How to Control the LEDs on a Novation Launchkey Mini II

I picked up a Novation Launchkey Mini II controller last year when I was working with those musical floppy drives, and recently I fell down the rabbit hole of Launchpad LED performance videos. That got me thinking: is it possible to control the LEDs on a Launchkey Mini like you can on a Launchpad?

There’s surprisingly little information about this. Novation’s user guide for the Launchkey Mini has no mention of how to control the LEDs. There is some information available in a “programmer’s reference” manual for the Launchkey II (not the “Mini” version), but sadly the LED components don’t function the same way.

It required a bit of reverse engineering and the result isn’t quite as pretty, but I’ve figured out how to do it.

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How to Control Anything on Arduino Using MIDI

I’ve been messing around with MIDI for my musical floppy drive project, and it was surprisingly difficult to find detailed information on how to get started with Arduino’s MIDI library. So in this post I’m going to show you, in detail, how to use this library to control anything on an Arduino using MIDI.

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Controlling Musical Floppy Drives Directly via MIDI

One of my first thoughts on how to improve Moppy was to drive it directly via MIDI. At the moment, the format of serial messages sent to the drive controller is proprietary and requires using the “MoppyDesk” application on your PC to convert MIDI notes into playable pins and wave periods.

What if we can skip the PC altogether and simply plug a MIDI cable into the floppy drive controller? The goal of this experiment is just to see if this is feasible.

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How to Send and Receive MIDI Messages Over Serial

While MIDI is serial communication, it is a standardized protocol and is treated differently by most operating systems. But because it’s just serial data, it’s possible to “re-route” these MIDI messages to a generic serial device like an Arduino using two small pieces of software.

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