I'm looking to build an interesting lighting rig comprised of lampshades for my band. Here's an image of what I want to achieve:

Image Of Design Idea where arduino receives control signals from a midi stream

I have Logic pro running in my Macbook pro. I want to create MIDI tracks that control each lampshade.

I'm looking to map each lampshade with a corresponding note. So that when I play a MIDI track, each lampshade will light up when a note in the MIDI track is played.

Here are some things that I want to achieve as well:

  1. Accept MIDI velocity parameters (0 - 128) to determine lampshade brightness and fade-ins/outs
  2. Allow combinations of notes (e.g. playing C#1 and E#2 at the same time will trigger two lampshade simultaneously).

Here are my questions:

  • Is this feasible?
  • What's the best way to get started?
  • Is there a concern for blowing any fuses with this setup? (We plan to play in several clubs)
  • Are there any methods I should consider, or things I should be concerned about?
  • Do you have any ideas to make this lighting rig much more interesting?

I have some previous experience with Arduino. It's mostly lost to me now, but I'm willing to get back to it.


1 Answer 1


This is certainly feasible (which does not imply that it is feasible for YOU, that's your own judgment!).

There are two or three 'major' parts of your project:

  • driving the lamps. You did not state voltage or power, I assume you want mains powered lamps? If so and you don't have much electronics experience I'd advise to buy something ready made, with for instance 0-5V (isolated!!) or DMX input (is always isolated).

  • programming the Arduino to interpret MIDI. This is not a big deal, but I am a programmer. If your programming is rusty this will be the interesting part.

  • programming the Arduino for driving the output to the lamps. This depends on the hardware interface to the lamps.

Blowing a fuse: switching a cold lamp on draws a short current peak. You might consider keeping the lamps always on at at least a minimum level. This will reduce peaks and extend your lamp's life. You did not specify the lamps you want to use, so I can't comment on possible fuse problems at the location.


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