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New project with brain v2, (my first) many questions!

edited December 2013 in Hardware

i'm planning a new build using your DIY products and have already made my first order and have a few question before making my next.

i want to build something like the OHM rgb with a few extra modules, i.e 8 by 8 rgb buttons, shift (secondary) functions for the 8 by 8 grid, (rgb of course), about 5 or 6 extra omni or omni rgb boards (i'm sure i'm gonna need another brain too, and believe they can be linked to work as 1??), with maybe 1 or 2 boards dedicated for some FSR's, led strips or something crazy altogether at some point!?


(1) can i make a unit with the same function as the ohm rgb with a brain v2?

(2) can i use both the omni & omni rgb boards and the byob boards u supply in the same unit with the brain v2?

(3) if using this, 1, what board does it connect to? 2, can it be rgb? 3, how do the 2 'function buttons' on the bottom of the 8 by 8 pad work? i also want to use it with this like the OHMrgb, how does that work? can i have secondary shift functions for controls, if so, which controls, or which controls dont more importantly??

(4) i'm considering tryin to make an 8 by 8 grid with FSR's under each to make em velocity sensitve and rgb, is this possible? can it be done with the small pads? i'm guessing if it can be done id need the bigger pads, which would mean no shift funct buttons on the bottom, could secondary shift functions it work with just this,

(5) can i join 2 brain v2's together (ive maxed 1 in my plan already using the brainv2 calculator)? i know i can plug 1 midi in to the other out, but can it work off 1 usb and have the midi connections inside the unit leaving only 1 midi in and out on the casing? (i plan on making the casing, using cad spec which i believe u can supply)

(6) this one is probably a stupid noob question, but can/do i add another leg matrix to the brainv2? i'd like to be able to get 1 colour led feedback from say a 16 step sequencer as it goes through each step (kinda like CNTRLR)? or is the leg matrix and breakout shield just for brain jr? similar question regarding the breakout shield, i'm a bit unsure of their purpose? am i right i saying the brainv2 already has them? and no need for more? any links that could explain these more?

Many thanks

shinotoko (Alan)


  • i see this forum is great for answers!!!!? thanks folks

  • The forums have definitely slowed down here around the holidays!

    First, if you are trying to make an Ohm RGB, you would be much better off just buying one for many reasons.

    1) You won't be able to run as many LED's as an Ohm RGB. The Ohm RGB has over 200 LEDs, and the Brain v2 can only run 192. You have to remember that each RGB is actually 3 LEDs. Anything you make with the Brain v2 will behave just like the Ohm RGB in terms of connectivity because all of our devices are USB class compliant MIDI devices.

    2) Yes, you can use any of these boards in any combination. Keep in mind the Brain v2 can handle 128 buttons, but it only has 8 headers to connect buttons. So to maximize the buttons you should run 16 buttons on each header.

    3) -The 8x8 keypad fits our Small push boards. The push boards require direct wiring since they are not pre-arranged in the matrix like our omni boards. This will be pretty labor intensive for an 8x8 grid, but it is doable!
    -We do not sell a button circuit/board with the spacing for the function buttons. You can use small push boards and separate them into the proper spacing yourself.
    -All buttons will send note on/note off messages to your computer. The software you run will interpret the messages and create the functions. So any shift functions will be done on the software side.

    4) Same as last point in 3. You may want to use the omni button pads since they have more space in between each button if you are going to put an FSR under each one. This is a very ambitious project!

    5) You may want to just run a USB hub inside the casing! Yes we can help with CAD.

    6) Its not possible to add extra headers or matrix to the v2. The shields are for making permanent designs with the Brain Jr. Without a shield the wires just plug into the brain jr. similar to a breadboard, so the shields allow you to solder wire to brain jr.

    Hope this all helps! Keep the questions coming if you have more.

  • Hey Mark,

    Cheers for the reply, and please ignore my last comment (still hungover from NYE i'd say)

    1) cool, good to know, the 8 by 8 grid is really most important for rgb leds, the rest i cud sacrifice, i.e led ring on encoders etc.

    2) also very good tip, acknowledged!! ;-) cheers!

