AVR Programmer Transformed Into USB MIDI Adapter

As seen here, Robson Couto was in need of a USB to MIDI adapter, and decided to pursue the “easiest USB MIDI implementation [he] could…

Jeremy S. Cook
a year ago

As spotted on Reddit, Robson Couto was in need of a USB to MIDI adapter, and decided to pursue the “easiest USB MIDI implementation [he] could build in an afternoon.” Fortunately, Yoshitaka Kuwata had a similar idea, and Couto decided to modify his implementation to run on a USBasp AVR programmer, normally used to program AVR microcontrollers found on many Arduino boards. Since they are small and only cost a couple bucks, Couto keeps several on-hand.

For his adapter implementation, code (available here) was burned into the designated programmer using another USBasp module. The MIDI cable is hooked up to the programmer via a simple custom board and header, with a 6N138 opto-isolator separating the USBasp and MIDI signals. The boards use header pins for attachment, so if for some reason it needs to be converted back to a programmer, it should be a matter of unplugging and reprogramming.

This isn’t Couto’s first foray into re-purposing these programmers; he was actually able to use one of these as a Super Nintendo controller interface with another custom adapter in a previous project. While these devices certainly work well for programming chips as intended, perhaps it’s worth having a few around for custom USB adapter projects as well!

midihardware
Jeremy S. Cook
Engineer, maker of random contraptions, love learning about tech. Write for various publications, including Hackster!
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