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  1. #1
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    RepRap vs. Marlin Firmware

    I have never seen RepRap firmware. All of my experiences have been with the Marlin. But now There is a way to apply the RepRap firmware to the SKR and other mainboards. Anybody here with experience with both that can tell me which is better and easier to use and gets better results and is faster and all that good stuff? Check out this video, guys: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mw-Gg3y__Go

  2. #2
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    Interesting, I have one MKS Sbase so I might test this, not sure if the Sbase is the required 1.3 version though. I do like Reprap FW, I have couple of Duet boards and they work very well once you get them set up. Same goes mostly with the Marlin based boards, excluding RAMPS, I really don't see very striking difference in everyday printing, all machines do their job once you get them set up. Some of the machines I use are still 8-bit and I really haven't seen that much difference in overall printing, sure some of the small segments print faster on 32-bit and 32-bit boots up bit faster, but nothing earth shattering.
    On Reprap FW the configuration is easier once you get to know how it's done, everything is gcode and configurable in the web UI, no need to recompile the fw to change things. Also Reprap fw is very flexible in the configuration, so in this is a big plus when working with multiple extruders and more exotic setups. On Marlin I had to modify the Marlin code to get a custom relay setup working, on Reprap it was few lines of gcode in config.

    When coming from Marlin, the initial configuration is involved though, so depending on the printer might take some tinkering. The online configurator helps a lot and gives you a good basic config to work on. I got my first RAMPS -> Duet conversion done in few hours, but it needed some tweaking of course. Also setting up the bed sensor needed some soldering due to some voltages being different on Duet and RAMPS.
    After the setup it gets a lot easier since all settings can be controlled in UI

  3. #3
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    So do you think one is capable of generating better print quality? Or do you think they are just 2 different ways of doing the same thing and they can be dialed in comparably and the trick is really just knowing your way around what you are using?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by AutoWiz View Post
    So do you think one is capable of generating better print quality? Or do you think they are just 2 different ways of doing the same thing and they can be dialed in comparably and the trick is really just knowing your way around what you are using?
    Well I haven't compared Reprap FW and Marlin on same hw so cannot say for sure, but yes, I think they both provide about same quality at same settings. The differences in print quality probably come when going beyond the 'normal' printer settings, like tuning the linear advance, s-curve acceleration, junction deviation etc. special options. Not sure Reprap has all those, it does have pressure advance and dynamic acceleration to reduce ringin. Also I'm not sure how big of a effect those special features have on quality, I did enable MArlin S-curve and Junction deviation on my Dollo printers, but I don't think those printers are the best platforms for tweaking the minute quality details anyways... my other printers are either running Prusa version of Marlin so no S-curve or Junction deviation or they are running Duet HW.
    Last edited by spegelius; 07-12-2020 at 04:21 AM.

  5. #5
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    Seem my Sbase is version 1.3 so Reprap FW should work on the board. I'm tempted to try it out even though I'm quite happy with the current Marlin configuration. Still, assuming everything works properly, moving to Reprap fw would remove the need to recompile the fw every time I need to change the printer configuration. I'll lose wifi (I'm using Octoprint) so I'll need to plug in ethernet cable or buy ESP8266 and do some modifications on the board.

  6. #6
    Super Moderator curious aardvark's Avatar
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    the important question - well from my point if view anyway :-)

    Is reprap firmware more robust in it's compilation and uploading ?
    Most of the time when I piss about with IDE and a firmware it either won't compile and won't tell me why or compiles and nothing works.

    I admit i try to mess with firmware as infrequently as possible and have yet to see any reason to change any firmware on my working machines.

    But I will need to setup my skr 1.4turbo board and screen on my cheapo prusa clone.
    And maybe also do something with the sapphire pro - when i remember to get my mate to bring his soldering iron with him.
    Plus currently got work on - so workbench is either occupied with base units or laptops.

    But if it's easier either to setup OR to maintain (like the sound of just changing individual settings without mucking about with re-compiling.)

    So is it better for those of us who are firmware averse ?

  7. #7
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    If you hate compiling the firmware, Reprap firmware is just for you: it comes precompiled, just grab the binary file, put it on SD card (rename to firmware.bin) and boot the board. Or with Duet, upload it in the web UI. Not sure if the web ui update works on other boards.

