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Unresolved Robo Beta does not connect with controller

Discussion in 'Troubleshooting' started by Titaniumboy, Nov 30, 2019.

  1. Titaniumboy

    Titaniumboy New Member

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    Hello,

    I received our Robo Beta from the Kickstarter campaign in late 2013. We had a lot of trouble with ABS prints sticking to the bed, and then we started having trouble with Repetier connecting to the micro controller properly. Events are fuzzy from six years ago, but I remember that the connection issues started out sporadic and got to a point finally where we could not connect at all. We never did get the Robo Beta running properly back then.

    Fast forward to late 2019 and I’m trying to finally chase the problem down and get our Robo alive again.

    When there is power to the printer, and then when I plug in the USB cable I don’t see any LED’s light up in the controller.

    If there is no power to the printer, and then I plug in the USB cable, LED1 on the controller flashes green twice and Repetier beeps a couple of times.

    Manual commands sent by Repetier give the message “Commands Waiting”.

    We also have a Solidoodle 2 and have printed gobs of ABS prints. It appears that the Sanguinololu Arduino clone controller lights up when a USB cable is plugged into it, so I’m guessing that our Robo Beta controller has issues of some sort.

    Any ideas on where to start troubleshooting?

    Thanks for any help.
     
  2. mark tomlinson

    mark tomlinson ༼ つ ◕_ ◕ ༽つ
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    Open bay printers are always going to be problematic for ABS. You can make it work, but it will take a fair amount of effort.

    Given your symptoms I would suspect the RAMPS 1.4 board or the Arduino Mega is faulty. Most likely the Arduino since you can't get communications established at all.

    You could just buy an Arduino board, replace it, reload the firmware and see... but the smarter choice would be to get an All-In-One kit from Amazon and that will include all of your electronics so no matter what is broken, you are good.

    Here are some examples (not promoting a vendor):

    https://smile.amazon.com/WOWOONE-Printer-Arduino-Controller-Printerarduino/dp/B07T8L584W

    https://smile.amazon.com/Aokin-Printer-Controller-Arduino-Heatsink/dp/B07Q5R6YSK

    https://smile.amazon.com/Printer-RAMPS-Controller-MEGA2560-Jumper/dp/B079294B93

    https://smile.amazon.com/OSOYOO-Printer-Controller-Stepper-Heatsink/dp/B0111ZSS2O

    Look around and get whichever you like. Some of the kits include an LCD controller so if you do not already have one (stock did not) then you can add that too. We can walk you through the firmware changes needed for that as well.
     
  3. mark tomlinson

    mark tomlinson ༼ つ ◕_ ◕ ༽つ
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    The bright side is that ABS is almost NEVER a real requirement, there are a lot of better choices for all of the features ABS offers -- only price may be the one factor where ABS comes out ahead -- it can be had dirt cheap.
     
  4. mark tomlinson

    mark tomlinson ༼ つ ◕_ ◕ ༽つ
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    P.S. just FYI -- I have two Robos that started off life as 2013 betas. They are both effectively R1+ machines at present and they both continue to work fine -- they can be easily upgraded and the details are scattered across this forum :) They have had parts replaced over the years that died (steppers, electronics, etc) but the parts that make these are easy to source. The only part Robo specific is the plastic case.
     
  5. Titaniumboy

    Titaniumboy New Member

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    Mark,

    Thanks for the help. I had not realized that the microcontroller plus RAMPS boards had gotten so inexpensive. Strange that so many of the Amazon listings have mediocre ratings with relatively few reviews.


    I will definitely need some handholding on the firmware upgrade process. I won’t deny that has me a little nervous.

    Should I change the “Unresolved” in the thread header or leave it as is until the new board is in and running? Also should the inevitable questions about the firmware upgrade be posted here or should I start another thread?
     
  6. Titaniumboy

    Titaniumboy New Member

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    I ended up buying the All-In-One kit (with LCD screen) from your first link,but it is not due in until Friday of next week. I then also bought one from FTVOGUE without LCD screen) and it should reach me on Monday. Having two AIO kits will be useful, I think, in later debugging the wonky Taurino I have now. Plus maybe the Solidoodle gets a long awaited brain upgrade. Maybe the worst case is that the original Beta controller ends up being a source of spare parts such as the RAMPS board and motor drivers.
     
  7. Titaniumboy

    Titaniumboy New Member

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    The funny part is that we have, up until last week, only printed ABS on the Solidoodle 2. We just began experimenting with PLA on the SD2 last week and, to be honest, have been struggling with the PLA. It seems to be very runny compared to ABS and I’m sure this is compounded by the fact that our SD2 does not have a filament fan. Yet another reason for the second All-In-One kit we bought.

    We print ABS on a sheet of yellow Kapton tape on the SD2 and our prints stick very well. Except of course for the corners warping up on larger prints...
     
