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I'm looking to update my Delta printer's electronics from 8-bit to 32-bit.

So I checked Marlin and found out that they working on a project they call it Re-ARM and as far as I can tell they will support few chip-sets - I can't remember which one, so until when that happens I need to use something else but what?

I need it to be open source but the Smoothieboard (original one) is too expensive. I saw MKS SBASE but they are closed-source. There is also the MKS GEN version of it but again it uses an ATmega2560. Is there solution for now for my problem until 32-bit Marlin reaches test phase ?

1 Answer 1

Note that I am not stating this as the best 32 bit solution, as that is too subjective. Although you might want to read Recommendations for a good 32 bit microprocessor to run Marlin, which I cover in On which board can 32 bit Marlin run?

So, to clarify, yes, while the MKS-BASE is based on the 8 bit ATmega2560, the MKS-SBASE is powered by 32 bit ARM, 100M Cortex-MS MCU-LPC1768.

Anyway, SmoothieWare can indeed run on MKS-SBASE. There is an extensive guide on Instructables - Configuring MKS SBASE V1.X 32-bit controller basics and into to SmoothieWare.

You first need the drivers (for Windows). Plug in the MKS-SBASE board and then install the driver.

Connecting USB

Plug in USB to the board and look at the LEDs at the upper left corner. Immediately the D7 led lights up. After a bit D1 also starts lightning while D2 and D3 blinks rapidly.

Open device manager and update drivers for the new Smoothie/Serial USB device with the signed drivers you just downloaded from Github located in the easy to find folder: \MKS-SBASE\MKS-SBASE\Driver\smoothieware-windows-signeddriver-v1.0

Then to install the firmware:

Installing firmware

  1. Firmware from MKS are just and old copy of Smoothieware, so we always just want to use the newest version from Smoothieware.

    1. In other words: always use firmware from Smoothieware.
    2. If you can't find config.txt file from original Smoothieware, just use the one from MKS.
  2. Download official firmware from Smoothieware's firmware page which is a subpage on their own Github page (you might want to download their full Github repository (folder) in order to find their config.txt file)
    1. Start by using the Stable version. When everything is working fine, you can use the Nightly version instead. It is the newest version, but not fully tested yet, and considered as beta/test.
  3. Insert the SD Card into the MKS Sbase board and plug in the USB Cable. Your SD Card is now going to show in your file-Explorer.
    1. If not, you need to make sure you have the Drivers installed.
  4. If you can't find the config.txt file from Smoothieware, just locate the config.txt in \MKS Sbase\MKS-SBASE-master\MKSSBase-firmware and copy it to your SD Card.
    1. Smoothieware suggest disabling auto-Mount on the SD when connecting to USB. Especially when using a Mac, as OSX tends to do funky stuff at strange times.
    2. I have changed nothing on my Win10. And nothing bad has happened the past year.
  5. The D7 lights up, shortly after D1 follows. D2, D3, D4 blinks and then D4 turns steady while D2 and D3 continues blinking.
    1. At this point, the firmware.bin had changed to firmware.cur file on the SD card
  6. After successful updated, the file name will turn into firmware.cur.

Changing or Updating firmware

Just delete the firmware.cur file from your SD, or rename to firmware.cur.old or similar, and copy on the new firmware.bin file to your SD. Powercycle your printer (also unplug USB) and you can see your new firmware.cur file on your SD card.

Note: After making any changes to your config.txt file in the future, you need to power-cycle your controller, meaning disconnect both power (if in use) and USB. You can send a reset command, but only through true terminal use and not through Printrun/Pronterface or similar.

The guide, as stated above is extremely detailed, and goes on to explain all of the other aspects. The contents are as follows:

Table Of Contents:

  1. Connect and install
    1. Connecting USB
    2. Installing firmware
  2. Configuring Smoothieware compared to Marlin
  3. Obvious difference from Marlin
    1. Less obvious differneces
    2. Firmware and Config file(s)
    3. Configuring firmware
  4. Firmware Step 1: Default feed rate
    1. 1/32 Multistepping
    2. Connecting Motors
    3. External Motor Controllers
  5. Firmware Step 2: Cartesian axis speed limits, pins and current
    1. Pins
    2. Current
  6. Firmware Step 3: LCD, SD and Extruder
    1. LCD and SD
    2. Extruder Setup
    3. Delta driver current
  7. Firmware Step 4: Hotend temperature control configuration
    1. Thermistor Type
    2. PID Tuning
    3. Hotend Thermistor - Physical Layout
    4. Hotend Heater Pins - Physical Layout
  8. Firmware Step 5: Heated bed temperature control configuration
    1. Thermistor Type
    2. Temperature Control Bed BANG-BANG
    3. Heated bed thermistor - Physical Layout
    4. Heated bed heater pins - Physical Layout
  9. Firmware Step 6: Configuring Endstops
    1. Homing direction
    2. Disable unused endstops
    3. Define axes size
    4. Reversing endstop output
    5. Fast and slow homing rates
  10. Firmware step 7: Network Settings
  11. Step 8: What's next?
    1. More advanced setup?
    2. Using Switches

As there is way to much to cover here, please visit the Instructables page for the complete guide, in order to complete the configuration.