Author Archive

ACEPC AK1 Celeron J3455 Mini PC Review – Part 1: Unboxing, Teardown, and First Impressions

October 17th, 2017 14 comments

Karl here. Today we are going to look at the ACEPC AK1 mini PC. Here are some of the specs pulled from ACEPC’s website. The feature that is most notable to me is the included 2.5” hard drive compartment.


CPU:Intel Celeron J3455
GPU:Intel HD Graphics 500
WiFi:Ac3165 Dual Band2.4G/5G
LAN: Ethernet RJ45 10/100/1000M
Bluetooth: BT V4.0


USB port:2xUSB 3.0;2xUSB 2.0;1xType C;support USB disk and USB HDD
Card reader: TF Card (up to 128GB)
HDMI Port: HDMI 1.4
Microphone audio: 3.5mm Microphone jack x1

Unboxing & Teardown

Click to Enlarge


Click to Enlarge


Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

Looks like an mSATA connector inside but not listed on spec? – Click to Enlarge

Some close-up photos to get a better look at the chips, and overall hardware design.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

First Boot – Storage / Task Manager

Storage after first boot:

Storage after update:

Click to Enlarge

Thermal Testing with Prime 95

Cooling seems adequate. Below is a picture of Prime 95 after 5 minutes. I am glad to see it staying at about 2 GHz considering the base frequency is 1.5 GHz. After stopping, it loses 30° Celsius immediately and after 30 seconds back to around 50° Celsius.


One of my goals for the second part of this review is to use it in the living room as a silent PC and mini server. I want to stream games from my new rig via Steam in Home Streaming and/or Nvidia GameStream. I want to also test it as a Plex server. Plex is testing out some hardware encoding on its beta software and I will be installing it on this box. I used Emby for a long time, but got to a point I had to reboot daily. Home automation server and Minecraft server should be a cakewalk. I have installed Steam and Moonlight chrome plugin, and tested them for a few minutes. Both work as expected but Steam is the clear winner at 25% CPU usage. It would be really great if I could both stream a game and live encode TV from my antenna. I think it won’t be a problem but need to test. My in-laws canceled pay TV a while back and they stream live TV from our antenna through the Plex app on Mi Box. They are even more rural than we are, and get no channels unless they erect an outside antenna.

First Impressions

This is subjective but I do like the way it looks. Has enough IOs. I wrote this article on it and other than typing on Logitech K400(ugh), it was uneventful. The expansion for a 2.5” hard drive is a great feature in my opinion. I just added a hard drive taken from a laptop. I have only tested out Ethernet at this point. I am in my lab and testing WiFi here is unfair to any device. If you would like to see any specific benchmark/test please let me know in the comments below.

I would like to thank Gearbest for sending ACEPC AK1 for review. It is currently on sale for $149.99 [Update: coupon USBLOG9 drop the price further to $147]. The device is also sold on Amazon US for $199.99, and it can be found under other brands like Unistorm, WooYi, Findarling, etc.. on Aliexpress.

Tronxy X3S 3D Printer Review – Part 1: Build and First Prints

September 29th, 2017 4 comments

Karl here with part 1 of Tronxy X3S build. It is another large volume printer to fully assemble on your own. Taking between 8-10 hours to put together. I have high hopes for this printer. Key things I like: metal frame, dual X, large build volume. Just from looking at it I don’t like the fact that it has no parts cooler but is easy to remedy.

Tronxy X3S Specifications

Let’s look at some specs.

  • 300 x 300 x 400 mm hot bed (Actually get 330x330x400 build volume)
  • Hot bed temperature: 40 – 110 Deg.C
  • Nozzle temperature: 170-275 Degree
  • Marlin 1.1.5
  • Frame material: Aluminum Extrusion

I have not taken the hotend apart yet so not sure about the nozzle temperature going over 245°C. I will take it apart for the next part. If you are not familiar you don’t want to get lined nozzles above 245°C, or the lining starts to melt. An all metal hotend is required to go above 245°C.

Note: I have had this printer for a while and due to some issues and changing phones I am missing some pictures of the build.

