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Menu display update very sluggish, printer pausing during print

pause-mid-print problem th3d

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I have been operating my Ender 3 pretty much non-stop since it arrived at the end of April.

Recently, the menu display became insanely slow to update - usually (but not only) while browsing the SD Card file list - to the point where I often had to stop it from printing the wrong item - or to reselect the desired function off the menu - because I had pressed the button when the display showed one thing selected but the display had apparently lagged by a second or two and I had actually moved the knob too far, selecting something higher or lower than the one I wanted.
One day, the printer started pausing during print jobs, depositing a large blob while it sat there & then starting up again but knocking the part over next time it hit that blob. From there, I had a couple of prints just go all blobs from the start, as if overextruding because it was travelling too slowly.

I found some other threads blaming poor contact between the SD Card and the Sanguino for similar-sounding print pause issues, but I have not found anyone else commenting about sluggish display updates or overextruding issues.

I decided to stop using the SD Card slot (I now print via USB from Cura 4.1.0 on my Windows 10 laptop).
I also reflashed Marlin (TH3D Unified) and reset the EEPROM. Not sure which act may have helped, if either

The sluggish display update definitely went away and I think the pausing while printing went away. (I have not seen it do that, since)

Does anyone know whether Marlin sometimes needs a hard reboot (e.g. for "trash collection")?
Recognize the sluggish display update symptom?
I do not have the Power Failure/Recovery feature enabled in my firmware setup, because I read that it could cause the SD Card to fail and create problems like intermittently pausing while printing. Windows cannot find anything wrong with my SD card when I scan it, but maybe the Sanguino SD Card slot has an issue?

I had the same problem arise. Flashing did not help. I eventually isolated the problem to originate from the gcode files that cura was creating. It's bizarre because reading it in notepad showed nothing out of place but clearly something was wrong with cura even after reinstalling it, because older gcode files where still working and if I slice from any other slicer the problem is gone. I am using PrusaSlicer now and after a little tweaking I have nicer prints than I ever had with Cura or s3d

Thanks, NizzleOne.
I don't know whether the flashing or resetting had any impact, either, since I also stopped using the SD Card. I can see where a Controller having problems accessing the SD Card might be stealing cycles away from other lower priority processes, which would account for the display sluggishness and print pausing.
I don't see how Cura could have impacted my menu, but I can totally understand the print pausing being potentially impacted by that..
At one point, I also had such awful print results with Cura that I switched to PrusaSlicer. I like its integration with NetFabb, which may have been one reason I got better results with certain .stl files... Once I found and started experimenting with the CHEP profiles, though, I have been doing pretty well with Cura 4.1.0. I suspect that most of my own problem with Cura the first time around was working with a corrupt .stl file and messing around with settings I did not understand. One thing I know for sure is that I am not keeping anywhere near enough information on record to be able to go back and systematically isolate or eliminate probable causes. It's on my "to-do" list, to dust off my Design of Experiments text & do what an Engineer would do...

New data point: today, I managed to make my printer stop and think mid-print, a lot, while printing via USB from my new Pi.

I think it was a consequence of my Cura profile, which I have been tweaking a lot. I may have input a combination of settings with which Cura could not comply, but it did not throw me any error messages, when it generated the code.
The same machine and Pi are presently patiently printing a new Cura-generated gcode file using the CHEP Magic 0.12 profile, with no apparent difficulties.
The downloaded .stl file itself was also a bit of a mess, with NetFabb seemingly doing a better job than either MeshMixer or 3D Builder at finding and fixing issues. Looks like my workflow is going to need some adjustments, too.

I agree with what everyone else has said. I just wanted to answer another of your questions:
No, Marlin and/or your Sanguino controller will not ever need any "trash collection."
It isn't unheard of for a micro like this to get corrupted and need to be reflashed, but it isn't a normal or periodic need.

So it is possible that re-flashing it had an effect, but you should not expect to have to do it again unless your controller is faulty.

