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Alpha: Breath Pipe problem

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written by: Tenebrous

Ah cool, no worries! I thought your "news of an eventual design change" was referring to something that was yet to occur :)

Glad yours got sorted out!

written by: 0beron

Fri, 11 Jun 2010 19:23:00 +0100 BST

I seem to be having issues with the breath pipe again, it is taking a lot of air to start any notes, and if I hold down a key in say Clarinet mode, then the note continues for a second or two after I stop blowing - the air pressure slowly drops and the note fades. As far as I can tell the breath pipe itself (ie the detachable part) is clear. Is there anything I can do to correct this, besides blowing hard through the pipe in the hopes of clearing it out? Or is it the pressure sensing mechanism that is not working correctly?

As an aside, my WX5 controller benefits from an occasional clean-out, which requires partial disassembly. Is this something that will have to be done back at base for the Alpha in the future?

written by: mikemilton

Fri, 11 Jun 2010 21:08:51 +0100 BST

I do not have any answers but I've never had to clean out my WX7 (in many many years) and my WX5 looks to be headed the same way after a few months.

Perhaps less PBJ on those sandwiches?

Seriously, I make a point of leaving things out and vertical to drain before storing them but would be interested in any additional care suggestions as well

written by: geert

Sat, 12 Jun 2010 08:25:40 +0100 BST

I've had to clean out spit from the breath pipe of the Pico once in a while, haven't used the Alpha's breath pipe much yet so I can't tell if the same happens. Maybe some of the instructions for the Pico are applicable for the Alpha?

written by: mikemilton

Mon, 14 Jun 2010 09:29:56 +0100 BST

I guess there are two possible blockages.

1) The bocal itself ( and the instructions above surely are safe to use and effective)

2) the system inside the 'harp

In the latter case, it might be useful to develop an accessory that is similar to the bocal except that it does not have the side vents for the sensor. In that way, when inserted one could pressurize the downstream system to expel any blockage without possible risk to the sensor.

Or am I misunderstanding the design (ie: should it be the other way around)?


written by: 0beron

Mon, 14 Jun 2010 12:41:15 +0100 BST

Hmmm, I've tried the instructions relating to the pico breath pipe, and if I cover the main exit I am unable to blow air through it at all (i.e. no air comes out of the side holes at all). Does this suggest that there is something stuck in the breathpipe itself?

Clearing the main pipe of the Alpha ought to work as you describe, but if the blockage is in the side channel leading to the pressure sensor then I imagine you'd need to take the alpha apart to correct it?

written by: mikemilton

Mon, 14 Jun 2010 13:53:30 +0100 BST

OK. I just removed mine, covered the end, blew into it. Air came out the sides.

I'm guessing that the breath pipe itself has an issue.

written by: john

Mon, 14 Jun 2010 14:05:22 +0100 BST

Hi Robin

It really sounds like you have a problem with your breath pipe. There have been a few issues with corrosion on the insides of the pipe and spigot in earlier Alpha's (we now coat the pipe with the same heat cured epoxy used in aluminium drinks cans and make the spigots of brass to prevent this). Aaron will be in touch with you to arrange to collect your breath pipe and bring it back to Eigenlabs for service. We'll try and get it back to you as soon as possible.

Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience this will cause...


written by: 0beron

Mon, 14 Jun 2010 14:05:24 +0100 BST

Phew - hopefully I just need the pipe sorted out and not the whole Alpha.

written by: 0beron

Mon, 14 Jun 2010 16:09:13 +0100 BST

I remember early on after getting my Alpha trying the clearing procedure, and air did come out of the sides - along with some fine dust of some sort, maybe this is the corrosion you mention? I think my Alpha was late on in an early batch (ordered November 2009).

Thanks once again for your exemplary customer service.

written by: 0beron

Thu, 17 Jun 2010 18:47:43 +0100 BST

Problem solved! Thanks for all your help. I know of no other company where you can post a problem, have the company founder respond with the offer of a quick fix and news of an eventual design change, have the customer services team phone you, have the component do a round trip to HQ and have the issue solved in under a week! Kudos :)

written by: Tenebrous

Thu, 17 Jun 2010 20:33:12 +0100 BST

Oooh that's excellent! Is this anything us Alpha owners should watch out for with regards to the breath pipe?

written by: 0beron

Thu, 17 Jun 2010 20:43:38 +0100 BST

I think it's what John already mentioned - anodised surfaces and brass construction, so same design with updated materials.

written by: Tenebrous

Thu, 17 Jun 2010 22:45:24 +0100 BST

Ah cool, no worries! I thought your "news of an eventual design change" was referring to something that was yet to occur :)

Glad yours got sorted out!

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