Wiring the Midi Controller

With all of the wood cut out and hardware holes drilled, we can start mounting everything and wiring them up. All of the buttons and LEDs were first mounted to the two top panels of the stomp box. With these items in place, I started soldering wires together. I have three large rolls of black, green, and red wire, so I tried to color code black as ground, red as button signal wire, and green for LED power.

I started by connecting one terminal of all of the buttons together with black wire, and all of the other terminals with red wires which would be connected to the PCB. All the wires are held in place prior to soldering by creating a loop in the end of the wire, looping it through the button terminals, then crimping it tight with needle nosed pliers.

Crimping multiple wires around the ground terminals helped to hold everything in place when soldering the mass of wires together. Soldering was done when the final ground wires, connected to the LEDs, were crimped into place. Then, the negative (short) leg of the LED was cut and tinned (solder applied prior to the joining process), and the LED ground wire also tinned, then soldered together. Since the wire is fairly thick, I was able to bend the wire into place, and in the case of the holes that were drilled too wide for the LED, the bent ground wire held the LED suspended in position.

I then looped the remaining positive legs on the LED’s to a green wire. To protect the leg of the LED, I lightly hammered a staple into place to hold down the wire, using needle nosed pliers to push the ends of the staple all the way in. A second staple was used to keep the wire from turning, although a better solution altogether could have been to hot glue the wire in place.

So that I could reuse my Teensy 3.1 controller, I created a basic stripboard layout using female connectors to insert the Teensy into after assembly. Resistors were soldered in place for each LED, and additional wires allowed for access to ground and the TX and RX pins, should I want to add a text display to the board at a later date. Since I used half of a larger stripboard, I drilled two additional holes for mounting.

One by one, I soldered the wires mounted from the stomp box to the PCB at its edges, making sure to group wires so that I would be able to get the Teensy board in and out of the PCB.

At this point, I was able to upload my software (discussed in my next post) to the Teensy, plug it in, and check that all of the buttons turned on and off my LEDs. Since they did, everything was connected correctly!

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