OWL Pedal and OWL Modular beta OpenWare release v20.3

We’ve released OpenWare v20.3 for the OWL Pedal and Modular, as a beta release of the new OpenWare firmware for the OWL hardware.

There’s a few things to note!

The firmware assumes that the device has the normal OWL bootloader, which takes you to DFU mode if you hold down the pushbutton on startup. We’ve used that as a fall-back option, with ‘normal’ firmware upgrades done by the OwlWare firmware itself. To do this the firmware has to bend over backwards: the code to load and flash the new firmware image must run entirely from RAM so that the flash memory can be erased and rewritten. But the rest of the firmware runs from flash, which makes this tricky.

The new OpenWare project doesn’t do any of this and instead relies on the new MIDI bootloader to flash the device.

The important thing here is that if you try out the new firmware, you have to be able to use DFU to upgrade or revert to the previous version.

For reference, this is the DFU command we use to flash a binary firmware image (.bin file):
dfu-util -d 0483:df11 -c 1 -i 0 -a 0 -R -s 0x8008000:leave -D OWLPedal.bin

Another thing to note is that while you can now choose exactly what patches are stored on the device (there’s 640k available) there is not yet a way to change patch without being connected to a computer. The firmware loads up patch 1 by default, so store your preferred patch here! Storing more than once to the same patch will simply overwrite the slot.
We obviously don’t have a ‘mode’ button on this hardware like we do on Wizard and Alchemist, but we’ll implement a similar function which let’s you hold the button down for 3 secs to active ‘configuration mode’.

Yay, an update to the legacy platform :-D. I was doing my ritual
dfu-util run[1] and discovered the beta. Here are my first impressions:

  • Using OwlControl
  • Storing patches in slot 2…4 works, trying to store in Slot 1
    yields “Program Error 0x60 Invalid program slot”
  • Remote control doesn’t work (it jumps to the remote command but
    the setting immediately reverts again to the physical knob)
  • input/output gain is off, and one cannot change it (↝
    oscillator patches unable to track 1V/Oct)
  • Edit: the CV inputs appear to be inverted

[1] Using a Lab-Power-Supply with current-limiting for my modules,
Power comes up slowly, and since the owl doesn’t seem to use any brown-out
protection, there’s a 1 in 20 chance of the flash gettting corrupted on power-on.

okay cool - so this is on an OWL Modular, right?

OwlControl: yes storing patches here wasn’t designed for the new firmware. If you use the STORE button on the website instead then you can store in any slot - Chrome only. Note that OwlControl translates user slots 1 to 4 to programs 0 to 3. So 1 doesn’t work because it arrives as 0.

Remote control: tbd

Gain and tracking: tbd, though you can use MIDI Volume (Control Change 7) to set the output volume.

Inverted CV’s: good to know! I think they are getting twice inverted, both in the firmware and in the patch. We should stop inverting in the patch code and let the firmware deal with it!

Brown-out protection - I’ll look into it. It has a built-in brown out reset function and I think the default is 1.8-2.1V. What might be happening though is that while the lab supply comes up, the required voltage becomes available and the device starts up, only to quickly drain the charged up capacitors and pull the voltage below BOR level again.

This is amazing! Thank you for the update!! I finally got around to uploading the OWLPedal.bin file that you provided and it works better than ever (for my purposes at least). It even works with my Disaster Area DMC-4 pedal (seriously a dream come true). I’ll just need to change the MIDI channel that it listens to and I’m having a lot of trouble compiling a custom build. Seems like there are a lot of dependencies missing. Is there documentation available for what’s missing so we know which versions of what libraries to find?

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