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Ulticontroller flaking big time


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Posted · Ulticontroller flaking big time

My Ulticontroller keeps "crashing" where I have to shut down and unplug the machine to get the display to come back. Part of the time, the display fills with flickering random ASCII characters. Other times, it just goes completely blank. This happens during the early stages of most USB prints from Cura. Often the print continues to the end, despite the Ulticontroller displaying gibberish or a blank screen. Unfortunately, while it's like that, I can't adjust print speed, hot end temperature, or fan speed. That's all I do with the Ulticontroller, anyway. When it crashes, I'm pretty much stuck with whatever Cura set up at the start of the print.

Is my controller faulty? If so, is there a simpler controller out there where I could just adjust those three things? I don't really print from SD card. I just need the temp/speed display and the previously mentioned three adjustments.

I plan to check the connection to the main board after this print stops running. Any other suggestions I might try while my printer is down?

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    Posted · Ulticontroller flaking big time

    Try using the Prepare Print, Transfer to SD Card and disconnecting the printer from the computer all together. It's not really designed to be used as the controlling component while printing through USB, but rather, when printing from the SD card. If you are going to be just printing from the USB, then I would recommend disconnecting the UltiController.

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    Posted · Ulticontroller flaking big time
    Try using the Prepare Print, Transfer to SD Card and disconnecting the printer from the computer all together. It's not really designed to be used as the controlling component while printing through USB, but rather, when printing from the SD card. If you are going to be just printing from the USB, then I would recommend disconnecting the UltiController.

    Because Cura's settings can't be changed according to layer number, I use the Ulticontroller to manually keep the speed low for the first 5 or 6 layers, then I crank it up. When it's near the end, I slow it down again. This gives me nicer surfaces on top and bottom. I'll be sorely depressed if I can't use this expensive controller to adjust for limitations of the software. I'm getting really nice parts using that method.

    The thing is, it worked perfect for what I've been doing for weeks. Then, the display started crashing the last week or so. Today, I came in and it was crashed without anything having been printed. Just sitting there doing nothing, it crashed. There is something very wrong with it.

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    Posted · Ulticontroller flaking big time

    Have you changed the firmware? Maybe something has gone wrong there.

    Other options, put the files on a card and print from the card. Or use something like Pronterface to change the speed on the fly from the computer, that's what I do as I don't have an UC (with a laptop semi-permanently attached I don't see any reason to get one either :) ).

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    Posted · Ulticontroller flaking big time

    I cannot assist with the corrupted character display, but firstly why are you printing from USB at all ?

    Thats basically almost the most useful part of the ulticontroller is to print from SD card...

    The SD card is far easier, far cheaper (no electricity running a PC overnight and so on) and far more reliable.

    Secondly, you can adjust the speed all you want from the Ulticontroller without the USB connected.

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    Posted · Ulticontroller flaking big time
    I cannot assist with the corrupted character display, but firstly why are you printing from USB at all ?

    Thats basically almost the most useful part of the ulticontroller is to print from SD card...

    The SD card is far easier, far cheaper (no electricity running a PC overnight and so on) and far more reliable.

    Secondly, you can adjust the speed all you want from the Ulticontroller without the USB connected.

    The SD slot is the least useful feature for me.

    Huh? The SD card isn't easier than just clicking "Print." The SD card adds extra steps since I have to take the card out of the printer, find the tiny slot on my computer to insert it, copy the files over, take the card out, put it back in the printer, then find the file on the tiny menu screen of the Ulticontroller, and finally print. All of my computers are on 24/7 anyway, so the cost/extra power usage isn't an issue for me.

    I bought the controller specifically for two features - the real-time display of printer status and the ability to tweak settings mid-print. I never intended to use the SD card slot for anything. If there had been a cheaper model without the SD card slot, I would have bought it. If it comes down to choosing between USB or SD, I'll likely just unplug the Ulticontroller and print without it. I don't know how others feel, but when I'm in The Zone, I hate disruptions. Getting up to walk an SD card back and forth between my computer and printer is disruptive to my workflow. Clicking "Print" in Cura, which is always running on my third screen, isn't disruptive at all.

    Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the suggestions, but it seems like everyone wants me to change the way I work, rather than helping me fix the crashing controller.

    This is looking like one more regret in a long string of regrets buying this printer. I've already spent as much on this printer as a low end SLA printer costs and now, I have an expensive controller that is turning into a paperweight. It's a shame because I'm really hooked on 3-D printing now. When it works, this is a great printer.

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    Posted · Ulticontroller flaking big time
    My guess would be a bad solder connection, or on the controller, or on the Ultimaker electronics.

    Thanks Daid. I'll take a look at the connections to see if any of the solder looks suspicious.

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    Posted · Ulticontroller flaking big time
    Have you changed the firmware? Maybe something has gone wrong there.

    Other options, put the files on a card and print from the card. Or use something like Pronterface to change the speed on the fly from the computer, that's what I do as I don't have an UC (with a laptop semi-permanently attached I don't see any reason to get one either :) ).

    No changes have been made to the firmware.

    Can I run Pronterface at the same time as Cura? I like the three click simplicity of Cura, but changing speed on the fly from my desk would be a huge plus.

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    Posted · Ulticontroller flaking big time

    Only one program can be connected to the printer at a time, so if you're printing with cura then no, you can't. Personally I've never used cura for printing, always preferred Pronterface. Haven't tried cura in quite a while now though so maybe it's time to check it out again.

    Sorry about the useless suggestions there, it was in the middle of the night and I didn't read your post very well... I see now that my advice was pretty pointless.

    Also, finally someone else who don't see the benefit of shuffling SD-cards back and forth and mucking around with a one button console, I thought I was the only one! :p

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    Posted · Ulticontroller flaking big time
    Only one program can be connected to the printer at a time, so if you're printing with cura then no, you can't. Personally I've never used cura for printing, always preferred Pronterface. Haven't tried cura in quite a while now though so maybe it's time to check it out again.

    Sorry about the useless suggestions there, it was in the middle of the night and I didn't read your post very well... I see now that my advice was pretty pointless.

    Also, finally someone else who don't see the benefit of shuffling SD-cards back and forth and mucking around with a one button console, I thought I was the only one! :p

    I would much prefer to get a ton of good or even bad suggestions than no suggestions at all. These forums are the only reason I kept my Ultimaker. You guys all rock.

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    Posted · Ulticontroller flaking big time

    Daid is probably right about the controller, so all I can suggest is the good "old faithful" of pull all the ribbon connectors out and re-insert a couple of times (with the machine off obviously).

    C.

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    Posted · Ulticontroller flaking big time

    Example of what it does.

     

     

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    Posted · Ulticontroller flaking big time

    Looks a lot like what would happen if the LCD has one of the wires disconnected. So really looks like a hardware problem.

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    Posted · Ulticontroller flaking big time
    Looks a lot like what would happen if the LCD has one of the wires disconnected. So really looks like a hardware problem.

    Yeah, I disconnected it and tossed it in a drawer. I'm not spending a couple hundred dollars to buy and ship a new one. Besides, the only function I can't do in Cura is adjusting the fan speed during printing.

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    Posted · Ulticontroller flaking big time

    Hi,

    If the controller is broken, I would think that this is clearly a warranty issue and you would be given a

    new unit free of charge.

    Secondly, if there is a bad connection on the board somewhere, its possible it can be seen if you

    just take the case off the controller.

    Also its very possible to fix slightly poor surface mount solder joints cowboy style with a hair-dryer. I can personally vouch that this does actually work (on XBOX consoles...)

     

    Just be careful not to fry anything sensitive. But if its broken give it a shot !

    C.

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    Posted · Ulticontroller flaking big time
    Hi,

    If the controller is broken, I would think that this is clearly a warranty issue and you would be given a

    new unit free of charge.

    Secondly, if there is a bad connection on the board somewhere, its possible it can be seen if you

    just take the case off the controller.

    Also its very possible to fix slightly poor surface mount solder joints cowboy style with a hair-dryer. I can personally vouch that this does actually work (on XBOX consoles...)

    Totally... the UC is an awesome, indispensable tool. Works great as described.

