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Any Upgrade planned for Einsy (MK3S)?  

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Crab
 Crab
(@crab)
Estimable Member
Any Upgrade planned for Einsy (MK3S)?

Since the next Prusa is not a ‘medium’ bed, I’m wondering if Prusa has any plans for an upgrade for Einsy.. Although reliable, the lack of  “real” remote connections seems a large gap. Being an engineer who was involved with communication design, the current system used works well.. but pretty dated.  Now that I have OctoPi, I can’t imagine moving the SD Card back and forth for every print. But when my power flickered for 3 seconds on a 9 hour print, I discovered one major downside of not having an integrated solution. 

A new motherboard only needs to provide some additional basic features to be super useful.. 

a) tracking printer and filament usage .. which you can’t do if you use OctoPrint .. now if you use OctoPrint you can track usage for files printed through it with a plug-in.. but there is no overall tracking of every print job (regardless of origin).. This would help much with maintenance scheduling.

b) power recovery. All OctoPrint users have virtually no solution here.. Since 3D prints are huge time takers.. this seems it would be a high priority issue. Now there are some ‘sort of’ solutions for power failure if using OctoPrint.. but I haven’t tracked down any that are really reliable and don’t require tracking the layer height and gluing models together. 

c) direct connection to a cheap camera (similar to those on drones and others) This could be an open source module and I’m sure there would be people helping to write

d) you could add a controllable relay to the PSU and now make it safer by allowing the control board to turn off power to the unit if it recognized an error. 

e) and of course with a wireless connection (I wouldn’t bother with ethernet) and simple web interface you could bypass the OctoPi necessity for all but the esoteric needs. Sending jobs directly to the printer so it can manage all pausing/resuming/power out features would be huge plus. Pause/resume just doesn’t work through the LCD if using OctoPi and if you use OctoPi you must add your own GCode scrips (as I discovered recently)  and, again, an integrated solution would be a huge benefit.

Just seems like so many pluses, can’t believe something like this isn’t in the works.. And also seeing the, likely, over hype on the M5 with many of these issues being addressed …  

Otherwise.. super happy with my new MK3S+.. and Prusa’s support of it.. 

Posted : 11/04/2022 7:46 pm
towlerg
(@towlerg)
Noble Member
RE: Any Upgrade planned for Einsy (MK3S)?

b) power recovery. All OctoPrint users have virtually no solution here.. Since 3D prints are huge time takers.. this seems it would be a high priority issue. Now there are some ‘sort of’ solutions for power failure if using OctoPrint.. but I haven’t tracked down any that are really reliable and don’t require tracking the layer height and gluing models together. 

I wonder in practice what utility, except for brown outs, Prusa power recovery is. Once the bed starts to cool significantly the part will probably lose adhesion. I guess you could power printer and Octoprint host from a UPS. 

Posted : 12/04/2022 1:12 pm
Crab
 Crab
(@crab)
Estimable Member
Topic starter answered:
RE: Any Upgrade planned for Einsy (MK3S)?

yes.. if the bed has cooled you will loose the print.. but many power problems are short.. most power utilities have breakers that flash up to 3 times trying to clear a problem before the line shuts down permanently .. and often power might go down for less than 30 seconds if maintenance is being performed on a line.   A UPS would help.. but you'd need a pretty hefty one to support the heater and motors on at the same time..  I think the idea here is to accept that OctoPrint might be a big part of the community and to try to add features that can perform those tasks, or at least try to add some support so that Octoprint developers can take advantage of the Prusa firmware features.. For instance.. on power out, the Einsy could be recording current X,Y,Z coordinates until the print completes successfully.. then flush.. but if it powers up and hasn't flushed, then it can display that as a possible starting point for a continued print.. Octoprint could create a "resume at .." feature where you could input those coordinates and resume without failure.. (by first preheating and maybe doing a wipe).. 

Posted : 12/04/2022 1:58 pm
towlerg
(@towlerg)
Noble Member
RE: Any Upgrade planned for Einsy (MK3S)?

but many power problems are short

As I said "brown outs". Bear in mind the power requirement fro 30 seconds operation is quite achievable with even the smallest UPS.

The problem is that Octoprint is not limited to any hardware and even if this feature were limited to Pi4, that hardware has no ability to protect (let alone store addition data while it's dying) it's self against uncontrolled power loss. I wonder what Prusa use to detect power loss and allow data to be secured?

Actually Octoprint has several plugin's that track printer and filament usage, has a optional camera and can control a relay to power down the MK3 (provided the MK3 can send an error message).

