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3dguy

Possible bad PC or Arduino Board

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I just got my kit last Sunday and assembled it by Wednesday only to find that it is not totally functioning. When I power on the printer the X, Y, and Z axis motors all function as does the heater, the cooling fan under the printer and the Ulti-Controller, however, the extruder motor does not turn, the fan on the print-head does not work, and the right front limit switch (end stop) does not function.

I tested the extruder motor connected to another controller head and it functions normally. I also connected the print-head fan to external power supply and the fan tested good as well. I also tested the wire continuity for the fan and motor connectors and they tested fine as well.

Am I missing something else or does it appear to be a PC board or Arduino issue?

Waiting to hear from support on my support tickets but I am Jones-ing to test this printer out.

 

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Welcome! Sorry to hear you're having problems - I hope that Support will soon be in touch to help you out.

It certainly sounds like there might be some problems with the electronics, but bear in mind also that the firmware has safeties that prevent the extruder motor from turning unless the hot end is above some minimum temp (170ºC, iirc). Have you heated the hot end up before running your tests?

The fan on the head only runs when told to do so, not always. You can turn it on in gcode, or via the ulticontroller. But it won't necessarily run, just because the machine is on. I may be telling you something obvious, but better to be sure.

Regarding the limit stop. The left one is kind of important for homing, so you'll want that fixed. Have you checked that they aren't connected wrongly? For instance, when checking the left switch, try pressing the right one, instead, in case they are wired in reverse. If the right one is fine, and is detected as the right one, try swapping the left and right cables, and then manually pressing the right one again, when checking the left on. If the left one is detected, then it means the board is ok, and it's something about the physical switch itself. In that case, you could swap the switches on your printer. Having a functioning right limit switch isn't really necessary, unless you're printing huge things and not double-checking that they fit on the bed. So if that one doesn't work, it's not a major problem. You can live without it while you get a replacement.

 

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Thanks for the reply and information. I edited my original post because I accidentally stated left limit switch when it is actually the right limit switch that does not work. The machine homes just fine, I am glad that works as it should.

I preheated the print-head to 210º and the fan still does not come on. I tried selecting cool down from the ulticontroller and the fan still does not come on.

When the limit switches are hooked up as they should be, the Cura first run wizard ask me to press the right limit switch to continue, but it does nothing. If I swap the cables with another limit switch it tells me to check my limit switches.

The extruder motor started working after I reinstalled the cura drivers but the fan still does not work and nothing is being extruded but little globs here and there.

So I am making a little progress.

 

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The fan on the print head isn't critical. It's nice to have, for more complicated prints with overhangs, but if you print a little slower, you can live without it to get up and running.

Similarly, the right limit switch isn't really critical for anything. Ignore the first run wizard - to be honest, I'm not even sure if it work totally correctly - various people seem to have had problems with it.

Do you have an ulticontroller?

Are you trying to actually print something at this point? Or jsut still testing things independently?

If you heat up the print head, and then turn the big extruder wheel by hand, are you getting a constant stream of extrusion? That's the first thing you need to check. Make sure that the extruder assembly is closed properly - the bolt on the black lever needs to be slid all the way to the bottom of the slot before you rotate it into a horizontal position. You will need to squeeze the two prongs (that stick up from the part with the spring) very tightly against the main body of the extruder, in order to slide it down into place.

 

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You can print just fine without the right limit switch. I have one but it has never triggered.

You can print without the fan but I recommend fixing this at some point. The darlington transistor that controls it often breaks and it has two common symptoms: always on, or always off. Either way it's often that transistor. Inexpensive and easy to replace if you are good with electronics. Or get a new controller board from UM.

nothing is being extruded but little globs here and there.

Not sure exactly what you are describing but this sounds like a common levelling issue. You probably don't beleive me but this can happen and *does* happen to pretty much everyone at some point if they don't level their bed properly. Here's my tutorial:

How to level:

Levelling here is defined as setting the Z height and also levelling. It's one procedure that does both at once.

Optionally heat up the nozzle to 180C if first layer is .1mm or less because a cold nozzle shrinks and you will be setting the bed to the wrong height. Make sure tip of nozzle doesn't have any plastic on it or you may level to the wrong height.

