Eigenharp Alpha Mk 1.0 keyboard failure

This day has finally come :face_holding_back_tears:

The keyboards on rows 1-6 of the fourth column from the top left of my Eigenharp Alpha Mk 1.0, which I purchased in 2010, have suffered a hardware failure.

I first noticed the anomaly immediately after turning on the power, when those six keyboards began to show intermittent fine orange blinking.

Movie: https://x.com/neologicjapan/status/1715922320441872613?s=46&t=0HBVxHEW47VD9vzo2bDgcw

Later, I was able to confirm that the LEDs had not failed, but the problem was more serious.

The six keys transmitted barely information when the keyboard was pressed down very hard for Note on/off, channel pressure, and Pitch Wheel, but no signals at all for Aftertouch and Control (coarse), and the velocity values were not very high at all. The velocity value is only a fixed value of 64, even when the keyboard is hit very hard.

I have no idea how the alpha keyboard is constructed, but I suspect that the six keys are organized as a group and that some component on the base has reached the end of its life.

I live in Japan, so the chances of getting repair support from Eigenlabs are pretty small, but I still love this instrument the most after 13 years since I bought it, and I would like to solve this problem somehow.

I am waiting for your advice and any good information or ideas on repairing the Alpha keyboard.

Oh :frowning:
Best contact Eigenlabs, Fingers crossed they are still doing repairs!


repair options

unfortunately as @NothanUmber already said, EigenLabs is pretty much the only option.

bare in mind, we have been told by Eigenlabs that if Eigenharps are opened, they will need to be re-calibrated, using a special tool/jig that they have, which measures the key response very precisely. so its not considered ‘user serviceable’ since we cannot re-calibrate.
(every eigenharp has its unique calibration data stored on-board in flash)

however, a couple of people here have open their eigenharps, and found that it was still calibrated correctly when they reassembled… but obviously, there is a risk.

note: I have,as yet, not been able to figure out the details of the calibration date that is stored on the eigenharp… and frankly, the risk of destroying calibration is too high, as it would render a working eigenharp unusable… so its not something I really want to mess with. - so we cannot ‘manually’ recalibrate at this time.

other thought …

that said…
(quite) a few years back I had an issue with some of the keys leds flickering and also cutting out. in that case it seemed to be related to the connector on the Alpha.
sometimes, plugging it in again, and ensuring it was tight would solve the problem.
so its worth checking the cable and connectors, if you haven’t already ( * )

unfortunately, I will say, that after a few months, I did send it back to EigenLabs to get it fixed… so Im not sure exactly the cause of the issue… nor if it would have degraded over time to a point of complete failure.

( * ) whilst its possible its a failure inside the Alpha (board etc). the cable and connectors, obviously, get more mechanical wear, so are more likely to fail.


ummm… sorry for you ;-(

Does the Alpha start like this always on power on?
It might be just calibration.

Do contact Eigenlabs as Ferdinand mention. Hope they can fix it.


Thanks for your reply.
I have been unabled to connect to the eigenlabs.com server from Japan since last night, but I will try to contact them to see what is going on :face_with_monocle:

Thanks for your comment.
I checked the cables and connectors by unplugging and plugging them in several times and turning the power back on. Unfortunately, the fine blinking of the six keyboards in the same area did not improve. You are right, I may eventually have to send this instrument back to the UK from Japan for repair. (I dread the high air freight charges that will be charged :face_with_spiral_eyes:)

seems web page is down…

official support contact - John Lambert : customerservices@eigenlabs.com


  • Mail

Eigenlabs Ltd.
Uphill Farm
TQ13 7PH


  • Phone

+44 (0) 1392 823 000


That’s right. Just by turning on the BaseStation, six keyboards start blinking. I don’t have a USB connection to the Mac, so I feel like it has nothing to do with macOS or EigenD.

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Thanks for the contact information for eigenlabs!

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sorry to hear that @Hiromitsu

hope you get it fixed quickly and can get back to enjoying it.



One question, have these keys gotten heavy use? In other words, do you think that it is due to wear or just age?