    Unfortunately, on very rare occasions, the connectors may not work perfectly, or a solder joint may be dry... as with all things UM, everything is fixable on your own (soldering iron and multimeter), and if you reach the end of the line, UM support will help you.

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    Posted · Ulticontroller flaking big time
    Unfortunately, on very rare occasions, the connectors may not work perfectly, or a solder joint may be dry... as with all things UM, everything is fixable on your own (soldering iron and multimeter), and if you reach the end of the line, UM support will help you.

    The state of electronics is not perfect at the moment. We are working very hard to get a better producer of our electronics, and have everything factory tested (we test it in-house right now)

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    Posted · Ulticontroller flaking big time

    I received a bad UC (it has a display problem) with my UM. It took me a couple of months to realize that there was a problem. When I contact UM support, they told me it is not covered by the warranty and directed me to https://shop.ultimaker.com/terms , section "9. Guarantees and liability"

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    Posted · Ulticontroller flaking big time

    A friend in the UK who bought an Ultimaker at the same time as me, has just called me up

    saying the display on his machine is going wrong. Exactly the same symptoms.

    So it does look more like there is possibly some problem here with the production of these parts.

    C.

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    Posted · Ulticontroller flaking big time

    Hmmm well that sucks....

    It might well be that from the legal sense they do not HAVE to provide a warranty for this...BUT

    I would have thought that they would do so for the following 3 reasons.

    1) Evidently due to the number of people having this problem its clearly a problem with bad manufacture, such

    that the products are being DELIVERED in sub-standard condition.

    2) This part is an UPGRADE, no part of the normal kit. Its asking ALOT to make people pay for an

    uprgade that is being provided with sub-standard level of manufacture. Which is not fit for purpose.

    3) Pissing of your customers in a market as saturated as the budget 3D printer market is basically

    just about the stupidest thing possible and will hurt the company by orders of mangnitude more than it

    would to simply replace the broken units without complaint.

    :!: Sort out your act Ultimaker !!!! :!:

    If my Ulticontroller breaks, I will arrive at your doorstep and refuse to leave until I have been given another

    one...FREE.

    C.

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    Posted · Ulticontroller flaking big time
    1) Evidently due to the number of people having this problem

    You mean a grand total of 2?

    I know every single problem sucks, especially if it's a 80$ UltiController that is not working properly. But I can personally guarantee you that every UltiController is checked if it works (LCD, Button and beeper) before it's shipped. Seeing the shipping numbers (that I cannot disclose) then we would be flooded with support email if there was really a major production problem.

    Our current electronics producer is sub-standard, and we are working to change that. But changing this is not as easy as it sounds. Having electronics produced is not the same as baking a bread. The previous company I worked at made the stupid mistake of saying one day "Well, from now on, all electronics need to be produced at company X". Hilarity ensured and tons (100k) of money where lost due to lost in sales, extra support and lack of stock.

    Most of the electronic problems (I've checked out a few of the "bad" boards we have here) seem to be down to bad soldering. This can be on the UltiController side but also on the UltimakerPCB side. It kinda sucks if you need to check it, but it's not "unfixable"

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    Posted · Ulticontroller flaking big time

    I agree with alot of what you say Daid, however I would add the following points:

    1) If it IS only 3 people, the it doesnt really cost Ultimaker anything to replace does it ?

    2) Generally if there is a problem only a very small number of people will actually go onto a forum

    and publicly complain. I dont know what the ratio is, but if there are 3 complaints you can bet there

    are ALOT more people with faulty parts who are just in the background.

    C.

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    Posted · Ulticontroller flaking big time

    "flooded with support email" is not "public complain".

    Also, I assume the problem is not in the UltiController in most cases, but in the actual Ultimaker PCB. A bad solder there would go unnoticed till you connect the UltiController. So replacing the UltiController would do little. And the PCB is check and produced a lot better now, but old PCBs in the field are more likely to have problems.

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    Posted · Ulticontroller flaking big time

    Can you give any pointers about where to look on the main Ultimaker PCB ?

    Not all of us are electronics guys...

    C.

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