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Arduino Controled Diy Sustainer


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There is so much information on sustainers and they seem really complex to make. However, it seems like it should be really, really to do with an arduino. Maybe I am just missing something (in which case please fill me in!), but why can't we just pipe the audio signal into an arduino's analog pins, and then write 5 lines of code that will convert said input into something that powers the driver? Instead of futzing around with all of the hardware, we should (again, unless I am guilty of confusion of concepts) be able to just connect guitar output to arduino to driver.

So far I have experimented with just programming my board to make 2-5 millisecond pulses, which go through an extra gibson pickup I have and essentially what I get is a radio. If I hold that arduino powered pickup over the guitar's pickup, my test tone gets played through the amp. My guess is that the output from the board is a bit underpowered.

So I guess my questions are:

1. Am I wasting my time with an arduino-based sustainer?

*advantages would seem to be super cheap, like ten bucks, super simple (minimal circuitry needed), and infinitely programatically customizable.

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Good call on the Arduino. I think that there will be so many phase issues that the induced signal will be too far out from the original that is doesn't work as harmoniously? The output of the Arduino would need to be pretty beefy to power the sustainer coil. No big issue if you add a power stage such as an LM358, push-pull transistor stage or whatever.

My advice would be to make a working analogue sustainer circuit and driver before putting the Arduino in the chain. That way you are not trying to figure out which is (not) working. The Arduino can then be futzed with endlessly to produce all kinds of additional bonus levels.

The advantages are not that great in that the most basic sustainers are much cheaper than an Arduino, however the programmability side of things would indeed be fun, especially if the board is fast enough to do basic real-time processing an on analogue signal. What about a Raspberry Pi? Linux guitars!!

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Thanks, Prostheta. I was def thinking of using the arduino to control transistors, which would be hooked up to whatever else. I guess I thought with so many DIY arduino stomp boxes that can handle signal processing, why not a sustainer, but I def don't know the details so it is entirely possible that it wouldn't be able to handle it.

I actually just hooked the arduino up to a transistor, which controlled a 9v's input into an old stock gibson SG pickup and set the on off time between 1ms to 7ms. I put a razor blade next to it and was able to feel the vibrations. So then I aimed the pickup at a guitar I had lying around. Unfortunately, there was a ton of interference that drown out any noise I could here. Though, and this could be my hopeful imagination, but I think I felt a couple of the strings vibrating. Barely, but I am pretty sure they were.

My next step will be to just put more power through the pickup to see if I can increase the effect on the guitar. If that fails, I guess I will either have to make a real driver or give up b/c of lack of time; unless there are some totally obvious mistakes I am making?

Thanks for reading!

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From my initial investigation into the subject, it seemed arduino wouldn't be a good fit for a sustainer. However, other programmable chips may be more suitable and arduino may work, but I didn't think it had enough power or something about adding too much distortion...

Sorry for not being more specific, it's been awhile and there is a LOT of information with sustainers. Once you understand a few basic 'cook book' buffers and play with the LM386 datasheet, making circuits doesn't seem so complex. If you do experiment with arduino, keep us updated! I don't want to be discouraging in any way, but you may have quite a bit of work ahead of you to get a driver to respond in an effective manner with sustain across all strings.

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