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Ender 5 Pro/Silent 1.1.5 motherboard issue & warning.

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  • Ender 5 Pro/Silent 1.1.5 motherboard issue & warning.

    I have run into a serious problem with my Ender 5 Pro and, apparently, I'm not alone.

    Exactly what is the cause is not known, but the effect is ruined prints.

    What happens is, randomly, the Y axis stops responding. It doesn't move at all, usually part way through a job. If you try to turn the Y axis axle, surprisingly, you can! This is not normal for a stepper motor. Normally, you would feel pretty strong resistance if you try to turn the axle. The reason is that the motor is working to keep the axle in its current position - you shouldn't be able to turn it.

    The effect of this is that the print starts to build up only in the X and Z directions. However, because the Y axis isn't moving, way too much filament gets deposited in the same spot. Eventually, the nozzle has to plow a furrow into the deposited filament.

    Since I'm brand new to 3D printing (at least in a hands-on sense), I had no idea my printer has a problem. This issue showed up on my first print attempt. One of the biggest issues is that it doesn't occur consistently. I have had good prints; not as many as bad ones - probably 30% to 40%.

    I gather this issue has not been a problem on the non-pro version of the Ender 5, presumably because the non-pro version uses the 1.1.4 motherboard. It would be very interesting to try a 1.1.4 board in my machine, to see if the problem goes away. Of course, the 1.1.4 board uses older, noisy stepper driver chips. One of the features of the 1.1.5 board is it has the TMC2208 stepper chips, which cause the motors to make much less noise. However, they run a lot hotter than the old ones. That leads to the first possibility for a cause: hardware failure/overheating.

    If the Y axis stepper driver chip gets too hot, it may go into thermal shutdown, effectively refusing to respond to commands. I've tried a couple of things to see if I can isolate the cause:
    1. I swapped the X and Y axis data cables, turning the X axis into the Y, and vice-versa. At first this seemed, for some perplexing reason, to fix the problem. I got 1 of the 20mm square calibration cubes to print properly. Then I swapped the cables back, and got a good cube print (say what??). Then I reversed the cables again, and got a good cube print again. Then I tied a longer print, vertically printed lithophane of John Lithgow. It got part way done and failed. And this was with the 2 axes swapped. So, that would seem to suggest that overheating is not the issue; but it's not certain.
    2. I found out that the fan that is supposed to cool the motherboard is tied into the same circuit that controls the hotend fans. So if, as is the case with many slicers, the first layer is printed with no fan blowing, then the motherboard fan will not be on either. That doesn't sound like a great idea to me, so I rewired it directly to the 24v feed into the motherboard, so it runs whenever the printer is powered up. I did this before swapping the axes, so it doesn't seem to have fixed the problem either.

    Another possibility is the firmware. My printer came with Creality Marlin 1.1.8. I'm looking into flashing it to Marlin 1.1.9. The issue is, I gather Marlin 1.1.9 is already obsolete, 2.0.3 now being the latest. However, there could be an issue that the 1.1.5 motherboard doesn't have enough available memory to hold Marlin 2.0.3. The common recommendation seems to be to get a 32 bit motherboard (more expense!).

    When I said I'm not alone, I was referring to a forum thread I discovered on octoprint.com. A number of people in the forum have exactly the same issue. The common issue seems to be the Silent 1.1.5 motherboard. I'm not sure about the firmware everyone is running, but one poster said he's running Klipper firmware and still has the problem. Here's a link to the specific thread: https://community.octoprint.org/t/y-...nder-5-silent/. In that thread, user silver65 posted a link to a Marlin 2.0 firmware he compiled and posted to github: https://github.com/silver65/Ender-5. From the readme file he included in his package, he indicates the 1.1.5 motherboard already has an onboard bootloader, so that could save a ton of work.

    OK, this is already way too long. If I think of or recall anything else to do with this, I'll make new posts.
    Last edited by Ender5r; 06-03-2020, 08:03 AM.

  • #2
    I looked at the TH3D firmware package. Seems they don't have the Ender 5 in the list of printers yet. Still, their videos may give me some clues on how to upload the package provided by silver65.

    I'm also getting conflicted messages about whether the 1.1.5 motherboard has an onboard bootloader, or not.

    Finally, here are some photos of what's being going on.
    Click image for larger version  Name:	_MG_3256.jpg Views:	0 Size:	329.2 KB ID:	462

    A shot of the 3 calibration cubes I was able to print. The dimension are very close to 20mm in every direction.
    Click image for larger version  Name:	_MG_3241.jpg Views:	0 Size:	310.6 KB ID:	463
    2 shots of a lithophane of John Lithgow. The left one was printed vertically. The right one was printed horizontally. In both it's pretty easy to see where the Y axis quit working, especially the right one where it's plain to see where the X axis kept going back and forth, depositing more filament, while the Y axis just sat there.


    Click image for larger version  Name:	_MG_3248.jpg Views:	0 Size:	358.1 KB ID:	464
    This is the lithophane of John Lithgow printed right after the 3 cubes that worked. It was printed vertically again (what there is of it).

    Click image for larger version  Name:	_MG_3243.jpg Views:	0 Size:	296.4 KB ID:	465

    ​Finally, here's a shot of the lithophane of John Lithgow showing how it's supposed to look, except for everything above the shoulders of course.

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    • irvshapiro
      irvshapiro commented
      Editing a comment
      I installed the board from Th3d on my Ender 5 without difficulty. There is a video about it on my YouTube channel (DrVax) called "Creality Ender 5 Ultimate Upgrade"

  • #3
    Greetings all. I have some potentially FANTASTIC news!!

    After flashing my Silent 1.1.5 (see https://forum.drvax.com/forum/3d-pri...ilt-bootloader), I ran test print of the STL that has consistently failed in 4 attempts at printing it.

    And, looking at the photo, it seems the new firmware may have made all the difference. Now, I realize, scientifically, this is just 1 datapoint; however, it's a very positive one I think.

    Click image for larger version

Name:	JohnLithgowphane-AllAttempts-final.jpg
Views:	57
Size:	966.3 KB
ID:	563

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    • #4
      Besides being able to print the lithophane, I've since printed 3 XYZ calibration cubes, the twin towers stringing test (https://forum.drvax.com/forum/3d-pri...hing-dialed-in), and the dang cat that came on the SD card that came with the printer, but only in gcode format. Actually, it does look pretty nice.

      I just finished tuning the X, Y, Z, and extruder stepping settings, and I'm currently printing a new XYZ calibration cube.

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