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billdempsey

Ultimaker is in a coma

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I bought my Ultimaker last Thanksgiving. Didn't get it working until mid-January. Spent another couple weeks overcoming warping and plugging issues during which the Ulticontroller failed. Finally I had a few weeks where the printer worked without any problems. Then, late last week I tried a 26 hour print, which failed at 23 hours. The Ultimaker hasn't been able to communicate since.

I tried different cables. I tried different ports on my computer. I tried a completely different computer. I tried reinstalling the Arduino drivers. I tried reinstalling Cura. I even installed the 13.1 beta. Cura never gets past the first run wizard, because it simply cannot see the printer. The printer is comatose.

Considering Ultimaker has a completely different definition of "customer service" than the rest of the world, I'm back here in the forums asking other customers for suggestions - AGAIN.

Any ideas guys?

P.S. Saw Erik on 3Ders.org lying to people, saying the difference between the half price Chinese knockoffs and the Ultimaker was customer service. I would have laughed if I wasn't so pissed. Erik obviously has no idea what customer service means. Companies who actually provide customer service will offer to replace parts that are known to be bad and which fail within the first few months. They will also stop shipping the bad parts to new customers. By the way, forcing your customers to turn to other customers for help on forums is NOT customer service. Not givng a crap about the problems customers are having is also NOT customer service. Ultimaker offers the same level of customer service the Chinese would offer - NONE. I feel I've been cheated out of $3000 by Erik's company with nothing to show for my money.

Here is an example of the reality of Ultimaker: There are two other Ultimaker owners in my local hackerspace. Until last week, mine was the only one of the three printers that actually worked. Now, none of them do. Both of theirs only worked for a half-dozen frustrating months. They already gave up months ago and bought other brands (Replicator 2 and MendelMAX.) They didn't bother posting here in the forums. They just abandoned their Ultimakers and considered it a hard lesson. It's looking like I'll be joining them.

So, now our 100+ hackerspace members know all about the many problems with Ultimaker from three different sources. How many do you think will ever consider buying one? How many will recommend them to friends, family, or acquaintances looking for a 3-D printer? At a recent event, we had 6 people come in who were considering 3-D printers. Everyone told them to avoid Ultimaker. Yeah, Ultimaker's awesome "customer service" is working really well for them. They're going to kill any chance they have of selling printers in the U.S. within a couple years at this rate. Speed and print quality are useless when the printer works less than 25% of the time.

 

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Hi Bill,

Thank you for posting on this forum.

I am a technical support engineer at Ultimaker for close to a year now and i am happy to say i have been able to help close to all customers that contacted me.

After reading your topic i browsed our communication system but i could not find any tickets when searching 'Bill' or 'Dempsey'.

Could you please let me know if you have been contacting us under a different name?

I would like to help you with your issues.

Regarding to this problem:

Are you currently working with an UltiController?

When swapping the Arduino, did you install the default Marlin FW?

Do you hear the Arduino trying to connect?

Have you tried different ports on your computer?

Are you working with a Mac or Windows?

Also, if your friends from the hackerspace are having difficulties and feel like reviving their Ultimakers please have them contact me via Support @ Ultimaker.com

I hope that, regardless of your frustration, you can see there is a big community supporting us and that would not exist if we would leave everybody hanging.

So i do not think it is fair to call Erik a liar, but i guess everybody is entitled to their own opinion.

I am looking forward on hearing from you, so we can solve your issue.

Thank you.

 

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Hi Bill,

Thank you for posting on this forum.

I am a technical support engineer at Ultimaker for close to a year now and i am happy to say i have been able to help close to all customers that contacted me.

After reading your topic i browsed our communication system but i could not find any tickets when searching 'Bill' or 'Dempsey'.

Could you please let me know if you have been contacting us under a different name?

I would like to help you with your issues.

Regarding to this problem:

Are you currently working with an UltiController?

When swapping the Arduino, did you install the default Marlin FW?

Do you hear the Arduino trying to connect?

