[Dragonfly DIY] New printer: JGAurora A3

This week I decided I'd had it with all the other printers in my stable. The CTC is stable and decent but it just bugs me (can't stand the nonstandard GCode or the extremely primative control systems). The Geeetech G2S Delta breaks at least once a week and I've had to replace several major components. The Monoprice MP Select is actually a nice printer that I enjoy, but it's small and is a little delicate, I've had to fix a few things.

The Prusa i3 type printers are the ones that I have enjoyed the most, so I went shopping for one that seemed to solve the problems that I have had in the past. Those are primarily:

Mechanical stability
Clean design (no wires hanging all over, multiple bits, ugly design)

Other problems I've had but wasn't specifically shopping to avoid:

LCD display instability (display garbles after a few hours of printing)

I wound up buying a JGAurora from Amazon for $369. It arrived via Prime shipping in 2 days. I unexpectedly had the evening available to build and I got first power up on it in 4 hours and first print the following evening. Total build time was about 5 hours.

This printer is a very well thought out i3 clone that addresses pretty much every problem or shortcoming that I've experienced with other i3s. It's not plug and play but it is a straightforward build, everything needed is included and the instructions are clear and complete.

It came with an 8GB SD card inserted in a small USB reader containing excellent videos covering every aspect of assembly and calibration. It also came with a set of allen keys and a small stamped metal wrench. In contrast with the Geeetech (which was missing or short on a number of small parts) this printer came with everything needed, minus a pair of wire cutters and a screwdriver. It even came with a filament spool stand.

I did replace the firmware with Repetier, but the included version of Marlin is entirely adequate. I just like to tinker. There is a user group on Thingiverse here, and there is also some discussion of it on the i3 group.

If you want to try Repetier on this printer, use their online configurator. Here is a link to my config.json file which will set you up immediately with my working configuration.

If you decide to move back to Marlin, this is the latest (1.1 RC8) helpfully provided by a user on the Thingiverse i3 group.

Here's a quick video I made on the printer.

[Dragonfly DIY] Quick rant: Geeetech G2S Rostock delta printer

I picked up a Geeetech G2S last November and I'm far from impressed. So far I have:

replaced the hotends with E3D clones, which wasn't strictly necessary but did result in an improvement in print quality
Replaced both extruder drives from plastic (both of which broke with probably < 50 hours on the printer) with aluminum drive mechanisms, which FINALLY made the printer vaguely reliable
Realigned it MANY times - it just does NOT hold alignment.
Finally overnight it died badly during a print. Today it kept powering off. I discovered that the main power connector now looks like this:

Everything about this printer has said "barely adequate to last a few weeks"

I'm done with this printer. I've ordered what looks like a nice i3 clone from Amazon. I'm going to tear this thing down for parts.

I've really tried to use this printer because WHEN it's aligned and working, it does make nice prints. The problem is it only stays working for a few days at a time and I just can't waste my time fixing my tools all the time.

Book finished: Shadow of Victory

Shadow of Victory by David Weber


Meh. Sure wish this was better, I'd hoped that after a little while off of new books in the series a worthy addition was in the works, but this was pretty mediocre. Nearly 2 stars really, I guess I nudged to 3 just out of general love of the old series. I'm probably done with this series, these books are too long to waste time on them if they're not going to be any good.
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Generator trouble

This is the 2nd time I've had the regulator in my Briggs & Stratton generator fail. It's really starting to bug me.

I'm seriously considering building my own so I can put in higher rated components and actually repair it when it fails.

The factory replacement is potted and costs $70 for about $5 worth of parts. All it's doing is taking voltage from the excitation winding, rectifying it and putting it onto the brushes, and regulating the main coil output voltage by changing the voltage on the brushes. Really nothing to it.

Webcam troubles

So I set up a birdcam outside in early January and by the end of January it had failed.

Investigation showed that the ethernet connector had water in it and had completely corroded away the connectors.

To their credit, Amcrest (/Foscam) was a star and replaced the unit.

I think the problem is that they give NO instructions on how to assemble the cable gland that makes the end waterproof, and I put it together incorrectly. I have looked online for instructions and found enough similar ones that I now know how to put it together.

Today I put new ends on the cable and hooked up the new camera. Then a few hours later I checked and the cable gland was HOT. When I opened it up, it was actually steaming. In this photo you can see steam/smoke and condensation within the connector:

The ethernet plug was so hot it had carbon tracks burned in it and it was actually sparking.

Clearly a lot of water got into the cable, and when it warmed up a bit, it migrated down inside the sheath, condensed in the connector, started to conduct excess current, lather/rinse/repeat, runaway thermal event.

I cleaned the camera end and blew most of the water out with compressed air. Since I can't guarantee that water won't enter the outdoor cable through a critter bite or something, I've decided to make the last 2 feet of the run with a short ethernet jumper (with cable that's never been outside) and connect the two with a female-female waterproof gland (way cheaper than a camera) so that if this happens again, it'll smoke a $5 Chinese cable gland rather than the connector on the camera which is NOT replaceable or repairable.

I'm also running it indoors for a day or so with no cover on the gland to hopefully chase the moisture out. I cut 3 feet off the end of the cable before putting a new end on.

This is the gland I wound up with from eBay/China for < $6 each. They're quite good. I'm going to get a few more coming (they take the standard 3 or 4 weeks from China) You can put them on over the top of an existing RJ45 connector.