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blackomega

Got my Ultimaker2...but

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I'm new to 3D printing and new to this forum so apologies for my ignorance that may come across.

My Ultimaker2 arrived a couple of days ago and after reading several posts of a negative nature I was a little apprehensive but I thought I'd share my initial discoveries.

1. I was pleased to see that the glass build plate is now packaged in a way that means it cannot be damaged or cause damage easily. I found it was securely bubble wrapped and packed on top of the unit itself. So a welcome improvement based on peoples comments.

2. The LED lighting strips are not secured very well. I have noticed that if the unit is on for a while then they come away from the insides of the unit and, in the case of the top strip, actually interferes with the front-top pulley. I keep having to press them back into place. I'd suggest using a glue that is not affected as much by heat.

3. The levelling of the build plate is a bit vague I found especially when it gets to the paper adjustment step when it says to adjust until your feel a little resistance. How much is a little? I chose to put it directly at the point where a single notch in the wheel (or slight turn of the screws at the front) is the difference between no resistance and something detectable. Don't know if this correct. Could some sort of automatic levelling using a laser not be possible?

4. The manual albeit ok, could do with some proof reading as there are a few spelling mistakes and at one point an incorrect reference. There could also be more pictures especially when there are references made to screws (i'm thinking largely in the troubleshooting section).

5. As reported by others, the filament spool uncurls and wraps around the spool holder need the back of the unit. I plan to design and print out a sort of extended spool lip that should hopefully keep the filament on the spool itself.

6. Feeding the filament is a bit of a pig. I've found it often jams so the knurled feeder just grinds into the filament and your print job is destroyed. This is using the PLA filament roll that comes with the machine.

7. I have noticed that prior to printing (during the warming up phase) my print head oozes a lot. The result of which is that the beginning of my printouts are always untidy unless I sit there and pull the oozing out just prior to the machine starting its job.

8. The print time estimates are wildly inaccurate. A 30 minute job as predicted by Cura and by the unit can be nearly out by factor 2 in some cases. Unfortunately I've not noticed a consistent pattern. I can't comment on the length or material usage predictions.

9. What is the purpose of the rear fan on the print head as I've never seen it move. The two sides ones switch on as expected though. Is this a fault?

10. USB connection to a Mac doesn't appear to work. Cura detects it but I've never managed to get a print job to actually work that way. The unit just sits there doing nothing after you select "Print" etc from the menu. Having to swap SD cards back and forward is a bit low tech. The unit should really have an ethernet port or even WiFi capabilities or at the very very least get the USB connectivity working.

11. A 3 month warranty? You are kidding me right? From a marketing perspective this a bad thing as it tells people you don't rate your machine lasting more than 90 days which is shocking on a 1600 GBP price tag. I'm hoping it lasts a hell of a lot longer than that.

12. The Cura software on the Mac is a bit weird often when using the track pad. I noticed that you can get it to rotate the view if you press two fingers down but more often than not this just moves the whole view around the screen with the same perspective. i.e. the model or indeed the representation is not rotated at all.

13. It would be nice if you could control the amount of material used in supporting structures as I find that such structures uses massive amount of material that is then very difficult to separate from the actual model. I think for most cases a very simple box structure would be just as effective but use very little material and be much easier to take away afterwards.

14. If the feeder jams or the filament stops feeding for whatever reason then it would good if the print head detected this and simply paused the print (and moved the head out of the way). This would enable jams (and refills if the filament simply runs out) to be corrected without wasting a 10 hour print.

15. It would be good if the Cura settings when on "quick print" where transferred to the "full settings" mode. Most often I'm happy with the quick print but just want to only modify the speed or a few properties leaving everything else the same. Also it would be useful if the "ultra high quality" settings were available via quick print.

16. I think the build quality of the unit itself in pretty good barring the issues above. The quality of the print outs are generally excellent when everything is going well.

 

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9. What is the purpose of the rear fan on the print head as I've never seen it move. The two sides ones switch on as expected though. Is this a fault?

