I need control board advice and opinions.

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  • #44773
    Ryan
    Keymaster

    As most of you might have noticed we are getting tons or Ramps issues, 5V regulators, drivers with wandering voltages, random issues. The back end issues that you don’t is me always scrambling to find a good supply of ramps stacks. When I do find good ones I but lots and lots of them but eventually the quality slips and they will not or can not get the other boards. I have to build, flash, set drivers, test it all, double check the drivers. In doing that I lose a ton of “mega’s”, ramps, drivers, and LCD’s. This is why my Ramps stacks cost so much more than amazon or ebay, I have tested them. I have a new batch with heat sink tape that actually seems to melt at anything above room temp….WTF.

    So I am not going to carry any more import ramps stacks after this small batch I have here.

    Here is the problem. The mini-rambo doesn’t have enough drivers to run the new Dual endstop firmware and I think it is pretty valuable and would prefer all the users have the option to run it once they have gained some experience with the basics of the machine. The full sized rambo has enough drivers but costs more (Pretty sure it will be $40 over the cost of the mini-rambo).  On top of that the Archim is the exact same price…but the 32 bit version of marlin is lagging behind and I am not sure I have the skills to be able to fix all the issues. I am not bitching about prices I absolutely love the ultimachine products but it is hard for some people to come up with the extra expense.

    1-In your opinion is a cheap board from me necessary? (Offer a bundle with no board and you buy whatever you want?)

    2-Full sized Rambo or Archim? (I might carry both but these orders are in the 5 digit price so I don’t want to just sit on the inventory).

    #44839
    Bill
    Participant

    You are always going to have customers who want everything from you, and that means you have to offer boards. Have you ever looked into the Rumba board? Since it has room for six motor drivers it should be more than enough to replace a 2560/RAMPS combo.

    Rumba wiring

    Attachments:
    #44873
    Ryan
    Keymaster

    The rumba is just another knock off with a slight redesign. I have tried to buy screens directly from reprap discount and they never respond. I definitely don’t want a knock off of a knock off. I have no doubt that those boards were originally good, but the components keep getting worse.

    I am still not 100% sure on what I am going to do but I have a really expensive box coming from Ultimachine with rambo full kits. I know they cost more but the quality really is worth it. I have sold more than 200 maybe 250 of the mini rambos, not a single issue, ramps…not so much lately. On top of this I have had people pay for shipping both ways for me to adjust the drivers, that isn’t cool, for that price they could have had a mini-rambo.

    I feel the hardcore DIY will do whatever they want and source all there own parts anyway, the people that buy a kit want something easier that works that is the Ultimachine products. I think the people that want the least expensive options are going to have to order the control board separately, at least until (if)  the quality comes back up. Right now a majority of the questions/issues are ramps related, followed by spacer nut lock questions, then bit selection…

    I am no business expert but this feels right to me.

    #44892
    Derek P
    Participant

    Have you ever thought about stocking these:

    https://www.amazon.com/SainSmart-TB6560-Stepper-Controller-two-phase/dp/B008BGLM0C/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1506625231&sr=8-7&keywords=sainsmart+cnc

    I know it doesn’t support the tool chain but I believe there are a lot of people who would like to try LinuxCNC and don’t know how to start. This solution is cheap and works well enough. I think Bill is right, quite a lot of people will buy from you directly. The MPCNC is a great learning tool and is perfect for people starting out with LinuxCNC and aspiring to a bigger machine later.

    On a general note I think people will be less concerned about price at your store because they perceive (correctly) that things will work.

     

     

    #44906
    Ryan
    Keymaster

    That what I mean for people in the know you can easily use that setup but I doubt there is enough demand for me to buy them in bulk. I have gone out of my way to not use anything to lock people into any certain electronics or hardware really.

    #44907
    Moe
    Participant

    Hi Ryan, I’m a new comer here with one of your full kit setup that I just build. Being a retired machinist from the old school of machining, this MPCNC setup is really new to me and will be a challenge and a  leaning curve. But what I really like about you is that you do spend lots of time in the Forum helping guys like me leaning the system and the programing that we are not use to, and you also stand behind you products. That said for the price I paid, I really like what I got and went time come for a upgrade I will come to Vicious1. As for Control Board advice I really can not give you any, nor would I want to give any, only because  you are the one who been working with these boards and customers over the years and your experiences is where you should take your advice from. Keep on the good work and you customers will support you.

    Attachments:
    #44910
    Kevin Lopez
    Participant

    That’s a toughie…I would say sell the more expensive but higher quality ones. I can see it going a long way to improving the customer experience. The easier it is to use and get going reliable, the more likely we will see a video of success. That and word of mouth. Then again the MPCNC already does have good buzz. Although I don’t post that much here, I do read a lot and the boards, even after your QC, cause people a lot of issues.

    That or begin to establish a base version and a pro version. I have already talked a lot about a pro version but I do think it is a good idea. The ramps you get however sound terrible, ditch em all together if it doesn’t seem worth the time.

