Monoprice Maker Select Plus: Replacement Followup

A couple of months ago I posted about trying to get my Monoprice Maker Select Plus 3D printer replaced, or at least get a new main or breakout board for it. Ultimately they agreed to replace the whole printer. They don’t have any of the individual components to even repair the printer themselves. That is a shame since that means that otherwise perfectly good printers are sent back to the manufacturer (Wanhao) and never actually get repaired by Monoprice.

Monoprice’s Offer

Monoprice’s solution/agreement was that, yes the printer was poorly manufactured and that it is their fault that my printer does not work. However, because I installed firmware on it, they would no longer cover it under their normal warranty policy. I was welcome to send it back to them at my expense and they would replace it with a new machine.

There are two problems with that: at my expense and new machine. It would cost just over $70 to ship the printer back to them. I realize that if you are not interested in upgrading and modifying your own printer, $70 may seem like a good deal. However, I was probably going to replace all the logic parts on this printer in the future anyway. I like the design of the Maker Select Plus (though if you are doing this upgrade, the Maker Select v2 is the better choice at a cheaper price), but their motherboard and firmware are not the most friendly for hacking purposes. Since I already bought all the electronics to do the upgrade when they had originally convinced me that they would not consider replacement, I would rather move forward with that upgrade path.

The second problem I had with their offer is that they would completely replace the machine and not send me my old machine back. My machine is not perfect (print bed base is bent) but at least I know its quirks and have learned to work around them. I have also done some reversible mods, but I really don’t want to have to disassemble all of my LED and Z-axis upgrades and start over. I would rather have this same machine back.

Definite Main Board Problem

Up to the point of them agreeing to replace the machine, I wasn’t even certain which of the two boards was at fault on this printer. At first it seemed like it was the main board. Then I found a burned electrical trace on the small breakout board as well as a couple of bad solder joints. Since I decided that I would not have the machine replaced I launched into repairing the breakout board myself. I found that the printer still did not function properly after repair. It displayed the exact same symptoms. So the problem is definitely the main board which may have caused the breakout board to fail.

Installing RAMPS

Now I am in the process of installing a RAMPS board and getting it all wired up. (Here’s the board I bought. It seems the manufacturer/seller has some serious quality control issues. Spend more money for a better board if you are able to). Even though the original problem showed up 3 months ago, it took me a month to finally get Monoprice to answer emails and phone calls to come to the decision that I was going to keep it and not have it replaced. Then I began a busy time of work and travel that kept me from doing the upgrade. I am home for a few weeks and will get back to the RAMPS upgrade. I will document what I can here for others who want to convert their Maker Select Plus to an open source control board.

I have actually gotten far enough into the upgrade to be encouraged that this will work as well as I had hoped. I have been able to test most of the motors and sensors with the new board. I am now in the process of assembling the new wiring harness for the machine. I will probably break down the upgrade path into several blog posts. I hope it is a help to the next person who would like (or need) to do this conversion.

And for those who have the Maker Select v2 (or 2.1) or the Wanhao original version of the same thing, there is already a great tutorial on how to do the conversion. If you are looking for a base printer to convert, then the hardware on the $300 Monoprice v2 is almost identical to the $400 Plus (with the exception of the motherboard and control screen which get replaced in the conversion anyway). The Maker Select v2 is cheaper and easier to modify in this way.

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