IMG 3335My Big Mama CetusBMC, Big MamaCetus now lives up to her promise and expectations.

After being abandoned by Tiertime (Cetus) support, I have been on my own to trouble shoot and fix the problems with the Cetus MK III printer.

What I think led to the issues was my lack of knowledge of how the multiconductor ribbon cable termination sockets mechanically function. Absolutely no instruction was provided by Tiertime on the process to open/close or unlock/lock the connectors.

Looking at these very small connectors, I assumed (incorrectly) they were simply friction fit terminations. This was false. There exists a very tiny lock/unlock bar to clamp and unclamp the termination to properly insert and remove the cable from the connection.

I was able to force fit (with rather moderate effort) the ribbon cable into these sockets without releasing the clamp bar. But something went astray from the high current 20 conductor ribbon cable to the heated build surface. One conductor in the center of the cable vaporized when I first enabled the power. The trace is supposed to be non-connected as an empty buffer between the plus and minus high current leads on both sides of this unused trace.

Somehow it conducted a high amount of current, which made it glowing hot.  This short circuit COULD and likely DID lead to all the other failures.

The issue was that the printer could still print but had no temperature control over the build surface. The build plate would power full on and become extremely HOT. Even melting PLA rafts to the build plate.  The CPU could not read the temperature sensor attached on-to the build plate.

Having no schematic or description of operation, I had to use my experience of how I thought it SHOULD work. Again, NO HELP was available form Tiertime after the very first contact. That’s another story.

I discovered the micro SD memory card failed on the main board, and the CPU board never, ever produced a WiFi signal. The Build Plate cable was the only visible damage and was obviously bad. The cable is not available as a repair part. Tiertime did send me a new build plate with a new cable. I also bought a second replacement just to have another good spare cable on hand. It is an obvious weak point in the bed heating system.

The new build plate cable didn’t fix the issue of not reading the build plate temperature. There is a signal problem between the build plate and the CPU.

At this point Tiertime stopped responding to my subsequent attempts to communicate.  At least six more attempts through website and Facebook.

I bought (paid for) a new intermediate control board and a new CPU unit. Both came with necessary cabling, so all in the signal path was changed. The order department in China is very responsive to paid orders. I received the new parts 3 full days ahead of promised delivery.

After installing all the new parts, Big Mama Cetus was powered up again. Glory Hallelujah! Everything is working as it should. She is in perfect health.

I have now made a half dozen parts and all are perfect, top notch quality and all function of the printer are correct. Cetus MK III is a great tool when wired correctly and all components are in working condition.

I have been constructing electronic components since I was 10 years old. I am presently 73. Sixty three years of experience and a ham radio builder and licensed for over fifty years. I know my way around electronics. I am a career expert in electronic and all other types of environmental and machine control systems. The average Joe is going to have no idea how to solve these types of issues.

Can I recommend Tiertime and Cetus?  I think the product is not perfect, but the two I own demonstrate I do like how they work.  Currently, I think the support group is in a mess and un-supportive. Published support information is disjointed and randomly arranged. Scattered.  Look long and hard, there is good information. But a vast amount of conjecture and guessing from “user forum” type comments.

In my honest opinion, User Forums is NOT a good way to provide customer support. Too much “chaff” for the few grains of valid information.