Tronxy X3S Build

My plan on this one was to let my daughter and father build this one as an experiment. I took out the parts below fired up the laptop and inserted the SD card. I was missing instructions on the SD card. So this experiment was shot down right away. With some help from my daughter tightening things, and finding pieces we put the X3S together about 95% just looking at the pictures on GearBest. I got to X carriage arm and got stuck. I couldn’t see the details enough. I remembered that the X3 was a very similar design except larger. I went online, and found the instructions and was able to finish. We put it together over 3 sessions, and had about 8 hours total putting it together. Later on I found a fellow 3D printer enthusiast on Facebook with an X3S and he sent me over the files I was missing on the SD card.


  • The belts are steel reinforced.
  • Only 2 pieces are printed, and 4 pieces of acrylic (nor including acrylic for power supply and board)
  • Feet are included (wish they were taller to put controller case under the printer)
  • The frame feels very rigid


  • Bearings for belts and mounting to build plate.
  • Potentially weak power supply. Still testing
  • No parts cooler

Click to Enlarge

Heated bed

The bed on the Tronxy is not very good. It takes forever to heat up, and there is no way to make it to 100 deg Celsius. I installed a beefier power supply, and insulated the bed with cork. After this the highest, I got to was about 70°C. It’s only about 10 minutes to get to 50°C so relegated to PLA on this one unless you upgrade the heated bed. I have one on the way with a MOSFET. About a $30 upgrade. Will test with stock, and new power supply to see the difference.

Click to Enlarge

Little messy right now as I am working on it.

First Prints

So we put the printer together, and tested everything out. Checked movement in X, Y, and Z. Homed to make sure endstops worked, and all seemed good in the world. I had some binding on my right Z stepper. I bumped up the current on the potentiometer on the board. Still binding. I then took the Z stepper motor and rod for the Z, and positioned them in the coupler just enough to let the grub screws grip. Loaded the Z with lithium grease and finally loosened the Z screw brass nut just a little to let it move like an oldham coupler. This resolved the binding on the Z.

I started first print, a Benchy, and I noticed it was off center and just not looking right with over extrusion. After a while I figured out that the gears that came with the printer were 16 teeth and not 20 teeth for the X and Y axis. If this board had EEPROM enabled, it would be a matter of just modifying the steps per mm on the x and y appropriately and fix. I think I could have inserted some G-code at the beginning of each print but wanted to use with proper gears. Reducing the teeth will change the accuracy slightly. With this firmware you cannot modify the steps per mm. At this point, I was ready to start upgrading it. I connected the board to my PC and nothing. USB was bad on the board. There was a night between finding out the gears were bad, and board was bad. I had already ordered some gears, and notified GearBest of the bad board.

Fast forward a month. Gears are installed and new board installed. It was a reworked board. I can see some hand soldered spots on the board but everything is working. Finally started printing. I have not printed too much at this point but what I have printed look pretty good.

Facebook, Issues, and Reality

I have not found a good forum anywhere for 3D printing. By that I mean in a traditional forum format. Facebook is the only place that I have found that people work together and ask questions share experiences. I am a member for quite a few of them. All printers have issues that are reoccurring. CR-10 has a lot of broken couplers. Tarantula has broken acrylic (typically after installed, and not during shipping). Tronxy has all kinds of random things wrong. I have 2 outlined above.

Being that these are shipping from China directly with what looks to be slim margins there is a gamble when purchasing. If you have a missing / faulty piece that can be sourced locally just get it in my opinion. The board issue is another story in my case. I have to review with stock hardware so I waited. You can get parts replaced but you might have to wait.

In this case you are getting a 330 x 330 x 400 printer for less than $300 + potentially minor broken faulty parts. Shipping from around the world is tough. I would not even think about shipping it back.

For miscellaneous piece parts, I recommend if in the states. Really good pricing and service. For example on parts above. I ordered early on Friday and they were delivered on Monday. I have done several transactions now.

Wrap up

I did get a ramps board and adapter for the screen. I’m going to get it to work for second part with this review along with bed upgrade. I would like to thank GearBest for shipping the Tronxy X3s for reviewing. If you would like to pick one up you can get one for $289 plus shipping, and they have a wider choice of 3D Printers on a dedicated page.

