A hackable electronic saxophone with mechanical keys

Jan 04, 2024

Project update 10 of 10

Orders Fulfilled, Code Info, and Feature Requests

by Javier C

Hello everyone! Welcome to the new year, and an update for you…

All Units Delivered

We are happy to report that all orders placed during the campaign have been delivered! Although our campaign goal was February 2024, we set ourselves the ambitious goal of delivering all our Haxophones before the holidays. A lot of hard work and good fortune helped us get there. Crowd Supply’s expert guidance as well as Mouser’s warehouse staff expedience were the final ingredients to this accomplishment. Thank you everyone!

Lessons Learned

Feedback started to arrive as soon as Haxophones started arriving to our backers. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive: this was a beautiful Christmas present! Thank you!

Are there things that could have gone better? Yes. In particular, the top 3 problems were related to the Raspberry Pi images we provided. In order to get you playing quickly, we prepared Raspberry Pi images for the Pi Zero, Pi 3 and Pi 4 with the Haxophone software pre-installed. The Quick Start Guide has links to those images, which are hosted by Google Cloud Storage. These are large (16 GB) images, which we decided to not compress with PiShrink because that would make them difficult to modify and re-shrink. We thought that a 1-time 16GB download would not be a big deal except that…

Problem #1: Quota limits: Google Cloud Storage imposes a 750 GB download limit on accounts per 24 hour period. That allows ~46 (750 / 16) downloads in the same 24 hour window, a number that we would not exceed, right? Wrong! As most backers received their haxophones on the same date, this affected quite a few of you. I provided a backup link to those of you who reached out directly, and eventually the peak load subsided, but we now know what to avoid next time around.

The second problem only affected those of you using the Pi Zero…

Problem #2: Pi Zero image out of date: As mentioned earlier, we tried hard to accelerate the project so you could received your instruments before the end of the year. Tasks that could be done early, like preparing SW images, were completed at the start of the campaign. But half-way into campaign, due to popular demand, we implemented one new feature, USB Midi. That code landed in the repo… but never into the released images. So some of you, were perplexed by not being able to get USB Midi to work. We resolved this quickly, and now the image you can download today has the latest code, with USB support.

Finally, the last problem with the images was…

Problem #3: No image for Pi Zero 2: We did not prepare an image for the 2nd generation Pi Zero. And this is a very promising target, as it has the price point and form factor of the Zero, but more oomph. Which means that you can use it for development as well. Tomoyuki opened an issue to report that there was no image for the Zero 2, but that the image for the Raspberry Pi 3 seemed to work! The Raspberry Pi 3 image does not have USB MIDI enabled because the Pi 3 does not implement the necessary USB On-The-Go functionality. But for the moment, it is an acceptable workaround for those of you who want to use the Pi Zero 2.

If no one beats me to it, I will release a fully-featured image for the Raspberry Pi Zero 2 after the holidays.

Resourceful Backers

Probably the main reason why I decided to go ahead and launch a crowdfunding campaign with Crowd Supply is that the I was told the project backers are nice and resourceful. This communication is a perfect example of this:

Hi Javier,

Just wanted to tell you that I had some time today to try out to get the haxophone working.

I had one minor problem, as the 3.5mm mini-jack was flying around in the box and I had to solder it back on (I am well equipped for that, so no problem to do it).

After that: everything works like charme: unzip image, pishrink it, upload it to sd card via rpi-imager and power it up.


Merry christmas and best regards

While this is embarrassing for us… (she received a broken Haxophone!), we were very happy that she was able to repair it herself. Her positive attitude is pure gold!

Field Report

Now that you all have your Haxophones, it might be a good time to submit a field report. This is a fancy worded "show and tell" program that can get you $50 credit that you can use to buy anything in Crowd Supply, including another Haxophone, now that they are in stock.

Most Requested Features

And if you have ideas or suggestions for the Haxophone, I invite you to submit them via the idea forum on Github.

So far we have a request for portamento (and other fluidsynth configuration options), a bite sensor, play-along tracks and support for transposing. Do not worry if you do not how to implement your idea or feature request. No one will ask you to implement it! (But, if you want to do it, help will be provided!)

Reach Out

That wraps up today’s update. Please don’t hesitate to reach out via the Dicussions section on the github page. Comments, questions, suggestions or rants are all welcome!

Have a very musical 2024!

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