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 Use a Wii Nunchuk with an Arduino

When the Nintendo Wii was released in 2006, there was a lot of talk about their new weird control system. In place of a typical control pad, players would use a one-handed “remote” with infrared sensors and accelerometers in place of a joystick. For those games that required additional controls, players would use an accessory controller in their off-hand.

This ‘accessory’ controller is the Nunchuk. A strange, bean-shaped attachment with a joystick, two buttons, and a three-axis accelerometer. Although the Nunchuk had a lukewarm response when it was first released, it’s the perfect controller for makers who want to add some fine control to their projects.

Although I’m writing this post with Arduino in mind, most of this information also applies to using a Nunchuk with something like a Raspberry Pi or an ARM-based board.

Let’s get started!

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Repurposing the Staples Easy Button

If you’re looking for a big project button, you can find it at Staples.

Introduced as part of their “That Was Easy” marketing campaign in 2005, the easy button is a large red button that, when pressed, says the phrase “that was easy” via a small speaker.

Its low price of $6.99 is enticing. What if instead of buying a purpose-built large button, we can repurpose an Easy Button for our projects instead?

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