Thanks for addressing the Sanguino question. I know sometimes a system can have more than one problem, so all symptoms may not derive from a common cause. I had a job fail last night when the controller decided to turn off the extruder heat in the middle of the job. I stil don't know what caused that. The SD card was plugged into the laptop at the time and the job was being sent by USB from Cura 4.1.0. The head was still painting away in mid-air, when I got back to it. With the little bit that I have learned so far, I cannot imagine a possible scenario for how the Controller would be triggered to take that action.

More to learn. Good thing this is my hobby and not my job.

That could be a comm error, win10 likes to shut off usb data when not in use which would explain the printing in mid air scenario, printer keeps certain commands but if it's not getting data shuts down the temps. One of the reasons I like using octoprint with a Pi connected, less likely to get those types of errors.

Thanks, SgtTaz. That's the info I was missing, then. I wondered what could trigger the controller to shut off the heaters, while the printing motions continued. I can totally understand Windows 10 shutting down USB comms in mid-stream I have often been using the laptop when Windows decided it could shut me down, and I had forgotten to turn off the automatic updates function.
Can you suggest where I would find more information like "...if it's not getting data shuts down the temps"?
Sounds like I should be saving up for that Pi., instead of configuring my laptop to run Octoprint..

I know there was a win 10 update to USB drivers in the last month-I get those directly from Microsoft.( before the update was causing a communication issue with arduno as well as other data) The other thing would be to not have the sleep, standby or the screen saver enabled as it all is tied into that power saving feature which shuts off almost everything external if your not using it for what ever period you have set. I know you can dig around and find certain settings in win 10 I just never bothered as I had gotten the pi setup and didn't need to worry about it. Most of those settings are under personalization settings and can be set to "always on" anything with power saving features needs to be disabled. Hope it helps :) once you get the pi you'll never look back ;)

Oh,, one more thing. Let me extend a premature welcome to the Octopi club. I love it, you'll love. Anyone who uses it loves it.

It is known that the SD card can become loaded with extra data. The Ender, with its "resume print" feature, writes code to the card to resume if needed. It's a good idea to format the card after sometime, and keep files to a minimum.

Try a different card that you have not used with the printer or that had been freshly formatted. Throw a few files at it, and put it in the printer and see what happens, if it happens again there might be an issue with the SD card slot on the board. If not then it's the SD card

Thanks, SHENKOE. I don't use the power recovery feature specifically because I read about it possibly wearing out the SD Card.. I only had this printer a couple of months, so I was surprised to see contact problems arise so soon, but I have been printing pretty much non-stop in that time and the symptoms I saw are consistent with SD Card read/write problems. The menu display is now back to its original speed, as I spin that knob back & forth, so whatever it was that I did - whether it was reflashing and resetting or whether it was taking the SD card out of my workflow - seems to have worked.
I now plan to upgrade the printer by adding and integrating a Raspberry Pi and Octoprint. Cheers.

Glad you worked it out, but just a note for you... The resume print feature is always enabled on a stock Ender 3. Unless you swapped out the controller or flashed Marlin to it. It will be enabled. Constantly writing to the SD,in lieu of a possible power failure

I'd say most likely bad micro SD cards or the reader itself. If you don't get the error when using the USB it has to be in that area or it would replicate via usb input. sounds like you have a work around anyway and I prefer using the printer port over micro SD anyway :)

It's not clear to me whether you are using the SD card now or not. You seem to have done a whole lot of things since you switched to USB and the problem went away. Is it still there when you use an SD card. SD cards do fail. I've had a couple of them get flaky in my cameras where is use them the most. In any event, it doesn't seem like you've resolved where the problem was from the info you provided. Reflashing Marlin and resetting the eeprom doesn't seem to have been necesssary, but certainly doesn't hurt.

Thanks, eric_csuf. No, I am not using any SD Cards at the moment. I am having too much fun working on profile tuning to devote energy to replicating solved problems, right now. Not very disciplined of me, realize. WHen I have bought myself a new SD Card, I will set some time aside to do some A-B testing between old card and new.. If I get repeatable results, I will update this response. Cheers.

Very sensible. We're mostly in this hobby for relaxation and fun. My background is primarily electronics so I take a lot of interest in that side of the hobby.