Categories: Hardware, Testing Tags: 3d printing, review, tronxy

Designing a 3D Printed Jig to Flash Firmware to ESP8266 based Light Bulbs

September 18th, 2017 6 comments

Karl here. I have to say that my favorite part of 3D printing is designing things from scratch. Recently a reader was asking about a way to flash a lot of Ai Lights on a project he was working on. I suggested 3D printing a jig that pressure fits pins. He didn’t have a printer, and we exchanged contact information and he sent me one of the lights and some pogo pins from Amazon.

Click to Enlarge

Design in Fusion 360

I started by taking a picture of the light to get my pin placement. I set a scale by measuring a known distance then printed and tested. It took about 3 iterations to get them to line up in real life. Keep in mind camera lenses distort reality and knew It would take a couple times. I would just let a few layers print then stop and line everything up. I had a mostly working prototype in a couple hours. I did have to go back and add an additional pin after I found out that 100 needed to be grounded when powering up so took a couple more tries to line that pin up. The first couple times pressing into place it is very snug. After 3 or 4 times it becomes easier to remove.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

First Iteration

Building the Jig

I built this thing too many times, but I finally settled a reproducible method. First print at least 2 copies of the jig. Insert pins in jig then place on 2ng jig with pins up. 2nd jig is only for alignment and to keep straight. Once aligned super glue the pins to the jig and let dry. Do not get glue inside the pins or they will get stuck. When I was first putting this together I was doing it the other way, and glue kept on seeping down to the pins and making them stick. This method of gluing worked the first time.

After gluing solder on your leads, use some shrink tube, and make sure to connect pin 100 to the ground. I thought it needed to be temporary, but I forgot to disconnect one flash. I test flashed the light about a dozen time with 100% success.

The method I used to connect is with the leads connected to PC, I press the jig in place slightly offset clockwise a couple degrees. Press in, then turn counter clockwise until you hear a click. When it clicks into the pads and PC dings it is ready to flash.

This was a fun little project and if you would like to print it you can find it here.

Click to Enlarge


Review of Vobot Alarm Clock with Alexa

September 17th, 2017 4 comments

Karl here with a review of Vobot sent By Cafago. I had to Google it when I was asked to review it. Turned out it was an Echo type device with a pixel display and a battery. It started as an Indiegogo campaign. I had been wanting to try to do some sort of voice control with my home automation so I agreed to review it.

Vobot Clock C1 Specifications

These are pulled from Vobot’s website. No power supply is included but a long USB cable is.

Click to Enlarge

Vobot Setup

I let my wife do the initial setup as I figured that she would use it the most. She followed the instructions, and it seemed straightforward from what she told me. She said she had to reboot it once during a step but it continued the setup with no problems. She tied to our Amazon Prime account, and she quickly was playing some music. During research, I did find out that it was not an always listening device.

Firmware Update

I logged into today to see if anything had changed, and there was an update. It suggested that I rebooted the device so I did before updating. Without logging in I wouldn’t have known there was an update. Maybe I missed something but I don’t remember seeing or hearing some sort of notification. I received a verbal notification that it could take up to 10 minutes, but only took a few minutes. The thing is I have no idea what has changed or improved. There is no changelog.

Vobot Display

Display settings allow you to set Brightness, and the time to display Time, Date, Day of Week, Battery Status, and Date + Time.

Click to Enlarge

That’s what the time display looks like.

After pressing the mic button

Get this at times and the eyes blink

Date and time

Hard to catch this one..Starting to play music

Unplugging power and of course get different one when plugging in

Loading music stream


I wanted to do a teardown when I first received the speaker, but I was afraid to break it. Now here at the end, I finally put some force behind it and finally got it apart. Only a few minor scratches and it seems to be fine. The teardown reveals that it is running on a Mediatek MT7688AN, and confirms battery’s capacity. 512MB NANYA storage NT5TU32M16FG-AC completes the list of the main chips. Maybe some enterprising soul will hack this and bring some imaginative new usage.