 

Yes! Fix this now! You probably don't need any tools. It should turn on immediately when you power your machine - even before the lights come on! Roll back/slide up the black plastic mesh above the print head. This will expose some wires and connectors. The 3 red/black cables go to the fans. The pink/blue one goes to the rear fan. It's either unplugged (likely!) or one of the black/red/blue or pink wires might be loose (give them a gentle tug?).

Let me know if you need to know where the other end of the pink/blue cable goes. I have a picture somewhere.

 

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6. Feeding the filament is a bit of a pig. I've found it often jams so the knurled feeder just grinds into the filament and your print job is destroyed. This is using the PLA filament roll that comes with the machine.

 

This hasn't happened to me. There is a screw in the top of the feeder. Turn it so that the little white square is near the top (almost as loose as possible). When the white square is down lower the other gear seems to get jammed and it doesn't feed as well.

 

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7. I have noticed that prior to printing (during the warming up phase) my print head oozes a lot. The result of which is that the beginning of my printouts are always untidy unless I sit there and pull the oozing out just prior to the machine starting its job.

 

Yes. This is true. My printer has trained me to always grab that blob and pull it off to the side as it does the skirt. This is the same issue with the UM Original in my experience.

 

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Welcome to the forums! I won't comment on all your points, but here are some things to be aware of (numbered per your points):

3) It doesn't really matter exactly how much tension is on the paper... it's probably a good idea if it's roughly the same amount in each case. But the height difference between no tension and jammed solid under the head is less than 0.1mm. So whatever point you pick, it's less than that difference. That's plenty level enough. Typically the first layer height you'll print will be 0.2 or 0.3mm, so it won't really make much difference.

6) Avoiding filament jams is one of the key challenges of 3D printing. Lots of things can cause it to happen - sometimes it's an engineering issue with the feeder, but more often than not, it's to do with the print settings that you are using; if you try to extrude plastic faster than it can get out of the nozzle, then the filament can't move past the drive gear in the extruder, and gets chewed up.

7) The process for starting the print needs a bit of work still; however Daid indicated today on the forum that there will be a new release of the firmware soon that heats the bed up before the nozzle so that the head sits there oozing for less time. Probably will still need more tweaking, but it will get better: one of the great things about the Ultimaker is that the software side is constantly being developed.

8) Print times are notoriously difficult to calculate, because the print head doesn't move at a constant speed; it speeds up and slows down one each line segment that it prints in order to get as smooth a profile as possible, and limit the sudden speed changes at corners. Often each segment is just fractions of a mm long, so there are tens or hundreds of thousands of lines in the print. Actually simulating the print is the only way to accurately determine the exact time that it will take. That simply hasn't been a priority up to this point - but its a known issue that will get fixed at some point.

9) The rear fan should be on all the time - from the moment you plug the printer in. It is designed to cool the upper ends of the print head assembly, so that heat doesn't creep up and soften the plastic before it gets into the nozzle area. If it does soften it can get stuck - that may be the cause of some of your extruder jamming issues. You may want to pull the gauze mesh back on the print head, and look at the wires there. The wire pair for the third fan is the blue and pink one. check the connector where those wires connect to one of the red-black pairs. Also, the two side fans should only come on during printing, after the first layer - maybe a few layers into the print. They shouldn't be on all the time. Check this, as some machines have had the fans hooked up the wrong way round.

10) The USB connection simply isn't intended to be used for printing at this point. It's not impossible to make it work - and was supported on the original UM1 printers. However, there's a good reason for using SD cards, as it ensures that data can be fed to the print head fast enough. As discussed above, the printer can print tens of tiny line segments every second, and has a limited on-board buffer. USB connectivity can be too slow, so putting the file on an SD card avoids data input bottlenecks. You're right that ethernet or wifi might work well, and there are some 3rd party options such as Octoprint of Doodle3D that give you that capability, but it's not built in yet.

12) The trackpad issues are probably mostly to do with the multi-touch capabilities of your trackpad. Two-finger click = right click, and for me, it rotates the object just fine. Adding the shift key changes it into a panning mode that slides the model sideways as you describe. Check your trackpad settings, and see how you have the various multi-finger clicks set up.

