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Which controller board to choose?

Posted by nikko4913 
Which controller board to choose?
February 20, 2016 06:58PM
Hello.
Up until this point in time, i've been using RAMPS boards for my two RepRap printers. However, the RAMPS board seems pretty outdated and "unhandy".
Therefore i'm looking for a replacement and i would like to get some opinions on what to choose.

I have some requirements for the board:
- Should have the opportunity for two extruders (Ability to add more is much appreciated!)
- One X-axis output and one Y-axis output, but two Z-axis output.

Nothing special, but it's still the most important features.

So, if you have some suggestions or know-how about this, it would be nice smiling smiley
Re: Which controller board to choose?
February 20, 2016 08:09PM
You don't need two Z motor outputs if you are capable of wiring your two Z motors in series (which works better than wiring them in parallel if they are typical Nema 17 motors used in repraps).

My choice would be the Duet 0.8.5 because of its integrated and easy to use web interface with fast file upload to the SD card. It will drive two extruders, or six if you add the expansion board. Other possibilities include the Smoothieboard 5XC and the Azteeg X5.



Large delta printer [miscsolutions.wordpress.com], E3D tool changer, Robotdigg SCARA printer, Crane Quad and Ormerod

Disclosure: I design Duet electronics and work on RepRapFirmware, [duet3d.com].
Re: Which controller board to choose?
February 21, 2016 10:16AM
For me, the Duet v0.8.5 seems a bit overkill (And rather expensive..). I would just connect my printer to OctoPi for a web interface. The same goes for the Smoothieboard 5XC.
The Azteeg X5 looks more like what i would like. However, i can only have five steppers with that one right?
I then took a look at the Azteeg X5, as it seemed to have everything i need. Do you have any experience with that board? smiling smiley
Re: Which controller board to choose?
February 21, 2016 11:49AM
Quote
nikko4913
For me, the Duet v0.8.5 seems a bit overkill (And rather expensive..). I would just connect my printer to OctoPi for a web interface. The same goes for the Smoothieboard 5XC.
The Azteeg X5 looks more like what i would like. However, i can only have five steppers with that one right?
I then took a look at the Azteeg X5, as it seemed to have everything i need. Do you have any experience with that board? smiling smiley

If you already run OctoPi then you can obviously manage without the web interface of the Duet. For those without an RPi and/or having no previous experience with one, the all-in-one solution offered by the Duet is simpler to set up and maintain. The price of the Duet 0.8.5 is partly due to the fact that it is assembled and thoroughly tested in the UK, not assembled in China and tested very little if at all as with RAMPS and most other cheap boards.

I have no experience with the Azteeg X5, but I expect there are others here who do. The version 1 of that board has been criticised because the DRV8825 drivers do not play well with some motors, but the V2 uses different drivers with even higher microstepping.



Large delta printer [miscsolutions.wordpress.com], E3D tool changer, Robotdigg SCARA printer, Crane Quad and Ormerod

Disclosure: I design Duet electronics and work on RepRapFirmware, [duet3d.com].
Re: Which controller board to choose?
February 21, 2016 12:40PM
Yep, that's why the Duet may not be the optimal solution.

Regarding the Azteeg, i was thinking of either one of these two:
[www.panucatt.com]
[www.panucatt.com]

I'm thinking it should be Azteeg X3 instead of Azteeg X5, as it has more driver slots?
Re: Which controller board to choose?
February 21, 2016 12:53PM
Quote
nikko4913
Yep, that's why the Duet may not be the optimal solution.

Regarding the Azteeg, i was thinking of either one of these two:
[www.panucatt.com]
[www.panucatt.com]

I'm thinking it should be Azteeg X3 instead of Azteeg X5, as it has more driver slots?

For a delta printer, I would strongly recommend a 32-bit controller such as the X5 instead of an 8-bit controller such as the X3. For a Cartesian printer, I would still prefer the X5 over the X3 (subject to good feedback from X5 users) for the following reasons (in no particular order):

- Native USB port with driver-level flow control, instead of USB over serial without flow control
- You don't need to recompile the firmware in order to reconfigure it
- On-board drivers, which if the cooling is correctly designed should be much more reliable than plug-in drivers
- Software setting of stepper motor currents.



Large delta printer [miscsolutions.wordpress.com], E3D tool changer, Robotdigg SCARA printer, Crane Quad and Ormerod

Disclosure: I design Duet electronics and work on RepRapFirmware, [duet3d.com].
Re: Which controller board to choose?
February 21, 2016 12:59PM
Okay, for the record my printers is Cartesian.

But choosing the X5 over the X3 would limit me to one extruder right? As far as i can see, it only has 4 drivers, X, Y, two Z and Extruder
Re: Which controller board to choose?
February 21, 2016 01:27PM
Quote
nikko4913
Okay, for the record my printers is Cartesian.

But choosing the X5 over the X3 would limit me to one extruder right? As far as i can see, it only has 4 drivers, X, Y, two Z and Extruder

Yes, I see that the X5 has only 4 drivers. Perhaps the Duet 0.8.5 is better value than you initially thought smiling smiley

There are a couple of other low-cost Smoothie-based boards out there, but I am not going to recommend any board where the manufacturer has ignored the open-source license of the board that their design was based on, and contributed nothing to the community. Such manufacturers are the parasites of the open-source community.



