[SOLVED] Printer freezes, uncontrollable heating of extruder

Dear all

I have been printing with the Vertex for quite a while now (~1.5 years) and have been very fond of it.

However two weeks ago I started having some random freezes.

Basically what happens is that it prints for 2-5 hours, then the printer head seems to simply stop (or leave the print area), the LCD screen freezes (and I am not able to control anything with the knob) and the heated bed and extruder will turn fully on (!!!). The last part is obviously the most critical.

The LCD does not show that the extruder and heated bed is fully on (as it is frozen) however once I reset the printer, the shown temperature (~235 deg for extruder/70 deg for heated bed last time) clearly indicated that there is no control of the heaters.

Can anyone suggest what may be the problem?

I have not changed anything; the printer simply started doing it from one day to the other… The extruder can be moved relatively easily by hand. I have not updated the firmware to the newest edition, but since I have never had the issue before I doubt it will help.

Regard, pmbdk

Just wondering if the control board is over heating.
You might try putting a small fan so it is blowing air under the printer and on the board itself.

[quote=“Wrong Way”]Just wondering if the control board is over heating.
You might try putting a small fan so it is blowing air under the printer and on the board itself.[/quote]
In fact this was one of the very first mods I did on my printer… :wink:

Assuming that the driver will be the ones overheating, would that explain the freezing of the board itself? Is there any way I can control if they are shutting down?

I’m not sure.
This could also be caused by interference of some sort.
Power surge… lights or motor on the same circuit starting up… AC unit turning on.

I have moved the printer itself behind a filtered UPS (the heated bed is on unfiltered power, but that does not matter), so I doubt it is due to AC noise. I have looked into the schematics now; the FAULT pin from the drivers do not seem to get to the microcontroller, so the only thing that should happen if the driver get too hot is that the steppers will stop. The program should still run. I will try to print from repetier instead of the SD card to see if that may resolve the issue…

Where do you print from? USB or SD card?

So maybe with the USB cable connected you may get some silly behaviors of the printer in case of any disturbances in the surrounding. For me the disturbance is occasionally to switch off the room light!

You may check if there is some electrical device in the surrounding of your printer modified or added which can have a simiilar impact.

I don*t believe, that the program code can be degraded within this short time, but you may reprogram the firmware on the board to ensure a proper program code.

I have always printed using the SD card. I have also tried switching to another SD card, to be sure that it had nothing to do with the card, but it still happens.

However, yesterday I tried to print from a connected laptop instead. Not really a great solution, but just to try something. I have tried a 2 hour and 5 hour job and both went fine. This could of course just be coincidence, so now I am trying a few 10+ hour jobs.

But if it still not freezes I guess it has do be something with the SD card reader?

definitely yes, but in a more general way.

When I think about the noises during a print (especially before I mounted the Z-axis guide) I can imagine that these sounds and ticks are impacting the SD card reader too. Depending how good the mechanical fixation is, these vibrations are transferred to the SD card reader. And I learned, that vibration can do much harm onto electro mechanical parts if they are in the right amplitude and/or in the right frequency.

So after 1.5 years of operation the SD card as well as all connections have seen a lot of vibrations, which can induce micro cracks in mechanical parts: possibly in the printed lines on the PCB, possible in the soldering joints on the different interconnects, maybe even on the interconnections of the soldered parts on the PCB.

With the error picture you presented I would assume such kind of error scenario. A possible way to overcome is to unmount the SD card boards and review/re-solder all interconnects.
A second step would be to exchange all connectors, the clamping forces could be lowered by the long time vibrations.
And as a last solution you may replace this part.

My personal fear is that this may happen to the main controller board or the power supply, there are no precautions to damp theses vibrations…

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That is a good solution… I will try to unmount the SD card reader and at the same time go through the connections and then try to put it on something soft next to the printer.

Just an update: I have now used a laptop for running the printer and it reduces the problem. But as mentioned in another thread it does not eliminate it.

Now, however, I have measured the voltage to be 4.18 V on the microcontroller which is too low (datasheet specifies 4.5 V minimum) which can lead to instruction read corruption according to the datasheet.

I will try to add an external 5 V power supply tomorrow and see it that helps…

After 3 failed prints in a row due to random resets, I added an external 5V power supply directly to the ICSP pins on the board and this time the print went fine without an issue; even printing from the SD-card. I know that this is not conclusive evidence that the power supply (or actually the diode after the linear regulator) is the problem, but it does suggest that I am in the right ball park. The next weeks will show me if the problems has gone away completely, in which case I will modify the power circuit a bit to make it comply to the microcontroller datasheet.

After having printed non-stop without a single issue for a week now, I have to conclude that the 5V power fixed the problem! :slight_smile:

I did have random freezes, lock-ups, etc

After I “removed” diode D5 (that diode sinks Vcc from 5.0 V to 4.3 V), i.e. shortcut the D5 terminals, I havn’t yet have any random problem with prints.
I think that D5 shall protect the 7805 regulator when only the USB power the board (during programming). May not be needed…

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@largab @pmbdk THANKS!!!
During the last 2 years after 4 hours or some times much less the Vertex (2015) was resetting. Everything checked many times, nothing found but:
Yes the voltage was 4.23 and when shorted the D5 the voltage is 4.99V
I am going to test but I believe the problem is solved.

After a 12 hour printjob and a 7 hour printjob whithout any problems I know my problem is solved. Thanks!!!


Nice to hear it’s working now.

Best regards,
Velleman Support