13) Yes, support still needs some work. Much of the back end of Cura has been re-written in the last 6 months, and support has been the last part to get updated, and it's still a work in progress, I think. That said, in general, you should be trying hard to avoid using support at all, as it's hard to remove and damages the surface of your print. Sometimes it's unavoidable, but generally its best to change the orientation of the print, or the design itself to try to avoid the need for support at all.

 

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10. USB connection to a Mac doesn't appear to work. Cura detects it but I've never managed to get a print job to actually work that way. The unit just sits there doing nothing after you select "Print" etc from the menu. Having to swap SD cards back and forward is a bit low tech. The unit should really have an ethernet port or even WiFi capabilities or at the very very least get the USB connectivity working.

 

A lot of people ask for this. The flip answer is to say for just $6000 you can get a printer that has ethernet. The kinder answer is that there are some products that are just out now that do this and very inexpensive. Personally I don't mind and I have it bad - I always have to save to SD on my 2nd floor computer (which has the SD card reader) and I always print on the 1st floor so I'm going up and down the stairs for this. Good exercise.

 

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6. Feeding the filament is a bit of a pig. I've found it often jams so the knurled feeder just grinds into the filament and your print job is destroyed. This is using the PLA filament roll that comes with the machine.

Are you sure it is grinding the filament? The current that goes to the motor has been tuned down to avoid this grinding. Instead it is more likely to skip steps. At what tension is your feeder set? Can you give some more details on when or how it jams? How do you un-jam?

 

8. The print time estimates are wildly inaccurate. A 30 minute job as predicted by Cura and by the unit can be nearly out by factor 2 in some cases. Unfortunately I've not noticed a consistent pattern. I can't comment on the length or material usage predictions.

 

The way Cura calculates the overall print time, is based on the amount of layers it has to print. But it is very difficult to know how long each layer will take just like it is said above, with different speeds and retraction settings.

 

9. What is the purpose of the rear fan on the print head as I've never seen it move. The two sides ones switch on as expected though. Is this a fault?

 

It should get fixed, can you manage with the instructions GR5 gave you?

 

10. USB connection to a Mac doesn't appear to work. Cura detects it but I've never managed to get a print job to actually work that way. The unit just sits there doing nothing after you select "Print" etc from the menu. Having to swap SD cards back and forward is a bit low tech. The unit should really have an ethernet port or even WiFi capabilities or at the very very least get the USB connectivity working.

 

Like Simon says the Ultimaker 2 is not designed to print via USB cable, but through SD-card.

The USB cable is there to upload the firmware only. An SD-card gives you a faster and more stable data-transfer

then a USB cable can. You also don't have to worry about sleep-modes, crashes and other annoying issues.

 

13. It would be nice if you could control the amount of material used in supporting structures as I find that such structures uses massive amount of material that is then very difficult to separate from the actual model. I think for most cases a very simple box structure would be just as effective but use very little material and be much easier to take away afterwards.

 

You can, in Cura. Go to Expert settings > Support. There you go:)

 

16. I think the build quality of the unit itself in pretty good barring the issues above. The quality of the print outs are generally excellent when everything is going well.

 

Great! Can you share some pictures of what you have made?

 

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Yes! Fix this now! You probably don't need any tools. It should turn on immediately when you power your machine - even before the lights come on! Roll back/slide up the black plastic mesh above the print head. This will expose some wires and connectors. The 3 red/black cables go to the fans. The pink/blue one goes to the rear fan. It's either unplugged (likely!) or one of the black/red/blue or pink wires might be loose (give them a gentle tug?).

Let me know if you need to know where the other end of the pink/blue cable goes. I have a picture somewhere.

 

Thanks for the tip. I'm glad I asked and I will be having a look at that asap.

 

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This hasn't happened to me. There is a screw in the top of the feeder. Turn it so that the little white square is near the top (almost as loose as possible). When the white square is down lower the other gear seems to get jammed and it doesn't feed as well.

 

The white square is at the top already. It has been suggested that the grinding may be a secondary symptom of the back fan not working on my unit.

 

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Regarding #13, consider building the support in the CAD model instead of relying on Cura.

