Updating a FolgerTech FT-5



  • I have a brand new FT-5 printer. It just barely works. All the problems are traceable to difficulties with the BigTreeTech SKR 1.3 board that normally ships with that kit. I have three of those boards, none of them work right, and I have no appetite for more of them 🙂

    It's time to do something better, and it was suggested that I come here for a better product. My FT-5 is currently stock (since it's new). I probably will want to add some bed leveling tech, and someday likely a better extruder. I have the stock 2004 LCD panel at the moment.

    I'm coming here for recommendations as to which Duet board is most likely best for my application, and what should I be considering regarding the LCD. Can I use what I have, or should it be replaced too?


  • Moderator

    If you do a forum search for FT-5 you'll likely find a few discussions on what others have gone through. https://forum.duet3d.com/search?term=ft-5&in=titlesposts

    Generally though, it's not too difficult to adapt an existing printer to a Duet.
    This will give you an idea of the information you need to gather: https://duet3d.dozuki.com/Wiki/Going_from_Marlin_on_Arduino_to_RepRapFirmware_on_Duet

    And here is an entire guide series on converting a ender 3 to use a maestro to give you an idea of what's involved: https://duet3d.dozuki.com/Guide/Ender+3+Pro+and+Duet+Maestro+Guide+Part+1:+Wiring/37

    A Duet Wifi/Ethernet or Duet Maestro would be a good fit.

    The Maestro will work with DiscountRepRap 12864 LCD display and encoder wheel. The Duet Wifi/Ethernet will only work with the PanelDue. Either way you're likely to be using the web control interface most of the time.

    Here's a comparison chart: https://duet3d.dozuki.com/Wiki/Comparison_of_Duets_vs._other_32-bit_controller_boards



  • @bjackson said in Updating a FolgerTech FT-5:

    BigTreeTech SKR 1.3 ... none of them work right

    These boards are "weird", they all work ok with old version of smoothieware but then something changed and more recent releases of smoothieware don't work properly. Whether this was intentional (it's known that smoothieware developers don't like these clones) or not I can't say. Marlin 2 is also supposed to work with them but Marlin is so buggy that I could never find if the problem is with Marlin or the board itself.

    You can get these boards to run properly with KLIPPER, so if you have RPI or OPI or some other mini-computer with Linux available, burning Klipper slave firmware to SKR1.3 and running Klipper on the Linux will allow you to use this board without any issues. It's not as nice as Duet3D, but no new expensive hardware required, with 30$ board you have a working solution.

    @bjackson said in Updating a FolgerTech FT-5:

    I'm coming here for recommendations as to which Duet board is most likely best for my application, and what should I be considering regarding the LCD. Can I use what I have, or should it be replaced too?

    As @Phaedrux already mentioned, duet3d maestro should work with existing LCD you have and should be more than enough to run that printer + auto bed leveling you wanted to improve it with.



  • @Phaedrux

    Thank you so much for the detailed reply! At this point, I'm inclined to go with the Duet Ethernet. I have hard wired ethernet available off a small switch right next to the printer, thus no need for WiFi.

    I have an LCD with the encoder wheel, but I really don't like it very much. Going to a PanelDue of one size or another seems like a nice upgrade, even though the web interface may be the primary way to deal with things on a daily basis.

    I had a question about the connection between the PanelDue and the Duet Ethernet. The way the FT-5 is designed, the two existing boards (LCD and SKR), are about as far apart as they could be (SKR at the back in the electronics box and LCD up front). It really won't work like that. You have to put ferrites on both ends of both ribbon cables to get rid of all the RFI interference on the display.

    It still then won't reliably print from a file on the SD card. The only way I was able to fix that was to move the LCD to the back so it was close to the SKR, thus making the ribbon cables much shorter. Still needed the ferrites 🙂

    So when I connect a PanelDue to a Duet Ethernet, can I have them about 20" apart and have things still work fine? Also, the interconnection wiring between PanelDue and Duet Ethernet: Is that wire going to be in the box with one or the other, or do I need to find such a wire link and order it separately?



  • @arhi
    Do you know that the duet firmware works with the SKR 1.3? https://reprap.org/forum/read.php?147,859857,page=1


  • Moderator

    @bjackson said in Updating a FolgerTech FT-5:

    @Phaedrux

    Thank you so much for the detailed reply! At this point, I'm inclined to go with the Duet Ethernet. I have hard wired ethernet available off a small switch right next to the printer, thus no need for WiFi.

    That's probably a good idea. I like to go wired whenever possible as well. Wifi has it's foibles. The big thing is that it's networked.

    I have an LCD with the encoder wheel, but I really don't like it very much. Going to a PanelDue of one size or another seems like a nice upgrade, even though the web interface may be the primary way to deal with things on a daily basis.

