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Inventing networking protocols for dozens of Arduinos

chain

When you don’t want to use I2C or SPI, and MIDI and DMX are old hat, [Scott] comes along and invents a very strange networking protocol that is just daisy chaining a few Arduinos together with serial connections.

Strange as it may seem, this networking protocol actually makes a whole lot of sense. [Scott] is working on an animatronic birdhouse in the vein of Disney’s Imagineers and needed to network a whole bunch of Arduinos without using up precious IO pins.

The networking stack [Scott] came up with capitalizes on the hardware UART in each Arduino by simply daisy-chaining several boards together. By adding an FTDI breakout at the beginning of the chain, [Scott] can control dozens of Arduinos straight from a terminal

[Scott] isn’t using off-the-shelf Arduinos for this project – a few months ago he found 100 Arduino-compatible stepper motor controllers while dumpster diving at his job, giving him more than enough nodes to come up with some pretty crazy networking protocols. It’s a great use of the hardware he has on hand, and a very clever solution to controlling dozens of microcontrollers at once.

Check out [Scott]‘s demo after the break.

[Read more...]

Simple MIDI thru box

midithru

[Aris] has quite a few MIDI devices that only have in and out ports. To chain together multiple devices, the MIDI slaves must have a “thru” port. Instead of daisy chaining, a better solution is to build a thru box to split the signal from the master. [Aris]‘s thru box design uses an optocoupler on the input, which connected to 74HC14 hex inverting Schmitt trigger. The schematic shows three outputs, but there’s room for adding two more. A useful bit of kit for only a two hour job.

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