Large delta printer [miscsolutions.wordpress.com], E3D tool changer, Robotdigg SCARA printer, Crane Quad and Ormerod

Disclosure: I design Duet electronics and work on RepRapFirmware, [duet3d.com].
Re: Which controller board to choose?
February 22, 2016 06:06AM
Perhaps you are right about the Duet. But then I would have to pay for a fancy web interface, and a lot of stuff I really don't need. I'll reconsider the Duet, but I'm still open for suggestions smiling smiley
About the other boards, I completely agree about what you said. Such companies shouldn't brand products as open source.
Re: Which controller board to choose?
February 24, 2016 12:35AM
Waiting for my Duet and PanelDue to ship. slowly gathering the pieces to build a CoreXY 12x24 monster smiling smiley cant wait


Makerparts.ca
Your Canadian source for V-Slot Extrusion, CNC and 3D Printing Parts and Accessories.
we are proud to be an official Openbuilds distributor.
Re: Which controller board to choose?
February 24, 2016 03:33PM
The biggest disadvantage with the RAMPS 1.4 board is that it is 8-bit, not 32-bit. Upgrading to a 32-bit board is essentially a choice between the Duet, Smoothie, and AzteegX5, like dc42 mentioned. I think their are a few other choices like an expansion board for a BBB, but I believe they suffer from a similar issue as the RAMPS board of being shields / capes rather than single board controllers.

One of the reasons RAMPS is cheap is because it is cloned in China to sub-spec standards. This rarely impacts the performance, but as 32-bit boards have yet to achieve the same adoption / acceptance as 8-bit boards like the RAMPS, there are not a lot of cheap clones available. You could perhaps look at the AZMH (?) or the Duet 0.6 from Replikeo, but at least the Duet 0.6 only has 4 drivers by default, not the 5 found on the 0.85, so you would need to purchase the expansion panel that adds up to 4 additional drivers.

If you are happy with 8-bit boards though for your cartisian printers, there are plenty of quality single board options available if you re-state your question, though the better ones start to approach the price of 32-bit controller boards whose processors are often cheaper then 8-bit processors.
Re: Which controller board to choose?
February 24, 2016 03:42PM
Wish a version of Marlin or Repetier was available for Duet


Makerparts.ca
Your Canadian source for V-Slot Extrusion, CNC and 3D Printing Parts and Accessories.
we are proud to be an official Openbuilds distributor.
Re: Which controller board to choose?
February 24, 2016 04:06PM
Not sure about the Duet board specifically, but I thought repetier firmware supported the Due processor.

I am curious though what issues you have with RepRap Firmware over Marlin and Repetier as I am in the process of upgrading myself.
Re: Which controller board to choose?
February 24, 2016 04:23PM
Cant say i have any so far. as im still waiting for my Duet to be delivered. but while im waiting i have been reading up more about how to apply firmware and changes and it seems like there are not many users of the reprapfirmware for duet. and even finding videos or tutorials seem scarce.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/24/2016 08:40PM by makerparts.


Makerparts.ca
Your Canadian source for V-Slot Extrusion, CNC and 3D Printing Parts and Accessories.
we are proud to be an official Openbuilds distributor.
Re: Which controller board to choose?
February 24, 2016 06:49PM
There are thousands of users running the Duet and RepRapFirmware on Cartesian printers (mostly Ormerod/Huxley/Mendel, but some Prusa i3 and others too), plenty using Duet/RRF on deltas, and a small but growing number on CoreXY. The closest I think you will find to a tutorial are the Electronics pages of the RepRapPro instructions for building the Ormerod, ditto in the T3P3 build instructions for building the Mini Kossel, and my blog articles on upgrading the Mini Kossel to Duet electronics. No videos that I am aware of. There are Wiki pages on the Duet here [reprap.org] and on RepRapFirmware here [reprap.org]. Both have links to a lot more information, for example on firmware configuration.



Large delta printer [miscsolutions.wordpress.com], E3D tool changer, Robotdigg SCARA printer, Crane Quad and Ormerod

Disclosure: I design Duet electronics and work on RepRapFirmware, [duet3d.com].
Re: Which controller board to choose?
February 24, 2016 09:13PM
.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/24/2016 09:19PM by makerparts.


Makerparts.ca
Your Canadian source for V-Slot Extrusion, CNC and 3D Printing Parts and Accessories.
we are proud to be an official Openbuilds distributor.
Re: Which controller board to choose?
March 07, 2016 05:06AM
Hey, just wanted to react to this :

Quote
Kurzaa
One of the reasons RAMPS is cheap is because it is cloned in China to sub-spec standards. This rarely impacts the performance, but as 32-bit boards have yet to achieve the same adoption / acceptance as 8-bit boards like the RAMPS,.

With this : [reprap.org]

Smoothie is actually getting very very popular, even though it's many times more expensive than burn-your-house-down RAMPS counterfeits. Say thanks to great documentation, many-features, easy-to-configure, and a great community smiling smiley
Re: Which controller board to choose?
March 07, 2016 10:06AM
Quote
arthurwolf
burn-your-house-down RAMPS counterfeits.
this is what I wrote when some other person was also trying to "push" smoothie

Quote

really? I'm sorry but my FUD-o-meter is on fire..... tongue sticking out smiley

How much larger is the RAMPS board user group then all other boards combined(!) user group ? So how much bigger is the chance that when problems arise there is a RAMPS board involved?. Your not by facts supported claim/remark is NOT helping at all but will cause damage to the 3d printer community.
[forums.reprap.org]

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/07/2016 10:07AM by [email protected]
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