One big issue

Everything that I tried worked the way I expected for the most part . Home assistant can emulate a Hue bridge, but after reading in the forums, it only works with an Amazon Echo or Google Home speaker. Bummer, that is not the real issue I wanted to bring up. I really wish that it had an always listening microphone. You have to press the button to put it in listening mode. I understand that it has a battery, and would drain the battery but why not have it always listening when plugged in and use the button when roaming about.

Random final thoughts

OK now that I have a device that will take voice commands now what. I like the scrolling display. It is pretty cool and a little retro. I used this about 95% of the time just to play music. Don’t expect much from the speaker, but you can send audio to a home system through the 3.5mm jack on the back.

I know that there are 1000’s of skills but few attracted me. I did like the idea of calling another Alexa device but not supported. Arggh, OK maybe another issue. I did use the weather feature asking about the weather for the next day on occasion.

My 5 year old son was easily able to start music, and it could understand his voice which surprised me. The display is nice, and battery powered is a plus, but I don’t understand one thing. For just about the same price, I can get an Echo Dot which gets me always listening, and 100% works with all the features but no battery or display. I bet that the limitations with the exception of the always listening is inherent to all non Echo devices.

If you are looking for a portable Alexa powered device with a display then the Vobot might be for you. Seems sturdy. Descent battery life. I listened for about 2 hours and it still had a charge on the battery. To get an official Echo Tap it sets you back $120. It is the only official Echo that has a battery.

I would like to thank Cafago for sending the device for review. They provided a coupon code “V3127SA” for the Vobot which is good until 9/30/17, and brings the price down to $ 41.99/€36.1. You’ll also find it for $45 and up on other sites such as or Amazon.

Review of Sonoff RF Bridge, Sonoff 4ch Pro, and Sonoff POW with Sonoff-Tasmota Firmware

September 12th, 2017 No comments

Karl here. Today we are going to look at 2 new and one older Sonoff devices.

I spent very little time with the stock firmware on the device. I don’t like the fact that an Internet connection is needed, and I am not in control. As of the time of this writing I found the Ewelink was not configurable enough to meet my needs. There is one feature that is really nice that I could easily see keeping stock firmware. It is the Alexa Skill. It worked. I am also currently reviewing Vobot Smart Alarm Clock with Alexa integration and had no trouble controlling the Sonoff devices with Alexa. But unfortunately I am lazy and want everything automatic so I can’t keep it. With the RF bridge I was unable to trigger a light from a motion sensor. In comes Arendst ‘s Sonoff-Tasmota firmware  to the rescue. It gets better all the time. It is dead simple, and so configurable now. He continues to add features and devices.

RF Bridge

You may have seen my previous article building a 433toMQTTto433 bridge to use cheap 433mhz devices. I never did build a case for it, and it’s a little bit of an eyesore. When I found out about a nicely packaged one, I was excited to check it out. Like I stated previously, it didn’t work as I anticipated and was glad when I found out Arendst got one as well. He has a good wiki with on the github page and all the needed information to flash and configure so I won’t go into it. It flashed uneventfully. I was a little scared by the design that it was only going to be able to receive 16 individual codes and pass onto MQTT but that is not the case. It passes everything it receives. You can only send 16 different codes right now which need to be saved ahead of time. So after monitoring the MQTT server I ran into first hurdle. I was getting this example json value.

And actually I found after much frustration that “Data” is a nested json value. This took a while for me to figure out. After that it was relatively easy to parse in Home Assistant and move my automations over from the previous bridge.


From the previous article payload off is a made up value and is only used internally to turn the sensor off after a minute.

Just a couple gripes about the rf bridge which are superficial. There is a noticeable increased delay over the homemade bridge from the time it senses a trigger until the light comes on. It is only about half a second but a noticeable difference. And my wife pointed quickly that the led indicating it is on is very bright. I might remove it or install a varistor to tone it down. The receiver does not appear to be as good or might just be that it is in a case or my positioning. I am still able to cover my house but the trigger on my mailbox across the street doesn’t trigger. It was hit or miss on the old one but never triggers now.

FYI I am still running off the same batteries I initially installed in the 433mhz motion sensors over 6 months ago.