    The web interface will be most useful when getting everything configured for sure because you edit the config files right there in the web interface. But once everything is setup and working, you can upload the sliced gcode right from the slicer. I use the PanelDue 90% of the time and only open the web interface occasionally.

    https://duet3d.dozuki.com/Wiki/PanelDue

    I had a question about the connection between the PanelDue and the Duet Ethernet. The way the FT-5 is designed, the two existing boards (LCD and SKR), are about as far apart as they could be (SKR at the back in the electronics box and LCD up front). It really won't work like that. You have to put ferrites on both ends of both ribbon cables to get rid of all the RFI interference on the display.

    It still then won't reliably print from a file on the SD card. The only way I was able to fix that was to move the LCD to the back so it was close to the SKR, thus making the ribbon cables much shorter. Still needed the ferrites 🙂

    So when I connect a PanelDue to a Duet Ethernet, can I have them about 20" apart and have things still work fine? Also, the interconnection wiring between PanelDue and Duet Ethernet: Is that wire going to be in the box with one or the other, or do I need to find such a wire link and order it separately?

    There are two options for connecting the PanelDue, a ribbon cable and a 4-wire cable. See here: https://duet3d.dozuki.com/Wiki/Connecting_an_LCD_control_panel#Section_Connecting_a_PanelDue

    If you absolutely must have the SD card slot on the PanelDue then you may be in a similar situation with regards to length. 400mm for the ribbon cable is the recommended max, but you might be able to get away with longer. However, most slicers these days allow you to upload the sliced gcode directly to the Duet internal SD card, or upload through the web interface, so an external SD card slot isn't as useful as it once was.



  • @jay_s_uk No, I did not know that. Since I'm a bit new to this community, after reading some of those posts I'm concluding that I should probably not stray that far into the world of "beta" configurations.

    Also, my recent experiences with these BigTreeTech SKR 1.3 boards have made me worry a whole lot about their quality control and longevity.

    I had one of the boards evidently working normally, when all of a sudden the PC bonged like it does when something happens on the USB port (which had been connected and in use). I told Repetier to reconnect, but it could not. Based upon what I could see on the PC, it looked like the USB cable had become unplugged, but it had not.

    I finally did unplug the USB cable, waited a few seconds, and plugged it in again. The computer did not react. A few seconds later a little six legged SMD component of the SKR board burned up with a flash of fire and small puff of smoke. Not good!

    About a 1/2 hour later I noticed the computer that had been connected to the printer was off. The thing is, I had not turned it off. Yep, it's what you might have been expecting: the computer was off and would not restart. Had to replace the motherboard.



  • @jay_s_uk said in Updating a FolgerTech FT-5:

    @arhi
    Do you know that the duet firmware works with the SKR 1.3? https://reprap.org/forum/read.php?147,859857,page=1

    Yes, I did. SKR1.3 is a low-quality board like most stuff from that "designer". In my opinion running experimental firmware on low quality board is a headache waiting to happen. I would never recommend that.

    @bjackson that's exactly why I never connect those boards to my PC but only to el-cheapo OrangePI boards. Risking 10$ OrangePI vs risking 5000$ PC is huge difference.



  • @arhi If I had received an SKR 1.3 that did work (perhaps from Folger Tech), I was henceforth going to connect it to an OctoPi. Now, the PC I have is nothing close to 5K in value, but I still didn't enjoy buying the motherboard I did need.

    Now that I've decided to get Duet stuff, things should be smoother once I make it through the transition. Good thing this is not any sort of production problem. I can take my time, and there's no deadline.


  • administrators

    @bjackson said in Updating a FolgerTech FT-5:

    @jay_s_uk No, I did not know that. Since I'm a bit new to this community, after reading some of those posts I'm concluding that I should probably not stray that far into the world of "beta" configurations.

    Also, my recent experiences with these BigTreeTech SKR 1.3 boards have made me worry a whole lot about their quality control and longevity.

    I had one of the boards evidently working normally, when all of a sudden the PC bonged like it does when something happens on the USB port (which had been connected and in use). I told Repetier to reconnect, but it could not. Based upon what I could see on the PC, it looked like the USB cable had become unplugged, but it had not.

    I finally did unplug the USB cable, waited a few seconds, and plugged it in again. The computer did not react. A few seconds later a little six legged SMD component of the SKR board burned up with a flash of fire and small puff of smoke. Not good!

    About a 1/2 hour later I noticed the computer that had been connected to the printer was off. The thing is, I had not turned it off. Yep, it's what you might have been expecting: the computer was off and would not restart. Had to replace the motherboard.

    Also worth noting is that we designed the Duet hardware to support 3D printing firmware efficiently. All the PWM outputs are generated in hardware. Control of stepper drivers using SPI or UART is done using a hardware serial port built into the microcontroller, and DMA to send commands and read back status with minimum CPU usage. Whereas the port for LPC-based boards such as the SKR 1.3 uses software PWM and software serial to control TMC22xx drivers, because the hardware doesn't provide the required functionality.

    The guys who did the RRF port to LPC processors did an amazing job (especially squeezing the firmware to run in 64K of RAM), but they are handicapped by the hardware.


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