I’m wondering if I could flash the PixelBlaze firmware to my own ESP32 hardware? I did find your repo at GitHub - simap/pixelblaze: Files related to Pixelblaze with the various Pattern and Mapper configurations that are shared out there. I do understand your firmware is closed source, but I’m wondering if there’d be the option to install onto my own hardware (pay for the firmware of course!) if I wanted to use PixelBlaze, instead of another firmware like WLED?
Welcome to the forums! Unfortunately, there’s no way to do this right now. I appreciate that you offered to pay for firmware, which we think is key to keeping our work on Pixelblaze sustainable. Our thinking on this (and we could be wrong) is that we can keep providing excellent customer support if we can be assured that every customer is running both our firmware and hardware (the classic Apple philosophy). This makes upgrades reliable and we never spend time needing to troubleshoot the potential interaction of firmware and hardware, from things like trace size, component selection, and RF design, to the most common issues people face around power. It also keeps our decisions about when to offer replacement devices very simple and frictionless.
Now, if you’re asking this question, it’s likely you’d be fine and could agree to opt-out of support (and wouldn’t need replacements), but we haven’t found a way to scale that up and avoid the mass-cloning that’s killed other platforms we love (for me personally, it was Ardupilot).
Can we at least take the opportunity to ask what makes you interested in this option? Are you designing your own product and want to keep BOM hardware costs down? Are you in another country where shipping is prohibitive? There are a few other motivations we’ve heard from people, but I’d love to hear specifically why you’re interested in it.
For me, it’s I already have a bunch of existing setups using WLED, which I’m sure you’ve heard of and been compared to. It works great, although obviously custom patterns/effects are much less easy to do, although the newish MoonModules fork is doing work with changing that via JSON configuration files.
And from what I’ve seen/heard, PixelBlaze configuration UI is far superior, even if the hardware is more expensive than the TinyPico v3 board which is similar, or slightly smaller, footprint than your Pico with similar hardware capabilities. PicoBlaze is more focused, with fewer pinouts available, but on the other hand for these uses it’s mostly not as important. Although for adding a I2S mic it’s physically less secure without a lot of glue/tape/care than through-hole soldered connection.
I actually was considering buying the PicoBlaze and flashing to WLED for myself for a particular project, but since I found TinyPico I haven’t.
And for me personally, I’m not so much a creative “setup my own effects/patterns”, but given there are a ton already present in PixelBlaze, and there appears to be a healthy community exchange of them, I was curious and wanted to give it a try. Also specifically to see if the Sound Reactive capabilities were superior to WLED for my use cases.
EDIT: And yes, I certainly understand wanting to keep quality/support high, and by producing your own hardware you certain do so. And while on a personal level I’m a big fan/supporter of F/OSS, I certainly understanding why you’ve chosen to keep things closed source. Just a worry if a bigger company comes along and offers you $$$$ for things, and then proceeds to destroy the community and what you built as has happened many times.
All that said, yes I’m very much the type of customer who has soldered in my own LD1117V33 for a ESP-01 and 3D printed a E26/27 adapter with a mini AC->DC 5v to create my own WLED all-around light, see the result https://imgur.com/OMlbAAN