 

That is a good idea although requires a bit of effort. I'm still learning this stuff and noticed it often requires a bit of lateral thinking to get the optimal layout. I been considering splitting the troublesome models long ways so each half is flat against the build plate and then glueing whilst done.

 

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Yes. This is true. My printer has trained me to always grab that blob and pull it off to the side as it does the skirt. This is the same issue with the UM Original in my experience.

 

:-P So I'm not the only monkey to be trained by an inanimate object then! Safety in numbers!

 

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See >>>>>> below

 

Welcome to the forums! I won't comment on all your points, but here are some things to be aware of (numbered per your points):

3) It doesn't really matter exactly how much tension is on the paper... it's probably a good idea if it's roughly the same amount in each case. But the height difference between no tension and jammed solid under the head is less than 0.1mm. So whatever point you pick, it's less than that difference. That's plenty level enough. Typically the first layer height you'll print will be 0.2 or 0.3mm, so it won't really make much difference.

>>>>>>> That is interesting advice and makes me feel better.

6) Avoiding filament jams is one of the key challenges of 3D printing. Lots of things can cause it to happen - sometimes it's an engineering issue with the feeder, but more often than not, it's to do with the print settings that you are using; if you try to extrude plastic faster than it can get out of the nozzle, then the filament can't move past the drive gear in the extruder, and gets chewed up.

7) The process for starting the print needs a bit of work still; however Daid indicated today on the forum that there will be a new release of the firmware soon that heats the bed up before the nozzle so that the head sits there oozing for less time. Probably will still need more tweaking, but it will get better: one of the great things about the Ultimaker is that the software side is constantly being developed.

8) Print times are notoriously difficult to calculate, because the print head doesn't move at a constant speed; it speeds up and slows down one each line segment that it prints in order to get as smooth a profile as possible, and limit the sudden speed changes at corners. Often each segment is just fractions of a mm long, so there are tens or hundreds of thousands of lines in the print. Actually simulating the print is the only way to accurately determine the exact time that it will take. That simply hasn't been a priority up to this point - but its a known issue that will get fixed at some point.

>>>>>> I can understand your reasoning and really I'd make it a medium priority as I'm starting to develop and intuition of the real ballpark time based on the Cura time estimate. Would be nice though in future but I can appreciate it depends on so many random factors.

9) The rear fan should be on all the time - from the moment you plug the printer in. It is designed to cool the upper ends of the print head assembly, so that heat doesn't creep up and soften the plastic before it gets into the nozzle area. If it does soften it can get stuck - that may be the cause of some of your extruder jamming issues. You may want to pull the gauze mesh back on the print head, and look at the wires there. The wire pair for the third fan is the blue and pink one. check the connector where those wires connect to one of the red-black pairs. Also, the two side fans should only come on during printing, after the first layer - maybe a few layers into the print. They shouldn't be on all the time. Check this, as some machines have had the fans hooked up the wrong way round.

>>>>> Lol, ok. I'll have a look. Best to perhaps put that on the manufacturing instructions in bold lettering! ;-)

10) The USB connection simply isn't intended to be used for printing at this point. It's not impossible to make it work - and was supported on the original UM1 printers. However, there's a good reason for using SD cards, as it ensures that data can be fed to the print head fast enough. As discussed above, the printer can print tens of tiny line segments every second, and has a limited on-board buffer. USB connectivity can be too slow, so putting the file on an SD card avoids data input bottlenecks. You're right that ethernet or wifi might work well, and there are some 3rd party options such as Octoprint of Doodle3D that give you that capability, but it's not built in yet.

>>>>> Now that I know the reasoning behind it, it makes sense to me. I can see a sustained transfer rate being important and on long prints you don't want to have to worry about your computer going to sleep etc. Perhaps down the line the printer can have some sort of buffer memory (1GB likely to be enough) coupled with the ability to simply pause printing when there is a problem of any kind. I think that would go a long way.

12) The trackpad issues are probably mostly to do with the multi-touch capabilities of your trackpad. Two-finger click = right click, and for me, it rotates the object just fine. Adding the shift key changes it into a panning mode that slides the model sideways as you describe. Check your trackpad settings, and see how you have the various multi-finger clicks set up.