Posted : 13/04/2022 1:48 pm
Crab
 Crab
(@crab)
Estimable Member
Topic starter answered:
RE: Any Upgrade planned for Einsy (MK3S)?

yes.. I have a 750APC that I'll try.. I think that the firmware in the MK3 could use the SDCard to track progress.. perhaps append to a file on each layer and close & flush file on successful print. An abnormal abend can check for presence of file on reset and can draw current positioning info.. Maybe there is more to it that I'm not considering..   And I realize Octoprint can track usage.. but only via its prints.. If I choose to print a long print from SD Card for the built-in power protection, then OctoPrint has no knowledge of this.. and why the ultimate answer is to ultimately provide these base services inside the printer itself. 

Posted : 13/04/2022 2:11 pm
Neophyl
(@neophyl)
Famed Member
RE: Any Upgrade planned for Einsy (MK3S)?

IIRC the mk3 psu has an extra board that detects the power loss and signals the Einsy.  If you run off a UPS then the Einsy still doesn't know its running on no power until your UPS drops out and triggers the power panic board.   Its just delaying the signal and hoping the power comes back before the ups battery runs out too.  Of course you could put a line from your ups to the power panic but thats basically extra specialised hardware needed (UPS with line out to signal failure rather than the usual serial) and possibly custom firmware required too on either the UPS and/or printer.  So not practical for a 'standard' build it in as part of the product option.

The problem with storing to the sd card is that sd card writes are quite power hungry relatively, so doing it once power loss has been detected is problematic.  Ok so that option is difficult and prone to failure, so how about just saving the current location all the time ?  You can't.  Well you *can* but if you try and store the location and current state at each segment to the sd card you will rapidly wear out your sd card.  Can only be written to so many times before sectors fail.

That leaves writing the current location/line segment to the flash of the MK3 when it detects a power panic.  Which is what it does already.  It cant keep a continuous position for the same reason as doing it to the sd card, it would wear out the flash memory.

Posted : 13/04/2022 3:05 pm
Crab
 Crab
(@crab)
Estimable Member
Topic starter answered:
RE:

All SSD memory uses controllers that ensure single memory locations don't get written to over and over again. I haven't looked into SD card design, but it should be similar to SSD design where the controller decides where data gets stored. So I'd sacrifice a blank SD card and still use that in my power outage strategy. Now maybe open files don't get committed to physical writing the SD card and so you'd lose the information you are trying to save..  but I'd try to append the current X,Y,Z location as I'm doing it physically. When power just disappears, when you reboot, you see an open file with the last valid XYZ location. Either the onboard SD controller will help ensure you evenly use the SD chip, or you could save files with sequential numbers in the filename. I think an SD card just used for this purpose would last a long time. 

I'm sure that there must be some solution to it .. but it would require a firmware change in the Einsy and then using the recovered info with a new feature in OctoPrint.  However, if you had a new version of Einsy and didn't require Octo, then you might even have an RTC chip on board with battery and could store the info in there .. it is RAM, not EEROM and never tires.. lots of different possibilities. We can suffer from lots of small power interruptions in the winter, so some power protection is necessary.. I'll experiment with my APC 750 to see how long it can run the print before exhausting.. 

 

Posted : 13/04/2022 4:32 pm
Neophyl
(@neophyl)
Famed Member
RE: Any Upgrade planned for Einsy (MK3S)?

Sd cards bare no resemblance to ssd. Not even remotely related. Sd cards are a waaaay older technology. There’s zero wear levelling and the speed difference is just massively different. It’s been a few years since I had to do any embedded code to access sd cards but it’s not an easy problem with an 8 bit embedded chipset. There is no ‘controller’ except your microcontroller. It’s more akin to an old 3.5” floppy drive with a fat.  And it’s slooooooow, at least if compared to modern flash. 

I agree it’s not beyond a solution, most things can be done. However you have to put in enough resources to do it, things like that usually make things more expensive and then it comes down to cost benefits for a product. Given that the newer products seem to be based off the 32 bit boards now being used in the mini, with the XL being a bit of an unknown I could see everything new using the same core architecture but I think our existing mk3 models would require a major brain transplant to be upgraded much more. You can already replace the Einsy completely which does give you more freedom as you can then use various firmwares with all the options that gives. It’s not really a Prusa at that point though is it 😊. Guess we will just have to wait and see if an official replacement is ever offered to do just that. 

Posted : 13/04/2022 4:50 pm
Crab
 Crab
(@crab)
Estimable Member
Topic starter answered:
RE: Any Upgrade planned for Einsy (MK3S)?

yeah.. the XL is for a different market, I think.. not the typical home user... They might look at trying to create a common architecture that they could retrofit into the MK3 line and also use for XL and forward versions. I would not consider a non-Prusa 'brain' as I think there is too much benefit derived from the research and consistency they have in their current integrated solution. 

Posted : 13/04/2022 7:48 pm
Chicago Keri
(@chicago-keri)
Estimable Member
RE: Any Upgrade planned for Einsy (MK3S)?

