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The beauty of 3D printing lies in its ability to transform digital models into tangible objects and in the incredible precision this technology brings. Central to this precision is the effective temperature regulation within the 3D printer’s hotend, a process facilitated by the Proportional-Integral-Derivative (PID) algorithm. However, one common predicament many users face is a hiccup in the Marlin PID autotune process, leading to less-than-optimal print outcomes and many other issues.
Marlin, a renowned open-source firmware tailored for RepRap 3D printers, offers a feature dubbed PID autotuning that ensures stable and accurate temperature control. It dynamically tunes and adjusts the PID values for the hotend and heated bed to maintain consistent temperatures. Nevertheless, Marlin PID autotune occasionally encounters hitches, causing erratic temperature fluctuations and culminating in problems such as print failures, poor print quality, and even potential damage to the 3D printer components.
A key contributing factor to such issues can be a mismatch between the real-world conditions within the 3D printer and the theoretical assumptions underpinning the PID algorithm. The latter expects an ideal environment with zero disturbances. Still, reality often fails to provide this, necessitating a way to bridge the gap. This is where the PID autotune comes in, leveraging real-time data to fine-tune the PID values and ensure that the temperature remains within the desired limits.
However, when Marlin PID autotune fails, it creates a scenario akin to trying to hit a moving target while blindfolded. The result? Inconsistent temperatures make achieving the precision that 3D printing demands virtually impossible. This disrupts the harmony of the printing process, where each step intricately relies on the former to produce the expected output. It’s a hiccup affecting the printing outcome and potentially impacting the printer’s lifespan, making it a pressing concern for users.
This article is a deep dive into the world of Marlin PID autotuning. Through the lens of various users’ experiences, we will explore numerous strategies for addressing Marlin PID autotune failure. These tactics will provide a comprehensive roadmap for overcoming these challenges, from technical tweaks to environmental adjustments. We aim to empower you with knowledge, ensuring you can navigate the maze of Marlin PID autotuning issues and emerge victorious.
By tackling this issue head-on, we aim to ensure that Marlin PID autotuning serves its intended purpose of making 3D printing more of a precision art and less of a guessing game. So, whether you’re a hobbyist getting your feet wet or a seasoned professional facing unexplained Marlin PID autotune hitches, read on. This guide is a beacon intended to light your path to smoother, more precise 3D printing experiences.
1. Change the Thermistor
The thermistor is a pivotal component in the realm of 3D printing. This humble but critical piece plays the role of a thermometer, monitoring and relaying the hotend’s temperature. The Marlin PID autotune relies heavily on the thermistor’s readings to execute its functions effectively. Hence, when it is faulty or unsuitable, it can send the entire autotune process into a tailspin.
Imagine the thermistor as an informant, delivering key temperature intelligence to the PID algorithm. If the informant provides false or skewed information, the PID algorithm acts on these inaccuracies, leading to ineffective temperature control and; consequently, Marlin PID autotune failure.
This situation is often observed when a user employs the wrong thermistor. Thermistors vary significantly in terms of their resistance and sensitivity to temperature fluctuations. Using an incorrect one, therefore, leads to erroneous temperature readings and, in turn, the PID autotune malfunctions.
Consider a user who was grappling with an “Autotune Fail” or “MAXTEMP ERROR” whenever he tried running the PID autotune command (M303 E0 C8 S200). His printer would wildly overshoot the temperature, only stabilizing after he switched to a new 24V 40W thermistor from a 12V factory-supplied one. This case underscores the criticality of using the correct thermistor.
Further, the thermistor type declared in the firmware can significantly impact the PID autotuning process. Each thermistor type corresponds to a specific temperature table that outlines deviations at particular temperatures. Suppose the firmware’s thermistor type does not match the physical thermistor. The discrepancies can throw the PID autotune process off track in that case.
You can eliminate the root cause of many Marlin PID autotune problems by correctly identifying and rectifying the thermistor issue. This may involve replacing a faulty thermistor or rectifying the thermistor type declared in the firmware.