    3) i'm thinkin now to build 2 units, 1 more for dj'in ie, with traktor or clip launching in live etc, with the 8 by 8 grid ( i think i wil do with the omni rgb board and bigger pads [with fsr's if i can?} now) and wot ever else i can sqeeze in, and another unit with another brain for the studio - more knobs n faders etc and maybe something crazy!?
    - (labour intensive is ok, i do enjoy a challenge)
    - shift func determined by software! = cool!

    4) haha i hear ya! ya gotta think outside the box!! can fsr's be used with omni rgb boards?
        (if it was easy everyone would have one!?)

    5) sweet!!

    6) i thought as much, thanks it was very helpful!!

    Cheers Mark, thanks for the answers & top tips, i've a few more Q's about parts,

    1) do u sell pots with a dented or flat spot in the centre position, i.e for cut/boost or hi/lo pass filters etc?
    2) do u sell push button encoders?
    3) wot the heck is a tactile switch?

    i know i had more questions but can't think of them right now, i see my parcel from livid is in ireland (wooo hooo) i should have it really soon, lookin forward to messing around with it!! Thanks again Mark for the reply to my questions, i'm sure i'll have plenty more for u soon!!

    oh p.s any word on a european/uk retailer? think of the people who need a fader or 2 this side of the pond? u won't get their business!!!? send thomann a 40ft container of builder bits i say!!!?

    Kind Regards

  • The only way I can think that you would be able to get the 64 FSR's with LED's in the middle, is a custom circuit board. Most off the shelf FSRs have no hole in the center for LED's. I think you could get a custom PCB printed for around $300 that would have 64 pads, then you could buy the FSR's that we use for the BASE from us, so you could get custom FSR's without cost of tooling or minimum orders.. Just thinking outside the box here. Feel free to PM me if you'd like to talk more about circuit design or going down this route.

    1) we do not sell pots with center detent. You can buy them off just look for resistance between 10k-100k Ohms
    2) yes, just order an encoder and specify in the comments that you want push button.
    3) a very mall button/switch

    This is everyone on your side of the pond with our builder parts:


    Watterott Electronic GmbH
    Width wood Str 6
    Leinefelde, Thüringen 37327
    +49 (0) 3605 - 578010

    Raiffeisenstr. 2
    D-38551 Vollbuettel
    +49 5373 920705

    United Kingdom

    Juno Records 
    10 Greenland Street
    London, NW1 0ND
    United Kingdom
    T: +44 (0)20 7424 1692

    60, Rumbridge Street
    SO40 `9DS
    United Kingdom
    023 8086 4891

    Unit 17 Enterprise Centre
    Myregormie Place
    Mitchelston Industrial Estate
    KY1 3PF
    Unided Kingdom
    +44 (0)1592 572093


    We could barely fill a 10ft truck with all of our stock of builder gear! Mouser and Digikey are your friends. :)


  • Hey Mark,
      Thanks a million for the quick response, i like the idea of the custom pcb, i'll certainly think about it and will be in touch if i go down that route, i wouldnt mind a simple 1 colour on/off led matrix separate to the pads for feedback!? the more i learn the more i'm considering 4 by 4 for the fsr's, it wil giv me 16 'notes' which would cover most of my needs!! its all very much still planning at this stage althought i do want it to be 'special'! cheers for the contacts this side of the pond! great help for small orders!!!!

    Speak to u soon, no doubt!

    Thanks again


  • Hey Again, prob not the right place for saying this but, i got bad news, my parcel has been hit with an extra 52 euro put on it by customs, this is new to me, can u explain to me why this has happened? unfortunately, i'm un able to pay to extra money , so i think i might have to return it as its not likely i'll have the extra cash to get it any time soon? do u know anything abouyt this charge? why wasnt it added when i was making the purchase? this makes no sense to me!! can i return this on these grounds? i.e its no longer the price i thought i could afford!!? any insight into this? i'm sickened! i was really looking forward to getting this, but i literally cant c how i'll have a spare 52 euro in the next 2 months?


  • i'm told i have 3 weeks to collect it before its sent back to yourselves!!! fingers crossed i can raise the cash somehow before then!! wot a bad month for it though!!!! AAaagghhhh!!! so can i buy ur boards and bits anywhere outside of the gud ol US of A?? ive nearly paid more in postage and customs charge as i did for the item!! RAW deal!!! i wont be making that mistake again, if i cant get ur boards and bits outside america, looks like i'll only make 1 more order and the USA wil never get another cent off me again!!! very not happy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Those taxes are imposed by your country, if I'm not mistaken. Are you in the UK?

