Electrical upgrades on latest revisions: are them still worth?

MOSFET power_socket power_switch PSU

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Many videos I watched on YouTube said that the first things you should do after buying an Anet are:

  • MOSFET on the hotbed circuit;
  • MOSFET on the hot end circuit;
  • Hotbed wires soldered directly to the bed;
  • Fused power socket for PSU;
  • Replacing the PSU was sometimes recommended.

However, I also noticed some differences between 2017-ish Anet YouTube showed me and the Anet (manufactured on Dec 18th, 2018 according to the box) I bought:

  • PSU was an unbranded and unfused [email protected], mine is a branded and fused [email protected] that is often used on cheap CFTV deployments;
  • Cable from PSU that connects to the main board was just a pair of wires, mine came with connectors crimped and a 20A automotive fuse near to one end;
  • Anet3D v1.0 board had problems with delivering the needed power, mine is v1.5 and doesn't seem to have problems that putting extra solder at 6 points wouldn't leave me comfortable using it without MOSFETs;
  • Hotbed connector had one wire for each polarity, mine has thicker wires and two for each polarity (two red wires and two black wires) and the connector seems to provide a good enough contact to the pins.

I only plan to add a power switch to turn it off easier, an external fuse to not having to open the PSU when that internal fuse blows and a power socket because neither the US (Type B), EU (Type F), UK (Type G) nor AU (Type I) plugs fits in BR standard (Type N) without adapters and I avoid them.

However, even though the manufacturer made the product more reliable, it can still not be reliable enough. Is it a problem if I take the changes they made as "problem fixed" or (some of) the upgrades are still worth?

My motherboard died after about 4 months of use killing the PSU to. I replaced the PSU with a more reliable and more powerful one and bought a new motherboard. I also bought a mosfet for the hotbed. Now ~1 year after the incident the printer still seems to be working fine. I really recommend the mosfet, because i think it was the lack of mosfet witch killed the motherboard. I think that a mosfet for the hotend is overkill and unnecessairy but that's only my opinion.

my motherboard was waht died on both my tronxy a8 clones. - replaces with keyes mks 1.4 board and 8825 steppers and never looked back.
mosfets are suffiecent with the stock board lately.. - there are insternal fuses with the psu... yours sounds liek the newer model and is fine but at 20 A you might have problems adding addons

One of the biggest safety features you can add is to upgrade the Anet board's firmware to Marlin 1.1.9. Marlin is one of the "hobiest standards" for 3D printer firmware and includes many enhancements and safety features. I'd suggest adding that to the top of your list. You may need a USBASP with a 10 to 6 pin adapter to burn a bootloader on your board. There are plenty of tutorials on-line to burn a bootloader and add Marlin on an Anet.

MOSFETS are always good idea.
HOTBED - I don't think soldering wires on is a complete necessity now that they have upgraded and doubled the wire. That was an issue earlier when the wires were under rated and only one +/-. Mine is a dual wire like yours and I have had no issues. Maybe printing a Y-Cable Chain and moving the power connector to the side over the back will also provide some added safety too.
Fused PSU - Good idea. the stock PSU is not the best. My PSU went and with the fuse on the plug, it blew as it should have without causing damage to the house.
Upgraded PSU - I wouldn't necessarily worry unless your PSU dies. Like you noted, earlier Anets had a 20A PSU, which was barely enough to run it. I have a 30A now with a thing to mount: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2983859

Anet A8 30A (360watt) PSU Upgrade

Replacing the stock firmware by Marlin was the first thing I did after sending some G0 and G1 commands to check that the steppers were fine. I already knew about the thermal runaway protection being disabled in the stock firmware. There was no need to re-flash the bootloader in order to flash Marlin.

The part of soldering the wires directly on the heat bed is something I plan doing soon, but the Y-cable chain is "queued for later" as it's an aesthetic thing, and belt holders and tensioners improve the print quality.

About the fused PSU, that's the stock one. I'd only add yet another fuse in series, so, if it happens that a fuse blows, it'd be replacing the socketed fuse that is easier to access, not the onboard fuse. It doesn't make anything more or less safe.

The only "replacement" PSU I have here is a generic 250W ATX labeled as 400W from a brand that is known to blow up when under load and, by consequence, damage connected components. It is able to deliver 17A at its +12V rail, while I estimate that the stock Anet takes from 16A to 18A when under full load. I'll leave the stock PSU there while I don't get a better one.

A note on chains, a well designed and placed chain protects the cables from breaks and abrasions, it's not a looks thing!

As far as amps, I get 12-13amp MAX on my machines. I do run RAMPS, a PC PSU, and many mods but the heaters are stock on that draw. Now the PID in Marlin on RAMPS will reduce draw too by running the heaters in PWM, so they are not on continuously.

See include image of Printer #2's dials this is during printing.

And of course the dials are here: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3219534

Edge Mount for Panel Meters *LED Lights!*

Remember just because your house hasn't burned down it doesn't make it safe.

I see that so often here.