Although changing the thermistor may seem daunting for some, especially those new to 3D printing, it’s a reasonably straightforward process. Several guides and videos are available online that break down the process, making it manageable even for beginners.
Ultimately, the thermistor plays a central role in the accuracy and stability of temperature control in 3D printing. Ensuring it functions optimally, therefore, is the first step in rectifying Marlin PID autotune failures.
2. Run the Marlin PID Autotune with Filament Inside
When troubleshooting Marlin PID autotune, a seemingly inconspicuous yet game-changing variable comes into play – the filament inside the hotend. You can resolve the autotune issues by operating the PID autotuning process with a filament loaded within the hotend.
Here’s why this technique is effective.
During the 3D printing process, the filament plays a significant role in thermal dynamics. As the filament passes through the heated hotend, it absorbs some of the heat, affecting the overall temperature profile of the hotend. When the PID autotune is conducted without a filament, the thermal dynamics it experiences are inherently different from the actual printing conditions. This discrepancy can lead to a PID configuration that’s not optimal for real printing situations, resulting in temperature instability during basic printing.
Let’s consider an example of a user who experienced repeated thermal runaways post PID calibration. His problem originated from the fact that when introduced during printing, the filament cooled the hotend – a condition not accounted for during the PID autotuning as it was performed without a filament inside. The autotune had failed to consider the filament’s cooling effect on the hotend.
As gleaned from his experience, the solution is to ensure a filament is loaded and ready to print during autotuning. It’s advisable to use the filament type you commonly print with to create a realistic thermal dynamic environment during the tuning. This way, the PID algorithm can adjust accurately based on the temperature feedback it would experience in a genuine print scenario.
Remember, PID autotuning is about tuning your printer’s thermal dynamics to achieve optimal performance during print jobs. Introducing a filament during the autotuning process ensures that the tuning process closely mimics the actual printing conditions. This approach, in turn, leads to PID values that offer more reliable and stable temperature control, which ultimately improves the quality and consistency of your 3D prints.
3. Change the PID Values Manually
When automatic tuning seems to falter, sometimes the best remedy lies in manual intervention. That’s particularly true for Marlin PID autotune, where manual adjustments of PID values could be your answer to successful tuning.
PID – Proportional, Integral, Derivative – control is a universally employed feedback mechanism in control systems. For your 3D printer, it functions to maintain the hotend and bed temperatures at a consistent value. Each component of the PID – P, I, and D – plays a distinct role.
Proportional (P) is responsible for reacting to the present error, Integral (I) for past mistakes, and Derivative (D) forecasts future errors based on the current rate of change. However, the values assigned to these components can be more art than science, necessitating some experimentation for best results.
Say you’ve encountered a scenario where the temperature fluctuates drastically, and the Marlin PID autotune fails. Here, manual tuning could be a lifesaver. Start by adjusting one value at a time, making small incremental changes, and observe how each change impacts the temperature stability. This allows you to refine your PID settings for optimal temperature control progressively.
Specifically, consider lowering the P or I values if the temperature overshoots and undershoots often. To dampen the overshoot, try increasing the D value. But remember, patience is key here. Make these changes slowly and wait at least a minute before making another adjustment. It takes time for the effects of any change to fully materialize, so rushing this process can lead to skewed results.
To illustrate, consider a user who struggled with a 7°C temperature fluctuation issue with his Delta running on Marlin version 1.8.1. He could eliminate the fluctuations by manually adjusting the PID_Ki value, the smoothing factor for any PID loop, from the default 0.95 to 0.5.
Manually adjusting the PID values is an iterative and responsive process that enables fine-tuning your 3D printer’s thermal behavior. It might seem daunting initially, but with patience and systematic adjustments, it could be the definitive solution to your Marlin PID autotune issues.
4. Install a Smoothing Capacitor
Electrical noise and power supply fluctuations can affect the stability and accuracy of your 3D printer’s temperature readings, leading to Marlin autotune problems. That’s where a smoothing capacitor comes into play. By installing a smoothing capacitor to the power supply connection of the mainboard, you can significantly reduce these issues.
