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Electronics....software....issues

Posted by HereIgoAgain 
Electronics....software....issues
January 22, 2011 09:28AM
Ok, it's time for a reality check, I'm hooked and have ordered/received and built stuff I've received from all over the world for a MENDEL, and have to admit that I'm having the time of my life. I was advised against buying a Mendel kit as many believed (right or wrong) that the quality of kits they received wasn't the best. I've ordered parts from everywhere (and have to admit that the quality, quickness and overall experience of dealing with folks has been terrific). However, in my perhaps ignorance, to save soldering my own boards, I ordered Makerbot Gen 3 Electronics Mostly Assembled electronics. [hackable-devices.org]. I'm assuming I'll have to add the IC2 pins as suggested at [reprap.org] but it looks to me like most everything else is plug and play, except of course for the opto end switches I got that are 4-pin rather than of the RJ45 variety. So questions: According to the literature with the "mostly assembled parts" I received it says "The extruder controller and motherboard have be pre-programmed with the MakerBot firmware and Arduino bootloader", does this mean I don't have to push out software to the motherboard ?? and is this the same software that the MENDEL uses or is it different. Can I go thru the same checkout lists provided in the wiki's for all of the electronic components and is it ok to just use the RJ45 connector on the motherboard to a 4 pin connector on the opto switch. I anxiously await some sage advice
Re: Electronics....software....issues
January 22, 2011 10:25AM
Quote
HereIgoAgain
According to the literature with the "mostly assembled parts" I received it says "The extruder controller and motherboard have be pre-programmed with the MakerBot firmware and Arduino bootloader", does this mean I don't have to push out software to the motherboard ?? and is this the same software that the MENDEL uses or is it different. Can I go thru the same checkout lists provided in the wiki's for all of the electronic components and is it ok to just use the RJ45 connector on the motherboard to a 4 pin connector on the opto switch. I anxiously await some sage advice

No, unless you want to use the Makerbot firmware then you must up/download it to the boards.
It does mean that the bootloader is present so you don't need anything other than the USB cable that you have anyway.

No, the RepRap has a different firmware HOWEVER if they have added support for stepper extruder back in then it would work. To start I would use the currently released RepRap Mendel firmware.

Yes, the boards are the same so the same checkout lists would apply.

As stated in the wiki you do NOT have to modify the electronics at all if you don't want to, it just makes the wiring cleaner but it is a lot of work to remove the RJ45 connectors and the power connector on the Motherboard is a real bitch. So it is up to you.

Since I now want to add Revar's LCD / Keypad to my Mendel I need to remove the jumper that I added to power the Motherboard from the USB so power arrives at both boards at the same time (for stand-alone operation without a PC).


Bob Morrison
W├Ârth am Rhein, Germany
"Luke, use the source!"
BLOG - PHOTOS - Thingiverse
Re: Electronics....software....issues
January 22, 2011 09:33PM
Gen3 has the extruder stepper driven from the dual h-bridges on the extruder board, as opposed to a proper stepper driver with a current-limiting chopper drive and half-stepping (or even micro-stepping). My preffered solution would be to buy an extra stepper driver and use it instead. Thus the extruder controller would do temperature sensing and heat control only, with the four stepper drivers driving the four steppers.

As a result of this gen3 quirk (that some have called a "nasty hack") many people have had problems of one sort or another running it. It can and does work, but it can be a bit finicky to set up and get working properly.

If you're using the reprap.org gen3 firmware, you DO need to wire the step and dir lines from the motherboard to the extruder driver. Also you probably need to add a wire to tie the ground of the mainboard to the extruder controller.

See this thread pay particular attention to this message.

Good luck.


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I'm building it with Baling Wire
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