Mini Rant: Best fix for Toshiba FlashAir -- Replace it with Octoprint
 

Mini Rant: Best fix for Toshiba FlashAir -- Replace it with Octoprint  

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bobstro
(@bobstro)
Illustrious Member

I purchased a Toshiba FlashAir in May of 2018, thinking it was a simple way to avoid sneakernetting gcode on SD cards. I finally got the FlashAir card to -- more or less -- connect to my wifi network reliably. I figured out how to mount the card and -- more or less -- copy files over reliably. I put up with months of slow performance and software mishaps whenever the card connection would drop, but it worked --more or less -- reliably. I suffered with occasional card failures on the printer, and finally got to the point that I had to spend 10 minutes getting the card recognized. I struggled with the Toshiba updater and finally determined that my FlashAir is well and truly dead.

I almost jumped on Amazon and spent another $50 on a replacement when I decided to dig up an old Raspberry Pi 3B and burn the Octopi image as a temporary work-around. Man, what a difference. For anybody that's put off Octopi as being "too complicated", the developer (Gina) has done an amazing job refining the process. You literally edit a config file -- less work than futzing with the FlashAir configuration -- and fire it up. The wireless connection is markedly more stable. The web interface is good, the webcam integration seamless, and best of all, it completely integrates with PrusaSlicer. Slice and send. I'm kicking myself for waiting this long to try Octoprint.

If you find yourself spending more than 10 minutes struggling with a FlashAir regularly, definitely give Octoprint a try. For not much more than the $30-50 you'd spend for a FlashAir, you get a far easier to use solution. Lesson learned. I'm kicking myself for wasting so much time.

My notes and disclaimers on 3D printing and miscellaneous other tech projects
He is intelligent, but not experienced. His pattern indicates two dimensional thinking. -- Spock in Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan...
Posted : 26/06/2019 4:06 pm
Texy
 texy
(@texy)
Reputable Member

It's even better with the new, faster, Pi4, just released......

Texy

Posted : 26/06/2019 4:27 pm
david.a66 liked
bobstro
(@bobstro)
Illustrious Member
Posted by: Texy

It's even better with the new, faster, Pi4, just released......

Torn between a 3A+ or 4B. Probably both just as hard to get right now. I do have a basic Intel NUC sitting around doing nothing. I wonder if that'd gain me anything performance-wise.

My notes and disclaimers on 3D printing and miscellaneous other tech projects
He is intelligent, but not experienced. His pattern indicates two dimensional thinking. -- Spock in Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan...
Posted : 26/06/2019 4:32 pm
vintagepc
(@vintagepc)
Noble Member

Hmm, will keep in mind if my FA card starts giving me trouble. Worth pointing out power panic won't resume prints if not from an SD card, but that's a moot point if power outages are rare where one lives.

I had no issues getting my own card setup, apart from it needing a jiggle on some powerups because it takes a little longer to initialize than the printer does, so it does not see the card at boot.

Posted : 26/06/2019 4:57 pm
bobstro
(@bobstro)
Illustrious Member
Posted by: vintagepc

Hmm, will keep in mind if my FA card starts giving me trouble. Worth pointing out power panic won't resume prints if not from an SD card, but that's a moot point if power outages are rare where one lives.

Good point... though my power panic isn't working on mine. On my list of things to fix, along with the Mk3S upgrade and ...

I had no issues getting my own card setup, apart from it needing a jiggle on some powerups because it takes a little longer to initialize than the printer does, so it does not see the card at boot.

That's how mine was for months. The last couple of weeks, I thought it was more of the same, but now it's died hard to where I can't re-format it or use the Toshiba utility. Disappointing to get 13 months out of a $50 investment!

I know flash has a limited number of RW cycles. I wonder if the FlashAir software might contribute to premature failure? I assume I just got a turd.

My notes and disclaimers on 3D printing and miscellaneous other tech projects
He is intelligent, but not experienced. His pattern indicates two dimensional thinking. -- Spock in Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan...
Posted : 26/06/2019 5:33 pm
david.a66
(@david-a66)
Honorable Member

i just have the printer ( and PI) on a UPS total drew is less that a computer so get 20-30 min runtime

Posted : 26/06/2019 6:29 pm
jachym.m
(@jachym-m)
Active Member

Octoprint is super nice and comfortable - unless you print a lot of curvy things - e.g. gyroid infill on long distances. The serial connection is not fast enough to transfer the g-code data into the printers buffer and the printing gets sluggish - stopping now and then for half a second.

Posted : 01/07/2019 2:19 pm
david.a66
(@david-a66)
Honorable Member

i only see that if something else is using a lot of Pi cycles ( at least on the 3+). i print gyroid fill all the time with no apparent slowdown

Posted : 01/07/2019 2:41 pm
bobstro
(@bobstro)
Illustrious Member
Posted by: jachym.m

Octoprint is super nice and comfortable - unless you print a lot of curvy things - e.g. gyroid infill on long distances. The serial connection is not fast enough to transfer the g-code data into the printers buffer and the printing gets sluggish - stopping now and then for half a second.

Interesting. I'm doing a batch of large prints (3-5 hours) now, but they don't have much infill. When they're done, I'll be sure to try an infill mega-test.

My notes and disclaimers on 3D printing and miscellaneous other tech projects
He is intelligent, but not experienced. His pattern indicates two dimensional thinking. -- Spock in Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan...
Posted : 01/07/2019 4:45 pm
Dave
(@david-w107)
Eminent Member
Posted by: bobstro
Posted by: Texy

It's even better with the new, faster, Pi4, just released......

Torn between a 3A+ or 4B. Probably both just as hard to get right now. I do have a basic Intel NUC sitting around doing nothing. I wonder if that'd gain me anything performance-wise.

Same price, huge, HUGE difference in performance, IO, etc.

Don't bother with a 3B+. I just ordered a 4B from The Pi Hut in the UK... you will not be able to get one from a US distributor, everyone's sold out and backordered with next batches scheduled for September.

Yet, there are bazilli0ns of them at UK distributors, which is no surprise given the RPi effort originates there.

Posted : 03/07/2019 5:08 pm
bobstro
(@bobstro)
Illustrious Member
Posted by: Dave
[...] Yet, there are bazilli0ns of them at UK distributors, which is no surprise given the RPi effort originates there.

Microcenter seems to have them, along with the A+. I just haven't had an excuse to make the 45 minute drive out yet. Not sure where they get their supplies, but they still have the Zero W available for $5.

My notes and disclaimers on 3D printing and miscellaneous other tech projects
He is intelligent, but not experienced. His pattern indicates two dimensional thinking. -- Spock in Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan...
Posted : 03/07/2019 7:01 pm
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