Have you tried different ports on your computer?

Are you working with a Mac or Windows?

Also, if your friends from the hackerspace are having difficulties and feel like reviving their Ultimakers please have them contact me via Support @ Ultimaker.com

I hope that, regardless of your frustration, you can see there is a big community supporting us and that would not exist if we would leave everybody hanging.

So i do not think it is fair to call Erik a liar, but i guess everybody is entitled to their own opinion.

I am looking forward on hearing from you, so we can solve your issue.

Thank you.

 

#TSS-974-36751

I don't know who you are, but Anita Eising was the person "helping" me. If "helping" means repeatedly telling me I must have assembled it wrong. After many emails back and forth, buying a bunch of replacement parts, and repeatedly hearing it must be my fault, I stopped emailing her and came to the forums where other customers have helped me fix or work around all the problems, until now.

You obviously didn't even read my post because you asked me if I tried different ports and if I'm using an Ullticontroller. I listed in the post everything I've tried (including different ports) and I said in the third sentence that the Ulticontroller failed long ago. I also already answered your question about the firmware update. The firmware update happens during the first run wizard, which I said couldn't see the printer. Cura doesn't see the printer at all, so obviously it couldn't update the firmware. How would it send the firmware if it doesn't see the printer? This is the same sort of thing she kept doing in the emails. I'd list everything I had tried, she would ask me questions I had already answered and then eventually she'd get back to saying it must be my fault somehow and not to blame Ultimaker. It was incredibly frustrating.

I am using Windows 7 and the Auduino driver does connect to the printer. I get the sound that it connects if I unplug and replug the USB cable. This is why I believe it's the main board that has toasted itself.

The two guys at my hackerspace have been printing happily for months with the printers they bought elsewhere, so I doubt they'll be very interested in fixing their Ultimakers. My experience parallels theirs - months of frustration - so they're probably sick of fiddling with that printer. However, I will pass your info along, to them.

Thanks for replying, at least. This is the first time anyone from support has responded to my numerous problem posts on here. The only people who've helped me in the past few months are customers and Daid. Customers helping customers isn't the same as customer support from a company. As you can probably tell, I'm pretty skeptical that you'll even help me, based on months of previous experience.

 

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I don't think it really matters who i am, beside the technical support engineer as i introduced myself. But my name is Sander van Geelen. Nice to meet you.

I'm sorry to hear you were not satisfied with the way Anita was trying to help you, lets hope i will do a better job.

Before we dig into this, i think it speaks for itself i will do my very best solving your issues and make you a happy customer. But despite your skepticism (even if it is legit) i want to ask you to leave the hostile tone away because no one benefits from this.

I actually did read your post, but i asked again just to be sure what your situation is.

Maybe you have been able to fix it in the mean time, or you have found a different one.

Regarding to the problem, Cura 13.01 will ask you to update the FW before the first run wizard starts.

There is a bug in this FW that stops you from going through the first run wizard end stop section, so if you installed Cura 13.01, and upgraded the FW, please skip this test.

You would need to install Cura 12.11, re-install default marlin firmware to do the first run wizards again.

We hope to release a new FW soon.

'I am using Windows 7 and the Auduino driver does connect to the printer. I get the sound that it connects if I unplug and replug the USB cable.' indicates that the USB-part of the Arduino is still operative, but not necessarily that it is not defective. The communication-part can still be broken.

Therefore could you unplug the Arduino from the PCB, and try to re-install the FW from Cura 12.11?

There is a chance the PCB resets your Arduino when the PCB is defective.

When you are able to upload the FW when detached, your PCB is broken.

When you are not able to upload the FW, your Arduino is broken.

With either of the 2 parts replaced, i assume you communicate with your Ultimaker once again.

I am looking forward hearing from you,

 

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Hey Bill... yeah Anita isn't with the company anymore... I found that out the hardway. :)

Sounds like a COM port conflct to me....

Kreativ is right....

Pull the Arduino.