Capacitors can store energy and release it when necessary as a buffer against sudden voltage spikes or drops. In the context of a 3D printer, they ensure a consistent power supply to the components that regulate temperature, enhancing the stability and efficacy of the PID autotune process.
But remember that it’s not a case of ‘any capacitor will do’. It is crucial to select a capacitor with the appropriate voltage rating or something close to it. A capacitor operating significantly below its rated voltage can shorten its lifespan.
Consider the case of a user whose Tevo Tornado 3D printer experienced wide temperature swings when printing with high-temperature plastics at around 240 to 250°C. This issue was exacerbated when running PID tuning. However, after installing a smoothing capacitor, the temperature variance was reduced to a manageable swing of +/- 1°C.
A recommended option is the 1000uF Low ESR Electrolytic Capacitor, easily found on platforms like Amazon. This type of capacitor is an excellent choice for its ability to deliver the needed smoothing effect. But remember, installing a capacitor involves dealing with the printer’s power supply, which carries risks. It’s essential to have the appropriate technical knowledge, or to seek professional help, to avoid potential harm or damage.
A smoothing capacitor can stabilize your 3D printer’s electrical system, effectively addressing Marlin PID autotune issues by maintaining consistent power delivery and promoting accurate temperature readings.
5. Run Autotune in a Stable Environment
Your 3D printer’s environment plays a significant role in the success of the Marlin PID autotune process. Suppose your printer is located near windows, external fans, or other sources of drafts. In that case, these can cause temperature variations that interfere with the PID autotune.
A stable, temperature-controlled room or enclosure is advisable for conducting the autotune process. It ensures consistent temperature conditions during the tuning and minimizes the potential for external factors affecting the printer’s performance. Additionally, keeping the printer away from surfaces that might encounter electrical or mechanical issues is critical.
Consider the case of a user who emphasized the importance of draft-free printing for stable temperatures. He recommended using an enclosure, such as an upside-down cardboard moving box, for PID calibration. This simple yet effective solution can make a considerable difference in maintaining a stable temperature, thus improving the effectiveness of the PID autotune.
Drafts are just one of the factors to consider. Vibration from other machinery, electrical interference from nearby electronics, or even extreme humidity can affect the performance of your 3D printer and the PID autotune process. It’s essential to consider the entirety of your printer’s environment and mitigate any potential issues.
Running the Marlin PID autotune in a stable environment can significantly improve its effectiveness. Controlling for environmental variables such as drafts, vibration, and electrical interference can ensure a more accurate and reliable tuning process, improving temperature control during your 3D printing sessions.
6. Increase the HOTEND_OVERSHOOT Parameter
In 3D printing, a common fix to Marlin PID autotune problems is to increase the HOTEND_OVERSHOOT parameter. Essentially, the HOTEND_OVERSHOOT parameter determines how much initial temperature overshoot is allowed before the PID starts actively controlling the temperature. Increasing this parameter enables the PID to respond quickly to temperature deviations and reach the desired temperature faster.
The temperature overshoot in a PID controller is when the system’s response exceeds the desired outcome. The HOTEND_OVERSHOOT parameter allows the temperature to initially exceed the target temperature by a certain degree before the PID algorithm starts to actively regulate it. This ‘overjump’ helps to overcome any latency or delays in the heating system.
But there is a caveat. An optimal setting for this parameter is essential. If it’s set too high, it can cause excessive temperature fluctuations and instability, negatively affecting the PID autotune’s performance. Therefore, it’s vital to find a balance where the overshoot is large enough to compensate for system delays but not so large that it causes instability.
Consider a case where a 3D printing user could not run PID autotune above 284°C as it failed every time, citing the temperature was too high. Someone suggested increasing the max temp or decreasing HOTEND_OVERSHOOT to enable PID tuning at 285°C.
