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  1. #1

    [PSA] Some MakerBot Replicator 1 clones are being built without Thermocouples

    (TL;DR at the bottom)

    I grabbed myself one of those CTC Bizer's the other day from eBay, which are clones of MakerBot Replicator 1's.
    It's my first every 3D printer and I figured that as it came pre-assembled, it would be a great first step in to starting a 3D printing hobby... Boy was I wrong.

    After getting it set up, levelling the bed and doing the usual first setup that I assume everyone does, I started to read up on the best software to use, getting used to all the new terminology, that sort of stuff, and I started seeing so many people talking about these amazing custom firmware's you can get, Marlin & Sailfish, and how everyone recommends them over stock firmwares as they tend to give better quality prints. Great, I thought, let's get it loaded up, it supports my board straight up so lets go.

    ....aaaand this is where the issues started. I spent a couple of hours getting all the necessary software packages, firmware files and other bits and pieces I needed, and after about 200 presses of the reset button, I was able to get the firmware flashed. It flashed successfully and the system rebooted. All seemed normal, so I thought I'd go print off something that I printed earlier to test the results. The extruder wouldn't heat. The temperature was at 0. WHAT?!

    Looking online there was next to no information about why this might happen outside of "check your connections" etc. As it turns out, nearly every single version of the MightyBoard, clone or original, uses thermocouples for the temperature sensors... but not mine, oh no, it uses generic 100k thermistors, and as far as I could see, there were no working firmware builds for this type of set up outside of the manufacturers firmware that they obviously don't give you.

    At this point I figured I had 2 options, replace the board with something else, or fit some thermocouples. So I started ordering the MAX SPI chips, some thermocouples and phoenix plugs, but then I wondered if I could get Sailfish or Marlin to build from source and read from thermistors instead. The manufacturer obviously did it, so why couldn't I?
    So here we are, 4 days later (I've only owned the device for 5), and I have spent more time reconfiguring Marlin to use thermistors, than I have actually spent printing things.

    I now, finally, have a working CTC Bizer on the (almost) latest Marlin, using thermistors instead of Thermocouple's, and it has saved me an absolute nightmare of time and money trying to replace the motherboard/components or wiring up thermocouple's. HOORAH.
    This seems to be a new thing with CTC to use thermistors instead, as there have been a few posts from this year of people with the same problem, but outside of replacing the board I haven't seen anyone take this approach and succeed.

    So I guess now I can finally say I'm part of the 3D gang?

    If anyone knows of anyone else in this position, or has been, let me know. I've pushed the code up to Github, I'm just not sure if I'm allowed to post it here.

    TL;DR - Bought clone 3d printer, it wasn't wired up in a way that custom firmwares expect for this board, had to hack my own together to fix it.

  2. #2
    Just realised this should probably go here:

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