Beta blog: development log with a bit of random yak shaving


#42

Forum Update

I would like to apologize for the lack of attention on the community forum. In order to focus on the hardware and software development I had delegated that responsibility and found out today that the questions were going unanswered and the blog updates were going unposted. I’m here to answer any questions and reassure everyone that the project is alive and well.

We’ve been in heavy communication via email with many beta users and were disappointed that we weren’t getting any feedback from the forum. I was unaware that we weren’t checking it and I want to do everything that I can to help beta users use their hardware.

Anyone who wants to leave the beta program is welcome to message me at believotron@believotron.com and I will issue an RMA and refund your money. I hope you stick around as we are close to shipping out a hardware update.

Beta Update

We’ve made a lot of progress on the live-updating OLEDs. We headed down a couple of dead ends until settling on the STM32 Blue Pill Board, as it’s possible to use with Arduino and can be programmed to do so much more.

The hardware prototype compiles fine and we are able to run a couple of patches, but we still have to refactor and test the rest of the codebase. We have a couple of beta participants running the hardware right now.

In addition to an upgraded circuit board, we will be offering updates to the 3D printed OLED fixtures and an updated top plate to prevent sticking on the joysticks. Unless we discover any critical software problems, we should be able to ship around 6-15.


Is this still in progress?
Best way to drive the displays / whats actually possible?
#43

OLED Jig

Part of our next beta hardware update is upgrading the OLED Jig. We’ve tried out things from hot-glue, to other 3D printed jigs. The most recent problem is the skew or rotation of the OLEDs. We’ve created this new jig to make sure the OLEDs don’t rotate while they’re installed. We’re trying it out with the assembly process and sending off units to see how they fare.


#44

Quick OLED update

The OLED API now supports arbitrary text / character placement and can support 8 values updated without the screen getting choppy. We’re working on only updating when a value changes, but for now, all the values are updated every cycle.

The big holdup is still trying to get as robust a solution on the OLED microcontroller as possible. It’s possible to reprogram, but it’s complicated and involves opening the case every time you need to reprogram. We’re looking into a solution that allows for external access, as well as working on the documentation to reprogram.

The beta testers in Chicago who have been using the new firmware say that it’s a big improvement, but it’s still a little confusing to use. We’re going to keep making improvements until we make it easy to make patches.

I really want to take some time to thank the patient beta users waiting for the OLED update. If you’re good at code and setting up dev environments, we’d be happy to move you up the queue for the hardware beta update and test out our documentation.


#45

OLED Progress

After receiving a lot of feedback on the OLED microcontroller, we’ve decided to take a step back. There are a lot of different ways of displaying values, menus, patchnames. We’re having a hard time making the code robust for new use cases and different ways of constructing synth modules and it’s holding up the development of just about every other part of the system.

We feel that the best way forward is to modularize the OLED section so that many more people can develop code for many different types of applications. We are thinking of making shields/breakouts for all the popular microcontroller families. We feel that by generalizing the interface and creating dev-kits, we can make the code more robust in less time.

We also feel that by opening up the platform more people can create their own modules and increase interoperability.

In order to accommodate the modularization and to fix a lot of manufacturability issues, we’re switching to the Eurorack format.

Existing Beta Users

We’re going to converge on a design and then create an upgrade path for Wanderlust Beta members. Anyone who has purchased a beta unit will be offered a free upgrade.

Eurorack Axoloti

Our first change is to offer up an Axoloti Eurorack module to offer basic integration. There is an 8 channel OLED array shown to the right, showing the max number of display channels. We’re going to create another module that is a vertical version of the Wanderlust controller.

Laser Cut Axoloti Eurorack enclosure

We’ve created a low-cost laser-cut Eurorack enclosure with Axoloti integration. This way you can develop on Eurorack without the Axoloti taking up a slot.

Lo-Rent Axoloti Eurorack Devboard

We know that Eurorack can be really cost-prohibitive, so we’ve stripped down the design to the bare minimum. We hope by having an extremely low cost setup can encourage more interesting designs.

Wanderlust Dev Kit

Because we’re still improving the performance of the OLEDs, we’re going to stop selling the final assembly, and only offer a development kit.


#46

Hello
Is it still possible to buy the 250 dollar version from Europe?
Maki76


#47

Yes, you can find that synth here: https://store.believotron.com/products/believotron-wanderlust-synthesizer


#48

Halloween Update

I wanted to give a quick update!

We think we’ve solved the system architecture issues that have been holding back finishing the Wanderlust Beta. We have a system design that will make it much much easier to develop and modify patches and create new controllers with interoperability.

We’re going to spend November doing development and testing. Once we’re happy with the results, we’ll be preparing upgrade kits and contacting everyone in the beta program.

