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Ultimaker S5 - Some experiences after one year


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Posted · Ultimaker S5 - Some experiences after one year

Hello 🙂

 

My Ultimaker S5 has its first anniversary today, so I thought I'll share my experiences with it during that year. 

 

I got the S5 as an upgrade from my previous Ultimaker 3 mainly because of the larger build volume and bought an AirManager with it.

Overall I'm very pleased with the S5, it prints just everything I throw at it mostly without a flaw. I mostly use PLA, but also ABS, PC, and Nylon. The only thing I really hate is PVA, I thought it would be really nice to have but I ended up designing everything in a way that it doesn't need supports. Overall I mostly use only a single Printcore but occasionally also both what also works flawlessly when they are nicely aligned (that sometimes takes some tries, especially with two AA 0.25 Cores and small parts). 

The only major incident was a TPU-print that became loose and started to flood the printhead, luckily only one core and nothing surrounding was affected (but well, that basically happened because I thought that I don't need a Brim because it was a relatively small part) but I noticed it at some point and the damage wasn't too bad (but I can tell you, TPU is a mess to remove). 

The default print profiles also work very well (I also like the new 0.3mm profiles for larger parts). At the beginning I was a little annoyed by the always-on auto leveling, but I got used to it and endet up placing small parts in the back right corner so it only probes a small area and it doesn't take much time.

 

And then there was this incident that basically started last week with the Flow-Sensor falsely triggering multiple times during a large print, I thought it might be affected by the material (some glittery Formfutura Galaxy-PLA) because I thought the sensor works optically (after disassembling it I know that's not how it works). So I just disabled the Flow-Sensor and the print and some following finished without a problem. Yesterday I changed back to another material and since I wasn't sure if it would be enough on the spool for the next print I enabled the Flow-Sensor after loading the material. I went to my laptop in another room, uploaded the print and it started. Then suddenly a horrible loud noise from the printer, I went there and saw it heated up, the Printhead stuck somewhere on its way to the lift switch and the Printbed moving very slowly down making awful noises like the stepper motor is blocked and tries to fight it.

On he screen I was greeted by this "An unspecified error has occurred in the motion controller."-message:

IMG_1679.thumb.jpg.002024bdc09cb9a647406b76c323506c.jpg

 

I was confused since I never seen this error and the printer never behaved like that, so I just rebooted the printer. I thought maybe there was something wrong with the G-Code so I checked the settings in Cura, resliced the part and sent it to the printer again. After sending the print I stood next to the printer to make sure everything works now. It heated up normally and wanted to start the active leveling, then suddenly something clicked, the printbed fell down and the same error message appeared. I was like "Are you really dying on your last day on warranty?", I hit reboot and googled the error-message, I found one forum-post over here that suggested the mainboard is gone and one support-article that also suggested a hardware related problem.

After the reboot finished I noticed a red exclamation mark at the settings-icon on the screen of the printer, first I didn't think much of it since there was a yellow one for a while because I didn't make a x/y-calibration for two cores that I didn't use together. But remembering it was yellow before, I clicked through to the error-message and came to this: 

IMG_1677.thumb.jpeg.b378a8562be81615aa1b598314df5c00.jpeg

 

I looked up the mentioned page and followed the steps there, I really like the detailed support pages by the way, I mean it's nothing you want to look at, but when you have to, it somehow brightens up the situation when there's at least a good instruction that guides you through the steps needed. 

After removing the feeder carefully I immediately noticed that the cable connecting the sensor was disconnected (I'm sure it wasn't properly in place since I was very careful and didn't use any force). I plugged the connector back in, mounted the feeder back in place and powered up the printer. The printer booted up normally, the error was gone and it now prints again like nothing happened.

Even tho that was an annoying (and a little scary) error, it was fixed in under one hour and I'm impressed that this was the only fault in one year of usage that caused downtime. The support documents were very good (I would have wished for a little more details for the motion-system error tho) and helped to resolve the issue without having to contact support. 

I was curious how the flow sensor can highjack the whole printer in such a scary way but sadly the design files aren't public (no offence), my wild guess would be that both are on some I2C-bus or something together and the loose connection of the sensor-connector caused disruptions in the communication between the systems on a larger scale. I don't know if the connector could move out of place by itself (by vibrations probably) or wasn't properly in place when it left the factory and came completely loose over time, but it seemed pretty secure when I plugged it back in. I know nothing about the manufacturing process, but maybe there's some room for improvements with my feedback :) (it's the newer version of the S5 with the "U" on the sides if that matters). 

 

Overall I really like the S5 and its ease of use and quality :). 

 

I don't know if some did really read the whole thing here but I wanted to share my experiences :). 

Maybe someone runs into the same issue and this can help.

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