  8. Titaniumboy

    Titaniumboy New Member

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    I tried searching for the different versions of the R1 on the forum but didn’t have any luck. The following video from AxisLab 3D Printing helped me with the various versions:



    These are the differences in the R1 versions if I understand correctly. I’m sure I have missed some items or even made errors in this list.

    R1 Beta
    - J Head hot end
    - Y axis drawer slides
    - No auto level
    - Had both unheated and heated bed options
    - 5/16” rods


    R1
    - Added auto level
    - Changed to 8mm rods
    - Hexagon all metal hot end
    - Y axis drawer slides replaced by linear rod and bearings
    - All beds are heated
    - latch for feeder
    - Blue LED lights
    - Added cover to the bottom
    - Added fan for the electronics
    - Added micro SD slot

    R1+
    Same as R1 except for:
    - 8mm rods
    - Upgraded hexagon all metal hot end
    - White LED lights
    - Ribbon cable for the heated bed
    - Quick release bracket for the hexagon hot end
    - Z axis linear rods directly into motor instead using motor couplers
     
    #8 Titaniumboy, Nov 30, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2019
  9. mark tomlinson

    mark tomlinson ༼ つ ◕_ ◕ ༽つ
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    Yep, your list nailed it. The differences are all minor really (Z steps was the big change between R1 'flavors' from the software side).
    The R1+ does NOT use 8mm threaded rods, it uses (approximately) 8mm leadscrews, but with multiple starts so the Z steps are totally different than the R1 (800 steps/mm versus the 2560). Pretty sure I have the exact numbers called out in the FAQ thread too.


    ABS is totally doable on these printers, but it is more 'fiddly' because it is so environment sensitive. I used a LOT of ABS on the beta until I realized that there were other filaments that met (or beat) the specs I needed which were NOT fiddly :)

    These days we print mostly PLA for prototypes and some flavor of Nylon for other stuff unless it really needs strength or heat deflection in which case it is BluPrint or Polycarb. I have not printed any ABS it years, but this is the last thing we printed with it: https://www.thingiverse.com/make:90476

    With that we used the tendency to warp and curl in our favor to make it look more 'distressed' or aged.
     
  10. Titaniumboy

    Titaniumboy New Member

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    I will have to look up “Z Steps”.

    Nice ABS gun!

    My new el-cheapo clone Mega 2560 came in today instead of Monday.

    Should I change the “Unresolved” in the thread header or leave it as is until the new board is in and running? Also should the inevitable questions about the firmware upgrade be posted here or should I start another thread?
     
  11. Titaniumboy

    Titaniumboy New Member

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    For better or worse, I followed the first three steps of this Instructable to complete my first RAMPS 1.4 assembly.

    https://www.instructables.com/id/Wiring-3D-Printer-RAMPS-14/

    I don’t think I need the fifth motor driver installed on the RAMPS board, but at least I won’t lose it this way.

    The heatsinks are a little scary being mounted to the driver board chip in that they seem really close to other components. It is really hard to tell if the underside of the heat sink is touching anything other than the chip

    Now on to flashing the Arduino?

    EDIT:
    I found these two links, the first being from the FAQ. Is this the latest and greatest firmware and method to flash for my Beta?

    http://community.robo3d.com/index.php?threads/faq-r1-r1-series-printers.19735/#post-119335

    http://download.robo3d.com/firmware/R1/ROBO3D_BETA_6_10.zip
     
    #11 Titaniumboy, Dec 2, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2019
  12. mark tomlinson

    mark tomlinson ༼ つ ◕_ ◕ ༽つ
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    Yes, there is nothing anywhere near recent for the beta. That is the most recent (2014? I think).
    If you make hardware mods (like adding autoleveling or changing to leadscrews) then there are some other options, but as long as it stays stock you are fine with that.
     
  13. mark tomlinson

    mark tomlinson ༼ つ ◕_ ◕ ༽つ
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    You can collect all of the questions here in this thread. It sort-of all ties together and is not wildly all over the place :)
     
  14. Titaniumboy

    Titaniumboy New Member

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    Success !!
    I think..... So tired...

    I downloaded the Arduino IDE 1.8.10. Then I unzipped the Marlin_6_10 firmware from the above link. Opened that file inside the IDE and tried to compile. Got the dreaded name 'fpos_t' after 'struct' error. Downloaded the SDBASE zipfile as per Mark's instructions in the above link and transferred the two files and overwrote the old versions in the marlin_6_10 subdirectory.

    Tried to compile again and it apparently succeeded. Weird.
    Even weirder is that all of this firmware got uploaded to the Mega2560 successfully. Maybe. At least there wasn't any smoke.

    Tomorrow (today?) I will try and remove the old bad controller and install this shiny new controller.

