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Hands-on experience with arduino

I just got my Arduino last week, and although this is my first intro into electronics so I was very excited to get it and try out new things.

Why i liked Arduino a LOT:
– it lets me code in java (using the Processing IDE) and deploy my IO code directly onto the device through an USB cable
– You can program it to handle various kinds of serial devices, and has out-of-the box support and great tutorials for some of them right on http://www.arduino.cc
– You have 6 analog pins which lets you play around with analog stuff like sensors
– For beginners: it quickly lets you play around with leds :) *blinky*
– A lot of support for various hardware and a great forum to figure out how to connect your devices or interface with some requiring additional circuitry

What i miss:
– You cannot make Arduino become an USB host for various technical reasons, excepting a limited range of hardware which can be converted to serial, so some of my wild dreams where killed right here
– With the standard Arduino (Duemillanove) you cannot communicate to more then one serial device at a time (Only one RX pin) so you can’t really connect a Keyboard and a midi IN/OUT interface and so forth without additional electronics (like switching devices on a PIN so you can separate interrupts)
It would be great to have something like this built onto the motherboard by default. My example would be if one wants to create a small usable midi controller (THRU) he will need IN and OUT so it can be added to the midi chain of synths and controllers.

(my private stash)

So here are my Arduinos:

1. original bought from http://www.robotop.ro
2. My etched version
3. The famous breadboard version

What I am trying to accomplish now is to interface two low cost arduinos based on the Atmega8 chip to multiply the IO operations one board can handle using just a few of the digital pins. My ultimate goal is to build a nice sequencer with MIDI In/Out/Thru using Arduino.

My first etched version in detail (Atmega8 with Ghetto programmer)

My first etched version in detail (Atmega8 with Ghetto programmer)

Knobs on my sequencer to-be RetroKing

Mechanical encoder (clicky) on RetroKing

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