As an engineer the plug on the hotbed still equals trouble in the long run and it's so simple to get rid of it with basic tools so why would you not? Like I said, my second Anet A8 was the "newer" one and I threw out the PSU, Mainboard, and the wiring. See my other posts in this thread for how to Marlin.

I would sell the unused parts but they're such junk I can't do it, go buy a RAMPS board :p

I wish that my printer also could control FAN2's speed (turn it off while not printing) and be a mill at the same time it is a printer, but that doesn't seem to be possible without manual controls or adding another board. When the shipping arrives, I'll add a Raspberry Pi Zero W to the printer, so controlling and monitoring everything will be easier and I'll have few GPIO pins available after I add a TFT display to it and some available pins on Anet board to add another board. Of course, I wouldn't stay with stock A8 forever, but do incremental upgrades; for a printer that arrived this week and doing all mods at once is way too expensive to a single budget.

what's fan 2? The cooling fan? RAMPS PWM's it. On mine it's set to turn on at 40% on layer 2 then stay there unless bridging then it goes to 100%, that is done in the slicer software. I don't know if the Anet board supports it. With my dual extruder setup the fan runs via some of the Servo pins on the RAMPS board to a small MOSFET board I made that handle the PWM fan. That one has two 50x15mm blowers and a single 60mm extruder cooling fan.

Someone said they run their extruder with no fan and that blows my mind. I run larger extruder fans on both the stockish one and the dual extruder one. I even run a heatsink on my extruder motor since I work it pretty hard on the dual heads one with retraction and pushing down the bowden tube.

This comes from my background in industrial CNC machines, Cooling = longevity.

I've not seen anyone purchase an Anet with the initial thought to replace the main board with a RAMPS (or other). Most people I have seen have replaced the Anet board for two reasons:
1) Anet board crapped out.
2) Anet board physically cannot do what the end-user want's it to do, like dual exturders.

The Anet (A6/8) is a good "tinkering" machine, that has decently good quality for the price, and I think most people will agree with that.

It's not a "simple to use" machine, like a M3D may be. It take a bit more work got get things going than say a CR-10, but it's a sub $150.00 machine now. AND they are still enhancing it. Have you seen the new frames? Easier to assemble and less warping issues over the plexi-frames?

The stock Anet board is a decent "basic" board (Meltzi clone). Way better quality quality than a M3D Micro or Micro+, but no direct upgrade path outside of replacement, and that is okay. It's a decent board, good quality, and the newer v1.5 boards have corrected the fire hazards of the v1.0 boards. Upgrade the firmware to Marlin or Klipper and you'll get safety, quality, and performance increases.

If you use wire spades on the PSU, Ferrule's on the board connectors, you greatly increase the fire safety factor of the machine. Of course, these adapters and crimp tools are extra and are not even included in a RAMPS board.

BUT... If you go with RAMPS... There is a WHOLE other sack of issues with that. v1.4 boards are opensource, but many are not manufactured properly. The poly-fuses are not the best design and are suggested to be bridged or replaced with auto fuses. The power connectors have issues like the older Anet hot bed connectors. RAMPS V1.5 enhanced, but not much better; still has sub-par connectors and it's not been open sourced. Then the v1.6. Finally it's been released as open-source and has corrected many of the v1.4/1.5 issues. Wait, there is a v1.6+. Not open source, but supports TMC drivers better than the older versions. Maybe the v1.7, currently being designed, will correct all those issues and provide greater 32 bit support?

Long rant shortened - There are potential issues with any setup. Due-diligence needs to be used, and proper safety precautions need to be taken regardless of using Anet board, RAMPS, or other. Get a multi-meter and test components out.

Lerdge and Duet boards are promising.... still somewhat closed-sourced albeit Duet is a little farther along to being open.

You're right in the last line there. One thing though, do what you want! I wanted to rebuild the A8 and I did, twice. Then I 3d printed a 3d printer too because I was bored.

In the process to help others I wrote the manual on RAMPS: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2784817

Just to show it's not that hard or scary, I also wrote the manual on Marlin: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2783450

Then I designed a few parts for A8 because there was things I didn't like, go have a look! https://www.thingiverse.com/morganlowe/designs

Also, the point of RAMPS is it is open source, and well supported. I bought bottom of the barrel knock off RAMPS, a 1.4, 1.5 and a 1.6 and all are fine, I did that on purpose to see if they where crap, for the benefit of people here.

I think I got about $100 in mods on each my two A8's now including the filament used to make them. Many are mine, most are from this community. Have a look at them below!

The point is, do what you want but be safe and..


How To Wire a RAMPS 1.x
Marlin 1.1.x on Anet A8 Guide

BTW, your RAMPS How-To is very nice. I've referenced it a few times in the past.

Been thinking if I should finish wiring up a CNC Shield for 4 Z-Steppers and integrate to the RAMPS board I have sitting on my desk, or use Klipper and put the Z-Steppers on a UNO+CNC Shield separate from the RAMPS?