These changes will really turbocharge the patch ecosystem and clear out a lot of the infrastructure roadblocks we’ve been hitting.


#49

Hey, Dazzling Duke

Thanks for updating us with your ‘Halloween Update’. With the Christmas approaching, I understand that if I order now (with the 6 week delivery option), my order will probably be completed sometime next year. Totally happy with that as I’m not in a mad rush to get this incredible piece of gear.

For that order to be completed next year, would that also include the system architecture issues being resolved for that unit?

Also, can I be cheeky and ask when your beta pricing would end in the near future? :wink:

Thank you so much,
Joon


#50

Sincere apology for late shipments

I would like to apologize to everyone who has had a late shipment. I’ve had a series of family emergencies and I haven’t been able to keep up with orders, much less keep people in the loop.

I thought that by adding 6 weeks assembly time, that it would be enough to keep up with orders, but since the hardware is in beta, there are a lot of things that need to be done manually to put the synth together. We’ve learned a lot in the last year, and we have all sorts of improvements to implement, but the issues of the existing beta took up a lot of time that could have been spent in developing the better solution.

I let a handful of customers down. I’ve reached out to all of them directly, gave them refunds, and shipped them a free beta unit. I also want to post here that I know exactly what it feels like to support something and slowly feel like it might be vaporware. We’re not vaporware. We sell the hardware close to cost so we can get it into more hands. That doesn’t negate the fact that it’s a lot of money and not knowing if you’re going to get something or your money back feels terrible, and I’m sorry that anyone had to bear that.

In order to prevent this sort of thing again, we’ve stopped selling the beta synthesizers. We’re going to implement the changes necessary so that we can assemble synths in a timely manner. We’re also going to put things on back-order when they are not available.

Thank you to everyone who had more patience than they needed.

If you want to receive notifications when the next iteration is available, sign up here.

We’re going to be posting more about the upcoming changes in late December.


#51

Hi!

Was this not a good time for me to order a Believotron laser-cut enclosure for my Axoloti? I ordered one earlier this month, right after my Axoloti Core arrived on my doorstep, but I haven’t received a shipping notification yet.

I sent a inquiry about this last Thursday, but haven’t received a reply to that yet, either.

I never should have thrown out the shipping box that my Axoloti Core came in – I understand many Axoloti users have used that for a temporary enclosure.


#52

Hi Yasha! Thank you for the order. Your package is shipping out today. We were waiting on another order of laser-cut plastic. I apologize for the lack of communication. I installed a plugin that would update you if there were delays, but it didn’t send off any emails. I’m trying to find a better way to communicate when we have a shortage of materials.

In the meantime, thank you for your patience.

FYI, We’ll be posting a blog update during the holidays.


#53

I wish you well and hope your family issues find a happy resolution. I ordered the only axo core box that you offer besides the laser cut case. I hope you are able to fulfill the order. I am having a hard time getting a hold of an axo core.


#54

Hi. Yes, your order will be shipping out.

FYI, the Axoloti Core is available here: http://www.axoloti.com/product/axoloti-core/. They sell out several times a year, but they reorder stock within a month or two.


#55

Thanks a lot for responding. I am happy to get your enclosure thing to go with the core. I dont want to wait for Johannes what if I forget and miss the window?

Thanks


#56

Hey everyone! I just found out about believotron and wanted to order a Believotron Core. But there are some warnings on the site, so I wanted to check if these are still shipping. Got redirected to this forum, and it seems this could become a regular hangout for me. But still: will I be able to order one?


#57

Hi @joopvdl!

I’m happy to answer any of your questions (Slowly). We are definitely selling the core with the laser cut enclosure. We’ve stopped selling the Wanderlust until we’re ready to release the next version. The core, however is ready to ship and fun to play with.


#58

Quick update

Hi! I wanted to let everyone know the rough direction of what’s happening right now.

We’ve taken all of the design improvements and lessons learned from the Wanderlust and have put together a new roadmap for synthesizers and development and we’re currently just crunching through the numbers so we can get a holistic view of the development schedule and costs.

I can’t thank the beta community enough for all of the support, feedback, and enthusiasm. I can’t wait to show what we have in store.


#59

Thank you for your reply. I was going to order one immediately, but shipping is quite expensive so I’ll have to wait a bit.
But it’s on the list!


#60

Hi, where in the world are you shipping to and what sorts of pricing were you seeing? We use a shipping service to calculate prices and duty, so we’re not always aware when there aren’t good choices. Maybe I can see if there is a different shipper for your area.


#61

Ah,that would be great. I’m in the Netherlands.
Here’s what it says in the shop:
DHL - Express Worldwide
3 to 5 business days
USD 39.75 of taxes & duties are INCLUDED in the cost $75.53

Maybe that was to be expected, I don’t know.

Best, Joop