Sonoff 4ch Pro

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

I also received the Sonoff 4ch Pro with 433mhz transmitter remote.

I tested it with stock Ewelink software and all tests done before worked. I quickly installed the alternative firmware from above, and again no loss in functionality. I was still able to pair and clear the 433 MHz remotes. It is weird that it does not indicate with a light that it is in pairing mode as of right now but when you press the button the light blinks when it is learned. The inching, self locking and interlock continued to work as well via switches. I can definitely see this being used for lighting, or if you needed to control multiple items in close proximity. Maybe simple access control. Possibilities are endless. On the product page, it shows wiring with motors as well which looks cool. If I find a unique or interesting project I will share.

The 4 button transmitter is very powerful. It transmits further than any of my other 433mhz devices.

Sonoff POW

Click to Enlarge

A buddy of mine gave me a Sonoff POW to play with. The Sonoff POW is very similar to the Sonoff Basic, but has the ability to measure power usage. I didn’t bother testing the stock software. I went straight to Arendst software. I didn’t have anything to measure power before and this is a welcome addition to my tools arsenal. I don’t need super accurate readings just a good idea what the draw is. I installed a light rated at 75w to test and got the results below. If a more accurate load is available you can calibrate the POW and instructions are in the Wiki.

OTA Firmware

Who wants to drag all their devices back to the PC and flash new firmware? I finally checked it out. It is really simple to do.

First uncomment BE_MINIMAL then export compiled Binary. After a while you will have a bin file in your sketch folder.

Click to Enlarge

After uploading comment BE_MINIMAL, upload again. The 2 steps procedure is because he is running out of space with all the features. He is trying to reduce the code down, and hopefully make this a single step in the future. If you have a web server there are instructions to automate this.


I would like to thank Itead Studio for sending the Sonoff RF Bridge, 4ch Pro and 4 button 433 MHz transmitter. They keep expanding their Sonoff line and make them hacker friendly. I would also like to thank Arendst for his tireless work on Sonoff-Tasmota firmware. If you are just looking to control your lights via Alexa, and don’t mind requiring the Internet to be available the stock firmware might work for you.

2017 Tevo Tarantula Dual Extruder 3D Printer Review – Part 2: Auto-Leveling, Dual Color Prints, Flex Filament

September 2nd, 2017 4 comments

Karl here with final part of Tevo Tarantula dual extruder 3D printer review. The kit that was sent by Gearbest has a large bed, auto leveling, dual extrusion, and flex extruder of which I only found the flex extruder appealing to me. I have had this printer for a while now. It was relatively easy to setup, but near the end of the build it did not cover every aspect. There are lots of videos and a big Facebook group if you run into any troubles. Overall it is a good printer, but some of the features I initially thought I would like turned out to not be very useful.

Auto leveling

I tried my hardest to get this to work even going as far as to upgrade the firmware, but because they had a printed bracket on it, it drooped on my first high temp ABS print. I removed it immediately because it made me angry. It was not worth the hassle to me. Leveling by hand is done infrequently and can be done very quickly. I installed a piece of glass on my bed and it makes it even easier because you can see the space between the nozzle and the glass. I saw a post a while back where someone sanded their mirror with sandpaper, and they no longer needed glue, and it works well. I only had to use glue on the dinosaur head below with all the thin supports. I tried my best to get auto leveling working but IMHO, it is not worth the extra money.

Dual Extrusion

In theory, it looks good but is a terrible pain with 2 separate nozzles. 3D printing is not the easiest as it is but now with 2 nozzles side by side, printing with dual extruder is difficult. I was able to print the 2 color tree frog after multiple attempts. And tried a couple other things from Thingiverse. In my mind now, if I want to have 2 colors I will just paint the piece. I purchased soluble HIPS but never got around to printing with it. I ordered in a rush, and thought it was water soluble but it is soluble in Limonene and I am in no hurry to buy. Limonene is pretty expensive and nasty sounding stuff. Not impressed with dual extrusion right now, and another unneeded upgrade.