>>>>> You're probably right although it does work sometimes but not other times. I'll do a bit more investigation.

13) Yes, support still needs some work. Much of the back end of Cura has been re-written in the last 6 months, and support has been the last part to get updated, and it's still a work in progress, I think. That said, in general, you should be trying hard to avoid using support at all, as it's hard to remove and damages the surface of your print. Sometimes it's unavoidable, but generally its best to change the orientation of the print, or the design itself to try to avoid the need for support at all.

>>>>> Indeed that seems to be the general consensus on this problem.

 

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Yes! Fix this now! You probably don't need any tools. It should turn on immediately when you power your machine - even before the lights come on! Roll back/slide up the black plastic mesh above the print head. This will expose some wires and connectors. The 3 red/black cables go to the fans. The pink/blue one goes to the rear fan. It's either unplugged (likely!) or one of the black/red/blue or pink wires might be loose (give them a gentle tug?).

Let me know if you need to know where the other end of the pink/blue cable goes. I have a picture somewhere.

 

Actually, some pictures would be good if you can as I don't want to start taking the wrong things apart and cause additional problems.

 

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That is a good idea although requires a bit of effort. I'm still learning this stuff and noticed it often requires a bit of lateral thinking to get the optimal layout. I been considering splitting the troublesome models long ways so each half is flat against the build plate and then glueing whilst done.

 

Well - that is one solution - it's a complicated and difficult one but can work very well on occasion. On the other hand sometimes it's very hard to get the two haves to fit properly. You get a seam. Every print has very different requirements. Some are mechanical in nature and don't have to look good. Support is fine for this. Some are works of art meant to sit on a table. The bottom can usually look horrible but the rest has to look as good as possible. Some are toys. Some people are printing architectural models for work. Some are printing prototypes. So it depends on your requirements. It would be better if you uploaded a model onto youmagine.com.

 

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Actually, some pictures would be good if you can as I don't want to start taking the wrong things apart and cause additional problems.

 

Several people already posted pictures in the last week or so. I think it would be better if you sent *us* a picture. The thing I was offering was a picture of the underside of the UM but your problem is much more likely just above the print head. There are no screws that you need to remove. It's VERY VERY EASY AND SIMPLE.

There is a "cable" going into the top of the print head. That "cable" is actually many cables covered by something like a "sock". Lift the sock. There is no attachment. You just lift. There are 3 red/black cable pairs in there. All 3 go down to the fans. All 3 have white connectors. All of them should be connected. If not, just connect them up - you can't break anything by plugging or unplugging these fans.

 

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Here's one someone posted recently. It was said twice before, but the blue/pink cable is supposed to always have power. Oh and that brown/red one is for the second extruder. It doesn't do anything:

gallery_18625_262_395668.jpg

 

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>>>>> Yes it is grinding the filament as the filament gets deep grooves in it from the knurled wheel. My method of unjamming varies but here is usually what I'll try in this order.

1. Use a little force whilst printing something to help the feeder get past the ground bit.

2. Stop printing and use the maintenance functions to heat the head to 260C and slowly feed in the filament using the feeder (i.e. not forced by hand).

3. Fully retract and remove the filament from the Bowden tube, cut off the leading 2 feet of filament and reload.

 

Very strange. Something else is partially broken with your extruder. I mean it sounds like it works but it should never grind no matter what. At least not with normal PLA. The stepper shouldn't be strong enough. This happened a lot on the UM Original, but not the UM2.

Are you using 3mm filament? It should be about 2.85mm diameter. Is it round? Is it from Ultimaker or did you buy it from somewhere else? At some point maybe you should remove the back cover of the filament extruder and photograph the inside. Something seems to be mildly wrong. Maybe the other pulley in there is stuck?

Actually there *are* other possibilities. If there is no filament coming out and the extruder keeps trying over and over to extrude it kind of clicks back. But if you do this dozens of times on the same spot of filament I suppose it could slip a little each time.