    #44950
    Gary
    Participant

    Hi guys

    I am looking at the duet and rep rap firmware with the slick web control interface it looks like the board of the future. I don’t know how easy it would be to modify for cnc though.

    Gary

    #44977
    David Walling
    Participant

    The rumba is just another knock off with a slight redesign. I have tried to buy screens directly from reprap discount and they never respond. I definitely don’t want a knock off of a knock off. I have no doubt that those boards were originally good, but the components keep getting worse. I am still not 100% sure on what I am going to do but I have a really expensive box coming from Ultimachine with rambo full kits. I know they cost more but the quality really is worth it. I have sold more than 200 maybe 250 of the mini rambos, not a single issue, ramps…not so much lately. On top of this I have had people pay for shipping both ways for me to adjust the drivers, that isn’t cool, for that price they could have had a mini-rambo. I feel the hardcore DIY will do whatever they want and source all there own parts anyway, the people that buy a kit want something easier that works that is the Ultimachine products. I think the people that want the least expensive options are going to have to order the control board separately, at least until (if) the quality comes back up. Right now a majority of the questions/issues are ramps related, followed by spacer nut lock questions, then bit selection… I am no business expert but this feels right to me.

    I think this statement answers your question. You as a business need to deal with quality products. If it costs more, so be it. It’s something you can stand behind.

    People like me will continue to pick up chineese boards off of Amazon and deal with replacing regulators or setting drivers.

    The first thing I did after buying my 3d printer was replace the crap board with a RADDs.

    You might loose some sales by not offering the cheaper boards, but you’ll sleep better at night.

    #44994
    Ryan
    Keymaster

    I think the Archim is just like the Radds on a due but with more protection and that daughter board feature. I had never seen the Radds before so I will have to look into it some more. You are right though I will sleep better and will just open up a Ramps issue thread with it’s own FAQ.

    The new response that I have got from China regarding the 5V regs and bridged IC soldering on the drivers is “Our engineers designed it that way should they email you to explain how to use it”….I don’t respond to those. It is funny though if you designed the IC’s on the drivers to have some legs bridged why are they all not bridged, why not on the PCB? Dealing with some of these company’s is very comical.

    I am looking at the duet and rep rap firmware with the slick web control interface it looks like the board of the future. I don’t know how easy it would be to modify for cnc though.

    I’m not sure what firmware you are referring too, but that is another 32 bit board that I had not seen but importing boards to export them again gets expensive.

    I do not think the 32bit part is necessary and will most likely cause it’s own overhead and issues but for the same price it seems like a win win.

    #45008
    Gary
    Participant

    Ryan

    I agree that the duet would be a pita with the importing but maybe a drop ship deal with them for orders abroad. Heres a link to the firmware.

    https://github.com/dc42/RepRapFirmware

    https://duet3d.com/wiki/Duet_Wiki

    The reason I am looking at is I am thinking of a mpcnc based delta printer.

    Gary

     

    #45033
    donc
    Participant

    I have been running the duet wifi on my delta printer that I purchased from Filastruder for almost a year.  Been so happy and have not looked back.  I can load programs over wifi from my office pc.  PanelDue is a little overkill, but pretty dang cool.

    #45163
    Thomas M
    Participant

    Hey Ryan,

    I think you have some interesting variables you need to optimize.

    Speaking for myself, I liked buying the hardware from you, mainly because I know you sourced good components and I wanted to support you for your effort. Your price point didn’t didn’t cause the moths in my wallet to get agitated and it wasn’t worth my time spend hours of my time trying save a couple of bucks.

    Your mechanical platform provided me a tool for learning about Machinekit on a Beaglebone with a Cramps shield which was my goal.

    For me, I like the idea of being able to swap polulo’s/stepsticks between a ramps, Cramps or even a Arduino uno with a protoneer board.

    I tend to be more of a mechanical/software diy’er then an electronic one. If I was really hard-core I’d be soldering up my own boards, but that’s really not my thing.

    I’m partial to the Cramps board which I initially bought the board to power my Wedgie delta project, which is currently on the backburner.

    Besides being a good board, I personally know Charles Steinkuehler the guy who designed the board as well as Jon Elson from Pico systems, who currently makes it. These are guys who are way smarter than I am and are really good people.
    http://reprap.org/wiki/CRAMPS. The Cramps board has 6 motor drivers which could be expanded to 9 (I haven’t had the need). I know there are additional capes for the Beaglebone, but I haven’t had the need/time to research them.

    This provides me flexibility to play Lego with common components that I can switch around for what ever project I want as opposed to dedicated hardware (I’m not saying this is the route you should take, but it’s what works for me at the moment)

    I’m amazed at people who buy the absolutely cheapest 3d printer/mill and then get upset when it doesn’t work out of the box and are unwilling to invest the time to make it work. I don’t think that type of customer will ever be satisfied.

    It seems to me that the MPCNC’s sweet spot is that it’s a low cost entry to CNC with pretty good performance and it’s really easy to mod which puts you in a bit of a niche.

    The market is probably big enough to upscale you’re product, but as you do that you’ll start crossing paths and locking horns with more established players.

