arduino keyboard input


The same interface nowadays seems like everything uses USB. It would be nice to use some of these devices with my electronics projects. The chip on my Arduino board could be used to output USB data. It can act as a USB device, but to receive USB data. It needs to act as a USB host, which is a bit more complex. Thankfully, someone went along and built a shield attachment for Arduino that incorporates a chip capable of handling USB host duties. Oleg from circuits at home produced the USB host shield and provided some examples on his site for using it with mice keyboard game controllers. I wanted to use it with a USB midi keyboard. Unfortunately, there are no examples for that. So I’ll need to do a bit of hacking. Learning about the USB data protocol can be a little confusing, even after reading or at least thoroughly skimming the over 600 page official spec. In a nutshell, data is transferred between the host and the device through a sort of virtual port called an endpoint. Most devices use multiple endpoints of different types, each one identified by a number and the direction that data flows through it. The host manages all of these endpoints along with a bunch of other details. After a little experimenting, I figured out that USB MIDI devices send out data in a similar way to the PlayStation controller used in one of the USB host shields example sketches. So I was able to repurpose a lot of that code to work with my keyboard to get a better idea of what it was sending out.

I program the Arduino to repeat incoming values. Back to my computer, the output was more or less regular mini messages. Something I’m familiar with the first byte tells me. This is a note on message. The second byte tells me, which note was pressed and the third one is the notes velocity. Now I can send these values out over a serial port and it’ll be compatible with any standard mini device such as my little MIDI Foxen, which is also based around Arduino Music. So I’ve essentially built my own USB MIDI to old school MIDI converter, which is cool.


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Thu Aug 17 15:46:54 +0000 2017

This Serial Keyboard Is Perfect for Typing On an Arduino
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  1. high arrest rate areas…need small business that tax the fudge out of groceries…so write unknown spoken only law” bring your kids with you to do vice cry and cops will always let you go or IGNORE YOU COMPLETELY…

  2. My Casio keyboard only has a USB midi output. Let’s see if this can turn it into a general midi device. But can the Arduino read back midi data and send back through usb? So other keyboards can send midi data to Casio? Can it work both ways?

  3. I’m up to nearly 38,000 lines of code in my project which is still only equal to 45 seconds in real time. My project will run for 22 minutes so I have about 62 million more lines to go, no actually I’m stopping at 2 minutes 22 seconds and then the telemetry should upload at 4x gig pack 11 before the reset starts or I hope so by then at least that’s what it’s all based on, so if the cycle isn’t dragging more than .025 sec then it ought to self regulate at that point.

    1. This will not work if you want to use a MIDI controller to your Pro micro since both devices are USB slaves, this is why Collin learned about USB hosts. But you are still right about using the Pro micro with a PC because the PC acts as the USB host. Microcontrollers will never be powerful enough to act as a USB host.


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