Also maybe you need to tighten the extruder a tiny bit - turn it so the white square moves down the smallest possible amount but in fact moved down.

 

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The way the fans should hook up, is...

Green wire comes from electronics, and goes into a terminal block with a second green wire. That block connects to a red-black pair that goes to one side fan. The second green wire is just a local connection that goes to a second terminal block, where it joins the yellow wire that returns back to the electronics. That block connects to the second side fan - so the two side fans are wired in series.

The blue pink pair comes from the electronics, and connects to a third red-black pair that goes to the rear fan.

BTW, if you look carefully (and your wires are like mine, and also as in that photo George just posted) you can tell the rear fan wire pair apart, because the red wire is a slightly different color - a slightly more muted pinky-red, whereas the two side fans have bright red.

 

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you can tell the rear fan wire pair apart, because the red wire is a slightly different color - a slightly more muted pinky-red,

 

I hadn't noticed that! The way I guessed which one went to the rear fan (on my UM2) was that the cable seemed slightly longer than the other 2.

 

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Ok, I've followed the wiring guide from the descriptions and the picture and can confirm from my multimeter that the potential across the red and black wires coming from the plug which has a pink and blue input is 5V so the fan does appear to be getting power that far at least.

A dud fan perhaps?

As a further test I unplugged one of the other fans and plugged it into the pink/blue line and nothing (even though it has power). I was expecting whichever fan it was to start up straight away so i'm further lost.

 

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As a further test I unplugged one of the other fans and plugged it into the pink/blue line and nothing (even though it has power). I was expecting whichever fan it was to start up straight away so i'm further lost.

Strange. Okay so when you measured 5V at the pink/blue was that with no connector connected?

I don't even know if these are supposed to be 5V or 12V fans. I don't think the schematic has been posted online yet. I think it will get posted 6 months from the shipment of first UM2.

If I were you I would download pronterface (it's free and simple). Connect a USB cable to the um2 and connect to it with pronterface. Then issue this command to turn on the side fans fully:

M106 S255

(255 is full 127 is 50% and so on). M107 turns fans off.

Make sure the side fans come on, if so, disconnect one and plug in the rear fan. This will test the fans for sure. You can also measure the voltage to see if it is 5V or 12V for the working fans (although they are in series so maybe it will be 6V? I don't know how it's supposed to work!).

edit OH! You can turn the fans on with the maintenance menu! I forgot. So you don't need pronterface.

 

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See >>>>

Strange. Okay so when you measured 5V at the pink/blue was that with no connector connected?

>>>>> Both. I measured the same voltage with and without the fan connected (the red/black wiring leaves just enough room to get my probes in).

I don't even know if these are supposed to be 5V or 12V fans. I don't think the schematic has been posted online yet. I think it will get posted 6 months from the shipment of first UM2.

If I were you I would download pronterface (it's free and simple). Connect a USB cable to the um2 and connect to it with pronterface. Then issue this command to turn on the side fans fully:

M106 S255

(255 is full 127 is 50% and so on). M107 turns fans off.

Make sure the side fans come on, if so, disconnect one and plug in the rear fan. This will test the fans for sure. You can also measure the voltage to see if it is 5V or 12V for the working fans (although they are in series so maybe it will be 6V? I don't know how it's supposed to work!).

edit OH! You can turn the fans on with the maintenance menu! I forgot. So you don't need pronterface.

>>>>> Really? Where is that as I looked in the maintenance/advanced section and there was nothing I could see that enabled me to spin up the fans. I'll download prointerface and have a look at that.

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Yeah - what's the voodoo in the maintenance menu to turn on the fans? I would have appreciated being able to find that too. :-)

The rear fan is 5V. Not sure about the side ones. Avoid the connector on the end of the electronics board that is marked 'Fan', btw. That's 24V.

I suspect the fan won't run if the polarity is reversed (at least some other brushless fans I have won't when I just tested them). So make sure that the red wire is +5V with respect to the black one - if it's reversed, you can just turn the connector around on the end of the motherboard. Mine in fact came with the polarity reversed, and I ended up blowing up the fan (when I mention the 24V connector, i speak from experience) before i figured it out.

 

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