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Hictop EFI Problems

Posted: June 6th, 2017, 4:09 pm
by Roberts_Clif
Have been using my 1st 3D printer now for 9 months, the last time I upgraded the software was months ago.
Just purchase a 2nd Hictop Aluminum 270 X 220 X 190mm build area. I started getting erratic printing, on my New 24V Hictop
from day one, after some time and dozens on bad prints, starting diagnosing the errors that were happening .

Many errors that happened on unscheduled basis, that is all but one. This error happen from the first time I installed the Marlin Software.
The main problem that was not getting the filament run-out sensor to work correctly, this would appear to function correctly but would
always fail with a filament out error.
I have this working on the 1st 3d Printer and it was working correctly until. I had Printed a cover for the Controller board forcing me to re-bundle the wires runs around controller card.
Then it too had Problems with the filament run-out sensor. This is when I discovered it was not a programming or controller card error.
This is a familiar RepRap 1.3/1.4 style controller from Hictop. for which I have modified with a single heat-sink and cooling fan.
Have also attached heat shields onto the Stepper driver chips in 2nd photo.


Started troubleshooting this, started with the SD card diagnostics and found it was in working condition. Replacing the LCD Cables the problem still existed.

What was discovered was that using the Spiral wrap tube and tie wraps to bundle all cables closely together, is really not a good Ideal.
What was happening is the Stepper motor cables were injecting their signals to the other cables making for a very erratic behavior.
As you can see all my cables are running down the side with the stepper motor connectors, the signals being combined at this point causes the crossover.

1. Using a modified endstop board with led as my filament run-out sensor, the signals cross feed into the circuit via the cabling, and was inadvertently thinking filament was out.
2. Signals were cross feeding into the SD card cable and making erratic print moves. Including crashes into the Hotbed and other X and Y axis erratic moves.
3. Most likely there were instances the signals bleeding into the Thermal Sensor as I was getting Thermal shutdown readings, when temperatures were stable.

Re-Ran all cables loosely giving appropriate space from the stepper cabling to avoid signals being inject into the adjacent cable.
Specifically the Wires around the Controller were separated according to type Stepper / heaters or sensors / end-stops.

Separating the stepper signal cabling giving adequate space between control cables, has solved all my issues.

Re: Hictop EFI Problems

Posted: June 6th, 2017, 4:11 pm
by Roberts_Clif
Well I was mistaken. Still have problems with the SD card Reader on the Hictop 3DP12.

It is really strange. Can take the 3 Controllers and the 3 LCD2004 displays and get them all to work correctly on my Hictop 3DP11 that has a 12v at 20 amp supply.

Now here is my dilemma if I take any of the cards connect it too my 3DP12 which has a (1) 24v 15 amp power supply it errors only when the LCD is attached to the Top Frame.
If I uninstall the MLCD2004 and set it in front of the printer it works perfectly shown in the Photo below.
3DP12 LCD in Front.jpg

I will try most anything to try to fix this problem, as I really do not want to have the Display forever in front of the 3D Printer.

Looking for a solution.

1. I have purchased a replacement 24Volt 20amp Supply has the exact same problem.

Re: Hictop EFI Problems

Posted: June 6th, 2017, 4:12 pm
by Roberts_Clif
Have just measured a voltage difference of 599mv from ground to the Extruder stepper motor case will try grounding and return the MLCD2005 Display back on top.
The voltage is originating from the nozzle heater as there is a voltage difference of 6mv from the nozzle to the stepper motor case.

Being is such close proximity to the MLCD2004 this indeed may lead to a solution. The X-Axis stepper does not have a residual voltage but it too will be grounded.

After further inspection it was originating from a shorted temperature sensor the voltage was 4.6v in the idle position and dropped to 599mv while running.

I wrapped the washer holding the sensor in with high temperature tape isolating it from shorting.

The MLCD2004 display mounted back on top, stopped working again will remove and place in front of the 3D Printer and continue testing for a solution.
Display move.jpg
Attached display to front just out of the hotplate zone no errors.

Actually this is becoming too much of a chore I will simply use one of my spare MLCD2004 displays and continue testing for a solution.

It appears the location (1) is part of the problem. most likely there is too much interference at the location will try some shielding.

1. By location I mean that the cabling has to be routed a certain way to reach the MLCD2004.

Re: Hictop EFI Problems

Posted: June 6th, 2017, 4:38 pm
by Roberts_Clif
Today I am Testing my Hictop 3DP12 EFI Fix.
Not having any erratic printing no more Filament out errors no more MLCD2004 SD Card errors.

