Flip Blank Check fails

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Flip Blank Check fails

Postby Dipstick » 2017-Aug-Sun-08-Aug

Hello,
Ever since I got my Printrbot Smalls assembled and running I have been able to print some decent parts with it.
Starting 3 – 4 weeks ago when I would run Cura 15.04.6 (I think) and put in M501 I just get a bunch of garbage characters. I would reflash the board and it would be OK for a couple days. It would do the same thing and I would have to do the same thing again.
The same thing happened again yesterday but the things I did before is not working now. The blank Check fails. Attached is a picture. What can be done to fix this?

Thanks,
Mike
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Re: Flip Blank Check fails

Postby RetireeJay » 2017-Aug-Sun-09-Aug

It should very rarely be necessary to re-flash your board (unless you are actually developing your own firmware). So something funny is going on here.

One thing to avoid is ever pulling the plug on power to the printer when motors are running. The stored energy in the running motor can back-feed into the board and cause glitches in the firmware.

If your EEPROM contents are frequently getting messed up (as seen by the M501 command) you can always revert to the "factory" settings (the values pre-set for you in the firmware) by sending M502. Do you need to change from factory settings to configure the printer to your own settings, e.g. for bed size or Z calibration etc.? There's a possibility that the code that's intended to manage the EEPROM contents is not working correctly. The firmware that manages the EEPROM has (of course) separate routines to read from EEPROM and to write to EEPROM, and if those are not precise mirror images of each other, then the reading will see bogus results. That happened to me once when I was modifying my own firmware, but it shouldn't happen if you are using firmware you got from Printrbot. Nevertheless, humans are humans...

The Blank Check failure is not a good sign. You might need to up the ante and go to an in-circuit programmer that plugs into the board instead of using the USB connection to the board. It's more difficult to set this up than using FLIP, but it doesn't depend on any firmware on the board to be working, whereas using FLIP does require a small bootloader routine in firmware.
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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: Flip Blank Check fails

Postby Dipstick » 2017-Aug-Sun-10-Aug

Hi Jay,

Iv'e never turned the power off with the motors running except when the hot end would run into the bed. That would happen once in a while for no reason.

Yes I do need to change bed size. It comes up as a Simple but I have a Smalls. In Cura there is no Smalls.
I can't get to where I put the M502 command in until I can get connected.

If all else fails what is this in-circuit programmer your talking about?

Mike
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Re: Flip Blank Check fails

Postby Mooselake » 2017-Aug-Sun-11-Aug

If the blank check fails there's a good chance the firmware memory is failing to erase and program properly; it could be dropping bits, which would also be the reason you keep loosing the firmware.

If it's still under warranty (I'd guess this isn't too likely) then open a ticket; otherwise start thinking about ordering a replacement board. Like all modern electronic doodads they're sensitive (more so than they should be imho, not that hard to build protection into the supply) to powerline gremlins, static zaps, infant mortality rates, and maybe electron displacement due to lunar and solar tides.

The in-circuit programmers are pretty cheap. Here's a random example from Amazon of the hordes of USBtinyISP clones. You can pick one up on eBay (and likely GearBest, BangGood, DealExtreme, or other chinese mega-retailers) for a couple bucks if you want to wait somewhere between a week and two months for the subsidized cheap shipping (my theory is they have a shipping container in the post office that gets shipped when it's full, so it depends on what the fill level is when you order). Maybe you'll luck out if you reflash the whole thing including the bootloader, but my odds doing so on other devices has been pretty poor.

Kirk

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Re: Flip Blank Check fails

Postby Dipstick » 2017-Aug-Sun-12-Aug

I do remember when I tried again a bit ago that when I hit run it would say erase failed also.
I see the one on Amazon for 12.95. I will check some other sites for a cheaper one.
What else can it be used for? Really don't want to get it for a one time use.
When I'm checking what exacley should I look for? I see many different types and prices.

Mike
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Re: Flip Blank Check fails

Postby RetireeJay » 2017-Aug-Sun-13-Aug

Dipstick wrote:What else can it be used for? Really don't want to get it for a one time use.


Well, $12 is cheaper than a new board. I guess if you ever get into playing other games with micro-based toys it might come in handy. Or not.

But that said, when my old Rev D started having similar symptoms, the ISP programmer didn't fix the problem so I ended up getting a new board as well. So it's a gamble getting the ISP programmer whereas getting a new board is much more expensive but not a gamble (assuming you buy from a reputable source that has some kind of guarantee).
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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
User avatar
RetireeJay
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Re: Flip Blank Check fails

Postby Mooselake » 2017-Aug-Mon-14-Aug

You can find them for $2.37 on eBay, although I'd spring for the $3.55 (all US$) version with the cable. Search for usbtinyisp. It will take between a week and two months to get to the states from China, and occasionally not at all (although almost every vendor will reship). If you're not familiar with buying on the bay look for a fairly high number of ratings and 99+ positive. If you don't want to wait then Amazon (assuming it's in your country) may be worth the extra cost, just make sure it ships from Amazon and not somewhere remote.

If you do got the oriental import route then get a few Arduino V2 Nanos, and you can use the programmer to flash them. By eliminating the bootloader you gain a few K of the pretty small program memory. Amazing what you can get for a couple bucks these days, although like RJ I remember when a cheap computer was still well over $10K in less inflated dollars.

If it were me I'd try a few more times to flash it, skip the ISP and make it Officially Pronounced Dead and get a replacement. Bummer. You could go the RAMPS/Mega route but it will be more complex than swapping out the Printrboard. Depends on whether or not you want to print or play with the electronics and exercise your adult language collection.

Kirk
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