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


#41

OLED update

The good news is that we have gotten the code up and running for updating dynamic values on the screens.

The bad news is that once we started updating patches, they all ran out of SRAM. We understand that this is caused because the Axoloti patcher compiles for performance, not footprint. If you call a function and call it again outside of a loop, it will make two copies in the instruction code. We took a look at the code and even if we optimized the code, we would still be eating a huge chunk of the synthesizer program space.

We’ve decided that we’re going to add a microcontroller to the design to handle the overhead and free up the Axoloti core to do what it does best. There is an upgrade path for the existing beta users when we get it completed. We are expecting to have this feature integrated into the spring update.

We’re going to do an efficacy test by building a benchtop flying wire prototype and report back what we find.


#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.


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