. I am NOT a developer. But it worked..

Now i have my theoretical ambilight. Im going  to experiment with positions of my mouse to see which ones offer the best effect (Center/Top corner/Top Middle Etc.. Ill keep you posted.

Not bad for a couple of hours messing about..


Hah World of warcraft.. Not sure if you can see the LEDs the same color as my enchants 🙂



//Ayup world

Day 1 – Planning – What should I build?

I thought i would just list a few items I plan to build. Maybe it wont pan out like this, but here are the plans.

  • Semicircular midi controller, with monome style buttons.
  • A environment controller for world of warcraft. maybe something simple like a red light when I get hit, but maybe something more complex 🙂
  • A “Philips ambilight” replacement
  • New and strange ways to interact with music – its not all about black and white keys 🙂

Lets see how it goes..