Will post fix after I Prove no more errors presently printing a 4 1/2 hour test print, only just began the 2nd hour at this time.

Completed print in a little over 5 hours no errors at 76% print Speed. Do believe this will fix the erratic printing and SD card errors.
Will Post shortly after some time documenting all step required to install EFI Fix, plus to few more test prints to be sure it was not a fluke.

Re: Hictop EFI Problems

Posted: June 6th, 2017, 10:34 pm
by Roberts_Clif
I have made a EFI Shield for Hictop Aluminum Printers download from Tinker-cad below ... r-cover-v4

Make a trip to your local hardware store and purchase a roll of Aluminum Duct Tape about $4.00.

1. What is required is to print the Above case or one of your own design.
2. Cover all areas inside the Printed case Include a least one screw for GND. Making sure you cut out all the holes. Added A fan for cooling purposes.
3. Attach the Cover to your Controller Card and You are Done.
EFI Shield.jpg
EFI Shield 2.jpg

4. For added protection covered the MLCD2004 cover also (THIS IS NOT MY DESIGN) It can be downloaded from tinkercad.
EFI Shield 3.jpg
EFI Shield 4.jpg
If you use anything here please you state where you found.

EFI - (Electromagnetic interference (EMI), also called radio-frequency interference (RFI) )

Re: Hictop EFI Problems

Posted: July 3rd, 2017, 8:44 pm
by Roberts_Clif
First EFI Shield was nothing more than a C Channel case top taped in place.
It worked so created a 3D Printed Case with Aluminum foil duct tape liner for the Shield.

Sample Shield.jpg

Run a simple print see if this cures of your strange movements. If this does stop the strange movements then you can make a more permanent solution.

There are several ways to stop EFI, mine is the simplest. As you could buy twisted pair cabling for your controller connections very expensive.
You can rerun the LCD display wiring as far away from the Stepper motor cabling as possible, do not run wires above the Stepper motor driver A4988 chips. Bring LCD display wiring into the controller card from the closest side of the enclosure.

Moving the Wires may only be a temporally solution as the Controller is still generating the EFI signals.
They are still in and around the 3D Printer hovering, waiting to mess up another large Print on one of the Last layers of Print.

I have just created a video duplicating my EFI problems

Video one Test without EFI shield.

Recorded 4 errors with a short 10 minute video in my 1st attempt
The first error occurs at 1 minute 57 second when the LCD Displays garbage.
The second error at 4 minutes 20 seconds the filament is ejected in middle of print.
The third error at 5 minutes 30 seconds when the Nozzle moves to the X-Axis end-stop and returns to continued Printing as if nothing happened.
And the forth error at 9 minutes 13 second Filament is ejected again and I stopped the video short because missed replacing the filament in time.

This next video is with the EFI shield in place was the 1st Video at the end you will see my removing the EFI Shield for above video.
High speed playback test print to show it works before Testing EFI Shild removal. Printed a 2020 Extrusions cover.
Printed on Vinyl Transfer Paper Medium Tack above a Build Tak surface.

Re: Hictop EFI Problems

Posted: July 15th, 2017, 5:05 pm
by Roberts_Clif
Last Update for the Hictop EFI shield,
This cover all Base v1.3 controllers and MPX.3 controller cards.

This version comes with a base where the Controller card snaps into and is attached with the 4 button head screws.
One had a SD slot notch the other is original.

The Case Snaps into the Base, allowing for quick removal.

New Case Layout.jpg
Both Base plates have oval mounting holes for adjustment.

Re: Hictop EFI Problems

Posted: June 3rd, 2018, 12:09 pm
by Gadgeteering
I have had the same problem but have resolve the issue by adding a large capacitor to the 5 Volt line on the display card.
This card was a replacement display card as the SD Card reader had gone wrong and I brought this one from Ebay. When I looked at the orginal card there was a capacitor across the 5 Volt line, so I added this to the replacement card. It seems to have solved the problem :-D

Re: Hictop EFI Problems

Posted: June 3rd, 2018, 12:36 pm
by Roberts_Clif
OK. This sounds like a fun experiment.

This will be a easy test to duplicate.
I have since moved the display to the front of the machine, and covered the LCD ribbon cables with aluminum foil duct tape.
To Help Control the EFI that is interfering with the 3D Printer controller.

The Twins 2018-2.JPG

I will Connect a spare LCD to the top frame,using the original LCD Mount and connect with a set of spare cables.
This should duplicate the EFI problems, Then I will add the capacitor to see if this will remove the EFI interference.

What value capacitor did you end up using, it appears to be quite large maybe a 25V 2200uf.