Connect to USB (make sure you are not connecting to a USB hub but the port on the computer, sometimes HUBs are under powered)

Use the Build me Marlin from Daid and use the executable tool. www.daid.eu/~daid/marlin_build/ to debug the connection issue... so you're not messing with the Arduino tools.

Try each COM port individually. Starting with COM3, COM4, COM5.

Sometimes windows will decide to allocate the Arduino a new COM port... for what reason I have no idea.

Once you can connect re-attach the UM board and check to see if it is still connecting. (re-upload the firmware again... it's the easiest test)

Proceed to a printrun test (simple, bullet proof software controller)

Good luck man...

Chuck

 

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I don't think it really matters who i am, beside the technical support engineer as i introduced myself. But my name is Sander van Geelen. Nice to meet you.

I'm sorry to hear you were not satisfied with the way Anita was trying to help you, lets hope i will do a better job.

Before we dig into this, i think it speaks for itself i will do my very best solving your issues and make you a happy customer. But despite your skepticism (even if it is legit) i want to ask you to leave the hostile tone away because no one benefits from this.

I actually did read your post, but i asked again just to be sure what your situation is.

Maybe you have been able to fix it in the mean time, or you have found a different one.

Regarding to the problem, Cura 13.01 will ask you to update the FW before the first run wizard starts.

There is a bug in this FW that stops you from going through the first run wizard end stop section, so if you installed Cura 13.01, and upgraded the FW, please skip this test.

You would need to install Cura 12.11, re-install default marlin firmware to do the first run wizards again.

We hope to release a new FW soon.

'I am using Windows 7 and the Auduino driver does connect to the printer. I get the sound that it connects if I unplug and replug the USB cable.' indicates that the USB-part of the Arduino is still operative, but not necessarily that it is not defective. The communication-part can still be broken.

Therefore could you unplug the Arduino from the PCB, and try to re-install the FW from Cura 12.11?

There is a chance the PCB resets your Arduino when the PCB is defective.

When you are able to upload the FW when detached, your PCB is broken.

When you are not able to upload the FW, your Arduino is broken.

With either of the 2 parts replaced, i assume you communicate with your Ultimaker once again.

I am looking forward hearing from you,

 

Nearly all of the problems I was having during the first few months were eventually resolved thanks to other customers helping me. When the Ulticontroller failed a few weeks ago, I just threw it in the drawer with all of the other discarded Ultimaker parts I've had to replace.

The new (and hopefully only) issue I'm having at this time is not being able to communicate with the printer. I was using Cura 12.12a to do a 26 hour print when the printer stopped communicating after 23 hours. I only installed Cura 13.1 when I couldn't get anything else to work.

I'll try your suggestions. Would Cura 12.12a work for installing the firmware on the disconnected Arduino? Or do I really need to go back a couple versions to 12.11? I'm wondering because I still have 12.12a.

Sorry for my bitter attitude, but keep in mind I've been dealing with issue after issue for nearly 4 months, now. That's the entire time I've owned this printer. I only got usable prints out of it for a few weeks of that time. Plus, you're the first support person at Ultimaker to finally step in and actually try to help make me happier about my purchase. I've had to rely solely on other customers for help until now. Having two other guys here in the U.S. tell me their similar poor experiences, just poured gasoline on my fire. However, I'll try to reign my attitude in, since you're trying to help me.

Thanks, btw.

 

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Took out the Arduino and connected it directly to my computer using the same cable, which I had already verified works fine. I was easily able to connect to the Arduino using the Cura 12.12a first run wizard and had it update the firmware. Then, I plugged the Arduino back into the mainboard. Unfortunately, it didn't help. When the Arduino is installed in the printer, it won't talk to Cura. It talks to it fine when disconnected from the printer.

So, I guess that means it's the mainboard. I'm suspecting now that the mainboard was the reason my Ulticontroller stopped working, too. Others suggested it might be.

