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WARNING; Ultimaker removed 5th stepper driver of Ultimaker2

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I recently learned that some months ago already Ultimaker stopped mounting the 5th stepper driver chip to the electronics board of the Ultimaker2. This basically means you have no option anymore to experiment with dual extrusion options. It also means experiments like this are no longer a option, unless you change your board.

https://ultimaker.com/en/community/10657-a-different-multi-extrusion-approach-um-tool-printhead-changer?page=46#reply-164412

While Ultimaker obviously has the right to make any changes to there machines as they like and save a few cents, and it's not affecting the basic machine, I do find it a pretty sad decision.

So should you be planning on buying a Ultimaker2, and have the idea that you may become experimental at any time in the future, you may consider getting a 2th hand or refurbished machine iso a new one.

You'll be able to check by just removing the electronics cover and check if the 5th chip is mounted;

missing2thextruderChip.thumb.png.d7cc93722e9e73d7d592fe15dd834906.png

missing2thextruderChip.thumb.png.d7cc93722e9e73d7d592fe15dd834906.png

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Indeed very sad. I suppose this change also affects UMO+ new buyers since they use the same boards.

The first thing that comes to my mind is to find a new, and hopefully, better,board.

I been seeing for some time the Duet3D printer board, is a 120 GBP board with 5 steppers. The interesting part is that is wifi ready, you can send the job by wifi, with full access to the machine control. You actually don't need a screen on the printer since you can command it by http webserver and do anything from sending the print to moving / heating, etc. And the most interesting part for me is that uses a modern (not very the very old umo/umo+/um2/um3 stepper chip) also this has 256 interpolation and is a silent chip. And, afaik, this board doesn't add moire effect from missing steps.

Ofc the hard part is to change all the molex/etc/etc/etc connectors to fit them. And interesting also, they have a pt100 board. So, this will probably be on my long list of to-do-be-do-be-do

2016-06-14-19-27-561.jpg

Edited by Guest
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Let me just take a moment to add that while the components are missing, the PCB remains the same (2.1.4). Meaning the pads are present. There's still the option of installing the missing components although because of the A4988 stepper driver, it will require hot air rework. So while there's a definite hurdle, it is certainly possible to get such a board up and running.

Components missing from the PCB assembly are:

 

  • Integrated circuit U13
  • Capacitors C69, C71, C75
  • Inductors L160, L161, L162, L163
  • Resistors R89, R90, R92, R98, R99, R103
  • Connector J31

 

Edited by Guest

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@neotko, i would suggest this board: http://cohesion3d.com/cohesion3d-remix/

 

Looks nice, the thing that I see interesting on the other is the pt100. Also until recently didn't knew that 4 wire pt100 is actually more accurate than our 2 wire pt100. That could be a interesting plus.

 

I like the 3 extruder option.... if @tinkergnome can port the firmware a 3head magnetic changer is at least physically simple in the new setup....

And to add to the confusion the missing 5th chip issue may already be solved for the real new UM2+ machines.... they supposedly have the new UM3 board.... I'm just assuming with the 5 chips..... if only someone could confirm....

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This wasn't done to prevent hacking. There is a simpler reason, the A4988 chip is becoming short in supply. With a lot of 3D printers using that same chip, stock is running dry. And sourcing is becoming problematic from time to time.

This change means we could produce 20% more printers. We did consider keeping it on for the hackers, but we couldn't justify it towards producing 20% less machines. Cost savings on just this single chip are not extremely significant.

New UM2+ do not come with the UM3 board (yet). There are plans to move towards that, however, then we will use 2 different component setups. So the UM2+ will have the USB part but most likely not the 5th stepper, nor the RGBW led driver. While the UM3 no longer will get the (unused!) USB components, and PT100 circuits for the hotend (as these circuits are located in the head with the UM3). This will be a significant cost saving for us, so that change will be cost driven. Just giving you a heads up now.