    Did you look into the dealers I linked to above?

  • hey Mark ,no not uk, very close, i'm in ireland!!  yea lipoly seems to have a fair bit of ur parts, but cant find byob boards with any of them! yea an absolute stinger on the customs charge, i never heard of it before, i rang them and they explained it to me (kinda) still think its very wrong adding a charge after, it should be added to everything bought from usa when u buy it, it seems its just the usa too!? ive now paid about 90 euro (125 dollars?) for postage/fee's!!! i wont make that mistake again! it must be a new thing because ive got things from usa plenty of times before!! very strange!!! i'm still waiting for the crew of the hidden camera wind up show to appear! i feel morally violated!!!! one more quick question, is there a preferable solder type u could recommend? i understand it not ur fault this charge, but really wish suppliers cud just add it to the bill when ordering? it makes no sense to me!!! ok ok, joke is over, where's the hidden camera??? 
    Thanks Alan

  • oh btw, i managed to borrow the cash for the fee, so i can still get it, i was very worried i wouldnt be able to pay it before it was returned to sender!!! happy days!!

  • great!!! this day just gets worse and worse, finally got my package and have now discovered no pin headers included in my starter kit!!! oh man i'm having a very bad day!!! 

  • You mean you didn't receive the 2x5 pin headers like these?

  • no, no pin headers included!! just my luck!!!  i see they are fairly standard, so should be able to quickly pick some up in ireland! could u possible give me a full descriptiion, or spec, is this them?

     i know the are 2 by 5 , 2.54 pitch, but are the pins round or square? is the 1 pin square? cheers Mark, sorry for being such a burden!! Alan
  • Sorry for this! Yes you found the right part. Square or circle pins do not matter. We use circle.

    You may find it cost effective to order a 2x40 and cut it down into 8 2x5's. Thats how we do it here :)

    I know you may not be purchasing from overseas again, but if you decide to make another order, contact me for a discount code!

  • no probs mark, thats perfect i did c the longer 2 by 32 's and wondered! i'd say i wil be making 1 more order at least to get as much of 'your ' products as i can, when i can! i'd rather not mix n match product from different suppliers! thanks for the replies! speak to u soon!! alan

  • Ok and for lots of things its perfectly acceptable to pick up from different suppliers. If you have any questions we are here to help. You can just post a link to a data sheet or part, and we can guide you as to what will work and what wont!

  • ok cool, thanks very much, that'll be a great help! i cant seem to find specs/ detailed info/part no's on the parts u supply, ive looked in the pages on the store for descriptions and the wiki but cant seem to find em, could u link me to where i might find spec/ of the parts u sell? it might be easier for referencing than having to ask on here all the time!
    Thanks once again Mark!
    really appreciate your support and advise!!

  • edited January 2014

    yea i've seen them of course, thats where i bought the parts i already have, what i was askin was for data sheets, for parts, spec! ya know, sizes of pots n sliders , resistance values, ohm values etc!~ i just want to make sure if i buy anything from the places mentioned above by mark in europe, want to be sure i'm not gettin the wrong parts! when my final decision is made on the design, and i have all parts picked out i'll check back here with u guys to make sure everything is ok with my design and parts before i order them!

    P.s a little confused with LEDs on the brain calculator, i currently have 2 * 24 strip LEDS & 16 rgb pads (4*4), which is 48 for the rgb pads, and 48 for the strips, right? so 96 left, does that mean i can have single colour on/off leds on 96 buttons if needed? is a single colour led only 1 of the 192 available??

    Thanks a mill

  • edited January 2014

    oh also, i seen on the forum or wiki somewhere a link to a site or software for designing face plates? could u posssible lnk it to me? (for the cnc cut out for the final design for the enclosure!

    Thanks again

  • Cad files are at the very bottom of this page here:

    And you can use a company called Front Panel Express if you need free software to design in and a company to print your faceplates!

  • Hey Mark, cheers for that, it was front panel express i had seen! they'll be perfect! could u let me if if i right or wrong with the questions above regarding LEDs and data sheets?

    Much Appreciated

  • For pots and faders, the important spec is that they be between 10k and 100k Ohm resistance.

    You are counting the LED's correctly. Everything you said is correct.

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