Home the z axis only. If you must home all 3 then you need to disable the steppers once it's done so you can move the print head by hand. Move the head as close as possible to each of the 4 screws in turn. Once at a screw tighten the screw and then slip a piece of paper between the nozzle and the print bed. Make sure the paper slides very freeley. Then loosen the screw until the paper gets slightly stuck. You want the paper to easily be able to slide in and out under the nozzle with one hand pushing the paper. If the paper gets stuck it's probably too tight under there.

Repeat this procedure for the other 3 screws. Then go back to the first screw and repeat on all 4 screws again. Then repeat on all 4 screws again. Then again. It may take you 20 minutes to do this the first time but the second time you do this it should take much less time because you are both better at it, faster at it, and because there isn't much to adjust the second time.

If you levelled with a cold nozzle you are done. If you levelled with a hot nozzle you should then loosen the 4 screws 1/8 of a turn to compensate for the thickness of the paper.

Once done levelling rotate the z screw by hand to keep the nozzle off your bed. This makes it less likely to damage your bed surface and gives the nozzle room to leak.

On a new ultimaker repeat this procedure before every print (at least every hour) because the print bed can move/droop like a new guitar string. After many months the droop slows down.

 

 

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Do you have an ulticontroller?

Are you trying to actually print something at this point? Or jsut still testing things independently?

If you heat up the print head, and then turn the big extruder wheel by hand, are you getting a constant stream of extrusion? That's the first thing you need to check. Make sure that the extruder assembly is closed properly - the bolt on the black lever needs to be slid all the way to the bottom of the slot before you rotate it into a horizontal position. You will need to squeeze the two prongs (that stick up from the part with the spring) very tightly against the main body of the extruder, in order to slide it down into place.

 

Yes. I do have an Ulticontroller.

I was trying to actually start a print of the carry handle that comes with the Cura software as a rough test on low quality to see if the extruder and heater were working.

I think I still need to adjust my extruder feed mechanism properly. The stick up part is not in place properly. I can't get the two prongs to go back far enough to let the stick slide down. I am going to have to readjust it.

 

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The darlington transistor that controls it often breaks and it has two common symptoms: always on, or always off. Either way it's often that transistor. Inexpensive and easy to replace if you are good with electronics. Or get a new controller board from UM.

Not sure exactly what you are describing but this sounds like a common levelling issue. You probably don't beleive me but this can happen and *does* happen to pretty much everyone at some point if they don't level their bed properly. Here's my tutorial:

 

 

Thanks for the information on the transistor I am going to run to radio shack to get some new ones if they have them. I just started to get into electronics last year so I am still mediocre with them but learning more everyday. I have built a few 3 digit counter electronic kits and my soldering is fair.

Is the Darlington Transistor just a de-solder and re-solder operation? I am talking with tech support now discussing the issue but wouldn't mind learning how to replace the transistor.

I did level the printing bed similar to the way in your tutorial before I tried to print but I think my extruder tension arm is not locked into place like it should be, I am having trouble getting the piece with the tension screw close enough to the body to let the arm go to the bottom of the slot and push down into position. Thanks for posting that tutorial, I will redo it again following it step by step. I never thought about the bed settling but it makes perfect sense, it sits on springs.

 

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You can print without the fan but I recommend fixing this at some point. The darlington transistor that controls it often breaks and it has two common symptoms: always on, or always off. Either way it's often that transistor. Inexpensive and easy to replace if you are good with electronics. Or get a new controller board from UM.

 

Is this the Darlington Transistor in this image?

Darlington Transistor?

 

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Yes, you will not get good quality prints until you have the extruder drive locked properly in place. The spring on the back of the extruder should be about 12mm long when the extruder is open. The coils of the spring should not be touching, so that the spring has room to move when you close the extruder. You need to squeeze really hard - looking at the extruder from the right side of the printer, put your thumb on the sloped piece of wood to the left of the Bowden, and a couple of fingers on the prongs on top of the clamp part, and squeeze really tightly together. Then while keeping it squeezed, use your other hand to push the lever and bolt down to the bottom of the slot. Once at the bottom, rotate the level to horizontal.