The HOTEND_OVERSHOOT parameter is typically set at 15 by default in the Marlin firmware. This means the printer cannot run PID tuning with a temperature greater than or equal to the MAXTEMP minus HOTEND_OVERSHOOT. Understanding this allows you to adjust the HOTEND_OVERSHOOT parameter to better suit your printing needs.
In conclusion, increasing the HOTEND_OVERSHOOT parameter is a practical solution for Marlin PID autotune problems. The PID algorithm can react quicker to temperature deviations and reach the target temperature more efficiently by allowing a more significant initial temperature overshoot. Nevertheless, finding the right balance is critical to ensure optimal PID autotuning performance.
7. Change the Target Temperature
Another practical approach to troubleshooting Marlin PID autotune issues involves adjusting the desired or target temperature setting. When the PID autotune process struggles to stabilize the temperature within the specified limits, it could be due to the target temperature being set too high or too low from the operating temperature. In such a case, changing the target temperature could rectify the issue.
The target temperature for PID autotuning should ideally be within the temperatures you usually print. When you set the target temperature outside the range of temperatures you typically use for printing, the PID algorithm could find it challenging to maintain stability. The algorithm has been calibrated for a different temperature range from your usual printing temperature.
Therefore, experimenting with different target temperatures within the acceptable range is advised. It can help you find the optimal setting for successful PID autotuning. This might require trial and error, but it’s worth the effort. By adjusting the target temperature, you tune the PID controller to perform optimally under the conditions it will typically operate.
For instance, consider a user struggling with PID autotune issues with his new printer. He was advised to set the target temperature in autotune to a more realistic value. In the context of most PLA (195-210°C) and PETG filaments (220-235°C), a typical practical temperature is around 210°C.
In another instance, a user was recommended to do the PID autotune at a much lower temperature (100°C instead of 200°C). After making this adjustment, he successfully completed the autotune at 200°C.
In conclusion, changing the target temperature is an effective way to fix Marlin PID autotune problems. It’s important to remember that the key is to set the target temperature within the typical range of your printing temperatures. This allows the PID algorithm to perform optimally under the conditions it will operate regularly.
8. Turn on Cooling Fans While PID Autotuning
An additional and often overlooked step to resolve issues with Marlin PID autotuning is to activate the cooling fans during the autotuning process. This seemingly simple action can profoundly impact the tuning process’s efficiency and precision, improving the PID controller’s performance.
Cooling fans in a 3D printer regulate the temperature of the hotend and build plate, thereby preventing overheating. This is crucial during the PID autotuning process as it mitigates the chances of a temperature overshoot, which can potentially ruin the tuning process.
When the cooling fans are on, they help to dissipate heat from the hotend more efficiently. This allows the PID algorithm to respond faster to changes in temperature and stabilize the temperature more quickly, mainly when the PID values are being used multiple times during the autotuning process.
It is, however, essential to be aware of the fan speed during this process. Overcooling can be as detrimental as overheating. Therefore, the fan speed should be optimal to prevent excessive cooling, which could lead to erroneous results.
A user once advised activating the part cooling fan during autotune to minimize potential problems. The cooling fan’s role in regulating the hotend temperature could significantly reduce the chances of temperature overshoots and fluctuations that could lead to PID autotuning failures.
Engaging the cooling fans during the PID autotuning process is a critical aspect of temperature control that can significantly improve the autotuning process’s success rate. The cooling fans’ function is to stabilize the hotend temperature, making them an invaluable asset during the PID autotuning process. With the right fan speed, they can help you achieve a more stable and efficient PID autotuning process.
9. Conduct Marlin PID Autotuning After the Hotend has Cooled Off
Executing the Marlin PID autotuning process immediately after the hotend has been at operational temperatures can lead to inaccurate results and potential failure of the autotuning. Therefore, an effective technique to improve the success rate of your PID autotuning is to conduct it after the hotend has thoroughly cooled down to room temperature.
