A5S mainboard and LCD. Why so expensive?

giantrobot2001giantrobot2001 Posts: 94🌟 Super Member 🌟
The board for the A5S is $70, the LCD is $50 plus shipping from China.  Is there an alternative?  Do the A5 parts swap over?  The MKS Gen L system seems a lot more reasonable.



Post edited by giantrobot2001 on

Comments

  • Stephen ToddStephen Todd Posts: 281🌟 Super Member 🌟
    Both the controller board and LCD are custom parts - JGAurora can charge whatever they think they can get away with - you can't buy the parts from anyone else

    The original A5 and A3s use readily available generic MKS electronics, so the prices are competitive amongst the various sellers on Amazon and Aliexpress - not so cheap if you buy from JGAurora, who seem to sell all spares at 2x to 3x the price I can buy from Aliexpress - just look how much JGAurora charge for generic nozzles, heater cartridges and thermistors

    I've not yet bought the A1 I have my eye on - it supposedly prints better with a 32 bit board than the A5 does with an 8 bit board - but then again Makerbase have MKS 32 bit versions of the Gen_L - they are called SGen_L - and the 32 bit version is the same price as the 8 bit version (less than £12 including postage from Aliexpress) - so I suppose you could fit a SGen_L to an A5 if the firmware will still run - MKS also have Robin and various other 32 bit boards that could possibly be used if you don't mind experimenting and modding

    I still say the A1 is a good machine for the money if you are prepared to swap out any custom parts that fail with generic parts (no way would I buy JGAurora electronics)
  • Stephen ToddStephen Todd Posts: 281🌟 Super Member 🌟
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  • giantrobot2001giantrobot2001 Posts: 94🌟 Super Member 🌟
    edited May 1
    So will the MKS gen L board and LCD loaded with the factory A5 firmware swap out in an A5S machine (just modify the case)? 

    sounds too easy - I didn't really go over the connectors in the pictures, but has nothing else changed? I thought it was a different power supply and hot end - what about voltages or even the plugs themselves?

    The quality would be fine for much more than half of the stuff I make, and I have a second machine. 32 bit processing sounds great but the original A5 board and driver options seem so much more tinkerable in practical economic terms than an A5S.
    Post edited by giantrobot2001 on
  • Stephen ToddStephen Todd Posts: 281🌟 Super Member 🌟
    edited May 2
    I'd probably go with a kit:

    https://www.aliexpress.com/item/33057853469.html

    The above kit has improved stepper drivers than came with the A5, but apart from having to also flash the TFT board, should be quite easy to retro-fit

    There are youtube videos about flashing the TFT - JGAurora A5 screen uses standard MKS firmware - you can select how the screen looks using MKS supplied versions, or use this: https://jgaurorawiki.com/a5/lcd-firmware

    Main difference with A5 and A5s is that the A5 has 2 controllers - the mainboard and the TFT board - you flash them seperately, and lose some functions such as filament out/print resume depending on whether you are printing from memory stick or USB cable
    Post edited by Stephen Todd on
  • Samuel PinchesSamuel Pinches Posts: 2,661Administrator
    I don't think the mounting for the A5S is compatible with any other board, at least not that I am aware of. You can always design and print an adapter plate yourself to make that possible, it's just more effort.

    The A5 has the MKS Gen L, which is directly compatible with footprint for MKS SGen L - a 32 bit upgrade.
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  • Stephen ToddStephen Todd Posts: 281🌟 Super Member 🌟
    edited May 2
    Yes, he could also 3D print a front mounted or hand held case and go to 3.5 inch display - MKS have new 7 inch display as well

    Lots of info on messing with MKS boards and displays - main thing will be the main board to display board cable pinouts - not sure if they are all the same

    I'd like to hear if upgrading from MKS Gen L to MKS SGen L is trouble free - not totally convinced 32 bit is that much better, but would be interested to find out from anybody who has tried it

    https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=upgrade+mks+gen_L+mks2.8+tft



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    Post edited by Stephen Todd on
  • Samuel PinchesSamuel Pinches Posts: 2,661Administrator
    I know people who have done Gen L to SGen L, and there are more people doing this right now too. Sounds practically plug and play. I want to do it myself eventually when I get more spare time. Take the A5 to 32 bit, which I think is a big advantage for print quality.
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  • Stephen ToddStephen Todd Posts: 281🌟 Super Member 🌟
    Would make a great youtube video - cheap 32 bit 3D printer upgrade would get lots of views - affiliate link to aliexpress of course :)
  • Samuel PinchesSamuel Pinches Posts: 2,661Administrator
    It's on the cards! ;)
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  • giantrobot2001giantrobot2001 Posts: 94🌟 Super Member 🌟
    edited May 2
    tinkering with the case and making new holes in the side and mounting the board to an adapted plate and even changing the LCD and making it look pretty are right in my wheelhouse and I'd also be totally ready to buy that beautiful AS1 after fixing this machine if I know I'm not forever stuck with JG.  But I'm confused -
    Once I mount the board in, do I also plug everything in?

