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Whew! Ramps 1.4 complexity

PostPosted: 2013-Jul-Sat-22-Jul
by Tdeagan
In the course of attempting my Printrbot Plus Dual Extruder upgrade, I've purchased a Ramps 1.4 board (assembled complete with smart LCD board and arduino mega.) I've spent the much of the last 48 hours attempting to get it to do my bidding. Wow! This is vastly more complex than plugging in the Printrboard. Kind of like moving from running a pleasant Windows app to Linux Kernel device driver hacking.

  • What a surprise it was to try and load firmware! First I had to choose Marlin over Sprinter (mot much of a choice since, as best I can tell, the LCD support is much better in Marlin.) Hilarious how many web sites state 'load it up in the Arduino, hit upload and enjoy silky smooth printing.' Ha! Configuring Marlin is a mess. There are a freaky huge variety of defines to configure.
  • I got the LCD to work for a little while and then it began refusing to do anything but display black bars across the 1st and 3rd rows. I've got at least 20 hours in troubleshooting so far with no joy. I hooked up my lovely little OpenBench Logic Sniffer, and can see that it's getting signals, but nothing that makes any sense. I hooked the lcd directly to the mega and ran LCD test code which worked great, so I know it's not the LCD panel. The panel is essentially wired directly through to the arduino, so I'm stuck with thinking it's something deep in the firmware config. I've tried many dozens of config settings, but nothing changes it at all.
  • Even without the LCD, the RampsTestCode happily moved all the motors, so I know the board is working. I got Pronterface to move the motors, kind of. It will move right, but not left. Or it will move two jogs forward and only two jogs back, It complains that the end stops are firing, but none of the end stop inversion settings make a difference. Changing nothing, ReplicatorG works fine, as long as I get a good driver, but there isn't one for Marlin (or Ramps 1.4) directly and so far I've only gotten it to work by telling it I'm talking to Teacup, which may well be hiding grief.
  • The endstops that came in my purchased kit have pullups built in (which the Printrbot stops don't.) There are a lot of config settings that talk about pullups on the endstops in Marlin, but I can't tell if they're critical or not.

If anybody has switched out their Printrboard for a Ramps 1.4 and Marlin, I'd love to get some insight regarding the configuration settings that worked for you.

Re: Whew! Ramps 1.4 complexity

PostPosted: 2013-Jul-Sun-01-Jul
by Tdeagan
Hours more troubleshooting has narrowed down the LCD problem to digital pin 27 on the arduino mega. Connecting the LCD directly with the Ramps removed and then sequentially moving the pins around narrowed it down. It's locked high and unfortunately there is no rational way to use an alternate pin. I'll have to do some tests with a single LED to see just how broke it is.

Re: Whew! Ramps 1.4 complexity

PostPosted: 2013-Jul-Sun-09-Jul
by REPRAP SQUAD
I havnt dug into my ramps board as I recieved a faulty board and im currently awaiting the arrival of a new one. If anyone has any insight it would be great to hear.

Re: Whew! Ramps 1.4 complexity

PostPosted: 2013-Jul-Sun-17-Jul
by Tdeagan
woo hoo! I built a single wire logic probe and determined that the ever so tiny pin 27 on the processor chip (aka pin 73) was fine. Careful inspection of the traces discovered a scratch in the varnish, sure enough, it had broken the trace to pin 27!

I (carefully) scratched the varnish back (close tolerance on each side to other traces,) tinned the exposed copper and managed to solder a single strand of wire across the broken traces. Per my standard project economics, this cost me a near third degree burn on my left middle finger (usually projects demand blood, but a good burn will often do.)

Now the LCD and menu system are working great!

Onward.

Re: Whew! Ramps 1.4 complexity

PostPosted: 2013-Jul-Thu-22-Jul
by Tdeagan
Lotsa progress. :)

- I learned how to create new ReplicatorG machine definitions, so it's working well, but more happily for me;
- I finally read enough to learn that the pull-ups for the Ramps endstops are internal to the processor and not part of the circuitry I see on the set of endstops that came with the Ramps kit. Meaning that I can use the stock Printrbot endstops that are already in place. I was able to get the configuration.h in Marlin happy and now faithful Pronterface is working happily with the Ramps 1.4 board. All axis happiness and perfect homing.

I'll write all this up in part 2 of my dual extruder setup series.

Now I need to decipher the surprisingly rich set of menu commands on the LCD!

If the spool of 1.75mm ABS would arrive I should be able to start using my dual extruder Printrbot Plus!

Re: Whew! Ramps 1.4 complexity

PostPosted: 2013-Jul-Thu-22-Jul
by Tdeagan
The beast;
image.jpg

image.jpg

Re: Whew! Ramps 1.4 complexity

PostPosted: 2013-Jul-Fri-10-Jul
by REPRAP SQUAD
Nice work buddy I am very impressed. I cant wait to read your write up as we are both going through the exact same process.

Re: Whew! Ramps 1.4 complexity

PostPosted: 2013-Jul-Fri-12-Jul
by ei8htohms
Never even thought of a hybrid Bowden/direct combination. Very cool!

Re: Whew! Ramps 1.4 complexity

PostPosted: 2013-Jul-Fri-13-Jul
by Tdeagan
Experimentation will have to show if it's the best of both worlds, or the worst :?

Re: Whew! Ramps 1.4 complexity

PostPosted: 2013-Jul-Fri-13-Jul
by Mochaboy
Following with interest :D

Re: Whew! Ramps 1.4 complexity

PostPosted: 2013-Jul-Fri-13-Jul
by Mooselake
Where'd you get that small LED ring (they seem to be aka Angel Eyes)? I have a 60mm, the smallest I could find, but it's still bigger than I'd like.

Kirk

Re: Whew! Ramps 1.4 complexity

PostPosted: 2013-Jul-Fri-14-Jul
by Tdeagan
It's a 60mm ring I got from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00899AI92/ref=pe_175190_21431760_M3T1_ST1_dp_1. They're also referred to as 'Angel Eyes'.

2 for $9.05, Amazon Prime (aka free two day shipping.)

I'd love to find smaller ones as well.