Click to Enlarge

Flex Extruder

Now for the flex extruder. It was the only upgrade that I found useful. I purchased some flexible PLA and tested with the stock extruder. It jammed every time. After upgrading, I went on to print flexible filament with no issues. Flexible filament is more expensive so I only printed 2 things with it. (one of my kids stole the benchy so I don’t have a picture of it. It printed fine with the exception of the stack on top broke off. This upgrade is worth it, and works if you are wanting to print flexible filament.

Click to Enlarge

Fusion 360

This is not really part of the review, but I wanted to share how satisfying it is to make things in AutoDesk Fusion 360. I am currently designing some useful parts for another printer from scratch, instead of mixing models together and some car parts. It is extremely powerful and definitely worth learning. Tinkercad is good for basic stuff, and I will continue to use it, but for more elaborate parts Fusion 360 is the way to go. The parametric modeling and timeline feature blows my mind. If you need to make a change roll back the timeline make the change then all the subsequent tools update magically. There are a ton of videos on YouTube if you are interested. I settled on Lars Christensen to learn basics. It is fun printing, but designing an object from ground up is just fantastic, and goes hand in hand with 3D printing.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

More 3D Print Samples

All the prints below were printed with ZYLtech filament with the exception of the flexible filament. If you are in the US definitely check them out. I picked up 3 rolls for $30 + shipping with a coupon code I got in one of the Facebook groups. I also signed up for the newsletter, and they send out coupon codes periodically. At the time of this writing you can get free shipping if you spend $75 or more.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge


For regular printing, it prints very well and easy to print with. Heats up fast. There is a big community behind this printer so there are many mods/upgrades, but it prints pretty well out of the box. There are a lot of solid parts with the kit. The board is really good and well documented making it easy to upgrade firmware. All the acrylic parts can be printed to sturdy the frame up if you desire. I did break my Z bracket, but was able to glue it back long enough to print replacement. If I was in the market I would get the base model (~$240 – Coupon TE3DIT may lower the price), or the next step up with the larger bed (~$255). The model I reviewed with the complete options (large bed, dual extruder for bi-color prints, and auto-leveling) costs $418.59 includding worldwide shipping, but the if you use TEVODUAL coupon, the price will go down to $349.99.

Tevo Tarantula 3D Printer’s Large Dual Extruder Auto Bed Level Sensor Firmware Upgrade

July 17th, 2017 1 comment

What a title. Just a quick update on the Tevo I am reviewing. I didn’t want to upgrade the firmware, but I read so many posts on Facebook about it I took the plunge. I didn’t like was the firmware that came with it. It only did a 3 point level, and seemed to go outside the build plate dimensions. The first 2 printers I have reviewed were Marlin, so it was what I am most familiar with.

I used Jim Brown’s Marlin fork as a base. It was missing dual extruder and auto level sensor in the pre-configured profiles. It took a while, but I was able to add the extra features. The auto bed level sensor connects to where the normal Z end stop sensor is connected. I would like to warn you to warm your bed for 5 minutes for the best reproducible results. I tested several times from cold to hot, and can see variances. After it is warm, it does well and only varies in the thousands of a mm. I also found out I made and dumb mistake, and I never set the power supply to my country’s proper voltage. It was messing everything up including the auto level.

Testing the auto level as it warms up. You can see variances and the metal expands.

Recv: Bilinear Leveling Grid:
Recv: 0 1 2 3
Recv: 0 +0.340 +0.292 +0.317 +0.380
Recv: 1 +0.418 +0.342 +0.338 +0.392
Recv: 2 +0.494 +0.408 +0.381 +0.396
Recv: 3 +0.545 +0.457 +0.442 +0.499

Recv: Bilinear Leveling Grid:
Recv: 0 1 2 3
Recv: 0 +0.307 +0.277 +0.308 +0.379
Recv: 1 +0.392 +0.327 +0.336 +0.372
Recv: 2 +0.492 +0.390 +0.367 +0.391
Recv: 3 +0.519 +0.447 +0.446 +0.488

Recv: Bilinear Leveling Grid:
Recv: 0 1 2 3
Recv: 0 +0.302 +0.254 +0.298 +0.367
Recv: 1 +0.369 +0.313 +0.321 +0.369
Recv: 2 +0.459 +0.376 +0.348 +0.380
Recv: 3 +0.492 +0.431 +0.424 +0.473

Here you can see after letting it warm up they are relatively consistent.