    Then, once I can power up the board:
    • Use a flash drive in the USB port on the board for flashing the board in preparation for the A5/AS5 components?
    • The SD card for flashing the TFT LCD v4 goes in the hidden slot on LCD next?

    Please help me, babysteps, Im trying to visualize here
    - and thanks so much you two - I'm watching a few videos, but missing steps, and some of these youtube guys are just plain lucky they don't go down in a smoke cloud of burned components
    Post edited by giantrobot2001 on
  • Stephen ToddStephen Todd Posts: 281🌟 Super Member 🌟
    Re. The SD card for flashing the TFT LCD v4 goes in the hidden slot on LCD

    Yes, you put a SD card in there and power on the printer - display board automatically goes into firmware update mode
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  • giantrobot2001giantrobot2001 Posts: 94🌟 Super Member 🌟
    Sorry - I edited while you posted.  But does that sound right?
  • Stephen ToddStephen Todd Posts: 281🌟 Super Member 🌟
    Re. • Use a flash drive in the USB port  on the board for flashing the board in preparation for the A5/AS5 components?

    You must first unplug the data cable to the display board, or the flash can go horribly wrong and corrupt the bootloader of the control board processor, making things more complicated, otherwise its a simple process

    The original A5/A3s V1 Gen_L 8 bit board is essentially an arduino mega with extras for motor control and heaters - so it is usually programmed as an arduino mega using arduino IDE programming tool which is a free download

    You must flash with A5 firmware, not A5s firmware


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  • Stephen ToddStephen Todd Posts: 281🌟 Super Member 🌟
    Re. Once I mount the board in, do I also plug everything in?

    The wiring is going to be different, but things work the same - the original board had lots of loose wiring that had ID labels so you knew where the wires plugged into the board  - your wiring will likely be a lot neater, but going to custom plug in connectors - so going to need wires identifying and soldering to correct types of plugs

    There are photos of the Gen_L board and wiring on here somewhere
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  • giantrobot2001giantrobot2001 Posts: 94🌟 Super Member 🌟
    Are you saying I don't need to do any arduino programming if I don't mess it up?
  • Stephen ToddStephen Todd Posts: 281🌟 Super Member 🌟
    If you mess up, it is likely the bootloader that will get corrupted - you then can't connect via arduino IDE - I did that by not unplugging my display board - but there are ways to re-load a new bootloader using an arduino UNO board and jumper wires, or a dedicated programmer, so not really a problem - more of an inconvenience
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  • Stephen ToddStephen Todd Posts: 281🌟 Super Member 🌟
    A video of A5 mainboard and wiring:



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  • Richy_TRichy_T Posts: 137🌟 Super Member 🌟
    Having just replaced the mainboard, I'm thinking it might be interesting to come up with our own version which would work with the community firmware. $70 is not that outrageous but I was definitely concerned that whatever caused the first board to go would also kill the new one (it didn't thankfully) and also, to be honest, I'm concerned about the long-term availability. I really like my A1 but jgaurora support doesn't give me the warm fuzzies.
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  • giantrobot2001giantrobot2001 Posts: 94🌟 Super Member 🌟
    I totally unplug my printers to even touch the print head or work on them anymore.  I'm careful not to push the bed too fast in case it pushes current (is that a thing?). I worry about shutting it off too abruptly (which is unlikely an issue) and generally I'm now worried about the boards and connections in these machines.  It seems to me JG themselves are aware that we need to buy and install new boards, when really that should be very uncommon (but maybe that's just me, or maybe it's not common).  At least we have people like Samuel and Stephen...

    What happened to your A1's board?
  • Richy_TRichy_T Posts: 137🌟 Super Member 🌟
    Pushing the bed definitely causes the screen to light up so there is something going on there.
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  • Richy_TRichy_T Posts: 137🌟 Super Member 🌟
    Looks like a basic stm32f103zet6 board is about $12. Thoughts on putting something together from that?

  • Samuel PinchesSamuel Pinches Posts: 2,661Administrator
    I think it would be an easier feat overall to switch boards to the MKS SGEN L?
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