Flash firmware without Flip?

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Flash firmware without Flip?

Postby daveculp » 2018-Feb-Fri-17-Feb

I am about to go all Office Space on this printer.......

I have a Metal Plus that has been nothing but problems since day one. Recently I had some issues with the heat bed. I solved those and in the process put a new Rev F6 Printrboard in the printer. I got it working and it was working great, in fact it was putting out some of the best prints Ive seen it put out. I was even able to print a 19 hour print with 0 issues.

I decided to get a Build Tak magnetic spring steel build plate. I put that on this morning. I knew I would have to reset the Z axis height offset. I started the 3mm box print and it started to print but the hot end was too far off the bed (I knew it would be). So I rehomed everything, entered the correct commands to lower the Z axis offset height like I have done thousands of times. I then told Cura to start the print and everything seemed fine at first:

1. The print started like normal.
2. The X and Y axis homed just fine.
3. The Z axis started to home, it lowered until it detected the metal bed. It the raised up and then slowly lowered until it detected the bed like normal.
4. Then it just stopped and hung there. About 10-20 seconds later I hear a slight "click" or "thump" and the printer resets and I get a dump.
5. I can connect to the printer and use the manual control in Cura (or Octopi) to move the print head, home all three axis (including Z) but it fails as above when trying an actual print.

I have tried different computers and USB cables and the behavior is always the same.

I figured I needed to reflash the firmware. I have a Mac that I use to control the printer but the Mac Printrbot software has never been any good and I cant get it to work.

I have a new Windows machine and decided to try that:

1. It appears Flip is no longer supported.
2. I found a download for it but my laptop is a HiDPI display and the Flip window is tiny and mostly unusable.
3. I was able to hook up, the Windows machine sees the Printrbot when power is applied.
4. I was able to stumble through trying to flash the firmware, guessing which buttons were which.
5. I get an error "atlibusbdfu.dll not found"

Any help is appreciated? Is there a Windows or Mac tool I can use besides Atmel Flip or the Printrbot Mac Firmware updater?
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Flash firmware without Flip?

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Re: Flash firmware without Flip?

Postby novice » 2018-Feb-Fri-17-Feb

While unable to directly answer your question, I too experienced stability issues with FLIP on my recent first time board flashing and found a new install of Java was required to suppress that and proceed on. http://www.printrbottalk.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=11644
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Re: Flash firmware without Flip?

Postby daveculp » 2018-Feb-Fri-17-Feb

Thanks! I will give that a try and see if that fixes the UI issues I have.

I was able to correct the missing DLL error I had with a little bit og googling and was able to install the DFU drivers for the Atmel chip. I was able to successfully install the new firmware. The printer now homes properly and I am testing a print.

Anyone know why the board loses firmware? This printer seems to do it often.
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Re: Flash firmware without Flip?

Postby RetireeJay » 2018-Feb-Fri-19-Feb

I don't know why you've been having trouble with the firmware getting corrupted. I have had a Rev D and then a Rev F board for a combined total of 5 years and have experienced exactly one failure of the firmware. And that was a hard failure, the reason I migrated from D to F.

Mooselake and I are generally of the opinion that firmware failures should be the very last thing on the list of "usual suspects". Of course they can happen, but very often the cause of strange behavior is found elsewhere.

If you are able to access the printer (as apparently you were), it's a good idea to check all the EEPROM values (with M503) to see if any of them have inadvertently gotten loaded with bogus values.

I suspect the boards don't like to have motors plugged in or unplugged while power is on; that could cause firmware problems. And, since motors can act as generators, maybe even moving the motors around by hand too quickly when the power is off could back-feed energy into the system. But I've moved my Printrbot around plenty with the power off, so that is not a sure cause of failure. Plugging in or unplugging other components like switches, thermistors, and heaters should be pretty benign because they don't have any stored energy like the coils in motors.
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Printrbot Plus operational January 2013
Brass threaded rods (5/16" X 18) & nuts for Z axis
GT2 belts & pulleys
Cable chain to reduce probability of fatigue failure in wires
E3D V5 Hot End, 0.4mm nozzle, also 0.8 and 0.25 in use occasionally
PB fan mount + 40mm fan -- using printed mount adapter, not the E3D supplied fan
Injection molded extruder gears
Optical Z "endstop" (custom designed and built)
Have used many pounds of T-Glase filament. Now also doing some work with Ninjaflex SemiFlex
Print on glass with Scotch Craft Stick or other glue stick
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Re: Flash firmware without Flip?

Postby daveculp » 2018-Feb-Fri-20-Feb

I dont know what it is with this Metal Plus but it seems to lose firmware on a regular basis. The first time was a week after I got it two years ago. I have had numerous problems with the Metal Plus. I also have a Simple Metal and it is a tank, I have had it for the same amount of time and I have had very little problems with it. It just prints and prints and prints. It has never lost firmware and the only issues I have had are standard, regular maintenance type issues.
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Re: Flash firmware without Flip?

Postby Mooselake » 2018-Feb-Sat-17-Feb

Do you have a digital voltmeter? Check that the 12V from the power supply is stable, with the heated bed both off and on. From memory I think it should stay within 10 to 16 volts. Laine, the designer, discussed the allowable voltage range in this forum several years ago.

Otherwise I'd lean towards a marginal board, MCU, voltage regulator, etc. RJ can offer a better opinion. He's a real EE, I stayed in a Holiday Inn Express after getting my EE degree.

Depending on what eliminating that source of grief is worth you might just consider swapping out the board for the current rev F. Avoid the G unless you want to spend a lot of time making it work - and in that case try a C3D smoothie oars instead.

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