    I think you’re on the right track in that I think whatever you sell, it will be reliable, at a reasonable price and supported.

    My 2 cents.

    #45164
    Scott Baker
    Participant

    Hi all,

    I built a CNC out of MDF a few years ago and used the prontoner shield on an Aruino uno running GRBL.  that project was put t the side when I got my first 3D printer.  Now a couple of years later, I am looking at replacing the MDF with the MPCNC.  I also have a prontoner hat for the Raspberry PI  https://blog.protoneer.co.nz/raspberry-pi-cnc-board-hat/

    Has anyone used this???

    #45167
    Thomas M
    Participant

    I have not personally.
    fwiw, Machinekit can be compiled to run on a RPI,
    I don’t how it compares to a bbb, but there has been some chatter about it on the machinekit google group. https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/machinekit/eWgsO2IqUgQ

    I was looking at your link, it looks like it only has 3 polulo drivers..
    I think with the MPCNC with deracking/endstops you’ll probably want 5 for MPCNC as a router/mill, 6 if you want use it at 3d printer. If you want to split the driver signal and not do deracking it would work.

    #45168
    Jeffeb3
    Participant

    Has anyone used this???

    Yep. I used the piCNC with my low rider, and it was on my mpcnc before that. I like it. I mostly like using grbl and CNC.js. it won’t be”the thing” for Ryan though, because it doesn’t 3D print. It’s also not really cheaper than a Rambo, because you need the full sized pi too.

    #45370

    I’ve been a forum lurker for a while… here’s my two cents.

    I think you benefit from keeping a lower cost board offering. As previously mentionned, it’s a good fit for your lower cost cnc.

    I was wondering if you were aware of these Ramps 1.4 derivative board which are tested, focus on quality and use branded components? It might solves the issues you are currently having with the cheap chinese boards. At the same time they cost substantially less than Rambo boards:

    OVM20 Lite

    and

    Arduino Shield RAMPS 1.4 SB Premium

     

    1 user thanked author for this post.
    #45375
    Ryan
    Keymaster

    Well thank you for lurking! looks like you might have popped up at the right time. The OVM might be the right choice for a low cost alternative but I really need one more axis, I’ll see how much they are for a bulk order. The SB Premium is cool but the cost is high for that shipping and some Mega’s.

    The issue is these are fixing Ramps issues, The rambo line is the next generation from the creator of the Ramps. The ramps is pretty basic and the rambo’s are much more robust. I am hesitant to get these with integrated drivers I am not sure they have put in the proper protection circuitry, or if they just dropped them onto the board. I know the Rambo’s do.

    #46906
    Fermata
    Participant

    Gary –  check out my update post (been stale a while) on a MPCNC based Delta.

    Complete with movement test video.

    https://www.v1engineering.com/forum/topic/delta-3d-printer-based-on-mpcnc-z-axis/page/2/#post-46905

    #55020
    Scott
    Participant

    Hey, What about the Einsy Rambo?

    Differences from MiniRambo

    • 4 tmc2130 1/256 microstepping drivers vs. 4 a4982 1/16 microstepping drivers
    • Sensorless homing vs. No sensorless homing (Requires advanced tuning)
    • 2 mechanical endstop inputs (2pin) + ZProbe (4pin) vs. 6 optical endstop inputs
    • SPI control of motor current vs. PWM control of stepper current
    • FANS are powered by 5 Volt rail and have tachometer feedback using a 3pin connector vs. 12-24V powered with no feedback.
    • Max motor current per driver is RMS 940mAh vs. RMS 1.4A

    I’ve been lurking for a while,  have my parts printed, tube, just need to buy my steppers and control board. Part of me thinks just get the mini from V1 for $85, or get the Einsy for $120.

     

    #55021
    Scott
    Participant

    forgive me as I’m a noob, but is this bad, not sure why they say this, maybe for no heatsinks?

    • Max motor current per driver is RMS 940mAh vs. RMS 1.4A

     

    this is from the TMC2130 page

    The TMC2130 is capable of driving up to 2.5A of current from each output (with proper heatsinking)

    #55029
    Ryan
    Keymaster

    That is RMS vs peak, those drivers can turn themselves down and or only uses as much power is needed not to skip steps. So even with less power RMS they have just as much if and when they need it peak. There are so many settings and nuances to those drivers, in the latest prusa vid he mentions software endstops don’t work in stealth mode I think). Way too much to keep track of.

    I considered the boards, The reason I did not go with them is almost every feature needs to be tuned. Even though Prusa’s use all the same hardware, the machines still need a pretty serious calibration routine to work right.  I do not see any value in that for a machine were people use all sorts of stuff to cobble together an MPCNC/zen/Lowrider/MP3DP. This would turn into a einsy tuning forum. I also don’t see many actual benefits. Take that with a grain of salt because I also do not see much benefit to auto level either.

    #55031
    Ryan
    Keymaster

    It also could be a calculation of how the board has the heat sinking implemented and how much it can reasonably dump.

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