FenixIV New Years devblog

Published by Priscilla Haring-Kuipers on

Happy 2020 to you! We had some lovely times over the holidays but if you were keeping an eye out, you might have noticed that there have been no champagne pictures on our social media. Our GOLDEN PROTOTYPE is not ready yet. This means another shift in our timeline – we are now hoping to have the first 25 ready at Superbooth, and even that might be tricky…

What DID happen since the last devblog?

  • We received all the boards for the second prototype, partially preassembled. A few of the parts that weren’t soldered on yet, we ran out of and we are waiting for fresh stock. We had enough for at least 3 prototypes of everything. Including the experiment boards, we are now at version 4 of some modules and version 5 of others.
  • We have received thousands of coloured rings. After a bit of back-and-forth with colour samples we now have boxes of beautiful jack and headphone rings. Lush anodized aluminium ready to be screwed on. Since we removed the slit on the rings, we are now building a tool that can grip the rings and screw them on. The aim is to attach this to our pick-and-place machine because 330 jacks * 100 FenixIV = many many rings.
  • The power board is done. The thing inside the FenixIV that gives it the power to beep is all sorted.
  • The sourcing of parts is settled. We have already ordered a lot of parts and we are about to go to Shenzhen to go shopping. Even though we are not at the GOLDEN PROTOTYPE ready-to-manufacture version yet, we are certain enough about almost all the parts to set this in motion. The size of the FenixIV steps us up a notch, and we have levelled up for example in getting to the Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ) for the potentiometers and switches that we know & love directly from the factory.
  • We settled on ways to produce & finish the bamboo sides – we already have all the sides we need for our first batch waiting in the shed.
  • The frontpanel is done. The design is now 100% consistent as all the graphics are generated from code. It was rebuilt from the ground up & we think it looks better now. We also added a few more icons and smoothed out the overall design.
  • We very much like the new design of the case, but now it didn’t fit the frontpanel. The case is too small by maybe 0,5mm – we think perhaps everyone failed to account for the thickness of the powder coating or it’s a result of some warping due to welding the sides. We will be discussing this with our metalworking friends and are confident we can figure this out.
  • Overall budget remains sort of on schedule. Some things turned out more expensive while other things turned out cheaper. It seems to be levelling out.

So what is the planning looking like now? First off – we are about to go to Shenzhen between 7-20 january. To buy a lot of parts, to visit the factory that we hope will make the gig-bag and visit one of our board factories. We are also looking forward to some bbq and bubble tea.

With the final parts in the house – assembling the last things on the boards should take maybe two days. There will be a magical moment when we can power on the second prototype – in a new case, with a new frontpanel.

When we’ve established no magic smoke coming out anywhere, we can start fully testing the hardware. We estimate this to be between a day (everything’s perfect) to a week (some minor issues) or a month (bigger issues) or we need to redesign and reproduce (major fucking issues). Now, everything has already been tested before but we are using some new parts in this design and all the ranges have been changed following a system-wide voltage change and some of Bert’s comments that we’ve incorporated to keep in the Fenix family. The biggest question mark is the new power routing.

When all is well with the hardware ! GOLDEN PROTOTYPE ! we can order the boards and cases and fronts for the first 30 (5 Beta’s and 25 first batch). This will probably have a lead-time of up to six weeks. In this time we will work on the manual and improving the software.

Then we will take some time playing, testing and improving the systems with our 5 Beta testers. Meanwhile we will be doing the last assembly, testing and calibration of our first batch.

In the absolute best case this means we will have 25 absolutely amazing FenixIV’s all ready to go on the 18th of April. Superbooth is on the 23rd…. Fingers crossed.




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