The electronic contraption is hooked up to a shiny new MIDI controller, and the juices are flowing the way they should.
A tap on one of the pads (or keys; this thing doesn’t care about MIDI notes or channels yet) activates the attached solenoid in a satisfyingly responsive way. Responsive interaction (and satisfaction) is what this project is all about!
I had a chance to tune a few things:
- I had modeled a “cooldown” period so the solenoid wouldn’t heat up too much from overuse, but this precaution is not really necessary with the current level of usage. (I dropped the time to 5 milliseconds for now, and it no longer feels sluggish between notes.)
- After “cooling down,” the Teensy now waits for the note to be released before listening for new notes.
- It would be nice to respond better to MIDI aftertouch (aftertouch is an increase or decrease in velocity after the initial note). I made the easing function reset when aftertouch data is received, but ideally, it should adapt as part of a continuous movement.
- The internal LED on the Teensy now lights up when a note is playing, which makes it feel just a little more alive.
I also started testing different solenoids, and learned a little in the process. (There are 4 spares at the top right of the photo. Not pictured is an enormous 24 volt solenoid: stay tuned!)
- JST connectors aren’t great for breadboards. It’s easier to pull out the whole socket and plug in a new one than it is to change plugs.
- The smallest solenoid responds to lower duty cycles. I was able to decrease the minimum duty cycle to about 64 (down from 127), and the thing still responded to light touches. It looks like this value will need to be tuned for each different rating of solenoid.
- Now that things are starting to work together, I really want to mount at least one solenoid in a position where it can strike a nice resonant surface.
Drum time is coming soon.