Since the upgrade of Firmata v2, it has been difficult communicating between Max/MSP and the Arduino board. However, thanks to Christopher Coleman, who updated the Max patch of Marius Schebella, it’s working again. Thank you Chris!

Download the latest Maxuino here.

This is a basic tutorial on how to set up communication between Arduino and Max/MSP

This tutorial is for Mac OS X. If you are on an other platform, you can find instructions on the Arduino site to get your Arduino up and running.

    -Download the latest Arduino software .

    -When it’s done, open the folder and make sure to keep the structure the same.

    -If you are using Arduino Duemilanove or a similar board that runs off USB you’ll have to install the USB drivers. You can find them in the Arduino folder you just downloaded.
    USB Drivers

    -When that is done, launch the Arduino Software. Arduino icon

    -Go to: Tools –> Board –> and choose your board.
    board choice

    -Make sure to pick the right serial port: Tools–> Serial Port –> it should be something like /dev/tty.usbserial-…
    Serial Port

    -If you have an LED, connect the positive (longer leg) to digital pin 13 and the negative (shorter leg) to ground (GND) so you can have easy visual feedback when testing it. If you don’t have one, there is a tiny light that blinks the same way, it is marked ‘L’ directly below ground and pin 13 (in the picture).
    Arduino LED

    Update: make sure you download the latest Firmata. Thanks Hans-Christoph Steiner!

    -Open Standard Firmata: File –> Sketchbook –> Examples –> Library-Firmata –> StandardFirmata.
    Standard Firmata

    -Upload the standard Firmata onto your Arduino by hitting Com + U(Command + U). As it is uploading, keep an eye on your board, you should see the LED blinking a few times sporadically, that’s a good sign.

    -You should now see at the bottom of the sketch’s window ‘done uploading’ and the size in byte.
    Done Uploading

    -If you only want to work with Max/MSP you won’t need to touch the Arduino software again, but if you upload anything else onto your board, it will delete the Firmata and you’ll have upload it again.

    Now on the Max side of things:

    -Firstly, make sure to close the Arduino software.

    -If you haven’t already, go download Maxuino-005.

    -The heart of it all is the arduino.maxpat file, so you have to put it into your Max search path. If you have the older version of Maxuino, delete it so that Max doesn’t find multiple files.

    -Open up Max/MSP and launch arduino_test.maxpat.

    -Make sure that the right port is selected, it should be the usbserial-… port we chose earlier.
    Serial Port Max

    -Test to see if your Arduino and Max/MSP are talking by switching on the toggle above the metro in ‘digital Pin output’, you should see the LED on the Arduino blinking the same as in Max/MSP.
    Digital Pin Output Test

Now you should be able to send messages to Arduino from Max/MSP and vice-versa. Usually you will want to control Max/MSP from your Arduino board using switches, potentiometers and other goodies. The next tutorial will cover that.

If you’re on a roll, go to the Arduino site to find information on how to connect the circuits up. Don’t upload the Arduino code, instead keep the Standard Firmata and use Max/MSP as the brain.

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