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Collectively, we at MatterHackers have done it hundreds, if not thousands of times, so we can appreciate the complexity involved. In any case, just try to stay calm. Though it is complex, flashing firmware is a scientific process, and the rules of logic apply. The process for flashing firmware at least in the context of the 3D printing world consists of something like the following: Not much to it, is there? Sometimes it is just that easy. If not, resources are available to help you along.
Arduino is an open source electronics company and platform which designs and sells microcontrollers. The boards they produce are the basis for many of the boards used for controlling 3D printers due to their open source nature and ease of use.
As mentioned in the last section, the Arduino platform is not the only platform used for running 3D printer controllers. Smoothie is another such platform, and requires different software to flash boards which use it.
The concept and general process will be the same, though, so most everything we discuss here should be good information no matter what platform your printer runs on. These require their own firmware-flashing software which we do not cover here. If in doubt, check with the board manufacturer for information about flashing firmware. Head over to the Arduino website and download the latest version of the Arduino IDE integrated development environment for your operating system: Just make sure you get the standalone version, not the online IDE.
So what does the Arduino IDE actually do? This program loads the firmware files into memory, allows the user to edit code if necessary, compiles the code, and finally sends the compiled code to the board over a serial connection. Firmware is the actual code that runs your printer. It starts as human-readable code, which defines the logic i. On its fundamental level, firmware is just a computer program. As is typical of any function that a computer program performs, different programs have been created that all work similarly.
They all do the same thing i. We call these different programs different flavors-- like ice cream. Some of the common open source firmware solutions available include Repetier, Marlin, Sprinter, Smoothie, grbl, etc.
Current versions of the firmware files for Repetier and Marlin can be found in their respective GitHub repositories: Now just so you know, firmware is provided in various forms.
What you are looking for is the. Lulzbot, makers of the TAZ, has firmware readily available for all their printers, for example. TAZ 6 Marlin Firmware.
Download the folder, with all the files inside, and open the. Once you have the firmware open you can edit the code. In Marlin and Repetier, the Configuration. Other firmware should have a comparable file, which will function similarly. For further information, you can consult the Marlin documentation at marlinfw.
Repetier also has a handy online configuration tool , so you do not need to edit the Configuration. The rate at which bits of data are interchanged between the board and the host computer. Common values are and Different thermistors have different resistances to measure temperature. Defining which thermistor your hot end uses is absolutely necessary to ensure that the temperature is measured correctly.
While motor wires can be physically swapped around to change the direction in which the motors turn, the firmware can sometimes more easily be changed. Changing the value for the direction of the motors will cause them to spin the opposite direction. Setting how many steps is required to move the motor one millimeter is critical for calibrating the printer and making sure it moves correctly. Knowing how many endstops the printer has and whether the switches are always on or always closed is important, and these settings are easily adjusted here.
Temperatures can be manually set in degrees Celsius. Now that you have made all the changes you want to your firmware configuration, it is time to set up Arduino to upload your new firmware to your printer. Some firmwares require additional libraries to be installed.
These are additional pieces of software which the firmware utilizes to perform certain functions. For instance, one library commonly used by printer firmwares is U8glib which handles graphical LCD displays. If your printer has a graphical not text based screen then you will need this library. This is where you must select the type of motherboard that is installed in your printer. If you select the wrong board, you will most likely get an error when compiling. In some cases, though, you will need to add a new board to Arduino.
This process varies depending on which board you need to install, and which version of Arduino you are running. The following outlines the process using the built-in Boards Manager in Arduino 1. This works for the RAMBo board. For other boards you will need to follow the instructions in the links provided above. This is the serial port you use to connect to your printer. This is the same as the serial port selected in MatterControl. If you have only one printer connected to your computer, then choose the only port available.
Compiling converts the human readable if you are a programmer source code into binary instructions which the processor understands. When you click the checkbox button in Arduino, it will compile the firmware. During this process it will check for any issues with the code. If all goes well then when it is done it will report the size of the compiled firmware in white text in the console area. If there is an issue, it will give you an error message in orange text.
We have some common issues listed below. Check to see if your error message is among them. Finally, click the arrow button to upload the firmware to your printer. It will be automatically compiled if you have not done so already, and then the transfer will begin. This will take a minute or two; just be patient. When the process completes your printer will reboot. If not, you will probably have to go to the internet for help. Google is your friend. Arduino will often give you a very long list of error messages in the console.
The most critical one is usually the first one. Search for the error message along with the name of your firmware or printer. You will likely find some forum posts pointing you in the right direction. If you do not turn up anything in your research, you may need to ask a question on a web forum.
The best place to ask is probably the forum for your specific printer. The most important thing to remember when asking a question online is to include the full text of the error message. Whenever Arduino gives you an error, there will be a button above the console area which lets you copy the entire text. You can then post it using a service like Pastebin.
This means that Arduino is unable to communicate with your printer. Make sure that your printer is powered on and that you have selected the right port. Try pressing the reset button on your board after clicking upload. Some printers require special steps to be taken to put them in programming mode. Flashing the bootloader requires specialized equipment. You are using an older firmware which is not compatible with the latest versions of Arduino. Some printers still use older firmware which has not been updated yet.
You will need to install Arduino version 1. You can find it here: This indicates that the motherboard you are trying to use the one you have defined in Configuration. This may happen if you are trying to use a different type of motherboard than your printer came with.
This type of error message is shown if Arduino cannot find a file it is looking for. Usually this is because you are missing one of the libraries required by your firmware. In the example above we are missing the U8glib library. See the section above on installing libraries. You might also see a similar error message regarding Configuration.
You must unpack the.