Help with Automat setup

I attempted to set up my new Automat using a midi keyboard that takes its power over the usb.

That didn’t work, but that’s not a surprise, so I then connected a wind controller that has an internal battery. (Vindor ES1)

I imagine that didn’t work either, as the led that tells me to send the first MIDI note never went out, and playing any other notes on the Vindor controller does not light up any led’s on the Automat.

I’m making some assumptions here: that the led would go out when it received the first note setting up the Automat, and that playing notes without any solenoids connected to the Automat would light the leds at each outlet.

I do not have a powered keyboard, but I could use output from the computer. I would rather do the setup from the Vindor, if possible.

Am I missing a step?

Also, is it likely that the unpowered keyboard (M-Audio Keystation) will not work with the Automat even after I finish the setup?


Connected the automat to an older Roland synth via the five pin midi cable and it worked first time.

So, why the difficulty getting usb to work?

Hi. USB only works with computers, iphones & ipads (with camera connection kit) / usb-c > usb-a adapter.
You can’t connect a USB keyboard directly. But probably you have tried with a computer as a usb-b to usb-b cable is very hard to find.
Maybe you can clarify what you exact setup via usb looked like?

Another remark on using usb. Always connect the automat to the same power strip / outlet as your computer to not run into ground loop issues > which could create noise on your audio recordings. This is a general point to be aware of with all high power devices you connect via usb.

I’ve succeeded in getting the automat to work with two different midi devices that use 5pin din connectors.

I am still unable to succeed in getting usb midi to work from a computer.

I have tried garage band both from a MacBook Pro and from an ipad, both with, and without, an external keyboard. (M-audio keystation)

I have tried other software previously.

Two different A-B usb cables (one with, and one without, an adapter).

I have tried this with, and without, having the 5pin-din attached at the same time.

I have no trouble getting the automat to learn the 5pin after failing to learn the usb.

I did notice that the midi learn light does not go out after a usb attempt, but also that it stays on after the automat is powered off, suggesting that it is still pulling power over usb when the 9v adapter is unplugged.
This may be normal, I have no basis to compare.

So, I have tried multiple cables and multiple input devices over usb and fail to get automat to learn that way.

Any suggestions on what to try next?

I downloaded the Dadachron app for the ipad and got it to work with the Automat.

The 5pin-din from the pocket piano does not work simultaneously, but I suspect that the midi range that Dadachron selected is not the same as the pocket piano’s. That’s an issue for later.

I see one potential problem with the Dadachron software in that it is possible to stop play and have one of the solenoids stay energized: the led for whatever channel stays on and the solenoid plunger stays out. This might not be a problem for everyone, but (full disclosure) I’m using 5v solenoids with the automat powered at 9v, so the solenoids will overheat if they stay energized. They run cool enough when driven intermittently. 5v solenoids is what I had available.

Also, and I don’t know if I should have expected this or not; If I trigger two midi notes simultaneously the Automat drops out for a second or two and then comes back on. Should I be able to play a chord, or two notes at once? I am using a 9v 1A power supply. Would a more powerful power supply fix this?

You can see my post on instagram (Vincent PIdone) of its maiden voyage, with me at the very bottom of the learning curve for Dadachron.

If “velocity” should adjust to force of the solenoid and thus the volume, I’m not getting that to work as expected. If it does something else, I’m lost, and will need earplugs.

This is a ton of fun.
I need more solenoids…

Note that I am still unable to drive the Automat from a software synth on the ipad or laptop.

OK, the Octachron now works with the Automat, but apparently starts at a different midi note.

I have no idea what made that happen.

you need to learn the automat to the notes coming from octachron once. as well in octachron you can make settings like scale etc.

I’m reasonably certain that I have a problem with the automat.

I will document that in the “False Triggering” post.