    Mark, your writeup in the above link was instrumental in this endeavor. The Robo info on firmware upgrades would have left me in the dust, especially after that name 'fpos_t' after 'struct' compile error nonsense. Thank you very much.
     
    mark tomlinson likes this.
  15. mark tomlinson

    mark tomlinson ༼ つ ◕_ ◕ ༽つ
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    While it is no longer supported/maintained they should have fixed the couple of lines (or merged in the changes I made) a long time ago to prevent this from being an issue. Unfortunately they have a history of walking away form the machines when they are no longer supported (and they are not alone in this, many hardware vendors are like that).

    Good luck -- I am sure you will have a few more bumps in the road, but we can help you get over them.
     
  16. Titaniumboy

    Titaniumboy New Member

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    Thanks again for your help.

    But I’m a little confused: your profile lists you as a staff member but you seemingly refer to Robo as something separate?

    I haven’t got to swapping controllers yet. Soon.

    Another thought occurs to me - is there anything physically different on my Beta, other than having different Z-steps, that would preclude the R1+ firmware from working?

    EDIT: Never mind. I forgot about the R1+ using two separate motor drivers for Z whereas the Beta uses only one motor driver for both Z motors.

    Just finished swapping the controllers. I have not connected power or tried to connect by computer yet.

    I’m wondering if my Z limit switch is physically installed backwards. The Z actuating screw touches the limit switch at the tethered end instead of the untethered end. Both the X and Y limit switches are actuated at the limit switches untethered end.
     
    #16 Titaniumboy, Dec 3, 2019 at 9:48 PM
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2019 at 4:36 AM
  17. mark tomlinson

    mark tomlinson ༼ つ ◕_ ◕ ༽つ
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    That is correct. I volunteer my time to help other owners (like me) Robo does not directly staff this forum (nor respond here very often).
    I am not employed by nor do I work for Robo3D. None of the admins and mods on here do. Robo3D provides the forum and we (the users) staff it.

    If you want to talk directly to actual Robo folks... this is not your channel.
    If you want help with the printer, we can do that :)
     
  18. mark tomlinson

    mark tomlinson ༼ つ ◕_ ◕ ༽つ
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    The two Z drivers are not required, one works fine for both Z motors as there is little to none in terms of acceleration/jerk for the Z. The standard RAMPS 1.4 is designed to handle two Z steppers on the one driver.

    The Z switch was inverted on the R1/R1+ and activated when open where the Beta the switch activated when closed. This is reflected in the firmware for the Beta -- the Z axis endstop is not "inverted" and if you browse through the configuration.h you can probably find that setting if you are curious if you compare to the R1/R1+ you can see they set that one to "inverted" meaning it is activated when OPEN rather than CLOSED. An endstop is not inverted if it activates when CLOSED. Activation when OPEN is inverted behavior for Marlin
     
  19. Titaniumboy

    Titaniumboy New Member

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    Finally got a chance to hook up power and and hook up a computer. I could not get my old computer to connect up to the Robo, even though it connects up just fine with the Solidoodle.

    I decided to try a newer laptop running Win7 and downloaded the latest Repetier Host version 2.1.6. Even though there was no Robo specific info in Repetier I was able to get it to connect successfully to my Robo. Also able to move the X and Y and Z axis under RH manual control.

    Some troubling behavior emerged however. I noticed the bed temperature starting to rise even though the bed heater had not been activated. Got all the way up to 102C all by itself. Eventually after trying a few things I discovered that turning on the fan would also turn on the bed heater, even though the bed heater icon was indicating OFF. Similarly turning on the bed heater also turns on the fan, again with the fan icon indicating OFF.

    Should I go ahead and mark this thread SOLVED since my original question regarding connection issues has been successfully answered? I will probably have more questions regarding Repetier Host and SLIC3R settings and also the fan/bed heater linked behavior.
     
  20. Titaniumboy

    Titaniumboy New Member

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    I took a multimeter and measured the voltage on MOSFET power terminals D8 and D8+ (heated bed), and also terminals D9 and D9+ (filament fan). When the fan was turned on at 80% I read fluctuating voltages on both sets of pins that were generally under 1.5 volts, which seems like PWM behavior. When the heated bed was turned I read a solid 12 VDC on both sets of pins, plus I could tell the fan was running at 100% speed instead of 80% speed.

    So somehow the bed heater and fan MOSFETs had some connection between them. Seriously hoping that there was not a bad solder joint bridging between the MOSFETs, I took a closer look with a magnifying glass.

    Upon closer inspection I realized that the heatsinks of the two MOSFETs were touching each other due to being shipped in one of those flexible mailing packages that Amazon likes to use. A simple bending of the two components slightly away from one another solved the problem.

    With hindsight I realized that the red LEDs for D8 and D9 were both going on and off in tandem. But I didn’t have a clue what the red LEDs represented until I did more research into RAMPS 1.4 boards.
     
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