 

I think I still need to adjust my extruder feed mechanism properly. The stick up part is not in place properly. I can't get the two prongs to go back far enough to let the stick slide down. I am going to have to readjust it.

 

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Finally got the printer doing a test print. It is looking pretty good; printing the Robot that comes with Cura. It is printing on normal. On my last several attempts the print would break loose from the bed and I would have to cancel, I finally figured out how to keep the print in place; I sprayed the Blue Tape covered bed with a light coat of Scotch 3M Photo Mount, photo-safe adhesive. It is working like a charm. :-P

I just need to make some more adjustments to the axes before I try a fine detail print.

Thanks for all the help!

 

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Thanks for the tip!

However most people just clean the blue tape with isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol found next to bandages at any drugstore. The blue tape has some kind of non-adhesive to keep it from sticking to itself (otherwise you would never be able to get it off the spool) and you have to remove that before PLA sticks well. Once the blue tape is clean it will sometimes work for quite a few prints before getting torn up or worn away.

 

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Thanks for the tip!

However most people just clean the blue tape with isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol found next to bandages at any drugstore. The blue tape has some kind of non-adhesive to keep it from sticking to itself (otherwise you would never be able to get it off the spool) and you have to remove that before PLA sticks well. Once the blue tape is clean it will sometimes work for quite a few prints before getting torn up or worn away.

 

I tried using alcohol but it did not work for me, it would print about 2mm and then break free and I would have to cancel the print. I think my bed was staying to cold. I will try the tape and alcohol again, I bought an infrared heat lamp and shine it on the bed to warm up the tape.

Unfortunately my printer is out of commission after one test print. The PLA will not extrude any more. The temperature is fine but nothing comes out. It is like the PLA expanded and is now stuck in the nozzle and/or brass pipe or Bowden tube and I have no idea as to how I can fix this without completely taking apart the print head and heating up in a pot of water. I'm not even sure If I can get it apart. I tried to heat the unit up to 250 per tech support but it just bubbled a little bit and nothing came out. There is what looks like melted PLA on top of the aluminum block.

Print Head Won

 

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If you heat the hot end to 250, can you then pull the filament out of the Bowden? You might have to pull quite hard.

Cut off any damaged part of the plastic that was in the Bowden, and reinsert the filament all the way to the head. Then close the extruder properly - you did get that figured out, right? - and turn the extruder gear by hand. You should feel a little bit of resistance as the filament starts to enter the hot-end. If it is very easy to turn (almost no resistance) then either the extruder isn't close properly and/or the spring isn't tight enough, or else you've ground away the filament in the extruder. Pull it back out, and check whether there's now an indentation or flat spot on the filament.

If you turn the gear slowly by hand, then you may be able to push through any blockage at the hot end.

 

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Yes thanks to your tip I got the extruder closed properly, and after the initial closing it works a lot easier. There was resistance and it started to push the Bowden tube out of the extruder assembly. I tried to turn the extruder by hand but nothing pushed through. I will give it another try though.

 

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Well, try again with it hot - give it a few minutes for the heat to permeate a little, and then try driving the filament by turning the gear. If you're feeling resistance, then it sounds like you've either got a clog at the hot end, or else something about the bowden/teflon/peek junction is damaged so that the filament cannot pass through any more.

 

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I found the problem, some of the filament melted in the Bowden tube, it must have got to close to my light fixture. So the machine is actually working fine it was just some bad, stupid luck of having a infrared light to close to the machine. I will try to heat it up and pull it out. Boy do I feel stupid right about now. :oops:

 

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PLA should be sticking to alcohol-wiped blue tape so well that you can't remove the print from the bed afterwards without tearing the tape. If it isn't, then check your bed height, and also try printing a slightly thicker first layer - say 0.2 or 0.3mm. You could also try increasing the temperature you print at to 230 or so - and then cool it down after the first few layers if you want to. Also, make sure the fan doesn't come on until a few layers into the print. The first layer should look slightly squashed into the tape. There should be no need for a heat lamp at all.

 

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