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Hi, I have owned a Balco Touch (Aldi UK rebadged version of the I3 Plus)for several years. The problem I have always had is that the printer only fully recognises the gcode produced from the very early version of Cura supplied with the machine. Therefore when I select a gcode created in later versions of Cura or S3D to print it does not recognise the extruder temp. I have to manually input the temp every time for this to work. All the sample models on the CD work fine. This is an easy enough work around but I am more concerned about what else is not being executed - certainly the print speed settings set in S3D do not seem to have an effect unless I manually turn down speed on the printer itself.
I have contacted Balco many times - they are just an on seller and generally useless and unknowledgeable.
The first UK version of this rebadge does not come with a USB output so I cannot find an easy way to upgrade firmware.
I have enabled using older M codes in S3D with no effect.
Has anyone had a similar issue ? Not an expert here but I presume it is just not understanding new version slicer code ?
Is there any start code or gcode I can paste into Gcode file to offset this situation ?
Thanks in advance Boothy
Firmware updates on the Wanhao I3 Plus require taking the front plate off the printer and using the SD socket that is on the back of the display board. There are many guides on YouTube for this.
Another firmware update method is to use the Firmware Update add-in from Octoprint, though I have not personally tested this.
Hope this helps.
Unfortunately it appears that the micro sd card socket in the front screen only flashes the LCD firmware so I would still need a USB connection (which I do not have) for the motherboard firmware upgrade via cura or others. But thanks for your comment anyway. Boothy
Wow, that sure helps, thanks for your response. I will check and youtube and give it a go. I do not think Octoprint is viable due to not having an USB interface. Your comment is a fantastic help. Best Boothy
Um... If the printer doesn't have a USB port, it probably isn't a Wanhao Duplicator i3 Plus...
If the printer Is a rebranded Wanhao i3 Plus, the USB port is squarish, like a regular printer's USB interface is, and is on the right side of the printer when you're looking at it from the front, just in front of the SD card slot.
It definitely is ! Re branded by Balco for Aldi in the UK. I know where the USB port should be ! The imprint is still on the motherboard just not the interface. There was a bit of criticism when sold because it was advertised with a port but one was not present when supplied. Must have been some muppet value engineering exercise at the time. They have since re included the USB port in the UK. All Wanhao parts including the motherboard. Exactly the same parts apart from the lack of USB !
Any chance you could snap a photo of the front and right side and post it? You've got my curiosity piqued.
You can sort of see it here but not the lack of USB
Its in bits at the moment
Never seen that... Interesting... Ok.. Well, like I said, firmware updates are via the SD card port on the back of the touchscreen, and, for compatibility's sake, it'd probably be OK for you to go ahead and install the Wanhao firmware, rather than the Balco.
I don't understand why someone would want to remove the USB port, though... That's just silliness.
Maybe you could solder a USB cable to where the port is supposed to go on the motherboard, and feed it out to a Raspberry Pi running Octoprint. That might work after you install the Wanhao firmware. If Balco removed the USB connector, I'm not sure if they removed the other circuitry required, or if the traces go back to the ARM controller like they do on the regular Wanhao boards.
It'd be worth a try, anyway... Just cut the end off of a regular USB cable, strip the outer sheath back so the four wires are exposed, and solder just the data lines to the board, so the Pi doesn't try to power the board itself.
The display micro sd socket only updates the LCD firmware not the motherboard.
Then you'll probably have to solder a USB cable to the motherboard to do the update, and to add Octoprint if you wish. Like I said, Octoprint has a plug-in that will let you directly update the firmware, or you can just plug the printer directly into your computer and do the same thing.
FYI Motherboard image attached
That looks very similar to mine. I'm not sure what the pinout would be for the data lines on the USB cable, but it should be possible to solder a cable directly to the board and use that to do the upgrades and/or add Octoprint.
I have just ordered some of these below, I have a spare motherboard (replaced due to faulty SD card reader by Balco) so will test on that first. I am hoping the pin out is consistent and standard on the PCB mounted socket (why would you change it ?).
I am not quite sure why I am doing this ? I have 3 other really good printers that have much better and consistent print quality and so much better bed levelling than the Wanhao\Balco. I suppose its a challenge and all the rest are Boden not direct drive. I have already removed the gantry due to an unsolvable Z wobble problem and replaced with a cobbled\reinforced variation from an old Zonestar Gantry (which works much better). Changed the x axis to my own Zonestar designs. Definitely a tinkering Frankenstein's Monster\Mongrel at the moment. Please do not get me wrong , this was my first printer, it served me well and I have an attachment to it. The sturdy steel gantry is really robust but I have found it quite constrictive and somewhat more difficult to tweak\analyse issues due to being quite enclosed. Certainly levelling is more constrictive than a larger open frame. I much prefer the CR10\Ender aluminium extrusion design for rigidity, strength and ease of access\tinkering.
Honestly, I'd just solder a cable to the board, rather than the socket. Ziptie the cable to the board through the socket mount holes, and drape the cable out the side somehow, then plug directly into your Raspberry Pi or your computer.
Fair play to Balco lifestyle they are sending me the newer 2018 version motherboard free of charge with the USB interface included 18 months after purchase without any quibble. Should have been there in the first place but hey, that`s not bad customer service. I will wait and see if the new board fixes my issues before playing with the Wanhao software.At least I will have a few spares to practise on! Best Boothy