Arduinome,Bliptronic,Enclosure — JP @ November 25, 2009

My Bliptronics arrived today the day after ordering from Thinkgeek (one of the joys of sharing a state with them), after the earlier press they got on Create Digital Music, I was very excited to immediately take one of them to pieces.

Need to find myself a magnifying glass and look at the IC’s in use.

At forst glance it looks very promising. It’s not my dream which was 2 16 pin headers coming off the button board, one for buttons one for LED’s and all the brains in the logic board. It looks like some of the brains is pre headers, so there are only 16 of them.

But I’m sure once some bright spark has worked out what those 3 IC’s do, and what the 16 pins need to plug into, this could be a viable button pad for a 40h kit or an arduinome. It’s perfect for an arduinome, as it’s an enclosure with button pads and some extra space for pots to connect to the arduino all for $50 which is about the price I paid for my machined 40h faceplate alone.

It’s zero threat to Monome™ as it still has no competition with this, the buttons and the build are easily 10 times less – which since it’s 10 times cheaper is no surprised. It’s chinese made, rather than the Monome™’s all American local resourced ethically happy build.

I have two spares, which two lucky friends will get for Christmas, I’m hoping this can be the new button pad for my old old arduinome, I built back in the day.

More info as I get it.


  1. the two 14 pin chips on the right look like 74hc164?
    and maybe the other one (16 pin) is a 74hc165?

    Comment by dovemouse — November 26, 2009 @ 11:50 am
  2. Serial in out to talk to the buttons/leds – I am learning on the arduino platform and I can do that. The buttons are tactiles with a membrane cover which is cool. $50 for a 64 led button pad is what I am looking at.

    Comment by Adam Frederick — November 30, 2009 @ 10:02 pm
  3. Hey Guys;…
    Does anybody has a clue where the clock crystal is on this thing?
    I saw this silver long cilinder thingy next to where all the caps are ….but I’m not sure ….. it’s marked X1 on the board…
    If i find the crystal I’ll replace it by a precision oscillator so the thing can be tuned very low and high….

    Comment by sylvie — December 10, 2009 @ 8:40 am
  4. The “silver long cylinder” is most likely the crystal, X1 is the normal way you mark the first crystal in a electronic design.

    Comment by Groover — December 25, 2009 @ 1:42 pm
  5. hey JP- are you any farther with this? Got one for christmas explicitly to dissect. So far I have probed around the HC164 chips a bit and have the following pin assignments (my idea of pin 0 might seems strange here though):
    pin 0 gnd
    pin 5 gnd
    pin 9 vcc

    pin 14 A1 A2 hc164

    pin 16 clk1
    pin 17 clk2 hc164

    pin 9 reset1
    pin 8 reset2 HC164

    Comment by Collin — January 9, 2010 @ 5:04 am
  6. oh yah, for better reference, my pin numbers refer to pin 0 being the upper left pin in the first picture in your post here. These trace back to the chips for me using a TI HC164 datasheet… but I haven’t had luck shifting in values to the LED’s. I haven’t sorted out the purpose of the diodes across the board matrix, so maybe it has something to do with those, I don’t know. Or maybe I’m using the wrong datasheet (i hope not).

    Comment by Collin — January 9, 2010 @ 5:09 am
  7. Hey Collin, interesting findings. I’ve not had a chance to look at the bliptronic since last year (busy holiday season with travel back & forth across the atlantic).

    But I am finding myself revisiting it now.

    The diodes are to stop ghosting of button presses, so you can get true multi-touch.

    I’m still hopeful that there is some way to just directly plug (from the 16 pin header) this into something like the unsped shield (that has been altered to accept the 16 pin header) piggie backing on an arduino. That would open up the options greatly, and make it plug and play.

    But worse case scenario would be to go through and work out where all 32 traces are and wire them to the existing unsped shield the 16 buttons and 16 led’s. I see some scary detailed soldering in my future.

    Comment by JP — January 11, 2010 @ 9:10 am
  8. Don’t know if you’re still working on this, but I worked out the IC’s and button PCB pinout here:
    If anyone is working on this…
    I figured out the full pinout to control the button matrix from an Arduino or other controller. Pinout and IC info here: … utton-pcb/

    Should be an easy task to get this running from an Arduino now! I’ll try to get some test code posted over the next couple of weeks.

    Comment by vblank — January 13, 2010 @ 11:58 am
  9. vblank, absolutely awesome, I will be watching your blog eagerly. Nice work !!!

    Comment by JP — January 13, 2010 @ 12:02 pm
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