Recv: Bilinear Leveling Grid:
Recv: 0 1 2 3
Recv: 0 +0.019 -0.302 -0.492 -0.598
Recv: 1 +0.108 -0.259 -0.490 -0.618
Recv: 2 +0.186 -0.202 -0.468 -0.625
Recv: 3 +0.221 -0.171 -0.444 -0.606

Recv: Bilinear Leveling Grid:
Recv: 0 1 2 3
Recv: 0 +0.013 -0.302 -0.488 -0.591
Recv: 1 +0.097 -0.261 -0.488 -0.615
Recv: 2 +0.173 -0.206 -0.466 -0.614
Recv: 3 +0.205 -0.177 -0.442 -0.601

Recv: Bilinear Leveling Grid:
Recv: 0 1 2 3
Recv: 0 +0.004 -0.299 -0.483 -0.576
Recv: 1 +0.094 -0.255 -0.490 -0.615
Recv: 2 +0.163 -0.210 -0.466 -0.612
Recv: 3 +0.190 -0.186 -0.445 -0.600

This is a 16 point level so it takes a little bit of time but I think it is worth it.

To help with setting your sensor height you may want to look here. But in retrospect it might not be necessary. Set your sensor height just barely above the nozzle height and adjust with the Z offset in the menu’s. First initialize your EEPROM under Control at the bottom. Then go to Control -> Motion Z-offset. A negative number brings the head down and positive up. Print a small cube see how much closer to the bed you need to be. Adjust the offset until you get a good distance. Then store with Control -> Store Settings to lock it in.

I tested movement in X, Y, and Z directions, and they were spot on as well as the extruders. I homed then did a 100mm move and checked with my caliper. This was done in all directions. For the extruder I disconnected the bowden tube, then heated up the hotend due to protection then extruded 100mm of filament.

Here are the 2 separate files. Full is full Arduino 1.6.8 portable setup and ready. Pretty much run it, connect printer and upload. The second is just the configuration files. If you need the configuration I assume a write up is not necessary.

  1. Full
  2. Only Configuration

First connect your printer to your PC, and let Windows find the drivers. In device manager you should see it show up under comm ports. The first time I plugged it in I had to right click and tell windows to update the drivers. It went to the web, and found and updated them. Next, start Arduino then navigate to the Marlin directory, then open Marlin.ino. Ensure you have the correct board, processor, and port selected, then press the arrow pointing to the right to upload.

Once uploaded add G28 to home then G29 in your slicer.

You’ll find the first part of review in “2017 Tevo Tarantula Dual Extruder 3D Printer Review – Part 1: Assembly and First Prints” post..

I would like to thank Gearbest for sending this printer. If you are interested, you can purchase it on their store for $418.59 includding worldwide shipping. If you use TEVODUAL coupon, price will go down to $349.99. Note that there are various models of Tevo Tarantula with 200×200 or 200×280 (large) beds, single or dual extruder, with or without auto-leveling, and the one reviewed here is the higher end model with all a large bed, dual extruder for bi-color prints, auto-leveling, and flexible filament.

How to Use Octoprint on Orange Pi Lite Board, Amlogic S905X and S912 TV Boxes

July 11th, 2017 15 comments

Karl here. This was article originally going to be how to setup Octoprint 3D printer server on an Orange Pi Lite. But after looking and running through the instructions it seemed like it would be too much so I created an img to simplify things. I also explored running Octoprint on an Amlogic S905x or S912 device and it turned out to be an even better solution. You get a case, power supply, and eMMC flash storage.

What is Octoprint?

I use Octoprint mainly for its ability to start and stop prints without having to use an sd card. Time lapse is also a nice feature. And one last thing is that I setup a pushbullet notification when it is complete. For a full list of features check out

What is needed?

Orange Pi Lite Kit – Click to Enlarge

Octoprint Setup

Common Instructions

  • Download Orange Pi Lite img from here and Amlogic img from here.
  • Burn to your micro SD card with Win32DiskImager, dd, or Etcher..