Now that the firmware is updated on the Arduino, I've noticed that Windows keeps randomly playing the disconnect, reconnect sound now. Is that the mainboard resetting the Arduino repeatedly?

 

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Thanks Sander, Daid, Kreativ, and C ernst. At least I know now that both Arduino's are fine. The one in there now is a replacement I bought at Radio Shack in order to make sure it wasn't faulty.

So, now that we're sure it's the mainboard, what's my next step?

 

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Hi Bill,

No problem, i understand it can be frustrating when you have bought something with high potential and it is not working like you imagined. That is why Anita was, and I am here to help, I am sure Anita did her best as well.

I am glad you have this open attitude.

The test shows that your PCB is broken, and I suggest you get a replacement.

I will contact you in an email for the shipping details, if that is ok with you.

On your other question: If I am not mistaken Cura 12.12 is also fine to update the FW again.

 

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Update: I received the replacement board, cleaned the entire print head (just in case,) and was able to get through first run wizard and print a couple things. My printer is working again! I'll test the Ulticontroller tomorrow.

Thanks Sander!

As for calling Erik a liar, I apparently got the worst support person they had at the time. Sander is great at customer support, so I take back my previous anger rant and apologize. I sincerely hope this new positive experience is the norm, not the exception.

 

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I reinstalled the Ulticontroller today, since I have working main board now, and this is what the display looks like:

5a330d449d32e_IMAG02111.thumb.jpg.970a1d16e661256ed4382851d963a450.jpg

There are two areas of the display where the blue background turns to yellow. Is this the way it's supposed to be?

BTW, 500k total limit on drive space for attachments?!? Seriously?!? Are you really that short on drive space? Drives cost $100 for 2 TB these days. If we're forced to use postage stamp sized images, nobody will be able to see the details of our photos to help us fix problems. If we use massive compression, the artifacts from compression will wipe out the detail. We lose either way.

 

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The attachment limit is most likely something they haven't configured yet.

About the white areas... no wait. First. Congrats on finally having a functional controller. Took way to long, but in the end it did work.

Now, as for the white spots. Maybe they are caused by a wrong contrast setting. There is a small potmeter on the back of the PCB I think, which controls the contrast. It should have been set properly before shipping, but maybe it moved a bit after being shipped around the globe.

 

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Here's a new piece of information. I switched off the power to the Ultimaker and the display looks normal again. Switch it on, yellow blurry areas. Switch it off, perfect blue.

Turn power off:

5a330d4518213_IMAG02121.thumb.jpg.f40241d94e37111489105e32ed51f9d1.jpg

Turn power on:

InfillSimplify3D.thumb.jpg.c48c18f631f2c569dd6050214d3eb6c3.jpg

This looks to me like electrical interference is causing it.

 

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There's a known interference issue with the SD card reader and the display. Often popping the card in and out resets the display. Obviously in the middle of a print that would be hazardous, but I've never noticed this to happen. To be fair, though, I'm not running it connected via USB as well. Are you still doing this, or have you gone SD only?

 

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Hi Bill, Are you still using both USB and UC?

Not claiming it to be your problem, just trying to understand your situation.

Have you always used the same cables for the UC?

Have you ever had difficulties with other electrical devices?

 

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Yes, I use Cura via USB to print and UC to adjust print speed, fan speed, and watch print status.

I don't use the SD card slot. I don't want to slice, then copy the file to an SD card, then take it over to the printer, find the file on the tiny screen, and finally print. I much prefer the simplicity of just pressing the print button in Cura.

I've always used the same cables, since only one set came with the UC when I bought it.

I've never had difficulties with any of my tens of thousands of dollars worth of electronic equipment. We had this house built brand new 5 years ago. The whole house has gigabit ethernet and AV cabling which works perfectly. All of my equipment is plugged into filtered surge protection. Many of those power strips are connected to UPS systems. I get no interference on anything else in my house.

Plus, the UC worked fine for a few weeks before it originally went crazy. It only worked for a day when I reconnected it earlier this week.

What do I do next?

 

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