 

Posted by: @crab

Since the next Prusa is not a ‘medium’ bed, I’m wondering if Prusa has any plans for an upgrade for Einsy.. Although reliable, the lack of  “real” remote connections seems a large gap. Being an engineer who was involved with communication design, the current system used works well.. but pretty dated.  Now that I have OctoPi, I can’t imagine moving the SD Card back and forth for every print. But when my power flickered for 3 seconds on a 9 hour print, I discovered one major downside of not having an integrated solution. 

A new motherboard only needs to provide some additional basic features to be super useful.. 

a) tracking printer and filament usage .. which you can’t do if you use OctoPrint .. now if you use OctoPrint you can track usage for files printed through it with a plug-in.. but there is no overall tracking of every print job (regardless of origin).. This would help much with maintenance scheduling.

b) power recovery. All OctoPrint users have virtually no solution here.. Since 3D prints are huge time takers.. this seems it would be a high priority issue. Now there are some ‘sort of’ solutions for power failure if using OctoPrint.. but I haven’t tracked down any that are really reliable and don’t require tracking the layer height and gluing models together. 

c) direct connection to a cheap camera (similar to those on drones and others) This could be an open source module and I’m sure there would be people helping to write

d) you could add a controllable relay to the PSU and now make it safer by allowing the control board to turn off power to the unit if it recognized an error. 

e) and of course with a wireless connection (I wouldn’t bother with ethernet) and simple web interface you could bypass the OctoPi necessity for all but the esoteric needs. Sending jobs directly to the printer so it can manage all pausing/resuming/power out features would be huge plus. Pause/resume just doesn’t work through the LCD if using OctoPi and if you use OctoPi you must add your own GCode scrips (as I discovered recently)  and, again, an integrated solution would be a huge benefit.

Just seems like so many pluses, can’t believe something like this isn’t in the works.. And also seeing the, likely, over hype on the M5 with many of these issues being addressed …  

Otherwise.. super happy with my new MK3S+.. and Prusa’s support of it.. 

Have you considered adding a Raspberry Pi Zero to the backside of the Einsy board?   There is an area of the Einsy box that has a pre-defined area to cut out so one can easily be added and the firmware supports it..  This allows remote printing, Octoprint, etc....

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Posted : 18/04/2022 2:54 am
Crab
 Crab
(@crab)
Estimable Member
Topic starter answered:
RE: Any Upgrade planned for Einsy (MK3S)?

Yes.. I have a Pi4 running OctoPrint.. But because of the difficulty in the PI providing features like power recovery, and the printer being unable to track both SD card print hours and OctoPi print hours, I'm thinking an upgraded controller will provide some nicer user features, better integrated control,  and make an OctoPI unnecessary (and Pi4 kits are rather expensive in Canda at nearly $200 .. I had read the Pi Zero might not be powerful enough). I really like OctoPi.. but took a few tries to get it customized with the proper Code scripts for pause/cancel/resume.

Posted : 18/04/2022 5:05 am
towlerg
(@towlerg)
Noble Member
RE: Any Upgrade planned for Einsy (MK3S)?

Correct, avoid Pi Zero like the plague, perhaps the new version if you're on a tight budget. The problem with powering the Pi whatever from the printer is that when you power down the printer, the Pi does a dirty shutdown. Also Pi's generally seem quite finicky about Vin, genuine Pi wall warts are 5.1V out.

Posted : 18/04/2022 1:02 pm
Crab
 Crab
(@crab)
Estimable Member
Topic starter answered:
RE: Any Upgrade planned for Einsy (MK3S)?

Yes.. the Pi4 runs hotter, pulling more current. So you need to make sure you have a good supply. And you need to heat sink the CPU. By the time you get a solid build, it is a bit expensive. An upgraded Einsey would easily be worth another $100-150 and could provide a better integrated experience than the Pi-Einsey. I can’t imagine doing a bunch of printing an not using OctoPrint. I think remote communication is a must. 

Posted : 18/04/2022 1:40 pm
Helmuth
(@helmuth)
Eminent Member
RE:

I agree that the Einsy is curiously antiquated, and comes with some frustrations. However, I also think that power concerns tend to be quite location-dependent... in my limited experience, it's really the US for first world nations that has widespread issues with the electrical infrastructure.

I guess that running a printer via a UPS might seem a bit overkill?

Edit: I run a Pi Zero W 2. I don't have any concerns about dirty shutdowns and I regularly switch off my printer. It it such an easy install that I can redo it simply, even if I hadn't just taken an image of the card as a backup. Worst case, it's a $5 card and another ~20 minutes of config from scratch.

This post was modified 5 months ago 2 times by Helmuth
Posted : 21/04/2022 4:15 am
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