There's guys running the SPI steppers on RAMPS with a full load of 5 on board steppers. Not so sure about that myself. I know I have run into RAM limits on the Mega now and then, may move to a 32bit Due at some point when I have time to try out Marlin 2.0

Thank you! Glad to have helped. That's really my goal.

My build is a Piper 2 CoreXY, and I want to build it with a Diamond 3 to 1. Figured why not?

If I go Marlin, I'll jump the RAMPS Z-socket to the CNC Shield and run each of the 4 Z-Steppers on it's on driver at 24v. That X and Y will be TMC2130's, and I'll have to expand to a second CNC Shield to add a 3rd Extruder.

If I go Klipper, I'll use a UNO+CNC Shield for the Z-Steppers, X and Y will still be TMC2130's, and the RAMPS Z-socket will be the 3rd extruder.

I have some time, I still have to build up the frame. The gantry is just about together, and my extra heat sinks will be arriving Tuesday.

Have you thought about the RE-ARM board over the DUE? I think I'd go RE-ARM since that is what Marlin2-32bit is being based on initially, unless you go with the DUE fork of Marlin.

I just tried adding a mosfet to my printer for the heat bed and now my heat bed won't heat up enough. It worked once with the mosfet and it finished a 4.5h print, but after trying to start another print, the bed wouldn't heat up. I tried letting the printer cool for a bit hoping the mosfet would cool down and work again. I unplugged the mosfet to see if it was a problem with the PSU or something else but the heat bed worked fine without the mosfet. I want to add the mosfet for the added safety so do u guys have any ideas? Could it be not enough power from the PSU? Also should the mosfet be hot to the touch during/after the print?

My heated bed is the stock heated bed but the power input and output are soldered on

Got a link to the mosfet? How are you driving it?

BIQU Heat Bed Power Module Expansion Hot Bed MOS Tube for 3D Printer

just a basic mosfet from a couple youtube video suggestions

I put a drawn up diagram of my printer in the attachment. Thanks

Looks OK! polarity does not matter on the output to the bed really, it's just a giant resistor. However sometimes the polarity into the MOSFET matters. Try swapping that? Everything else looks good, do you have a meter to check voltages? I ran into a bad wire on my second A8 the other day, pic attached.

That was the hotbed wire. I replaced it with 14ga silicone wire and designed my own cable chain to protect it.

https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3217403 Narrow chain so it fits between the bed and frame!

Anet A8 Lion Link Narrow Y-axis Wire Chain

Im printing some cable chains right now. Would u suggest to have the wires running on the side like in the link for the cable chain. I have only used the heated bed with the wires running from the back. Could the issue still be a bad wire if the bed heats fully still when it is not run through the mosfet. I will try replacing the wires and check my soldering connections. Thank you so much

I have my special Y axis chain that's narrow to fit the frame: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3217403

I also have the Lion Links which are more the standard size: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3179124

Both my machines use chains on both axis. As much as they run the chains and having silicone wires really works out well.

All my mounts come with chain options too!

Stock style Anet carriage since printer#2 didn't have it in the box: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3170189

Single Bowden: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2873811

My newest dual extruder Superlite! https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3160905

As far as a bad wire yeah! Turn on the hot bed and probe the power from the MOSFET and the power at the other end of the cable at the bed! If it's bad 16AWG is the min size for the stock Anet A8 hotbed at 12 volts.

You're welcome and good luck!

Anet A8 Lion Link Narrow Y-axis Wire Chain
Lion Link Easy To Use Chain!
Stock-ish Extruder Mount for Anet A8 and Alike! (Includes Chain and Mount Or Chainless!)
Lion Mount Front BLTouch Sensor for Anet A8 & Prusa i3!
Superlite! Lightweight BL Touch Dual Bowden Extruder Lion Mount for Anet A8 & Prusa i3! *With 60mm Fan Adapter!*

Seems they updated most of it, but that pinned connector on the hotbed will still be an issue.

What happens is it moves. This causes high resistance at the plug and causes it to melt and or burn. I would still solder directly to the hotbed. As a reference all the other printers and hotbeds i have are also soldered.

Even with most of the updates, it's still a good idea to make those recommended changes/mods. Just because it appears they made an effort to make it safer, I wouldn't trust it 100%. I've got a newer 2018 model, but I still set up the MOSFET, soldered the hotbed, added the PSU switch, and replaced some wiring. I still want to get a better PSU overall, and add a few more modifications before I'm sure my house won't burn down during use.

Just stay cautious with the printer and never leave it unattended for too long, should something go wrong.

Thanks julienM for this print! I liked idea for the ease of changing filament. I couldn't find fender washers that would fit the frame and my 5/16 bolt at H.D. so I ended up printing my own. Gotta love this stuff.

^ WTF is wrong with this site? anyone else see this?!

Yes, I see it too. Unrelated posts are too common. In this case, it's from 2013.

Yeah I dunno.... been going on a while then sometime they disappear. It's like a database issue typing comments to the wrong posts.

seen this a few times also, just making sure i didnt need more sleep LOL