Login: root password: octoprint
Login: cnx password: cnx


Orange Pi Lite: orangeocto.local
Amlogic: amlogicocto.local

Amlogic Instructions

  1. Boot and find the update app
  2. Click Select
  3. Choose the
  4. Click Update
  5. Then Update again
  6. Once it boots log in with root and run “sudo /root/”
  7. Now we need to see if WiFi is working. Run “nmtui”. This should be self explanatory, and if you see your access point stop. Don’t bother to connect. Exit run “shutdown” wait for it shutdown, remove the SD card, and pull the power and power back on. You can skip the next few steps in this section.
  8. If you did not see your access point exit out of “nmtui” and run the command “sudo modprobe wifi_dummy” repeat looking for access point in step 7.
  9. If you still don’t see your access point run the command “sudo modprobe dhd” repeat looking for the access point in step 7.
  10. If you have to modprobe either to get wifi working once you boot from the internal storage log in with root and run the command “sudo nano /etc/rc.local” and add your “sudo modprobe xxxxxx“ command before exit 0. Cntrl X then y then enter to exit nano and save. Reboot and continue.

Orange Pi Lite Instructions

  1. Connect a keyboard and connect to a monitor or tv
  2. Login with root
  3. Run the command “sudo cfdisk /dev/mmcblk0”
  4. Delete /dev/mmcblk0p1 with the arrow keys
  5. Make a new one and it should fill in the full size of your sd card.
  6. Then finally write. It will prompt you are you sure and type out yes.
  7. Arrow over to quit and enter.
  8. Reboot with the command “sudo reboot” and wait for the Orange Pi to reboot.
  9. Log back in with root and run the command “sudo resize2fs /dev/mmcblk0p1
  10. Reboot again with the command “sudo reboot” and wait for the Orange Pi to reboot.

Remaining Octoprint detup instructions common to all devices

  1. Log back in and run the command “nmtui” to connect to your network. This should be self explanatory. After connecting to wifi if you choose to set a static IP address quit and go back in to nmtui and edit the connection to set the IP address. When setting the IP address suffix the IP address with a /24 to denote a subnet mask
  2. Finally quit and run the command “shutdown” and wait for it to turn off.
  3. Move the Octoprint server and connect to your printer.
  4. To log in open your browser and navigate to http://x.x.x.x:5000 or orangeocto.local:5000 or amlogicocto.local:5000.
  5. Run through the setup it is self explanatory and in settings add /home/pi/OctoPrint/ as your git update path.


I really recommend setting static IP addresses through your router if it has the ability. Or you can use the .local address above if you have zeroconf/avahi on your machines .

I also recommend the Amlogic server. You get a board, enclosure, power supply, and eMMC flash to run off of. You still need an SD card to get started, but it is not permanent. I ran into trouble on Orange Pi Lite, but it does work. I think the Orange Pi Lite board I received is flakey.

You have a lot of headroom on these to provide other services, e.g.. home automation, media server with no transcoding, NAS, Minecraft server, or anything else that runs on Linux.

Big thanks to balbes for making Linux work,  Jean-Luc, and Armbian forum members who tested Orange Pi Lite version.

Tested on

  • X96 1/8 S905X with wifi dummy
  • X96 2/16 S905X with wifi dummy
  • Tanix TX 5 Pro S905X with dhd
  • Yoka KB2 S912 with wifi dummy

It looks like Realtek (RTLxxxx) WiFi chips need the wifi dummy, and Ampak (apxxxx) chips need the dhd.


Cura 2.6 came out just just recently with the ability to connect directly to Octoprint. It is really cool feature.

To setup login to octoprint and grab API key.

Then open Cura 2.6 and go to manage printers. Highlight printer and press Connect Octoprint.

Add an Octoprint instance, set preferences, and input API key.

Now you can start prints directly from Cura and monitor prints.

Click to Enlarge

I would really like to thank Gearbest for sending the Orange Pi Lite board, power supply, and SD card, as well as Amlogic boxes and 3D printers from previous reviews. If you decide to do this project yourself, please think about ordering from Gearbest through our links. It helps us out to continue to experiment with different hardware and provide these articles.