    Only time you need to update the firmware is when new version is released. And it's still the same thing, grab the binary and off you go.

    That's the beauty of it, everything is configured in files on the sdcard and if using the web UI, you can use that to do the changes.

    I did set up the compilation environment when I first started using Reprap fw because I though that to get my custom extruder relay setup to work I would need the change how some I/O-pins were controlled. Turned out that even those can be configured with configuration files as you please so that exercise was kinda wasted (maybe learned something, maybe not).

  8. #8
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    Went for it last evening and so far it's a partial success: the board boots, I can connect to it with OctoPrint and it homes all axes properly. The motors even sound bit quieter? Not sure if this is just my imagination...
    But there's still problems:
    - OctoPrint serial connection seems flaky at time, keeps disconnecting. Not sure why.
    - DWC (Duet Web control) doesn't work. Connected the board to ethernet and it does get IP address with DHCP, ping works (with some gaps from time to time so maybe some connection problem?), but no response when trying to connect with http, ftp or telnet. This is a big minus, if I don't get DWC working might as well go back to Marlin + OctoPrint because now the configuration changes mean that I have to remove the SD card from the board and modify the config files on my PC.

    I'll try to print something today to see if it works reliably. Also there are a couple of options to get DWC working:
    - I have ESP8266 that came with the MKS touchscreen I bought with the SBase. Needs some soldering but should be relatively straightforward so I would have wifi
    - check the SBase board. Last night I googled some and found out that the SBase boards from china might have some components missing or installed wrong (supprise!) which makes the ethernet behave badly.
    - use the SBC mode which means using raspberry pi to act as a external Wifi module/controller to the SBase as with Duet3. I don like this option too much because it means I still need the raspi and there's no instructions for SBC setup for SBase, although the SKR instructions should provide the required information. Just need to find the correct pins on SBase...

  9. #9
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    You need to be my friend Spegelius. Come visit me in sunshiny South Florida. And help me get my multi material printers up and running. You really seem to know what you are doing. Or at least seem a lot more comfortable with it than me.

  10. #10
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    Heh, I didn't feel very comfortable yesterday trying to get this working. Don't worry, well get you multi material printing. Once Prusa ships my MMU2S I'll have first hand experience with it, right now it's somewhat of a guesswork how everything works in it.

    I managed to get RRF working. Once I established a serial connection to the board using screen in linux (screen /dev/ttyACM0 115200) I saw that the board was resetting itself every time I tried to load the web UI. I tried a bit older release and it worked a tad bit better, even managed to get some text loaded on the web UI, but it kept resetting still.
    Finally I noticed on the config.g that I had enabled the 12864 display I was using with Marlin and tried disabling it as it was showing garbage anyways and you have to define your own menu apparently (need to investigate that more in depth later). The display part was suggested by the online configurator (which is a must if you want to configure your printer): https://jaysuk.github.io/LPCConfigurator/Start. After disabling the display, it just started working. Web UI works and printer seems stable. I tried printing benchy, but the quality was awful due to the print cooling fan not working properly, but a easier stackable box print turned out nicely.

    Needed to do M303 heater tuning for bed and nozzle, bed heating was giving me errors about the temp not rising fast enough. After the tuning heating seems to work fine.

    So far looking promising although took a bit more tinkering to get at this point. The print quality seems at least comparable to Marlin, but need to do proper print comparison. Luckily swapping between Marlin and RRF is easy, just replace firmware.bin on sdcard and off you go. Actually with Duet web UI working when RRF is flashed I can upload the Marlin fw through it if I don't want remove the sdcard from the printer. Getting back to RRF requires removal of course as the DWC isn supported by Marlin.

    Things to address:
    - print cooling fan. By default RRF sets the PWM to 500hz and apparently that's not a good frequency for at least this particular fan, so that needs to be tuned. The fan works @100% but with lower speeds (75%) it's stopped
    - Pressure Advance (RRF's version of Linear Advance) tuning, currently using 0.28 as with Marlin but I suspect those values aren't 100% interchangeable. But at least it seems to be close enough for now
    - check how the display should work. Not a big loss if I can get it working, with DWC I can use phone or tablet to control the printer.
    - see how manual mesh bed leveling is done with RRF. With Marlin it's easy when you have a display, hoping that with RRF the web UI provides help with that. Otherwise it's going to be tedious feeding the gcode commands in console.

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