This does need a small firmware update, as the UM3 board uses 16 microsteps for the Z axis, instead of 8 that was standard in the UM2 board.

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This wasn't done to prevent hacking. There is a simpler reason, the A4988 chip is becoming short in supply. With a lot of 3D printers using that same chip, stock is running dry. And sourcing is becoming problematic from time to time.

This change means we could produce 20% more printers. We did consider keeping it on for the hackers, but we couldn't justify it towards producing 20% less machines. Cost savings on just this single chip are not extremely significant.

New UM2+ do not come with the UM3 board (yet). There are plans to move towards that, however, then we will use 2 different component setups. So the UM2+ will have the USB part but most likely not the 5th stepper, nor the RGBW led driver. While the UM3 no longer will get the (unused!) USB components, and PT100 circuits for the hotend (as these circuits are located in the head with the UM3). This will be a significant cost saving for us, so that change will be cost driven. Just giving you a heads up now.

This does need a small firmware update, as the UM3 board uses 16 microsteps for the Z axis, instead of 8 that was standard in the UM2 board.

 

I suppose moving to a less populated, and hopefully modern (32 microsteps, LESS noisy) but ofc more expensive, is out of the question? I mean, I think is about time, at least I fell it that way. Specially with a 320€ board that, OFC users know that it works and keeps working, but is there at least any investigation around that area? For what you say it seems like it could take easily 2 years for a new stepper chip to be introduced, if ever.

Also I honestly think is a bad decision. 20% of more machines sure sounds nice, but also, it will leave a bad taste on the user base, and that user base is the one that is more likely to buy additional machines. But ofc, not everyone hacks, so who cares.

Also from a user perspective, having a 5th stepper is a really nice idea for future cost savings, since if one stepper dies you can actually change to other. And we all know how Brown this boards get from the heat. But ofc that's fixed on um3 so, more sells.

Indeed warranty, legally wise and everything, UM has all cover, but making this decisions is the kind of thing that the user base might not like (I personally thing is a really bad idea even when I have all my 3 umo+ ok with 5 steppers).

Also Daid, if the change comes, please post a post-it to someone so they don't forget about umo+ boards firmware. But ofc UM can count on the community to keep updating things for them.

Sorry my tone, but really don't like all this, even if is for the Greater Good (of UM).

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The problem with integrated circuits such as these is usually that they're often made by a smaller, more specialized manufacturer that just can't deliver the volume of say, Texas Instruments or National Semiconductor. There's always going to be a risk of short supply. The A4988 is a current product and I've seen no end-of-life notifications anywhere, so they should still be coming.

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20% machines does not only sound nice, it is necessary for a healthy future of Ultimaker. Developments in Cura cost money, so does maintaining our community platform and the service we provide to you, our customers.

I don't think the statement 'not everyone hacks, so who cares' is completely fair. Decisions have to be made with a lot of metrics taken into account. You are one of them (my favorite one), but not the only one. Having to choose one, does not automatically discredit the other option.

Cost is always a factor to respect. We're sorry if it leaves a bad taste in your mouth.

Hopefully, this is just a hurdle that can be bypassed with some wits. Again, it does not mean we don't care. We do.

Edited by Guest
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That's true, that part wasn't fair. I know you guys care @sandervg and put a lot of effort on pushing stuff to get done.

Maybe we, the community, could push also UM forward by making ports of the um2 to other boards, that could show if that's interesting for the consumer modder base, and might do, juat like olsson block did, move UM towards a more modern board on a shorter time span.

I just think that this is a real issue, umo+ share the same board, and since is the hackers-delight (IMO) it really closes some opportunities for more innovation and cool stuff that could be developed with them.

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Maybe we, the community, could push also UM forward by making ports of the um2 to other boards, that could show if that's interesting for the consumer modder base, and might do, juat like olsson block did, move UM towards a more modern board on a shorter time span.

 

That should be one of the perks of being open source, that users have a high level of independence. It is definitely an interesting area to explore, and may lead to greater things!

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