I did open my Tau to fix it; details: Eigenharp repair thread

But, that was not to fix the keys and I only had to disturb the board for the percussion keys. I did not notice any difference in calibration but it could be subtle.

Based on my experience, your keys will be very hard to get to and you have high risk of rendering the rest of the instrument unusable. So it’s probably a last resort to attempt a fix yourself. Even then, though it seems theoretically possible from the code to develop a write-only trial-and-error recalibration procedure, the hurdles to figuring that out in the future are quite high.

A lot of us would be interested if you get a response from Eigenlabs. They’re well made but can’t last forever.

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I have been playing the eigenharp alpha for about 13 years, taking good care of it. I took it out for live performances, but I did not play it every day.

The problem has suddenly appeared. Immediately after turning it on, six specific keys constantly send a Note, aftertouch, etc. signal.

I don’t know what caused these keys to malfunction, as I have never had a severe shock to the device, and I have determined that it has nothing to do with the Mac or EigenD, as the phenomenon occurs even when there is no USB connection.

I have checked the key structure with images, but it seems that optical sensors are used, which is beyond my amateurish disassembly skills :smiling_face_with_tear:

the problem is theory vs practice…

I know how to write the calibration date back to the eigenharp, and so could spend time / effort making a manual calibration routine - its not that hard.

BUT I’ve no way of testing it… without risking making a $2k instrument unusable.
and for development, I would need to do this a few dozen times… where early attempts are ‘more dangerous’ since code is not validated.

the biggest danger is easy to demonstrate …

the first step to do this is to read the existing calibration data from the harp, then be able to write it back (unchanged).
but, if I have a bug in my code reading that calibration data, I now write back invalid data, and have no way of recovering the original data!

or worst still… imagine it works for me in development, I release it .
then a user tries it as they think they want to ‘fine tune it’,
but somehow it goes wrong (e.g. dodgy cable or something), again no way back…

what makes it even worst is EigenLabs is unresponsive, so we cannot even guarantee, you could send it back to them to resolve (on their jig)

so its not that its hard, its just that the risk/reward ratio is too far skewed to risk.
it doesn’t matter how many warnings I give of disastrous consequences, if I make it available someone at sometime, will have a bad day :wink:


I didn’t know that Eigenlabs were still active, or servicing instruments…? If they’re not keeping the website going, I wouldn’t expect them to keep their support dept going either. It’s curious that it’s a whole group of lights; I’d have thought you’d need to get an electronics engineer to take a look at it and see if it was possible to identify any components that might be acting on a bank of switches, without disturbing them.

Worth trying to contact Eigenlabs in the first instance obvs, see if it was possible to get hold of a schematic at least.

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frankly, we do not know the situation…

a few years ago (5?) I organised my alpha to be repaired, and the situation with Eigenlabs was pretty similar at that time.

from what I gathered John + someone else (who lives close?) can do it, but doing so requires them to ‘setup the workshop’ - I’d guess moving stuff around etc, so they did it for a few instruments at the same time… rather than just one.
again, thats was my (limited) understanding, and things may have moved on from there.

as for third party, as I already said…
the ‘danger’ is opening will disturb the keys enough to require calibration - this is pretty much what EigenLabs advised us… but with no further details.

but the issue is we don’t know the probability or what may make this more likely or not.

the keys are sealed, and we have seen that others have taken apart and re-assembled without issue… so perhaps EigenLabs were being cautious - but we simply don’t know.

so the fact remains it doesn’t matter if you get a professional (EE) to open it or not, there is a possibility, this could mean it needs re-calibratiing, which we don’t have any means of doing (see previous post)

so we are back at the beginning…

the first port of call has to be Eigen Labs, if they respond and you can get it fixed that way… then this is the best way for such an expensive instrument.

IF we get to a situation where Eigen Labs are not supporting the instrument and not responding, then frankly, we have will have to look into alternatives.
this is tricky still as there’d presumably be no access to spare, schematics ( * ) … as well as the calibration issue. but when there is no choice, theres no choice.

but we don’t really know if we are in this situation yet, lets hope not :slight_smile:

( * ) not sure Eigen Labs will be wiling to hand over schematics, could be copyright issues… we know some of the work was not done in-house.