One of the main reasons for the approach mentioned above is that it facilitates precise and fresh temperature measurement. This clean slate temperature measurement is a baseline for determining the optimal PID values, allowing for a more accurate tuning process. By beginning the process from a cooled state, the PID algorithm can effectively calculate the power needed to heat the hotend from its ambient temperature to the target temperature.
Conversely, suppose the hotend is still warm or even hot. In that case, the algorithm might not correctly determine the power needed since it begins from an artificially high temperature. This could lead to an undershoot or overshoot of the target temperature, leading to the failure of the PID autotuning process.
A user shared an experience where Marlin PID Autotune repeatedly failed, even after various attempts and modifications, including changing the hotend and heartbreak to copper and all-metal titanium and running the M303 PID command several times. However, another user advised them to do the PID tuning only once. If they wanted to repeat it, they had to ensure that the hotend had sufficiently cooled down (i.e., to 40°C or lower).
Therefore, to ensure the success of your Marlin PID Autotuning process, always remember to start the procedure only when the hotend has cooled down sufficiently, ideally to room temperature. This simple yet effective step can significantly improve your chances of successfully tuning your PID values, leading to more stable and precise temperature control for your 3D printing tasks.
10. Replace the MOSFET
Suppose you’ve gone through all the above steps and still experiencing problems with your Marlin PID autotuning. In that case, inspecting the MOSFET (Metal-Oxide-Semiconductor Field-Effect Transistor) might be time. MOSFET is an integral component of your 3D printer as it controls the power supply to the heater cartridge and the heated bed. A malfunctioning MOSFET can adversely impact the stability and accuracy of temperature control, causing autotuning problems.
Typically, a faulty MOSFET can result in erratic heating behavior due to its inability to properly control the power supply. This can lead to fluctuations in the temperature and disrupt the PID autotuning process. It may even prevent the process from running entirely.
One case involved a user with a CR10-s 3D printer and Marlin 1.1.8 firmware. The individual consistently experienced PID autotune failure for the heated bed. After exhausting other potential solutions, the user found that replacing the MOSFET resolved the issue, indicating that the MOSFET had been the root cause of the problem.
To replace a MOSFET, you must first procure the correct model compatible with your 3D printer. Always consult your printer’s documentation or contact the manufacturer for accurate information. Also, note that this process involves handling delicate electronic components and should be undertaken appropriately. If you need clarification on the replacement process, seek professional help.
Remember, a healthy MOSFET is crucial for accurate and stable temperature control in your 3D printer. Ensuring its proper function can significantly improve your PID autotuning process’s reliability and success rate.
The following video provides a helpful guide on how to install an external MOSFET on any 3D printer. Ensure safety precautions to avoid electrical shock or component damage when dealing with electronics.
Understanding how to troubleshoot and resolve Marlin PID autotune issues is an integral part of maintaining and improving the performance of your 3D printer. Each of the ten strategies discussed here provides practical steps to address these issues, improve your 3D printer’s temperature stability, and ultimately enhance the quality of your 3D prints.
Whether changing the thermistor, running the autotune with a filament inside, manually adjusting the PID values, or replacing the MOSFET, each method tackles a unique aspect of the overall autotuning process. Notably, only some strategies will apply to some situations. Therefore, a careful and systematic approach is vital. Apply each method in turn, monitoring the effects closely until you identify the strategy that resolves your issue.
Remember, PID autotuning is a delicate process, and its successful implementation significantly affects the performance of your 3D printer. It’s also important to remember that external factors, such as your environment, can influence autotuning. So, maintain stable printing conditions whenever possible.
Lastly, never hesitate to seek help when needed. If the problem persists after applying these methods, consult a professional or join a 3D printing community. You’d be surprised at the wealth of knowledge and help you can find there.
As you continue to hone your skills in 3D printing, understanding how to troubleshoot and fine-tune your equipment becomes less of a challenge and more of an intriguing puzzle. Each solution you find enhances your current print and builds a foundation of knowledge for future success.
The world of 3D printing is as challenging as it is rewarding. But with patience, diligence, and a solid understanding of your equipment’s operations, you’re well on your way to becoming a master in your field.
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